Sometimes beauty really does come from within
June 5, 2008 6:14 PM   Subscribe

What sort of things do you do, besides a vigorous romp in the hay, that leave you feeling so utterly relaxed and happy that your glow is obvious to random passers-by? What makes your inner light shine so bright that it's utterly contagious?

Back when I lived near a spa that offered sensory-deprivation tanks, I noticed that on my walk home, people's heads would turn. Regardless of their gender, they'd be much more likely to smile and say hi, or even stop and chat for a bit.

I notice the same reaction now after an especially good Pilates or Yoga class, or after a great row, or when I'm walking a group of dogs I love and have lots of fun with. My hair might be straggly and wet, and I'm in my playclothes and smell horrible, and I'm still my average-looking self, but people react as though an impossibly gorgeous person just crossed their paths.

Sure, it's shallow to want more of it, but feeling blissed out seems to make me far more attractive than any makeup or clothing I could ever buy, and it feels far better.
posted by freshwater_pr0n to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (54 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
posted by altcountryman at 6:28 PM on June 5, 2008

Swinging. Like on a swingset. Hula Hooping. Skiing (I'm an utter novice, and just getting to the bottom in one piece makes me high).
posted by padraigin at 6:33 PM on June 5, 2008

Good music. Load your iPod with your favorite upbeat songs and listen to them while you walk.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2008

Best answer: I'll second skydiving.

And, though this is harder to do regularly, every year at the Adelaide Fringe Festival I have exactly the experience you describe. A few years back I found an old leather arm chair, had an artist friend paint a mural on the back, then took apart a shopping trolley and attached the wheels to the chair. I call it Slickety Jim, and every year at the fringe I dress up in orange overalls, a blue bus driver's shirt and white suspenders, and I give strangers rides up and down the main street for free. It's so simple, so joyous, and people are so happy to take part, and so happy to learn that it's not for money, it's not for advertising, it's just for fun. Every time people ask me what I'm on and how much I've had to drink, but I haven't had anything. For about a week afterwards I'm ridiculously happy.

Here's a photo. Come to Adelaide next year, and I'll give you a spin!
posted by twirlypen at 6:40 PM on June 5, 2008 [7 favorites]

Scuba diving (in warm water!). For me it's a very peaceful and relaxing experience that allows for introspection and self-discovery, even when diving with a group of people. YMMV. It never occurred to me before I started diving, but in retrospect it's totally obvious that it fulfills a dormant childhood mermaid fantasy!
posted by ellenaim at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2008

Probably not the sort of thing that you can plan on a regular basis, but I think graduation (from high school and/or university) might be a good candidate?
posted by zachxman at 6:44 PM on June 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

1) Playing in the pool at the Y with my toddler, Henry.
2) Coming home to my happy kitties and watching Henry chase them.
3) A Ketel Martini, no fruit, water back.

Repeat until September.
posted by Dizzy at 6:46 PM on June 5, 2008

Walking my dog. She's just such a happy, funny dog, and I love her so much.
posted by HotToddy at 6:47 PM on June 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

Playing the violin
posted by mynameismandab at 6:48 PM on June 5, 2008

This may be a weird answer, but getting my hair done at a nice salon does it for me. I always come out feeling and looking great and looking like I feel great. My sense of relaxation and confidence are more attractive than the 'do, I think.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

A full body massage makes me glow like that.
posted by Class Goat at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Quitting a job.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2008 [8 favorites]

Yoga. Especially after a really good class when I've really made progress with a certain pose, or learned a new pose.
posted by at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2008

Seconding the full body massage. And walking meditation (especially compassion meditation / visualisations, but also the more zen-style awareness meditation). Or a nice hot shower & fresh clothes after either a vigorous cardio workout, or a swim in pounding surf.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:05 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Really good weed enjoyed with a vaporizer.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:06 PM on June 5, 2008

Dancing - vigorous physical exercise combined with sociability and community. For me it's contra or, most recently, international folk, but you'll find people who get blissed out for any type.
posted by nonane at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh, and yoga, definitely. Yoga itself bores me to tears, but it's worth it for the relaxation bit at the end which leaves me floating on a fluffy pink cloud for hours.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2008

Achieving something. Finishing a freelance assignment. Getting a check. Waking up the morning after a good drunk.
posted by limeonaire at 7:23 PM on June 5, 2008

Flying a plane.
Working on a photograph for an hour with photoshop, creating layer upon layer of beauty.
Running an hour or so.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:26 PM on June 5, 2008

* Thai massage: it's like someone doing yoga for you. I laugh like an unselfconscious child when a good Thai masseur/euse is flopping me around like a muppet.

* Just messing around in adequately warm surf. There is nothing like it. Again with the idiotic laughter.
posted by everichon at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cashing a big check. Spending said check.
posted by signal at 7:33 PM on June 5, 2008

Massage, skiing, roller coaster rides and sometimes if just right a good run.
posted by mmascolino at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2008

posted by tkolar at 7:35 PM on June 5, 2008

The day my three children were born. People who did not know me asked me on the street while I was on the way to get some dinner after Pop, Shot and BB Gunn were born why I was so happy.

When the Giants won the Super Bowl. All three times. After my own team won the softball championship last year.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:37 PM on June 5, 2008

Partner acrobatics. (Like this stuff.) A folk festival I used to go to every year that was like a weekend all-you-can-eat buffet of really good music, attended by a lot of nice people.
posted by clavicle at 7:45 PM on June 5, 2008

excellent BBQ. finishing a particularly good anime series. spending time with my daughter whose ability to elicit smiles makes the description in the OP seem everyday.
posted by phredgreen at 8:20 PM on June 5, 2008

Fall in LOVE!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:33 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Second trimester of pregnancy.
posted by taff at 8:35 PM on June 5, 2008

Happy day dreams.
posted by heffalump at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2008

Taking my shoes and socks off after a long day at work.
posted by adverb at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2008

Swim every morning.
posted by lemur at 9:21 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

After a good round of golf on the weekend I'm definitely more focused and relaxed for at least the following week.
posted by Kevbo947 at 9:31 PM on June 5, 2008

good sex.

alternatively, a nice salon haircut.

alternatively, good espresso.
posted by mezamashii at 10:02 PM on June 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Getting into 'flow'. Work, climbing, sailing, it doesn't matter. Once I'm 100% there, that's what does it.
posted by jet_silver at 10:05 PM on June 5, 2008

Going out as far as I dare on my bicycle, keeping carbed up and hydrated . . . becoming one with the bike, no pains, no cares, just the road ahead; pushing, pushing, making my own way through this world.

Hiking up a good hill. Back in Japan, finding a prospect like this.
posted by tachikaze at 10:29 PM on June 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

jet_silver nailed it -- whatever it is that I become totally engaged in, 100% 'there' and I'm good to go.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:03 PM on June 5, 2008

Playing the drums.
posted by btkuhn at 11:08 PM on June 5, 2008

Snowboarding in waist deep fresh powder for hours in the mountains with no crowds on a day that's 30 and sunny without a cloud in the sky.
posted by xotis at 12:21 AM on June 6, 2008

Believe it or not, Dance Dance Revolution. Perfect storm of physical activity, shedding inhibitions and looking like a complete idiot.
posted by jbickers at 4:04 AM on June 6, 2008

* Over coming a Crisis
* After a great sparring match
* Finding a bug in software
* When my daughter sings her bedtime song with me
posted by bleucube at 4:06 AM on June 6, 2008

For physiological benefit, Open Focus is the most effective type of meditation I've come across. I don't know about glowing on the outside, more like a consistent half smile. I slip easier into states of flow and they tend to last longer.
posted by BigSky at 4:14 AM on June 6, 2008

nthing jet_silver. also, solving a problem, particularly one that's been pissing me off. i love problemsolving.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:17 AM on June 6, 2008

Bird watching.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:27 AM on June 6, 2008

Riding a horse, alone, if the ride includes a 2 mile beach gallop then so much the better and longer lasting the glow.
Riding a rollercoaster and screaming my head off with the sheer joyous thrill of it all.
An early morning 1 mile swim when the pool is empty apart from me.
Spending a day and an evening with a very good friend who I only get to see about every 3 years. That's pretty much a day of non stop, hard core laughing and delight.
posted by Arqa at 4:28 AM on June 6, 2008

Pulling off a live performance on stage well. For me personally this means in a play or after an inspired improv performance. Nothing beats that afterglow.
posted by WalterMitty at 4:28 AM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding Aikido. There's nothing I've ever done that compares.
posted by ellF at 5:04 AM on June 6, 2008

Playing basketball. I felt that way when I was 10 and still feel that way at 51.
Playing music ... usually by myself with a good beer and the chance to sing loud and bad.
Standup. When I dabbled in standup I would finish a set, walk outside and feel like I could jump over a car.
posted by lpsguy at 5:50 AM on June 6, 2008

Power yoga. (particularly at this studio. the combination of a vigorous workout, the twisting/rinsing poses, and an unbelievably welcoming and supportive environment can't be topped. i leave exhausted but euphoric.)

Falling in love.
posted by inatizzy at 7:04 AM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rock Band.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:09 AM on June 6, 2008

I remote control the cat with a laser. It's cute in every way possible.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:28 AM on June 6, 2008

Doing something really nice and unexpected for a complete stranger.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:50 AM on June 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by verisimilitude at 9:57 AM on June 6, 2008

DDR and Rock Band have already been covered, but I'll 2nd them. If there's a crowd of people around to see my triumph, the high is that much better.
posted by owtytrof at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2008

A massage. A mango mojito. Playing with my amazing puppy.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 3:19 PM on June 6, 2008

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