12 Ways To Feel Joy That Cost Nothing

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Photo courtesy of tinybuddha.com

With semester finals being just around the corner, it’s so easy to feel down and out among all the stress on the horizon. Though times may get tough, you cannot forget to save some time for yourself and, essentially, let loose for a bit. Here are 12 ways that you can enjoy yourself FOR FREE:

1. HOST A GAME NIGHT
No, I’m not just talking about having your buddies over to play the newly-released Call of Duty game (though this does count). How about a classic twist to the modern game night? Try playing your old favorites like Apples to Apples or Monopoly! You can always find ways to spice up these classics through Pinterest in order to find ideas such as Paint Twister.

2. JOIN OR HOST A BOOK CLUB
Love it or hate it, reading is essential to your mental health. Scientific studies have proven that reading can lower your stress levels, encourage positivity, and improve your memory capacity. Whether you’re reading on your own or with your friends, book clubs can always be a fun way to pass the time. So if you can’t start one yourself, join one!

3. SHARE FUNNY YOUTUBE OR VINE VIDEOS WITH FRIENDS
Care to laugh ’til your stomach hurts? What better way is there than sharing hilarious videos with those who make you crack up the most! The Huffington Post stated that “social laughter is an activity that fosters closeness in a group and creates bonds.” And don’t forget you can get some free endorphins out of it as well!

4. PLAN A PICNIC USING FOOD ALREADY IN YOUR FRIDGE
Got a basket, a checkered blanket, a nice day, and some leftovers? Well then we suggest to go out, and have a picnic! It’s really that simple…and very much FREE.

5. DITCH TECHNOLOGY FOR A DAY
Yes we know you hear it all the time, and you never believe it. Yet, take it from somebody who was forced to go wireless: it is actually better to be without technology. “My crazy aunt hates technology. When she comes over on Thanksgiving, she brings her ‘phone box,’ and we have to put our phones in it. It’s even labeled with out names on it. But, it is good because we get to know each other better and bond more because we don’t have phones with us,” attests Rachel Toledo(11). Being technology-free has been proven to decrease stress and insomnia and increase high pressure performance. Try it out, and see for yourself!

6. GO FOR A WALK OUTSIDE
Keyword: outside. This does not include the gym. Go out and experience the free stress release that is nature! Devin Patel(12) says, “Every day I go for two walks. From my car to school and from school to my car.” Now this may work for Devin, but if that walk is not quite long enough always try something different. Walk down your street, on one of YL’s many horse trails, or go somewhere you’ve never been before. You never know what gems you may find!

7. WATCH YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE OR LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE ALBUM
“Nostalgia has reportedly been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders.” Movies and music are surefire ways to relive various moments of your life. Enjoy some peaceful relaxation and indulge yourself in the simpler days of your youth. Geoffrey Nguyen(12) responded, “Whenever I study or do homework I always listen to my favorite band Foster the People. It’s relaxing and takes away the stress that I have.”

8. TEACH YOURSELF SOMETHING NEW
It’s never a bad thing to try something new. Learning something unfamiliar to you helps keep your brain stimulated and has been proven to keep you happy. You never know, it could always become a hobby of yours that will last a lifetime or a skill that helps you be less dependent on others.

9. RUN ALONG THE BEACH
Living in Southern California we’re more than lucky to have beaches no more than 20 minutes away. Release your pent up stresses with the salty fresh ocean air. Wake up early one morning, and you can find yourself walking or running along some of the West Coast’s favorite beaches.

10. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU ARE THANKFUL FOR
With the holidays just past, this cannot be a more perfect time to give thanks to all you are grateful for. Such thanks weighs much more powerfully than you may think. Write these things down as a pastime that helps you dwell on the positivity of all that you have in your life. Take it a step further, and help boost someone’s mood by letting them know how much they mean to you.

11. OFFER TO MENTOR SOMEONE/ SPEND TIME WITH A YOUNGER PERSON
Often times you can get more out of what you do for others than what you do for yourself. Help someone out every once in a while, babysit your neighbor’s little kids, or maybe become a tutor regularly (I heard it can pay pretty well too!).

12. START A BLOG
Besides increasing your writing skills, starting a blog can help you really get your creative juices flowing. With so many technological opportunities in this day and age, it is not difficult to create a blog. Create a free blog or a tumblr, and let your online pen or photographs lead you to a network of people who have a common interest.