"Less than a Latte" is an idea I've been kicking around for a recurring blog theme. Research shows that happiness depends on ones ability to lead a pleasant, committed and engaged life. And though we are all born with a happiness "set point," there are things we can do to increase our level of happiness overall. One of the ways I get my happy on is to keep an eye out for really cool and fun things that boost my mood for less than I would spend at a Starbucks or any higher end coffee shop. Doing these things helps elevate the "pleasant" part of the equation, and frankly helps me turn a blah, yucky day into one in which I can find fun and promise.
One of my favorite ways to "manufacture" a happy mood in myself is to buy a single rose at the florist shop that I pass on my way to work. It costs me $3.25. I pick out the most perfect one there, the color chosen on a whim. They wrap it for me and I take it to work and put it in a vase on the table in my office. On especially trying days, I've been known to take my rose with me to the multitude of internal meetings I attend every day. My colleagues have come to know about my rose days. I freely share with them the research about how giving and receiving flowers can make you feel good for days. Regardless, they get to see a pretty flower on the meeting table for an hour or two during their workday.
At the end of the day, I carefully re-wrap the rose in the paper and ribbon I'd carefully saved in the morning. I take it home to share with my partner, so I get the triple boost of having the flower to enjoy throughout the day, sharing it with co-workers, then sharing it again with my partner and family for as long as it lasts. All for $3.25.