7 relatively easy and cheap ways to be happier

No one needs to tell you that the life of the woman truck driver — from local to regional to over the road — is no bed of roses. Heck, lots of the time it’s not even a pillow stuffed with wilted kale.

Happiness doesn’t have to have a big price tag or take a lot of time or effort.Happiness doesn’t have to have a big price tag or take a lot of time or effort.

Yes, there will be lazy lumpers and dyspeptic dispatchers and whacked-out four-wheelers. But there are things — simple things, inexpensive things, safe and legal things — you can do to improve your DHQ, your daily happiness quotient. Here are seven of them:

  1. An article in Inc. magazine suggests getting outside. Spending 20 minutes a day outside in nice weather (may be tough to do this time of year if you’re running above the Mason-Dixon Line) can lift your spirits. They go so far as to cite researchers who say 57 degrees is the temperature at which happiness is maximized.
  2. Tchiki Davis, writing in Psychology Today suggests you “go after life.” She says “push yourself to overcome fear and approach life with enthusiasm.”
  3. PopSugar urges you to get moving. This upbeat health and wellness newsletter for women says exercise, even simple walking, releases what it calls “happy hormones” that can improve your mood.
  4. Like many other sources, experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest being grateful. They write, “Make a commitment to practice gratitude. Each day identify at least one thing that enriches your life. When you find yourself thinking an ungrateful thought, try substituting a grateful one.”
  5. Among the 25 things to make life happier, Lifehack lists making plans. It could be as simple as meeting a friend for coffee or taking a long weekend when you have some home time coming; just creating something to look forward to can lift your spirits.
  6. Happier Human suggests sitting up straight. They add “Slouching just doesn’t make you look bad — it can make you feel bad too.” This is especially true if you’re in your truck driving all day.
  7. A piece in the Huffington Post thinks we should celebrate little victories as they come along. It’s unlikely we’ll win the Powerball lottery or be nominated for a Nobel Prize anytime soon. But, there’s a good chance you’ll nail backing into the dock at your next stop, find a parking spot that’s in a safe location and easy to get into and have a clean inspection next time you’re stopped. Take time to savor those moments.

If all this fails, you can enroll in Happify, a website that calls itself a “single destination for effective, evidence-based solutions for better emotional health and wellbeing in the 21st century.” You can sign up for free and learn how to stop negative thoughts, become more optimistic, reduce stress and improve your self-esteem.

And, let’s face it, there’s nothing wrong with just singing along …