11/20/2015 12:45 EST | Updated 11/20/2016 05:12 EST

Go Beyond Green Juice With These 5 Happiness Practices

Documentographer/The UnDiet Cookbook

I'm a huge fan of green juice. You know, the kind made with cucumbers, kale, lemon juice, celery, maybe even a little apple for sweetness. It's quenching, refreshing and one of the few things I can actually feel immediately in my body. For me, a green juice is a pick-me-up. But it's not everything. And if I didn't enjoy drinking it, it would be nothing.

I'd like to think we're all chasing health as a means of finding happiness. They do often go together. In the real sense of what health is, happiness should always be tied in.

We want to be happy. Deep on down, we want to feel calmness and a gratifying sense of fulfillment and contentment. We want to feel good about who we are, what we're doing, where we're at and who is joining us on the ride. That is happiness.

Green juice and for that matter, a quinoa salad, a Paleo pancake or a pastured poached egg aren't going to do this. At least not on their own.

If it were that simple, we wouldn't have to struggle. Too often, we forget to take those deep breaths; we forget to be here, now. Ultimately, we forget that today is the day and without remembering this simple thing, as often as we can, in any given moment, those feelings of happiness will continue to elude us. Happiness will continue to be that thing we strive towards in that distant place in the future where our to-do lists are completely checked off and we can finally just enjoy what we've struggled for. The problem is we will never get there.

You know that line in my creed that goes, "Eat fruit, lots of cherries, while thinking good thoughts?" It's the good thoughts that do a whole lot of the heavy lifting. The connection, however, is that good food will provide the fuel for those good thoughts.

Perhaps it's time then to start sipping up some happiness alongside our UnDiet. That's what the final chapter in The UnDiet Cookbook is all about.

I've been writing about nutrition for nine years. I know that you know at least one, if not 10 things you can start doing tomorrow to improve your health. But what about happiness? Can you think of 10 things you could do tomorrow to start improving your happiness?

If we aren't enjoying the process, feeling nourished, vibrant, energized and ultimately happy, then we are missing something big, mighty, urgent and important. Here are five happiness practices to start today:

Make happiness happen.

People don't just luck out at being born happy. Happy people work on it every day in every moment. Happiness is a choice, with the knowledge and awareness that every choice counts. We can choose to wake up under a storm cloud, or to wake up under the proverbial rainbow. It's all up to us.

Give yourself 10 minutes a day to feel happy with purpose.

Take some time when you first wake up, or when brushing your teeth, or showering, or driving your car, or meditating, to give some goodness to yourself and the world. Contemplate the blessings in your life. As you think about those blessings, note how you feel from top to tail. Get used to that feeling. The more you practice, the more you'll feel it.

Some days will suck monkey balls. Focus on why that's awesome.

When the days get rough, appreciate the bumps in the road. If we didn't suck at life once in a while, how would we know when we were rocking at it?  Of course, it would be great if every day were perfect, but that's just not life. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, evolve and discover. Sometimes stress can be a good thing. It's what helps things to change. If we look at the challenging moments as opportunities to observe and find new ways to respond, we might be able to go so far as to find the happiness in what might otherwise be a a negative challenge.

Free for the taking and the making. Give happiness to others.

Most of the time, we don't have any clue that we're giving something away with every interaction. That something is our tone of voice, our facial expression, our body language and our energy. Most of us can easily be of service to others simply by doing what we're naturally best at -- being kind. Smiling, saying hello, holding a door, making eye contact (but not in a creepy way, please) -- these are simple everyday ways we can be of service and spread positive energy to those around us.

Create more in a creative way.

You know that thing you love to do and are really awesome at that makes you happy? Do it more! Share it, perform it, teach it, photograph it, sing it, play it, write it. The world needs you creating your creations and what brings you joy and that happiness stocks you up with more to share in turn.

Great foods, organic juice, clean water, regular movement -- these are the accessories to a rock star awesome life. The main event, however -- the bit that will have the greatest impact -- is simply you: your thoughts, and the intentions you take into every day.

So, sip up that happiness. It's free for the taking, and for the sharing!


12 Tips For Happiness in 2015