Teaspoon of Happy

Let's get this montage started y'all

I’m about ready for some home-made happy, and what better way to make it happen than with a real-life montage. By montage I mean a totally awesome sequence of positive actions, so great that they feel effortless, almost as though an editor is removing the distractions and fatigue from your life! I mean an energy jump start, a shift of gears to shake the sludge out of our brains, and get back to feeling our best.
Nothing helps to generate more happy than to get centered physically, mentally, and environmentally. This can be real, it doesn’t have to be just in movies. I say we all do it together and make some productivity happen. Here are a few potential themes for our best-feel-good-montage-ever.

Clean your space AND your head!

Who doesn’t love a good cleaning montage? One of my faves is in “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.” Totally under-rated ’90’s teen comedy. But truthfully when you feel crazed and out of sorts, often your living space will translate your headspace, causing you to feel even more out of whack. Nothing makes a low state worse than getting home and confirming to yourself visually that you’re a mess. If you spend some time organizing your physical life you can much more easily remember and then reconnect to your awesomest self that lives in balance.

Pre-montage home of "Don't tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead"

The reformed family of "Don't tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead"


Exercise is literally a miracle drug. It cures depression as it produces seratonin, it’s a weight-loss drug, and it gives you tons of energy. I am one of those people who will tell myself, “Girl, you worked so hard today, and you are so tired. You should probably just rest— you might be getting sick,” which is absolutely, totally untrue 99.9% of the time. When I do listen to that voice, I regret it wholeheartedly that I’ve missed a window of brain-centering exercise. What I do now is just get my body to a class or on the treadmill before my brain even knows what I’m doing. I aspire to be like my friends who have limitless energy: the bubbling happy people that wake up early and go to a class or go running. Here are a few diversely satisfying exercise-themed montages, my fave of which is from “The Cutting Edge” a great fish-out-of-water romantic comedy.

Demi as ripped Lieutenant Jordan O'Neill in "G.I Jane"

Toe-pick! Training on weekends = fitness and love in "The Cutting Edge"

Exercise samurai-style, in "Kill Bill Vol. 2"

Take action on a project you’ve wanted to work on that’s for YOU

*Minimum an hour! (That’s directed at myself.) I have a script I am working on and for the life of me I can’t finish this draft. Usually I sit down then immediately say, “I’m hungry. And wow, the laundry’s been sitting in here forever…and I should really put stamps on these envelopes for future use. And my drawers need to be emptied of old pens, but now it’s dark so I should put jammies on…”etc.

One of the best feelings in the world is when you make progress on a project you’re doing for YOURSELF. You definitely want to ingrain that habit into your mental muscle memory because it will stick. You start a habit and break a cycle and by Godzilla, if you want it to be a part of your life, it will be. Just start the action.

Best “make it happen” project montages on my list are “Big Night” with “Chocolat” in a close second. Do not watch either of these movies if you are on a cleanse because they might make you eat your remote. When I worked at Borders Cafe back in the day (frickin sweet job), I had two ladies literally cuss me out because we were out of hot chocolate. They repeated as though I was withholding a supply just to be insolent, “Chocolat is playing in the theater next door. Next door! What the hell are you thinking? We’ve just seen a movie about Chocolate in the theater next door and you’re out of Chocolate?” If I don’t get into heaven I guess I’ll only have myself to blame. In the opposite direction if you’re not into watching five hours of food porn, there’s a bitchin’ montage in Sam Raimi’s “Army of Darkness” as Bruce Campbell suits up to slaughter some demons. Worth seeing regardless.

The outcome of a delicious prep-cook montage in "Big Night"

Chocolat and prettiness all in what feels like a minute

It's easy to build a new robot arm in a montage!

Physical & Mental Make-over

*Warning to the boys, this is about to get super girly. This is the least meaningful of all of the items on this list but there is truth to the fact that when you feel you look your best, it translates to how you project yourself. When you feel confident about your looks, you sit taller and even those tiny muscles in your face flex differently. My make-over montage consists of yoga or hiking in a nice work-out outfit, washing my car, a fancy beauty regiment: plucking my eyebrows, exfoliating, shaving legs, a mani-pedi, etc.

And lastly, wearing something nice even if I’m just at home by myself. When I have all this together I usually feel a lot more positive and connected to reality. Reality being everything is pretty great, including me. It’s nice to look nice for yourself, because among other things when you look in the mirror you can say, “I did this just for you!” “Why thank you! You look fantastic!” Fave make-over montages include the expected but satisfying transformation in “She’s All That”, and the overly dramatic bad-ass transformation in “Long Kiss Goodnight”.

Laney Boggs gets a make-over in "She's All That"

OH SNAP! Laney Boggs is actually hot when she takes off her glasses! (fyi I think glasses are hot)

And this is a super-over the top but super satisfying to watch make-over montage from “Long Kiss Goodnight”.

Gina Davis pre-make-over in "Long Kiss Goodnight"

Gina lets out her craycray with some help from scissors and bleach

Break through that wall and get crazy!

We all know that feeling of being back to center and feeling healthy, energized, and optimistic. All of that can change the way you see EVERYTHING. To get there you’ve got to take the wheel of your seratonin motors, and rev that ish up. If you’re in a slump, that means you’ve got to push it even harder! No, do not take 3 hits of ecstasy— that will make you wanna die. Just put on some sneakers, get some sunshine and physical activity, and take actions that benefit your life and your goals.

The move-your-body-and-don’t-stop-to-consult-your-mind kind of actions will change your baseline of energy and in time reset your habits. Old Brainy McDoubt might try and discourage you, whining that you’re sleepy and hate exercise, in which case you can just turn up the music a little louder. Even if it feels like it’s not doing any good mentally and like you’re just going through the motions, it’s actually building a kind of “happiness muscle” that can carry you through life if things ever get rough.

When you arrive at that “Hey, I’m feeling pretty great” place, remember to savor it, focus on it, and acknowledge it to your body and mind. Many of us don’t really enjoy it when we’re feeling healthy and balanced until we’re not. I often look back and say, “Why didn’t I appreciate where I was then, and feel happy?” It’s a waste of life to exist in a permanent state of dissatisfaction and self-criticism. “But this other thing is still bad” or “Well, it’s not that great”. Stop that crap, any small happy is gold! That disappointed voice is just an echo of old feelings stuck inside you that have nothing to do with the present; the dirty glasses we forget we are wearing. Never focus on what’s wrong because it distracts you from walking towards what’s right. I know I’m ready to make some shi-shkabobs happen in my life. I’ll borrow a note from “Flash Dance” and end by saying when you feel like you’ve hit a wall, that’s when you’ve gotta break through even harder.

She's not like the other girls.

Jennifer Beals breaking through a proverbial wall

You can do it!!!!!!!!!!!! And leg-warmers are awesome!!!!!

Today, take action. Push yourself to achieve something that will make you feel great, and remember I’ll be doing it too, in honor of us all.  xox Sarah

P.S. If you’re looking for a good soundtrack for your day, might I suggest you “…put some Luda in it…

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