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Dr. Christine Carter

Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Dr. Christine Carter Tells Us How

Written on October 19, 2012 at 9:22 am , by

Happiness expert, Dr. Carter says routine is key, embracing color-coordinated calendars with non-negotiable exercise time and pancakes for dinner once a week. (Photo courtesy of Blake Farrington)

As the 80s hit goes, “everybody’s working for the weekend” and now, thanks to a recent Hampton Hotels survey, we know why. The survey, which examined how Americans feel and spend their time during their two-day respite, found that happiness tends to peak on the weekend—no surprise there!

What’s startling, however, is that one in three of the surveyors reported that they feel as though they have a completely different personality on Saturday and Sunday—one that is more engaged, creative, agreeable and spontaneous. “We clearly need our weekends,” said author of Raising Happiness, Christine Carter, Ph.D., who worked with Hampton on the poll. Interested in bringing the “Weekend State of Mind” to your workweek? Here are Dr. Carter’s tips for a healthier, happier you:

Recharge and Refuel: Fifteen percent of the surveyors said that they missed having a structured schedule on Saturday and Sunday. “We really are creatures of habit and routine,” said Dr. Carter. “When you take that structure of a routine out, you’re having to consciously make decisions around it.” Retain your productive workweek structure by creating a fit plan of healthy eating and exercise for your weekend, making sure to use your rest days to do just that—sleep!

Habits Make Perfect: “I’m a huge proponent of consolidating decision-making so that you’re not making decisions about food and exercise always in the moment when you’re less likely to make the right decision for your health or your happiness,” said Dr. Carter. Create prompts for your fit routine during the week and anchor them to healthy choices you already make so that eventually, you won’t even think about it! Try putting your workout clothes on immediately after waking up, for example, so you hit the gym before work or make the exercise commitment the night before by leaving your sneaks by the door. Blocking off time in your calendar for exercise and keeping the order of your day relatively the same also helps. Read more