"Exercise sparks the release of feel-good endorphins, but it also satisfies something more profound: the human need to perform and excel. Exercise helps you feel like the captain of your own ship," explains Lyubomirsky.
Although any fitness activity you enjoy is good, you'll enhance its benefits even more by taking it outdoors. A review of 11 studies published in Environmental Science & Technology found that people who exercise outside feel more energetic and are more inclined to keep at it. This is good news, because the rewards of physical activity are cumulative: The more you exercise, the clearer your mind. So as you arrange your weekend, schedule a trail walk, a bicycle ride, or a Sunday-night dance class with your partner. You'll close your weekend energized and ready to tackle the week.
Compress Your Chores
To avoid having your to-do list take over, carve out 2-to 3-hour blocks for errands. "It allows you to say, 'There's a time for chores, and it's not that time,' " says Cassie Mogilner, PhD. Also consider whether there are things you can outsource -- or ignore. Can you get your groceries delivered? And does the living room really need to be vacuumed once a week?
After a week of making decisions, channel surfing can seem like just what the doctor ordered, but TV is less enjoyable than we think. Sociologists at the University of Maryland found that unhappy people watch 30 percent more TV than very happy people. Limit your Web surfing, too, since it comes with the added peril of checking work e-mail, which may invite stress into your time off. (Can't miss your shows? Try our Couch Potato Workout.)
Rethink Sunday Night
Research shows that we remember unpleasant experiences as significantly worse if we expect them to recur, which may explain why so many of us ruin Sunday evening by dreading the week ahead. Instead, plan one of the above activities for Sunday night: You'll fall asleep with a fond new memory -- not a crash of nerves.
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