When Adar comes, we increase in joy, Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha, but exactly how? We have laws for the month of Av to help us mourn the destruction of the Temple, but how can we become happier in Adar?

On Purim day, we increase our happiness by reading Megillat Esther and learning about G‑d’s hidden miracles, giving gifts to the poor and to our friends. We create a celebratory atmosphere with costumes, festive meals, festive drinks, singing and dancing. But what about the rest of the month of Adar?

We all need to work to create a joyous atmosphere in our homes and in our lives. But before we can create the right atmospheres, we often have to adjust our attitudes.

Joy breaks down all negative decrees, so happiness is crucial not just for Adar but for every month. The Baal Shem Tov teaches that when we create joy in our lives, we arouse G‑d’s joy, who sees that we are living properly, which causes Him to open up the channels of even more blessing, which make us even happier!

Here are 20 ideas for increasing your joy this Adar! C’mon, get happy!

1. Live, dance and celebrate as if you have everything you need and want.

Joy is not only the result of being in a good situation. When we feel we lack something, a sure way not to get the things we want is to focus on the lack and to complain or blame others. We may find it difficult to feel joyful, but by making the effort to live as if our prayers have been answered, we can help ensure that prayers will be answered. Think good, and it will be good!

2. Know your mission.

Value yourself, your talents, strengths and skills, just as G‑d does. The Baal Shem Tov taught, “You should realize that everything depends on you: With your every mitzvah, the universe resonates in blissful harmony that heals and nurtures.” Imagine your power!

3. Remember G‑d follows us like a shadow.

“G‑d is your shadow at your right hand” (Psalms, 121). The Baal Shem Tov explains that just as our shadows follow all of the movements of our bodies, so, too, G‑d responds to us and echoes our emotional state. This means that the way we present ourselves to G‑d elicits similar responses from Him. When G‑d sees that we are living joyfully, He responds with goodness and blessing.

4. Start your day positively and gratefully.

Say the “Modeh Ani” morning prayer even before getting out of bed. This will start your day by taking the focus off of yourself and right onto your gratitude to G‑d for waking you up, returning your soul to you and for creating our beautiful world. Ask G‑d to help you feel joyous throughout your day. As you wash and get dressed for the day, remind yourself that G‑d wants you to be joyful. Before you even see anyone else, remind yourself to remain cheerful.

5. Speak cheerfully.

Practice speaking respectfully and cheerfully to others, and watch your whole day change for the better! People will reflect back your courtesy and good cheer. Pirkei Avot, Ethics of Our Fathers, tells us to greet everyone with a pleasant face. We should especially exercise our pleasant faces in our own homes!

6. Increase your sense of awareness and appreciation.

Feel grateful for what you hear, feel, see, smell and feel. Do you love the comfort of your bed? Do you hear the relaxing sounds of rain falling or the comforting sounds of the trees’ leaves rustling as the wind blows? Can you see G‑d’s breathtaking, colorful sunrise or sunset? Do you look forward to your first warm cup of tea or coffee? Nurture those moments and feel grateful for life’s “small” treasures. Note that it’s great to be alive.

7. Enjoy community.

Celebrate your friends’ and family’s birthdays (and know when they are). Get together with friends on Shabbat, for learning or for coffee. Value the spiritual benefits of gathering together. When a group of Jews convenes, it creates a joyful atmosphere, both for the people in the group, and also for G‑d. Make sure to create special joy for Shabbat, holidays, homecomings, birthdays and anniversaries. Collect special decorations, make favorite foods, bake a cake, play holiday-specific music, buy flowers to grace your table. Do whatever it takes to create an environment of joy, peace and contentment.

8. Dress the part.

Most people feel better about themselves and about their day when they are wearing clothing, styles and fabrics that makes them feel good (and also aren’t ripped, damaged or dirty). Make work or boring errands more fun by dressing up and taking your role as a daughter or son of G‑d seriously.

9. Take care of yourself by properly eating, sleeping and exercising.

Eat slowly, sit down and don’t eat meals on the run or in the car. Out of convenience, parents will sometimes eat their children’s leftovers. Instead, prepare what you actually want to eat for your meals and try to make those meals happen in a nice way, on a plate. Take care of yourself by making healthy, nurturing food (it doesn’t need to be difficult to prepare!), by going to sleep early so you’ll get enough rest, and by exercising. Set a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day or dance, sign up for a yoga class, take a walk or jog around the block, go for a swim, start weightlifting—just do anything that gets you moving almost every day.

10. Adjust your attitude.

When faced with unexpected inconveniences, train yourself to see the hidden benefits. The Shela haKadosh notes that when the letters of arbeh, the destructive plague of locusts, are rearranged, we see the word, harbeh, or “bounty.” In everything in life, we can see arbeh, a destructive plague that has come to ruin everything and to sap our energy and resources, or, we can see harbeh, the bounty, the beautiful crop. Retrain your brain to see bounty.

11. Keep a Jewish book handy in your purse, on your phone, on your Kindle.

Make it a habit to read an inspiring Jewish book about faith, Jewish history, biographies of great inspiring people, or uplifting quotes or words of Torah. Pull out your book in waiting rooms, at carpool, before bed or at long checkout lines, and anytime you need to sit down and relax for a little bit. When you are stressed or feel you are going “negative,” say a positive verse from the prayers or the Torah. Here are some examples: “Serve G‑d with joy,” “In lush meadows He lays me down/Beside tranquil waters He leads me,” “My G‑d, the soul You placed within me is pure.” Find lines you love and write them on Post-its or memorize them.

12. Do something every day just to make you happy.

We need to make the time to engage in self-care daily. Do you feel happier when you listen to music, bake, go to a great Torah class every week? Do you feel happier when you eat green vegetables, get your hair or nails done, or take a weekly painting or art class? Make time for creativity by making your own greeting cards, inventing new muffin recipes or painting something beautiful. Every day, do one thing on your happiness list.

13. Breathe, stay cool and remain observational when you feel attacked.

If someone is behaving rudely or aggressively, keep unwanted thoughts at bay by taking your inner self and moving her to the role of a cool and impartial observer of that thought. This will help you train yourself to simply notice someone else’s aggression without escalating emotions. Then you can access holy, helpful and positive lines or images that you have saved for these stressful moments. Each time you calmly redirect your thinking, you get stronger, more positive, and less negative and anxious.

14. Eschew whiners. Or minimize contact with them.

Spend time with positive, upbeat people. When your kids complain, tell them that instead of complaining , we can do something about it with action by redirecting our thoughts and words, or even by staying silent. Show them how you do this.

15. Train yourself to look for positive metaphors in the world.

Ask yourself what gift might G‑d might be giving you in each inconvenient or upsetting circumstance. What could He be showing you or teaching you? Rain could be bringing blessing. Winds could be bringing change, comfort, excitement. Use your sense of humor. “G‑d wants the best for me/us.” Repeat throughout the day. You can also have handy thoughts that help you feel G‑d is always with you. Maybe you like the feeling that G‑d is giving you a warm blanket and calming you, or standing over you watching your positive reactions.

16. Don’t blame or shame but apologize and move on.

When things go wrong, never blame or shame yourself or anyone else. Stuff happens. We are all trying our best. Have that ideal as a “family code.” When you make a mistake, simply and sincerely apologize, and quickly move on. If someone made a mistake, listen to his or her apology and move on. If the person doesn’t apologize, just move on; not everyone is an apologizer.

17. Reinforce positive action of other people in your life.

When you see something positive being done, let the person know you noticed, especially children. Watch them shine and do it more often.

18. Doing acts of kindness is the secret of happiness.

Think of something you are good at and like to do, and volunteer to do it for someone or for a group. Also, try to carry change or small bills with you, and give charity to whomever asks. You’ll get back even more happiness than you give.

19. Share at dinner highlights and stories that happened that day.

Jot down notes so you remember a funny thing someone said or something that happened so you can tell your family. And eat together. That’s one of the most important gifts you can give your children.

20. Imagine you can.

“Open your eyes to see only the good in every person, the positive in every circumstance, and the opportunity in every challenge.” — The Rebbe

Imagine ... and then try to open your eyes to see only the good!