It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we all feel down sometimes. Whether you’re just trekking through a rough patch, temporarily unhappy because of some external factor, or battling something more serious, your hope should never fade away. Or if you know someone who’s not feeling too chipper at the moment, have a read so you know how to help them out. Wherever the joy has disappeared to, it’s time to go and get it with these free and easy methods of instantly boosting your happiness. Find one that works for you, a couple to use together or heck, give them all a go! The bad news is there’s not one thing you can do to improve your mood when you’re feeling down. The good news is there are 15!
14 Put Things Into Perspective
When you're feeling down, paying attention to the smallest negative details can have a snowball effect on your feelings. By focusing on every little thing that’s going wrong, the jumble of thoughts are going to drown out your voice of reason... until you're left wondering why the whole world is out to get you (when it really isn’t). You forget about what’s important and feel like smaller problems are much bigger and more devastating than they are. If this type of thinking is getting you down, try taking a step back and putting things into perspective. Is it really the end of the world? It can be useful and inspiring to think of some current or historical figures who you know went through hard times themselves. Thinking about wars and famine won’t have you giggling, but it will help you to see your weight gain as less of an Everest!
13 Think Spiritually
This is an option for those who already have ties to particular religious or spiritual beliefs, or for those who are simply curious. Most religions and other belief systems have certain convictions centred on fulfilment and the attainment of happiness. If you were raised within a certain religion or with particular spiritual morals, but found you’ve lingered from your roots, it might be worth going back and exploring what they have to say about happiness. While Christians believe happiness can come from serving others, Buddhists place importance on living in the moment instead of dwelling on the past or future, and believers of the law of attraction choose to focus on the feelings they want to manifest in their lives. Even if you’ve never been involved in anything like that, there is a world of information available on different belief systems and definitions of happiness, and you might just find one that resonates with you.
Smiling when you’re feeling down probably seems super weird and unnatural, but this is where the old saying of “fake it till you make it” comes into play in the game of boosting happiness levels. Aside from masking your sad feelings from the world, which is useful in some circumstances, smiling has a heap of psychological and physiological benefits that will get you feeling better in no time! The act of smiling not only reduces stress, but can also increase the level of endorphins, which are mood-elevating hormones, in your body. While the internal effects are reason enough to give it a try, there are also a number of external consequences of smiling which make it worth it, such as the positive influence of your smile on other people, the way smiling can help form bonds by encouraging you to connect with others, and the simple fact that smiling automatically makes you more likeable.
11 Take A Trip Down Memory Lane
This works wonders but you do want to be careful about which memory lane you travel along. If your mood is down because you just broke up with someone, you don’t want to sit around thinking about all the beautiful moments you had together. But you definitely want to remember the effort your girlfriends went to on your birthday. The mere memory will inject a boost of joy in you, no matter how small, and will remind you that you’re not alone. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost the reins of life and everything is spinning out of control, try thinking about your childhood. Remember where you come from, and all the preparation you’ve had to deal with whatever you’re going through. If you’re feeling hopeless, remember the stand-out moments. Think of the wonderful surprises and experiences you’ve had to remind you of the magic that life is capable of.
10 Hug It Out
Even if you’re not a people person, the physical act of giving or receiving a hug from somebody should make you feel better. Put simply, the production of the hormone oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”, is increased through hugging. This has an array of beneficial effects. Among these is the easing of depression, which is what we want to hear! Studies have shown that hugging also reduces the production of stress hormones, like cortisol, which play a role in decreasing your mood. Don’t think you have to have a significant other to reap the benefits of the good old hug, either. While it has been suggested that hugging strangers isn’t the same as hugging somebody you have an emotional connection with, hugging friends, family and pets should do the trick too. So while you might feel like you want to isolate yourself in times of sadness, a ten-second hug might be the answer.
9 Spend Some Time With Pets
Who doesn’t love browsing through puppy and kitten videos on YouTube? For many of us, just observing animals lightens our moods, and naturally there are a bunch of health benefits that come along with owning and caring for a pet. Not only can taking care of an animal reduce depression, but studies have shown that this may have a similar effect on anxiety, loneliness and stress. That’s bound to cheer you up a little! Levels of serotonin and dopamine may also be increased while playing with our pets, which work to calm and relax us. If you’re not in the position to take full responsibility and provide for an animal, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. Not only will spending time with the animals boost your mood, but you’ll be helping the animals in the long term by adapting them to interaction with humans, which will make them better candidates for adoption!
8 Laugh More
Though you’ve probably heard it a billion times and it's definitely a cliche, laughter really is the best medicine. Similar to the benefits of smiling, laughing releases endorphins which enhance your mood and can even briefly relieve the presence of pain, while relaxing you to release stress and physical and mental tension. It’s just as infectious if not more so than smiling, which promotes positive social benefits like reducing conflict and improving relationships. In turn, these factors will work together to increase your happiness. While studies show that laughing even when there’s nothing funny will soon bring about the joyous feelings, you may feel a little silly doing this. In that case, take a night off to have a Friends marathon or ring up those characters in your life who are bound to get you giggling.
7 Surround Yourself With The Right People
If you write down a list of everyone in your life right now, you would see super fast that some of them are great, and others don't make you feel good about yourself at all. It’s never as easy as simply cutting out the people who get under your skin; some of them might be family, some of them might work with you, and some of them you might have to see by association. But by identifying the good ones, you’ll know who to turn to when things are tough. Have a go-to list, and it usually won’t be very long, of people you can trust enough to vent your feelings to, and who will cheer you up. When the sad feelings hit, even just a phone call with these people can make you feel better. Similarly, make an effort to avoid the people who are likely to intentionally or unintentionally worsen your mood until you’re feeling better.
6 Do What You Love
This may sound super obvious but it's so easy to let your hobbies slip away when you're dealing with the demands of work and your personal life. This can lead to a pretty stressful, unhappy state! Try and dedicate at least a little time every day to something purely for your enjoyment. The conscientious hard worker in you will take issue with this and try to guilt you out of it, but tune her out. Work and other responsibilities are important, but it all begins with your happiness. That’s not to say that you should neglect your duties in the name of watching Game of Thrones all day, but find a balance that works for you. Even if it’s reading one chapter a day of your favourite book, or trying a new recipe when you get a spare hour, make the effort to have a little fun. The next time you’re feeling down, dedicate some time toward something that makes you happy, as soon as you get the chance!
The ancient practice of meditation is becoming more and more popular as people all over the world are starting to realize its benefits. The concept of meditation, which requires regular practice, involves consciously learning to become completely aware and immersed in the current moment, and is said to have profound benefits on both the body and mind. These include being able to effectively cope with stress, easing pain, developing immunity and feeling calm and rested – all of which should instantly elevate a bad mood. Worrying about the unknown events of the future and dwelling on mistakes of the past has most of us stressing out more than we ought to, but meditation encourages the release of this unnecessary focus and its associated emotions, and will help you to feel happier by focusing on the now. There are many kinds of guided meditations available to help beginners find their feet, and many of them are free online!
4 Get Advice
If it’s a particular issue that’s keeping you from the happiness that you deserve, it might be worth tackling the problem head on until it’s resolved. This will often involve letting someone know what’s going on, and using their advice to help solve it. As previously mentioned, you don’t want to go unloading your problems onto everyone, because not everyone has your wellbeing in mind. Seek out someone who has good intentions, who you can trust, and who you know will be able to give effective, helpful advice. This might be a family member, a friend, or you might even use the services of a counsellor or professional if you find yourself in enough of a pickle. Usually, just venting to somebody will relieve some of the negative energy you’re carrying around straight away, and once they offer up their problem-solving ideas, you know you’re on your way to feeling better!
3 Actually Cry
This seems contradictory to smiling and laughing, but every person is different, every situation is unique, and different problems require different solutions. If something is truly bothering you and you’ve tried to bottle it up for a while, simply allowing yourself time to be honest about how you’re feeling can be a relief. When you find yourself constantly on the verge of tears, and you feel restless, unsettled and in conflict with yourself, it might be time to admit that you’re upset and have a cry. You might write down how you’re feeling, and what’s caused it. Sometimes it even helps to say it out loud. There’s no need to involve anyone else if you’re not feeling up to it, but just releasing that energy can instantly improve your mood. Once you’ve done this, you’re more likely to be in a position to start smiling, laughing and everything else to boost your happiness back up!
2 Make A List Of Your Goals
Stuck in a rut? You might not be dealing with a tragedy, but you might feel totally bored and like you need some more excitement in your life. Why not take your life back by compiling a list of personal goals which you can work towards? Some of us have had ambitions since we could walk, and a clear idea of where we want to be. Others are less sure, and that’s okay. Start by taking note of the kinds of things that make you happy, and go from there. Once you’ve identified what makes you feel good, you can brainstorm everything that includes those qualities, and narrow it down to suit you. Acknowledge what you need to do to meet these goals and commit to them. While reaching the goals takes time, just writing the list can inject purpose and passion back into your life immediately.
1 Be Grateful
If nothing else, be grateful. The mindset of gratitude lays the foundation for happy feelings, and is encouraged by religion, spirituality and science. By expressing thanks for what you receive, you are able to accept the good things in your life, and this should no doubt shift your attention away from the negative things and improve your mood! Studies have demonstrated that practicing gratitude results in an enhanced effect of positive experiences, happy emotions, an improvement in health and an encouragement of healthy relationships. The next time you need a boost, think of six things you are grateful for. Think family and friends, a day off work, a job you love, good health and the fact that you know where your next meal is coming from. It can be difficult to focus on the good in life when the bad seems so persistent, but making the effort to do it is seriously worth it!