We all have days when we feel down in the dumps, frustrated, or angry. Most of us don’t have the luxury of taking mental health days and calling out of work or canceling all of our plans when we have days like that.
There are small things you can do in the moment to make you feel happier, however. Some of these suggestions might sound silly at first, but I’ve tried all of these and they really do work.
Here are ten small things you can do to become instantly happier.
Studies have shown that when you smile, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel happier. So, essentially, when you smile, you’re tricking your brain into releasing those chemicals. This is the easiest thing to try when you’re feeling sad or upset.
2. Walk Outside
Spending 20 minutes walking outside in nature can boost your mood significantly. Obviously, this isn’t convenient for everyone, but if you can, take a walk outside on your lunch break or in the morning. Back when I lived in Asheville, NC, I would spend many of my days off hiking, and my mood was always improved for days afterward.
Meditation is incredible and has been shown to be beneficial to our bodies and minds. Some people find meditation a little intimidating but it doesn’t need to be! At its very simplest, all you need to do is spend a few minutes paying attention to your breaths.
You can even do this at your desk. Just close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths, and try to focus on your breathing. There are also several apps you can download to your phone with guided meditations (such as Headspace).
4. Be Mindful of Your Posture
Most of us don’t think about our posture very often, but bad posture could lead to bad moods. If you need help, Lifehacker has a wonderful guide on how to improve your posture.
5. Practice Gratitude
When you look back on your day or week, are you more likely to remember the bad things that happened or the good? For a lot of us, we tend to focus more on the negative things around us. Practicing gratitude can help us focus on those good things we experience on a daily basis, even if those things are minuscule. There are so many things you can be grateful for: a friend texting you just to say hi, catching every green light on your way to work, your dog greeting you happily at the door, the temperature being perfect outside, etc. There’s really no end to things that you can be thankful for.
6. Text a Friend
This is something that I make use of whenever I’m feeling terrible at work. My job is super stressful and involves getting screamed and cussed at over the phone for hours at a time. Whenever I’m starting to focus on the negativity, I text one of my friends just to say hi or to see how they’re doing. Hearing from people you care about can instantly boost your mood.
7. Surround Yourself with Things That Make You Happy
If you have a desk at work, keep a photo of your loved ones or your pets on it. If you work in customer service, change your phone background to a picture that makes you smile or a motivational quote. Put fresh flowers in your room. Basically, surround yourself with things that make you happy.
Much like smiling, laughing can trick your brain into releasing chemicals that make you feel happier. Also, who doesn’t like a good laugh? Ask someone to tell you a joke, watch your favorite ridiculous gif, or recall memories of something hilarious that happened to you once. Force yourself to laugh your ass off.
For me, no matter how bad of a mood I’m in, this clip from Star Trek: The Next Generation always makes me laugh. Make sure you watch it to the end.
9. Use Essential Oils
I used to work in a spa, and during those years I discovered that there really is something amazing about aromatherapy. Scents such as orange, lavender, and peppermint (among others) can instantly boost your mood. Everybody enjoys different scents, so experiment and find what scent makes you happiest! For me, I enjoy a blend of orange or grapefruit extract with a touch of rosemary.
10. Remember That You Are Amazing
After going through a rough breakup years ago, this tip really helped me. Anytime I was feeling worthless, I’d find one or two things that I loved about myself. It would instantly make me feel better, and would also serve to boost my confidence! If you’re thinking of saying there’s nothing amazing about yourself… don’t! You are absolutely amazing, and you have countless great qualities you can focus on. Feel good about who you are, and constantly remind yourself of how awesome you are!