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Health

21 Smart Ways To Feel Happier Right Now

You, but happier. Inspired by this Quora thread.

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1. Smile.

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Research shows that genuine smiling (where your cheeks really come up) can actually make you less stressed. So smile at your barista, accept the compliment your boss gave you, watch some stand-up — whatever gets you grinning.

2. Be grateful for all the awesome things in your life.

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Like that your roommate did your dishes for you or you have a paycheck coming in three days. Taking inventory of the little things you’re grateful for can actually boost your happiness and well-being (according to science).

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3. Plan a vacation.

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Even if you can’t actually step foot on a beach for months. Just searching for hotels, ranking the pool bars, and booking the trip will give you a little gratification and something to look forward to.

4. Work on something you enjoy so much that you actually lose track of time.

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If you’ve ever been so involved in something that you forgot to check your phone or eat lunch, then you’ve experienced “flow.” It’s a term psychologists use to describe when you really lose yourself in some sort of creative activity, and it’s also been linked to overall happiness. So maybe that’s writing, cooking, knitting, or Instagramming. Find your flow.

5. Get some exercise.

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Aside from the obvious endorphin rush, exercise requires focus and energy, which helps to take your mind off whatever horrible day you had. Plus, there’s a huge body of research showing the physical and mental health benefits of working out regularly. If you have no idea where to start, try the BuzzFeed Get Fit Challenge.

6. Spend time (or FaceTime) with people you love.

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Even if you don’t do anything exciting, and even if you don’t talk about what’s got you in a funk. Sometimes even Netflix and takeout is better with an ally.

7. Go outside.

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Not if it’s pouring out, obviously. But if it’s livable out there, get some fresh air. Research shows that being outdoors makes you feel more alive. Plus, all that nature usually has a way of putting little inconveniences into perspective.

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8. Share a meal with people you care about.

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Good food, good vibes, good moods.

9. Say "yes" to something that kind of scares you.

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Like an improv class or CrossFit or that really random event invite that’s been sitting in your inbox. Promise yourself that you only need to stay for 20 minutes, and if you’re miserable, you can leave.

10. Meditate.

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Spend some quiet moments reflecting on yourself and becoming more self-aware. Research shows that mindfulness and meditation can have a ton of cognitive, physical, and emotional benefits. Learn more about the perks and try a few quick guided meditations here.

11. Get more sleep.

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It’s possible that you cried at your desk three times today because you’re so freaking tired. So if all else fails, make sure you’re really getting enough rest. FYI: Here’s how much sleep adults should actually be getting each night.

12. Accept things as they are.

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Unhappiness sometimes comes from wanting what you don’t (or can’t) have right now. It may help to focus on accepting your current circumstances and recognizing that you can’t control everything, and that’s OK.

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13. Cross something off your list.

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Sometimes you’re just overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you have to do and worry about. Try writing down all the things that are stressing you out, plus any actionable steps you can take toward getting them done.

16. Do something good for someone else.

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Giving back shifts your focus outward and often helps put things into perspective. You can volunteer your time, your skills, your resources — whatever you’re comfortable with.

17. Surround yourself with positive people.

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You know, the ones who aren’t judgy and rude and cranky. The ones who celebrate little accomplishments, encourage creativity, and make you feel really damn good. Find those people, and buy them a beer.

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19. Step away from social media.

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This is one of the easiest ways to stop comparing yourself to that high school friend with the job/body/family/house you want. It's just not productive or helpful, and you don't even like them anyway.

21. Seek out help if you think you might need it.

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If your bad mood persists or seems like more than just a temporary lull, it might be worth reaching out to a doctor or therapist to discuss it. The issue could be hormonal, psychological, or something else entirely, but it's worth getting another opinion from someone you trust. Resources like the American Psychological Association can help you find someone in your area.

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