You might not be able to include all of these simple life hacks to live a happier life. But, you can slowly start incorporating them one by one to become a happier, healthier, more positive person.
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I recently watched the Season 15 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. And normally, I have a few laughs, sometimes some tears. But in this episode, there was one dialogue that stuck out to me. A patient said something along the lines of, “well of course you are [happy], but is there really a cap on happiness?
That one thing really hit home for me. Lately, I’ve been so happy. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure I’m at my peak. But, then I’m reminded that there is always room for more happiness and joy.
I’m lucky; blessed, if you will.
But, I also know that not everyone feels that way about their current situation. I watch some of my closest family members struggle with depression and anxiety. I see them fighting this battle every day, and it reminds me to appreciate my happiness more.
I’m not telling you about how happy I am to brag. Everyone deserves to be as happy as I am.
If I could do just one thing with my life that would make a difference in the world, it would be helping others reach that feeling of peak happiness.
I’m an empath. I feel what other’s feel and sometimes it’s beautiful. But sometimes, it’s very saddening. And in those moments of sadness and despair is when I feel most empowered to help.
Over the past few months, I have been scribbling in notebooks things that make me happy. I’ve been taking notes on what makes other people happy. And I’ve been reading and researching ways to feel happier in your everyday life.
And after roughly 2.5 months, a few hundred, coffees, lots of scratchy notes, and 5000 words, I have compiled a list of 101 ways to start feeling happier.
It’s unlikely that you will incorporate all of these into your life, and that’s okay. Pick and choose the ones that sound the most beneficial to you and start doing them slowly.
101 Ways to Be Happy Right Now
1). Get more sleep
Did you know that people with insomnia are 5x more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders? In a number of studies, people who average 8 hours or more of sleep per night report being happier than those who sleep 6 hours per night.
2). Reduce screen time
With technology becoming a more prevalent part of our everyday lives, it’s no wonder we forget to be grateful and enjoy what’s around us. Try putting down your phone an hour before you go to bed and do something else like talk with your spouse, read a book, or sit on your back patio and listen to nature.
3). Get more physical activity
Only about 5% of adults in America that get at least 30 minutes of activity every day. Studies suggest that exercise can provide the same benefits as anti-depressants. Try swapping out 30 minutes that you would normally be sedentary with 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise such as walking, biking, or swimming.
4). Get some Vitamin D
The sun is a powerful drug that releases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that increases your mood. Be sure to apply your sunscreen and then get outside for a shot of this free happiness drug.
5). Make your passwords motivational
Go into your computer and change your passwords to a word that inspires or motivates you. You might want to add some numbers or special characters, too. But simply being forced to type in an inspiration word every day will have some slight subconscious benefits.
6). Get a new houseplant
Houseplants provide more oxygen and can help clean the air. They also bring a lively and fresh bit of decor to your home or workspace. The addition of a new houseplant could be just what you need for a mood boost.
7). Phone a friend
Maybe all you need is a little gossip session with your best friend, mom, or sister. This quick and simple life hack to live a happier only takes up a small portion of your time and could make you feel better instantly.
8). Stop talking negatively to yourself
Most of us do this on a subconscious level. Put in the effort to say nice things about yourself every day. It could be as small as looking in the mirror and appreciating your outfit or giving yourself a pat on the back after a workout.
9). Hug someone tightly
A hug is one of the simplest and most pure forms of compassion. And hugging has been shown to instantaneously decrease stress levels and elevate moods.
10). Start a gratitude journal
We often take things for granted. Take 10 minutes a day to write down five things you are grateful for. This may seem like a difficult task at first. But as you continue this practice, it will become a little easier and you will start to recognize all the wonderful things in your life.
11). Pull out your coloring book
Coloring is known to be relaxing and can help you de-stress after a long day of work. It’s a great hobby to add to your evening routine.
12. Grab a piece of fruit mid-day
While the reasoning is still not completely understood, studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables throughout the day increases your perceived quality of life. This may have to do with the B-Vitamins found in fruits and vegetables or possibly the sense of accomplishment for choosing a healthier option.
13). Include seafood in your weekly dinner plans
Seafood contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is linked to increased dopamine and serotonin. These are the same chemicals in your brain that are affected by antidepressants.
14). Indulge a little
While it’s not recommended to eat excessively when you are feeling down, letting yourself slide a little can provide a slight boost that may give you the motivation to conquer some of the other life hacks on this list.
15). Do a random act of kindness
There’s something very fulfilling when we can selflessly give to others. This could be buying someone’s coffee or leaving a nice note on someone’s car.
16). Purge your closet
It might seem counterproductive. Letting go of those clothes that you paid your hard earned money for. But decluttering can help you achieve happiness. And if you go the extra step and donate your stuff, you’ll get an even bigger happiness boost.
17). Forgive someone
Holding a grudge can bring us down significantly. We have to carry that anger with us. Choose to forgive someone. Say it out loud and then find something positive to say about said person. A weight will instantly be lifted from your shoulders.
18). Build a fort in your living room
Yes, I do mean seriously. Get some blankets and pillows and build a fort in your living room. This will take you back to your childhood and give you a happy place to sit and enjoy a book, a cup of tea, your journal, or just some quiet time away from the responsibilities of life.
19). Pet a dog
Dogs are some of the most innocent and loveable creatures on the planet. Pet a dog, watch his tail wag and his eyes light up, and you too will begin feeling happier.
You don’t have to be a yoga master to meditate. Simply spend some quiet time in the morning or evening listening to the sound of your own breath and keeping your eyes closed. Meditating helps lower cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so the less you have of it, the better.
21). Stand up or sit up straighter
Standing or sitting straight up can help increase the oxygen you take into your lungs. More oxygen equals more happiness.
22). Make a to-do list
Having all of the tasks you want to get done written down can help you stop thinking about them so much. As soon as you’ve written your list and know that you have a handy reminder, you will begin to feel less stressed and happier.
23). Try something new
Go to a yoga class or hike in an area that you’ve never been to. Try a new cultural dish or restaurant. Sometimes what we need is to get out of our day-to-day routine.
24). Cuddle up with a soft blanket
Feeling warm and cozy can brighten your mood. Bring your favorite book or start a new show on Netflix.
25). Listen to a motivational podcast
This is one of my favorite intentional living habits. Podcasts are excellent because you can listen to them while you’re doing other things such as driving, cooking dinner, or workout out.
26). Cook a meal for a loved one
Even if you don’t enjoy cooking for yourself, offering to cook for a friend or family member can be very rewarding.
27). Create a vision board
A vision board can help you focus in on your goals, motivate you, and bring you joy. You can do this digitally or make a physical vision board with printed pictures and cut outs from magazines.
28). Smile at everyone you see
It may be just a simple muscle movement, but smiling can trick the brain into being happy. Not only that, but you will be making those around you smile as well.
29). Play a game
Oftentimes, as adults, we get wrapped up in daily work and home life responsibilities and forget to let loose. Call up your friends or family and plan for a board game night.
30). Laugh… a lot
Watch funny videos, go to a comedy show, make jokes with your friends. Just consciously try to laugh more often.
31). Close the tabs in your browser window
I’m guilty of having 20 tabs open at a time because I think I need to get everything done right now. Close those tabs, write down what you need to do, and then go about your day. Those websites will still be there when you get back.
32). Say no to things you don’t want to do
Did you get invited to a wedding of an old high school classmate that you really aren’t that excited about? Did you boss ask you to work an extra shift on Saturday? It’s ok and healthy to say no to things that don’t make you happy. Your friends will understand. And your boss will find someone else to work Saturday.
33). Learn something new
Take an online class or attend a workshop. This can be inspiring and also humbling.
34). Slow down while eating
Take time to really enjoy every bite of your food. Sometimes we become ungrateful for these simple things, but it’s so important to remind ourselves of the little luxuries, like tasty food.
35). Light a candle
Or turn on your wax warmer. Whichever will work. That soft glow and the sweet smell will delight your senses and bring you happiness.
36). Make a list of your favorite qualities
This is one of my favorite exercises to do when I start feeling down on myself. Having to actively think about your top qualities will give you a boost of confidence and make you realize how awesome you really are.
37). Take a selfie
It may seem superficial, but taking a selfie can actually be therapeutic. It can remind us to love and take care of ourselves. So put on your best smile, brush your hair, and take that stunning selfie. If you’re feeling bold, post it to your favorite social media account.
38). Make your bed as soon as you wake up
This is a proven method to increase overall productivity and success in your day. It sets your intentions and starts you off on the right foot by getting something done first thing in the morning. Being more productive improves overall happiness because it gives us a sense of accomplishment.
39). Break down your goals
If that long list of big and seemingly unreachable goals is getting you down, it’s time to break them down. What small steps can you start taking towards each goal? Write down those steps and then have a second look. Does it seem more manageable now?
40). Accomplish your biggest task first
Again, this is another productivity hack. Getting that big task off your list as soon as possible will open up your time and clear your mind for smaller tasks.
41). Swap your alcoholic beverage for sparkling water
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that even though you think it makes you feel better in the moment, in the long run, it’s only sucking your deeper. Try swapping your drink for something without alcohol. It might not be your favorite choice right now, but you’ll thank yourself in the morning.
42). Watch funny compilation videos
Sometimes all you need is a good, completely genuine laugh. Whether this is a fail compilation video, your favorite YouTuber, or a cute video with pets, just pick one that you know will make you smile and laugh.
43). Write a letter
You pick the recipient. Maybe you will write a thank you letter to your parents or a love letter to your significant other. Or maybe you’ll write a letter to your younger self. Writing can release stress and improve happiness.
44). Do something crafty
Even if you don’t consider yourself a crafty person, crafts can bring you a lot of joy. Creating something invokes a sense of accomplishment and pride. So hop over to Pinterest and look for a fun craft project you can do.
45). Put on that ‘guilty pleasure’ playlist
Forget all of the stress from work, finances, and everything else. Put on some old tunes that you know the words to, crank up the volume, and enjoy the music. Dance, sing, and just let go of everything else.
46). Write down what’s bothering you
And then tear it up, or for a more dramatic effect burn the list. While you are tearing or burning your list, actively tell yourself that you are letting these feelings go.
47). Make a date with a friend
Set a date to do something with a friend. This action of planning for something fun will give you hope and something to look forward to in the coming days.
48). Bake with a family member
According to an article on HuffPost, baking is extremely therapeutic. It can help you express yourself creatively, show someone how you feel without words, and force you to be more mindful and attentive.
49). Reward your small victories
Didn’t eat that second slice of cake? Reward yourself with a little free time to play games, paint your nails, or watch Netflix. Did you clean the house and get dinner cooked after working a full shift? Sit back and relax this evening. Take a warm bath with some candles and a glass of wine.
50). Pick up a book
Books allow us a somewhat out of body experience. It’s one place we can escape away from the day-to-day responsibilities.
51). Wake up to watch the sunrise
Set your alarm early, even if you have nothing planned. Get up, make yourself some coffee or tea, step out into the crisp morning air, and watch the sunrise. And know that someone who loves you is seeing the same sunrise at the same time as you.
52). Change your look
This could be as simple as changing your clothes. Or you might change your haircut or color. Maybe you want to wear your hair in a new style or put on a different shade of lipstick. Change is a good thing and sometimes it’s all we need to feel a little better.
53). Cut out your negative relationships
It’s hard. It’s so hard. But even if you have known the person for 20 years and all they do is make you feel down about yourself, you need to dump them. Life is too short to spend it with people who aren’t on your side and don’t include your happiness as one of their priorities.
54). Make a new friend
This is easier said than done once you become an adult. But, try heading to the coffee shop, library, or gym. Smile at people and strike a conversation when it feels natural. This is how you will find your tribe, and your tribe is one of the greatest keys to lifelong happiness.
55). Sign up for an event in your area
Take an art class, sign up for a 5k, or offer to volunteer at a local charity event. Doing something new and out of your normal routine is an excellent way to increase your mood and mindset.
56). Play dress up
If you are anything like me, you have a closet full of clothes that you haven’t worn in ages, if ever. Turn on some music, pretend you are one of the girls in Sex and the City, and flaunt your favorite outfits… even if you don’t have anywhere to wear them.
No phone, no TV. Just you, a blanket, and the open sky. This simple and completely free activitiy is so effective and can allow you to open your mind, let go of negativity, and appreciate the good in the world.
Close your eyes and visualize the best day of your life up until this point. Maybe it’s your wedding day, the day you gave birth, the day you graduated high school, or the day you met your significant other. Try to bring to life all of the senses of that day. What were you wearing? What did the air smell like?
59). Take a break
No matter if you are working hard on a project with a deadline or cleaning your house, it’s okay to take breaks. It’s beneficial to give yourself a little time off and do something that makes you happy.
60). Write down positive affirmation every day
I have an entire post dedicated to positive affirmation journaling. And this quick daily exercise has helped me establish a positive and kind mindset. I have learned how to be more kind to myself, find the joy in small things, and truly believe in myself through positive affirmations.
61). Delete Facebook
Yep… Facebook is a downer most of the time. Between the bad news, strong political opinions, and people being mean to one another in the comments, Facebook is not always a healthy place to be. By deleting this app, even temporarily, we can boost our happiness.
62). Speak up when needed
Often times, we don’t say things because we don’t want to start a confrontation or be asked a bunch of questions. But, by holding these emotions in we are only harming ourselves. When necessary, speak up, and do so in a way that causes no harm.
63). Stick to your word
It’s so easy to always try to please everyone else. Or at least it seems easy in the moment. But after a while this constant strain on our values and what we want to do for ourselves vs. for other people can wear on us. Do what you know is right time and time again.
64). Lighten up the load
Strangely enough, more things doesn’t equal more happiness. Get rid of some stuff. Donate it to charity or offer it to a friend who could put it to use. The less you have, the less you have to worry about.
65). Stop taking on the responsibility of changing people
You know that friend that never listens to your advice and continues to do things you find atrocious? Stop trying to change them. It’s not your job or your burden to carry. People will only change when they are ready too, and it’s not something you should worry about.
66). Rub on some lotion
Not in a weird way… unless you want that. But, massaging your own body, starting with your feet and calves can be ultra-relaxing. Sit back and enjoy a little self-care.
67). Turn off the news
While it’s good to be informed on current events, you don’t need to listen to them over and over. And we all know how big news shows like to play the same tragic news for hours on end. Turn it off and try turning on something that will make you smile, laugh, or even think deeply.
68). “You gotta put your behind in your past”
Name that movie and we are instant friend soulmates. Pretty much, leave your past and any regrets behind you. Dwelling on them isn’t going to change the situation. We must actively remind ourselves to live in the present and do our best each day.
69). Tell someone how much they mean to you
This may sound cheesy and a little mushy. But, I guarantee after the initial awkwardness wears off, you will be glad you did it. We all want validation, so when we give it, we know we are doing good and making someone else happy. In turn, this helps us live a happier life.
70). Draw your dream house/car
There ‘s tons of evidence that supports the benefits of manifestation. One of the most joyful ways to do that is to doodle your dreams. This could be your dream house, car, travel destination, job, etc.
71). Take the scenic route
Almost all of us take the exact same road to work every day. Try going a different way and notice the differences. Even if it takes 5-10 minutes more, the change of scenery can be worth it.
72). Take a nap
When was the last time you laid on the couch or in your bed and took a mid-day nap? These short bursts of sleep can make us feel energized and give us the mood boost we needed.
73). Have a lil’ chocolate
Preferably dark chocolate, but any kind will do. Chocolate contains both phenylethylamine and serotonin. Phenylethylamine is called “the love drug” because when it enters your brain, it gives off the same feelings as being in love.
74). Grab your funny friend to hang out
We all have that one friend that is super upbeat and positive all the time. Sometimes it can feel like a drag, but when you’re feeling down, these are some of the best people to be around.
75). Have some dairy
As long as you don’t have an allergy. Dairy contains tryptophan which has a direct impact on the levels of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is nature’s happy drug and should be taken in whenever possible.
76). Get intimate
With yourself, or with someone else. Intimacy connects you with something deeper and can brighten your mood.
77). Wear your favorite color
When you look good, you feel good. And sometimes it’s as simple as pulling out that pink blouse or that purple dress and rocking it.
78). Do whatever makes you happy
Maybe this means playing video games or painting or sitting outside in the sun and reading a book. We all have things that we enjoy doing MOST. Make time to do whatever it is, even if it’s only for half an hour.
79). Experience retail therapy
I’m not talking about clothes or shoes. Instead, spend that money on an experience you have been wanting to do. Road trip? Concert? How about just the movie theater?
80. Spa day at home
Paint your nails, do a warm compress, put on a face mask. Treat yourself without spending a lot of money. The physical aspect of it will make you feel good, and not spending all that money will definitely make you happier.
81. Take a bubble bath
Baths are the epitome of relaxation. You can shut the bathroom door, block out anything from the outside world that is going on, and just sink into the warm water.
82. Kiss your significant other
The touch of someone you love can instantly lift your spirits. But kissing your lover gives you a different, more intimate kind of touch. Do it and watch both you and your partner smile.
83. Play with a child
Children are innocent, and their shoulders are burdened by adult problems. They play imaginatively and without limits. Sit down with a child and play along with toys or a game.
84. Visit a local animal shelter
Visiting a local shelter brings joy to many people and animals at once. Pet and play with the dogs and watch their tails wag with happiness. That completely innocent joy will certainly bring a smile to your face.
85. Do some yoga
Yoga has seemingly a million benefits. But above all, it can bring your peace and happiness. Do simple poses that you know. Lie on your back with your knees bent in happy baby pose. Try to stop your brain from thinking about to-do lists, stressors, etc. Focus on your breath and how good the pose feels.
86. Paint a room in your house
Sometimes you need a change to reset your mind. If you want to walk into a room and feel happier, try painting your walls yellow. Or, if you need a space to relax and feel calm, blue is a great option.
87. Rearrange your furniture
Similarly to painting your room, but less work. Shift the furniture around in one of the rooms that you spend a quite a bit of time in and see if that changes your mood.
88. Visit the library
There’s something about a library. The smell, the peaceful quiet, the endless opportunities to read, explore, and dream. Grab a coffee from your favorite shop and go sit down in a comfy chair to read.
89. Take a walk
Where’s the prettiest place in the city you live in? Is it a park, a pond, or downtown? Take a stroll through one of these places, with or without your headphones in. Just walk until you feel happier.
90. Breathe deep
Breathe in for 5 counts and then out for 5 counts. Now repeat this 20 times. This floods your body with oxygen and sends messages to your brain to calm down and relax.
91. Eat some nuts
Nuts are known to contain serotonin, which can help elevate your mood. Grab a small handful of walnuts, pecans, or almonds.
92. Join a team
Being a part of something can brighten your spirits. It can also give you the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests. Even if you aren’t big into sports, you could join a darts, pool, or trivia team.
93. Dance in your underwear
Grey’s Anatomy is more than just a soppy TV drama. Meredith Grey shows us that sometimes when you are having a bad day, you just need to dance it out. Let your body loose and dance like no one is watching.
94. Knock something off your list
Often times what stresses us out is thinking about everything we need to do. Give yourself a sense of accomplishment by knocking just one thing off that to-do list. If you do it first thing in the morning, it will set the mood for your day.
95. Write for 10 minutes
Set a timer and write about things that make you happy. Write for a solid 10 minutes without editing or censoring. When you are done, look at how long your list is; read it and take in all the happiness in your life.
96. Wake up early
Wake up an hour earlier than you normally do. This may sound like punishment, but once you are awake and have a cup of coffee you will feel better. Use this hour to do something for yourself. This comes from the amazing Rachel Hollis’s, The Last 90 Days Challenge. Avoid social media and your phone. Work towards your goals, workout, or do something enjoyable like painting, drawing, writing, etc.
97. Go on a picnic
Pack a sack lunch with your favorites, grab a friend or your significant other, and head to a park or nearby scenic location for a picnic. I promise you will remember this picnic far better than you will remember another lunch date at an expensive cafe.
98. Clean one room
Don’t stress over the big picture. Take your cleaning supplies, your music or a podcast, and head into one room. Shut the door and focus your efforts only on that one room. You will be proud of your hard work, and while cleaning doesn’t sound fun, it’s often therapeutic once you begin.
99. Do it slowly
Whatever you are doing, slow down. Try to really take in what is happening. Smell everything, taste your coffee or dinner, feel the textures. Mindfulness is a great way to become more appreciative and have gratitude for the little things.
100. Rent a movie
Renting a movie is likely one the cheapest forms of bought entertainment these days. And with services like Amazon and YouTube, you don’t have to leave your couch. Get in your favorite sweats, grab some popcorn, and cuddle up with a good comedy.
101. Be content with doing nothing
The world is fast-paced. We are constantly bombarded with emails and articles on how to be more productive and get more done. Which is great. But, it’s also great to just do nothing and be okay with it. Even if you have a big to-do list, sometimes the best thing you can do is just nothing. Rest, relax, and tell yourself that your to-do list will be there tomorrow.
I’d love to hear what you do put yourself in a better mood. When you are down, do you tend to stop doing things and just sulk around the house? Or are you someone who has to keep busy when you aren’t feeling your best? Let me know in the comments below.