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Thousands of people ask Google to “make me happier” in one way or another every month. While there is no shortage of simple ways to be happy, somehow it’s hard to think of them when you are in that low state. Whenever you find yourself looking for a quick pick-me-up, this guide will show you how you can make yourself happy instantly with little to no effort!
From really simple tricks to somewhat unexpected activities, you’ll surely find something here to bring a smile to your face. This page has 22 ideas on how to boost your happiness levels in a matter of minutes, or even mere seconds, so you can shake off the blues and feel amazing.
22 ways to make yourself happy instantly
1. Say 20 nice things about yourself
We often take out best qualities for granted.
When things that other people admire about you are part of your identity, or “just something you do”, you don’t see yourself as special.
So now, let’s dedicate a couple of minutes to self-love!
List at least 20 things that you like about yourself. It can be anything from appearance to character traits to good deeds. At the very least, think about all the annoying things others do sometimes and appreciate that you don’t do them!
If there is a voice inside your head that says there is nothing to list, ignore it and think deeper.
Do you have good knees? Do you care about your dog? Do you give awesome gifts? Or great hugs? Are you an honest person? A good friend? Someone who is always there for others? Someone strong enough to try again after failure?
Don’t take it too seriously, have fun with it and be creative!
You can also take a minute before doing this exercise and pump yourself up with confidence affirmations.
2. Dance it out
Dancing is one of the quick ways to make yourself happy and change your mood in seconds. Especially dancing with another person to some uplifting tunes!
Personally, I have a playlist with energizing music that always pumps me up. It’s full of popular hits and fun songs that make you want to get up and start moving your body. It’s far from what I usually listen to but it’s a very effective remedy for when I feel down and not particularly joyful.
The hardest part of dancing when you feel unhappy is that first move. You might need to push yourself to do it. This is one of the cases where Mel Robbins’s 5 Second Rule applies perfectly. The trick is to start dancing fast, as soon as you think about it, so there is no chance for a waterfall of excuses to wash over you and prevent you from doing it.
3. Repeat happy affirmations
Saying positive affirmations is one of the easiest things to do to make yourself happy instantly. Beware that it might require some getting used to and feel totally ridiculous at first if you’ve never tried it before. But keep telling yourself nice things and making yourself smile every day, and you’ll notice how much easier it gets over time.
You can start by just saying one lovely thing about yourself in the mirror. Or welcome yourself into a new day with “Hello, beautiful!” every morning. If mirror work is too much for you at this point, you can also begin by repeating happy affirmations or things like I am beautiful during the day.
Positive self-talk is not a new concept anymore and science starts to finally align with it, finding more and more benefits of positive affirmations. Incorporating them into your daily routine is one of the steps to make happiness your default setting.
Also, if you have a deck of affirmation cards, pull out and read one of them every morning to set the intention for the day. I have a few printable options in my shop, make sure to check them out!
4. Write a gratitude alphabet
Gratitude is a powerful feeling that makes you appreciate life so much more when you realize how many amazing things you have been taking for granted. From deep things like the ability to feel love to little things like seeing a ray of sunshine on your windowsill, there are plenty of things to be thankful for.
In order to make yourself happy quickly, grab a notepad and write down an alphabet of things you feel grateful for. It’s a fun mindfulness activity that will make you feel incredibly blessed by the end! Here is an example of a to z gratitude list for your inspiration.
You might also feel a boost of dopamine (the happiness hormone) every time you nail one of the trickiest letters!
5. Make a to-do list with one item and cross it off
If you are wondering how to make yourself instantly happy, there is no shortage of little hacks out there. Keep reading!
Positive psychology gives us hints and ideas on what makes us feel better, and we can use that knowledge to our advantage. For instance, as we know we get a small dose of dopamine released every time we cross things off the to-do list, we can literally find ways to generate more joy.
Whenever you need a pick-me-up, write a simple to-do list with a couple of ridiculously simple items that you can do really quickly. Here is an example:
- Write a to-do list
- Think about something pleasant
- Make a cup of coffee
- Enjoy the view out of the window
Crossing each of these things off will release dopamine, make you feel accomplished, and maybe even give you enough motivation to add another thing or two to the list and cross them off.
Initially, this might feel like a waste of time, but it’s actually very effective if you are just lying on the couch and procrastinating! It gets you to start doing something and shifts your focus from being in a slump to being productive, even if it’s super simple tasks at first. Try it and see for yourself!
6. Smile in the mirror for a whole minute
Another simple way to make yourself happier quickly is to put yourself in front of the mirror, place a smile on your face, and keep it there for the whole minute.
There are studies that prove that even fake smiling makes you happier, which is already enough of a reason to smile more. Smiling in the mirror gives you an opportunity to practice your beautiful smile and appear more confident.
At the very least, staring at yourself smiling for longer periods of time might make you laugh eventually from the ridiculousness of the situation, which is great as laughing is a commonly known stress reliever. (If you haven’t heard of laughing therapy, look it up, it’s worth trying!)
7. Sign up for a fun course
Finding a new hobby and learning new things every day makes you feel alive. If there is something you have always wanted to try, this is your sign to sign up for it today!
Maybe you’d like to write a fiction book? To learn guitar? To improve your photography skills? There is no better time than now.
Here are a few examples of fun courses I found:
- Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity (Skillshare)
- Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life (CreativeLive)
- How to be Happier – Stoicism Masterclass (Skillshare)
- Storytelling to Influence (Udemy)
8. Call your best friend
When you feel sad, being around your favorite people is arguably the best approach to getting better fast. In particular, talking to your BFF is a surefire way to pull yourself out of negative thoughts.
Grab your phone and give your favorite person a quick call! If you need some positive encouragement, don’t hesitate to share your feelings and ask for advice. Maybe you’ll even come up with something fun to do together!
9. Visualize all your dreams coming true
The process of visualizing yourself living your dream life will definitely make you feel happy instantly!
Whether or not you have a vision board, you probably have some idea of what your perfect life would look like. So take some quiet time to tap into that feeling, close your eyes, and imagine your best self having a blast and enjoying life!
Don’t limit yourself by logic and other reasons you can’t have what you want. What if anything was possible? What would you do and be?
Pro tip: try a guided visualization to help you relax and uncover your hidden desires! Here is a good one:
10. Sing a happy song
You don’t have to be a professional singer to enjoy the process. It’s fun, it’s freeing, and it’s an act of self-expression.
Sing a happy song together with your family or alone in the shower or in your car if you prefer. Finding a good rhythm will make you feel energized and raise your vibration for the whole day ahead.
11. Do a 1-minute breathing meditation
Breathing is so underrated. We can’t live without it, and we still take it for granted.
Psychologists and yogis know very well that you can completely change your state of mind in a matter of seconds by simply controlling your breath. From calming down your anxiety in stressful situations to quieting your restless mind before bed, a change of breathing pace can do wonders really fast.
For the sake of improving your mood now and feeling more peaceful, let’s try this 1-minute breathing practice by Headspace:
12. Grab a delicious snack
It’s called “comfort food” for a reason! Whenever you feel less-than-happy, snacking on something tasty makes you feel so much better!
While comfort food is not usually the healthiest long-term solution for making yourself a happy person, you can still do it by being smart about it. Healthy food can be delicious too!
From choosing the food items that are scientifically proven to make you happy to ordering healthy snacks in advance, you can ensure there is always something nice for you to snack on when you don’t feel your best.
13. Order a gift for someone you love
The act of giving makes us feel very good about ourselves. And seeing a surprised expression on your loved one’s face is always worth the time you put into choosing a perfect present.
I believe that gifts for no reason are the absolute best and should be given more often to make both sides feel happier.
If you don’t know what to give off the top of your mind, here are a few gift ideas lists you might find useful:
- 50 Positive Energy Gifts | The Ultimate Collection To Spread Joy
- 33 Fun Positive Gifts For Him To Motivate And Encourage
- 33 Best Positive Affirmation Gifts For Adults To Boost Self-Esteem
14. Order a gift for yourself
Now, as your friends are taken care of, it’s time to realize you also deserve some love!
Why not order a self-care box for yourself full of therapeutic goodies? It will bring happiness to your doorstep every month in the form of a soul-nourishing care package.
Or just look through your wishlist (on Amazon or elsewhere) and pick something you’ve been eyeing for a while. Rewarding yourself regularly, not for accomplishments but just for being awesome, is an important activity to keep your mental health in a good state.
15. Flip through an old photo album
This can be totally done digitally if you are too cool for old-school photo printing. Just log in to your preferred cloud, find an album with a bunch of happy moments inside, and press Play or Slideshow, depending on the platform you are using.
However, I’m a millennial who still loves touching paper, whether it’s reading real books or flipping through photo albums. If you are like me, go print those photos you’ve been postponing forever, or create a fun photo book to sum up last year’s highlights!
Whichever way you choose, the process of looking through old photographs will instantly bring up happy memories and make you feel incredible.
16. Listen to your favorite playlist
We already covered dancing and singing, but often simply listening to good music can be enough to uplift you in a moment of darkness. At the same time, listening to depressing songs all the time only keeps you in the cycle of repeating negative thoughts.
So next time you go on Spotify, don’t let yourself choose “Life Sucks” playlist, or “Sad music for crying”. Go for something lighter and more encouraging! For example, two of my favorites are called “Feel-Good Indie Rock” and “Totally Stress Free”.
Music has the power to influence human emotions in many ways, so choose carefully what you are tuning yourself into on a daily basis. While there is nothing wrong with listening to sad songs sometimes and letting your emotions out, make sure your dominant state of mind involves something happier.
17. Take a shower
Being an activity that you do every day anyway, taking a shower doesn’t necessarily come to mind as a way to make yourself happy fast.
However, I noticed that whenever I feel overwhelmed with work, taking a refreshing shower helps me clear my mind and even come up with new creative ideas. Especially if I spruce it up with a bunch of positive shower affirmations!
Besides, you can put some effort into making your bathroom a more welcoming place. From decorating it with an inspiring shower curtain or a fun bath mat to using aromatherapy shower steamers, you can quickly raise your mood by taking a random shower.
Let it wash all the negative energy away!
18. Color a page or two
Adult coloring is in no way less effective pastime than toddler coloring. If anything, we might even need it more, with all the stress surrounding our lives and all the things we have to worry about. (Or don’t have to but still do!)
These days most respected publications recognize coloring as a powerful tool for stress relief and keeping your mental health in check.
If you haven’t tried it since you were little, you can start with one of the several printable packs of adult coloring pages I have drawn for you! I have pages with positive affirmations, encouraging words, and calming patterns. You can find them all in my Utterly Positive shop.
19. Cuddle with your pet
If you have a pet, you have access to one of the best ways to make yourself happy!
Not only cuddling with a pet is known to bring you calm and peace (we even have therapy dogs for this very reason), but recent research shows that most people actually prefer their pet to their partner when it comes to cuddles. I personally have a hard time believing that but I don’t have a pet so what do I know?
Please share with me in the comments what you think about that statistic!
The biggest perk of a dog, other than fluffy hair and unconditional love for its human, is its availability. In most cases, your human partner is not always there when you need a hug. But hey, a cuddle is a cuddle, so whoever is within your reach, go for it and get your dose of happy feelings! Just don’t do it with strangers without their consent.
20. Do yoga in bed
This is one of my favorite tips on how to instantly feel happy on a lazy day.
When you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed, you can totally do a few stretches in bed! While it won’t count as a full-fledged workout, it will give some pleasant movement to your body, wake up your muscles, and make you feel less like a log.
If you type “yoga in bed” on Youtube, you’ll find quite a few good short sessions to make your body happier. What stops you from trying it now?
21. Donate to a good cause
Not everyone has to be an activist to make the world a better place. You can totally do it in a quiet way without putting yourself in the spotlight by regularly supporting something you believe in, financially or otherwise.
Whether you want to volunteer in a local shelter, bring your unused clothes to someone who needs them more, or transfer an anonymous donation to some charity organization you trust, it’s up to you. In any case, making a positive impact will bring you a sense of purpose which is essential for being happy.
22. Take a nap
My last simple tip on how to feel happy quickly might not be what you expect, but nevertheless very effective. Sometimes taking a nap is like a reboot of your lagging computer: quick, radical, but necessary.
Letting yourself detach when the world is too much is an excellent self-care tactic to make yourself feel better. Just make sure to set an alarm and keep your nap short to avoid feeling drowsy after.
We are so used to pushing ourselves and being busy all the time that sleeping in the middle of the day doesn’t feel like a good use of our time. In reality, research shows that regular nappers are happier and more productive than the rest of us! So take a hint and maybe let yourself lie down and close your eyes for a few moments the next time you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, or particularly unhappy.
What if nothing makes me happier?
If you have tried all 22 things on this list (but have you really?) and still feel unhappy, or if you can’t bring yourself to try anything at all, you can probably benefit from some external guidance and support.
Accept that it’s okay to get help and that you don’t have to go through this alone. Thankfully, these days you don’t have to book an expensive shrink session and go lie down on somebody’s sofa. With services like Talkspace, you can jump on a quick call with an online therapist, or even text to ask for advice. If you let them, they can probably help you figure out why you feel like that and the way out of the darkness.
Please remember that you deserve happiness! You do. Allow yourself to experience joy no matter what and find a way to feel alive again, whether through these simple ideas or through therapy.
Making yourself happy instantly is in your hands!
These were my 22 ideas on how to make yourself happy immediately. I’d recommend you bookmark this page and come back whenever you need a quick boost of happiness. If you have something to add to my list, feel free to share it in the comments.
I truly believe that happiness is a choice, and you are the only one standing between the current you and the happiest version of you. It’s time to stop making excuses and building walls. Let yourself be happy, open your heart to love and possibilities, and you’ll find an abundance of ways to make yourself happy instantly!