Life is a lot more fun when you’re in a good mood. Unfortunately, stress and challenges fly at us during the day, and getting overwhelmed can quickly turn your day sour. My intentions for 2018 included thinking happy and focusing on self-love and self-care. Getting to a happy state of mind is challenging on a bad day, but doing so can (and will!) completely turn your day around. Whether life stress has got you down or you’re just feeling blue, these tips will help you harness your happy and get back on track. If you’re already smiling, keep the good mood going all week long.
Get outside and enjoy nature.
I truly believe there is no sadness that sunshine, fresh air, the sound of water and a beach can’t fix. Wind tousling your hair, admiring the colors and beauty can completely reset the balance in your mind and soul. Whenever I’m stressed or sad, I always long to be outside, especially in the sun. You don’t have to make a grand show of this one, either. Taking a break from your to-do list and taking a short stroll will help, too.
Grab a paper and pen.
Time to whip up a happy list. My absolute favorite way to journal is to record happy lists, AKA giant lists of everything, big or small, that brought my joy during the week. Scribble down three things before bed every night on a post-it note. Devote an hour per week to really think about anything and everything that brings you joy. Clean sheets, the smell of flowers, cinnamon rolls, getting an A on all of my midterms, and landing the positions I wanted for the summer have all graced my lists recently.
Celebrate the small joys so that the small sadnesses can’t overpower those moments.
Focus on the small joys.
Like I said, concentrating on all of the small (and huge) accomplishments, celebrations, and happy things during your day or week will eradicate the negativity that can threaten to swallow up a good mood. Life’s hard, friends. We all know that. We live in an age of comparison, of joy-stealing pressure and anxiety. That doesn’t mean we have to stay trapped in a cycle of negativity.
Slow down during the day and really focus on the things you are experiencing. Look around. You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll spot joy in your daily life, tucked away in the corners of what might seem like just an ordinary day.
Create your joy.
Alright, maybe you’ve tried looking around, and you can’t find one ounce of joy in your crappy day. I’ve been there-we all have. It’s okay to be upset, to cry or stress about what’s going wrong. But then, wipe away the tears, and buckle up: it’s time to create your happy.
Treat yourself, however that is for you. Apply a face mask, take a bubble bath, eat chocolate or ice cream or popcorn. Have a pamper night in, or get dressed up and drag your friends dancing all night. Be spontaneous. If all else fails, get out of town. Roadtrips do wonders for joy (trust me). Get out there and do what brings you joy until you can’t remember why you were sad in the first place.
Take some time to lounge around.
Sometimes, after a rough day, the only way to heal is to lay down under the covers with Netflix or a good book. The last time I had a really terrible day, I put away my homework, turned off the lights, grabbed some snacks and watched an adorable, light-hearted movie. I felt so much better afterwards. Escaping reality for a little bit can help get you back on track to feeling good.
Need some ideas of movies to watch? Here’s my list of 10 go-to ‘cheer-you-up’ movies!
Let anger roll off your shoulders.
When you’re having a bad day, every small thing can irritate you and get under your skin, making an already-terrible mood worse. Actively try to notice when you’re getting frustrated. Take a step back and assess the situation. Is it really bad, or is your mood making it worse? Take a few deep breaths and avoid the headache that is snowballing anger.
If my day sucks, odds are I’ll be snappy. But this doesn’t help. Letting anger just slide right off your back is the best way to combat a snowball-effect of negativity.
Clean: declutter your space to declutter your mind.
I know what you’re thinking. Kaitlin, if I’m having a terrible day, why the hell would I start cleaning? Organizing small messes gives you back some control over your day, and feeling like you are accomplishing something good not only will relax you, but will reshape your mindset. Most times when negativity is dragging us down, we feel like things are out of our control. Something small like cleaning your room, making your bed, or reorganizing your bookshelf gives you back that power.
Plus, a messy space will only further stress you out, making your negative mood worse.
Ask for help and reach out to the people you care about.
If you’re upset, angry, or just feeling down, there’s no shame in asking for help. Ask your friends to have a girl’s night with you. Call your mom (in my case, this is the #1 way to fix a bad day). Text your sister GIFS that will have you laughing through tears. FaceTime with your cousin and make plans for dinner. There are so many people who will help you through your struggles. No matter how lonely you feel, someone will always be there for you. Promise.
Go on a solo adventure.
On the flip side of relying on others, sometimes you need to spend time with yourself in order to get back in touch with your happy, vibrant side. Go get coffee or a lemonade or a cupcake and just enjoy sitting in the cafe (or restaurant, or bakery). Wander around a Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning. Go to a park and pet puppies. Read a book on your front porch. Whatever you need to do to get back in touch with your happy self, take some alone time to do it.
My personal suggestion? Driving to one of the places above (today it was Dunkin’), singing too loudly in the car, and letting spontaneity take over (I ended up watching the sunset at a lake after just running to get a coffee).
Crossing things off your to-do list just might remind you that you are in charge of your own success. No matter what life throws at you, you can handle it. Sometimes just powering through sadness can re-vamp your mood into one that is much more positive. Personally, the more I get done, the better I feel.
Do something kind every day.
Being kind and positive toward others is essential to your own happiness. I try to compliment at least one person a day, both in person and on social media. Giving small gifts is also really a lovely way to boost your mood and make someone’s day. You don’t have to enact huge acts of kindness, but doing small gestures everyday will remind you what it means to be a good person. Being kind instantly boosts your mood and helps you be a more positive person in the long run, too.
For every negative thought you have, think of something positive.
I started using this as a strategy to try and improve my self-esteem during my senior year of high school. I had a lot of negative thoughts about myself, and this translated into every other area of my life. By acknowledging negativity in your thoughts, attitudes, emotions and behavior, you can slowly start to replace that negativity with positivity. From being judgmental of other people’s outfits to experiencing anxiety and self-doubt over an exam or big work presentation, correcting your negative thought patterns will retrain your brain to be positive more often.
How do you stay positive every day?