25 Ways to Improve Your Mood: How to Boost Happiness Today

Self-Help to Happiness: Improve Your Mood Today

Sometimes Mondays aren't just confined to the beginning of the week. Those doldrums can continue well into the week - or even the weekend! Maybe your boss is nagging you.... the kids are getting to you... the laundry is piling up (again).

Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of small, yet effective ways to lift your spirits, improve your mood and boost happiness! Try one out on Monday, then perhaps another on Tuesday. Repeat as necessary. And remember, as Annie famously sang..... "The sun'll come out, tomorrow!"

1. Call a friend. C'mon. Pick up the phone and call someone. Don't email. Its much less personal. You'll have a laugh and the endorphins will start flowing again.

2. Write to a family member. See my advice above regarding email. Choose someone with whom you haven't corresponded in a while and tell them how much you love them, or appreciate their being a part of your life. Or, tell them a joke. Whatever cheers you up.

3. Exercise. You don't have to sweat it out at the gym to make a difference. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air. If the weather is inclement, go to a shopping mall, if possible. Just get moving. It will make a difference.

4. Forgive yourself. Write down one thing you think you did "wrong" in the past, or one way in which you think you are falling short, and let it go. Completely. If you aren't convinced that you should be forgiven for the alleged transgression, then pick an easier item for self-forgiveness.

5. Take a bath or a shower. Maybe you already cleaned up once in the morning, but a soothing bubble bath or a quiet afternoon shower can be just the ticket to a fresh outlook on the rest of the day.

6. Get organized! Sometimes clutter can make one feel overwhelmed and mildly depressed. If you are at the office, use your lunch hour to tackle some of the piles and stuff crammed in your desk drawers. At home, take on one room, or space at a time. Perhaps your entry area where the bills/keys/coats get left would be a good place to start. Getting things in place can ease your mind and bring a smile to your face too!

7. Plan a lunch or dinner date. Put something on the calendar a few days ahead of the present - with a friend or with a date. This will give you something to look forward to, not only to share the company, but maybe to try a new restaurant, as well?

Boost happiness today and improve your mood
Boost happiness today and improve your mood | Source
Tips to help you feel happier
Tips to help you feel happier | Source

Tips to Achieve Happiness

8. Set small, achievable goals. Oftentimes, if our busy lives are broken down into more manageable tasks, we can feel happiness at minor accomplishments. Instead, so much of our days may seem like endless loops without end or reward. So tell yourself that you will complete 3 reports at work this week, or that you will cook 2 homemade dinners. Gold stars when you do!

9. Start a journal. It can be a gratitude journal, recommended by Oprah, or any kind of writing in which you relate your thoughts of the day. Sometimes just getting it out releases some of the negative energy. This brings me to...

10. Let it out. Have a good cry. If you have suffered a loss, or are otherwise grieving, it may be helpful to let the tears flow. You may not immediately feel a great deal happier, but in the long term, the sadness will not be so bottled up. Call a friend or family member to share your grief, if possible.

11. Compliment someone. Give an honest, heart-felt compliment, in person, to someone deserving. It has to be given to them directly, or it won't have the same uplifting effect for both of you. Trust me.

12. Forgive someone. You can start by privately forgiving a person that may have hurt you, but try to take this a step further by writing a letter and offering forgiveness, as well. Unless you desire to put 100% of the disagreement behind you - this means no hint of accusations, etc. - tread very carefully to make sure that all involved understand that the white flag has been raised and the battle is over.

13. Breathe deeply. This sounds simple, and it is. Close your eyes and take slow breaths in through your nose as deeply as you can. Hold for a few seconds. Release slowly through your mouth. Repeat 5 times.

14. Return a favor. Did a neighbor or friend pick up mail for you while you were out? Walk your dog? Mow your lawn? Even if it was months ago, its not too late to do something in return for a small favor bestowed upon you. Bake brownies for your office colleagues and bring them in. Take a small plant over to your elderly neighbor. Say "yes" to the girl scouts when they come selling the cookies (even if you're on a diet - give them away!). Karma is a wonderful thing.

15. Volunteer. You may think that you do not have time in your busy life, but I'll bet you can find 2-3 hours a month to make a big difference in a few peoples' lives. This is only 1/2 hour a week - a sitcom's time! Soup kitchens always need extra hands. Religious organizations love volunteers to help with many events throughout the year. What about your local Humane Society? Local communities also have events that can use both volunteers and sponsors. Check your local Chamber of Commerce website.

16. Donate. There are so many worthwhile organizations to which you can donate money, it is easy to become overwhelmed and simply close your wallet. I suggest that you pick one cause that has a personal connection, i.e., for health reasons (breast cancer, diabetes, livestrong, etc.) and make an easy annual limit that is within your budget ($10, $50, or more) and then pledge to make that donation. Most of these are tax-deductible, but please do check before giving any money.

17. Laugh. The simple act of laughter releases endorphins and is shown to improve your mood. Even smiling will have that effect. I like to save some of the funny email jokes that get forwarded to me for just these times. If you need a nudge, here's a few links to get you started. I've included my personal favorite comedian, Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen DeGeneres

Music is Key to Happiness

18. Listen to music. Put on your favorite tunes and rock the blues away. Or, perhaps you enjoy soothing classical music. Dance around if you can. Paraphrasing one of my favorite bumper stickers: Dance as if no one is watching!

Laughter releases endorphins and you'll feel happiness
Laughter releases endorphins and you'll feel happiness | Source

More Easy Ways to Improve your Mood

19. Escape into a good book. Better yet, go to the library or bookstore and simply escape into the experience- the hush, the shuffling feet and soft sounds. Emerge hours later, with some good reads and hopefully feeling a little lighter.

20. Indulge your hobbies. Pull out your camera, your paints or your clay. Its time to get creative again. Do you play piano? Do you like to write? Scrapbook? Getting that creative spark going may be just the ticket to getting out of a little rut. I passed a sign the other day which said: "100% of the shots you don't take, don't go in." Well, now is the time to go for it - start writing that book. Enter that photography contest. Nothing to lose. Have some fun!

21. Paint your nails or shine your shoes (or both!) Buff what you've got. Put a little shine on. Take a little extra time in the morning getting ready and be proud of the results. I recall reading in some trivia that one purchase that women invariably make to improve their mood is a tube of lipstick. Well - get out there and buy some "Paradise Pink" or "Rhumba Red," then! For those of you that believe a suntan is pretty, then let's do it safely, ladies! Fake (in this instance) is good!

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22. Tell someone that you love them. This is best accompanied by a hug and a kiss. Start with your spouse, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend, and kids, if you have them. Include parents, siblings, and other relatives. Continue on to other important people in your life. Pets too! You can always get a positive reaction from your dog. I can't really promise as much from a cat, though. But try!

23. Meditate. Find a quiet place and about 10 minutes all to yourself at the beginning or end of the day. Unplug your cell phone and avoid or limit any other interruptions, if you can. This would be a good time to practice the breathing exercises above. Just sit by yourself and listen to your breathing. "Observe" your thoughts, but try not to judge them during this quiet time.

24. Smile along the way. Gas station attendants, taxi drivers, baristas, grocery clerks - all of these people enter our lives each day and we have an opportunity to try to brighten their day and just possibly have the favor returned. A genuine smile and "thank you," seem to be endangered species in our rush to get the dry cleaning and pick up something for dinner before 7:00 p.m. Slow down and reconnect, from time to time.

25. Remember that tomorrow is another day. Whatever it is that is bringing you down, can often seem more manageable in the light of a new day. Sleep on it and see if you have a better outlook when the sun comes up.

© 2008 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 79 comments

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Great tips. I believe when one focuses on other things aside from the "depressing" feeling...it does help a lot improve one's mood. Singing helps me a lot, talking with a good friend and having a good cry too :-)

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Ripplemaker - I once heard that 80% of our thoughts are negative... now how depressing is that? Nothing like a little attitude adjustment to try to help banish those thoughts. Singing - now that's a good one to add to the list too! But I'd have to stick to my shower concerts. :-)

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I do a lot of shower concerts too. hahaha

yeea 9 years ago


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Steph! Great list. I find that meditating helps. Even just 10 minutes is so uplifting.

Now for me singing...I think I would slump my poor pets into the deepest depression poor babies...now picturing them trying to put their paws onto their ears makes me laugh and that works too...

great HUB regards Zsuzsy

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

That truly does make me laugh Zsuzsy!! I'm happier already. :-)


Solorya profile image

Solorya 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Nice list--just looking over it made this Monday morning a bit better! I wrote something similar, but its about making a "happy list" of things to look over when you need a boost. Just thinking of playing in the mud makes me smile! Keep up your good work!

thishumility profile image

thishumility 8 years ago

You know I am sometimes a moody person....your ideas amuses me and wonder how I get along with my moody life....

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

thishumility - sometimes it takes extra work to get in a better mood. I seem happy to many people around me, but this list was as much an exercise for myself as an endeavor to help others around me. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Excellent !! required reading for humans on the planet and other places!! =) Marisue

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Marisue! I am trying to imagine what a list to improve your mood might be on X607M - far distant planet in a galaxy far, far away. LOL! I am sure it will be very similar, with their own version of Ellen Degeneres!

Maylinda Arons profile image

Maylinda Arons 8 years ago from India

This is a really nice hub. Just reading it made me feel good about life! There was nice large bookstore really close to where I used to live. I used to go there on weekday afternoons, when it was really empty and cool and quiet. It had a teeny stall for coffee and brownies in one corner and I used to drink hot chocolate and flip through something nice and light, like a Calvin and Hobbes. It was a really lovely, relaxing feeling. This hub brought back memories of that place, memories that were buried really deep, and I want to thank you for that!

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Maylinda, I agree with you! Going to a bookstore like that is truly one of life's greatest pleasures. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face today. Steph

esocial profile image

esocial 8 years ago from California

great hub - and, yes, volunteering is a totally great way to stay positive!

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

thanks esocial! I ought to be one of the happiest people around, with all of my volunteer efforts! But seriously, it does help lift your mood - talk about instant feedback!

Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 8 years ago from Australia

These are great reminders Steph. One of my favorites - that I always forget to do- is breathe!

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks LBD - I agree - breathe in, breathe out. It takes away the stress like nothing else. Thanks for the comment, and happy days to you!

qlcoach profile image

qlcoach 8 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

Excellent advice to help others who might be having a rough time. Remember, some are overwhelmed by their negative side and have great difficulty taking positive action. Please see how I try to help others in new ways too. Sincerely: Gary Eby, author and therapist.

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you for the tip and reminder, Gary. You are right that sometimes the negativity can take over and make it difficult to take small steps towards happiness.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Very good ideas. I needed a few them today. :)

DrJim profile image

DrJim 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Very good stuff for this thanks giving....keep up the good work

ash 7 years ago

ey.........its a very gfud stuff..........and its seems to be practical too

thanks.........i was in search of something like this

michaelgiles profile image

michaelgiles 7 years ago


These are great tips! Thanks so much for this gift.

I'd really like to know what you think of my own ideas. If you have time, please check 'em out at http://hubpages.com/@michaelgiles

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frosted flakes 7 years ago

Awesome tips. I especially like having a good cry. Sometimes i cry for no reason but i feel better afterwards. :)

tdarby profile image

tdarby 7 years ago

We can all use a little attitude change for the better. Thanks for concrete tips on how to make the change at any time.

bala99 profile image

bala99 7 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

Happiness is at last achieveable. Thanks.

barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

really great advice well done !

John 7 years ago

Great tips ... keep the good work up .....

sheeba 7 years ago

its wounderfull tips.its change my thinks

Karen Banes profile image

Karen Banes 7 years ago from Canada

Love this hub. Can't believe I've only just come across it, but attraction to certain hubs at certain times happens for a reason. Just what I needed today.

dotaxia profile image

dotaxia 7 years ago from Phillipines

Wonderful! Thank you for the tips :)

Jamie_07 profile image

Jamie_07 7 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Thanks for writing this article! It has a lot of great information that I believe in and tell people as a counselor

Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 7 years ago

great hub and great tips.

Best Long Lasting Lipstick 7 years ago

I was looking around for information on lipstick when I stumbled upon your lens. Personally I'd like to add that I think it’s important for us fashion and beauty conscious individuals to keep up with the current trends as not to fall behind, being self aware of the best options available on the market is not easy, but as the saying goes, ‘beauty is pain’.

InfinityVal profile image

InfinityVal 6 years ago from NNY

I remember one of our pastors saying that "moods go by kicking". Now when I'm in a mood I realize I have a choice to stay in it or kick it out and choose to feel better. Great tips for helping you do that.

deestew profile image

deestew 6 years ago from Kentucky

These are very good suggestions. Need to use a few.

deepanjana profile image

deepanjana 6 years ago

Great Hub and good suggestions thanks ...

couponalbum profile image

couponalbum 6 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

This is really the information which I wanted badly. Those are wonderful tips and I'm sure going to apply all of them..Hope so...

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi couponalbum - thank you! Sometimes it does take a bit of extra effort to improve your mood, but I do find that these tips help a bit :)

Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

These are great tips on a hub I will bookmark for future "down days. Even though many of these things are sure fire mood lifters when you are in the midst of the struggle they escape your mind.

You have presented a great little nugget for anyone and everyone's use. I am rating it up and bookmarking for future use.

nikki1 profile image

nikki1 6 years ago

wow, loved it.

Nordy profile image

Nordy 6 years ago from Canada

Fantastic hub - good, common sense but potent mood lifters nonetheless! Well done!

happy moor profile image

happy moor 6 years ago from Romania-Bacau

hallo. I'm new in this community. I like the "forgive yourself" section. It's a good idee. Nice work

ASFA123 profile image

ASFA123 6 years ago


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

I feel better already, reading your encouraging tips...to improve my mood:) Blessings to you!

dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

great article, it certainly beats the glass half empty!

lilypjmom2122 profile image

lilypjmom2122 6 years ago from Minnesota

Love the Ellen video...great article as well:)

sriparna profile image

sriparna 6 years ago from New Delhi

Excellent hub on mood elevation. You have given a comprehensive list of what we can do to keep ourselves happy. At least if we can do some of these, we really can keep our day-to-day worries aside and enjoy what we have. I would gladly link this hub to one of mine published today - on serotonin and happiness.

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Good suggestions, I enjoyed your content. I love to call my friend to change my mood. I will come back for your list next time I have an awful Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday!

niddz profile image

niddz 6 years ago from saudi arabia

very useful hub.

Iggy Sarducci profile image

Iggy Sarducci 6 years ago from Wherever I am now

Thank you, Steph. What a kind service you've offered in writing this. -Ig

carrie450 profile image

carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

Wonderful tips to remember, I'm glad I came across this hub, thanks

ugg australia 6 years ago

Wonderful tips to remember, I'm glad I came across this hub, thanks

AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Nice tips. Especially about avoiding getting overwhelmed. I always say in those circumstances the first thing is to establish the size of the problem and, if there is a risk look at the best, worst and most likely case.

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

I went through several bad years with my mom sick and dying but coming here has been the best medicine for me. Now the bad thing is if God puts something on my mind I am going to talk about it...here...lol...but I still have a few friends. Thanks for all the great recipes though, I will try a few!


healingone profile image

healingone 6 years ago from Georgia

Powerful! Thank you for writing, great suggestions!

Luv & Blessings!


petertheknight profile image

petertheknight 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Wonderful! Thank you! I need to get back into my journal writing. I think I will go do that right now.

SummerSurf profile image

SummerSurf 5 years ago

Some great ideas :-)

abuarez profile image

abuarez 5 years ago

Excellent Tips.....................

puddingicecream profile image

puddingicecream 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for sharing these! I personally am a fan of many of these like meditate, calling a friend, and planning a lunch date. I've never tried starting a journal to improve my mood but I'll keep that in mind!

Change your life 5 years ago

Wow this article is pretty cool and really got me thinking, Thank you very much for informing me about my life :)!.

Gale 5 years ago

To lift my mood. I smile a lot. I eat a well balanced diet and also i take supplements like Omega 3 Fish Oil. I also play a lot and make my environment free from stress.

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naturalsolutions 5 years ago

I just found it very useful. I'm doing almost 10 of that 25 tips it really makes my mood go for better.

Zabbella profile image

Zabbella 5 years ago from NJ-USA

Good hub. I liked the ideas about writing good old fashioned letter. About a month ago I wrote a friendly letter to a family member. She answered me by e-mail! She thanked me for the snail-mail letter then she said that at first, she thought I had bad news for her. But, overall it did make her happy. It is a dying art.

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Zabella -I love getting cards in the mail! Good for you for sending one! Its such a nice way to let someone know you are thinking of them and took the time to write, affix postage and drop it in the mail. Cheers, Steph

guest 5 years ago

Great article! Just reading it made me feel better! Don't stop writing.

Mark 5 years ago

After visiting this site, I have to confess: I must be a lesbian stuck in a man's body, because I like women, but I also like Ellen, and after a being sufficated with depression today, the video above made me break out in tears of laughter. (No joke)

pointoflight profile image

pointoflight 5 years ago

meditation helps a lot...early morning just fill yourself with all positive thinking ...........it works!!!

LoveLikeASunset profile image

LoveLikeASunset 5 years ago from Missouri

Very inspirational and inspiring hub! It reminded me to not always take life so seriously and do little things that make me happy. Great job.

gsidley profile image

gsidley 4 years ago from Lancashire, England

An excellent hub, packed full of sensible tips for improving mood. Self-help at its best!

the girls profile image

the girls 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Great hub and voted up! #3, 13, 18 and 23 is relevant and useful to an article I wrote, linking this hub too :-)

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks for the link from your hub and for stopping by to read and comment. Hope you have a happy day with a good mood. :) Best, Steph

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leann2800 4 years ago

These are great ideas. Laughter is the best medicine.

anonymous 4 years ago

Swim the English Channel !

That helped me ;')

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

Hey. :) Some really good tips here on how to just be happy.

It's strange that we need reminding to be happy or 'how' to be happy, but we really do from time to time and this is a good hub to do just that!

Good job.


vikash tanwar 3 years ago

your idias are good .....

Aayu 3 years ago


... good IdeASs...

AvineshP profile image

AvineshP 3 years ago from Chandigarh

Well, in today's stressed lifestyle, it's quite hard to find happiness (at least for me). But, I am glad that I have read this hub, this will surely help me in uplifting my mood.

Cheers !!

Moorabite Queen profile image

Moorabite Queen 3 years ago

Great tips. Thanks. It's nice to know so much easy and free stuff to do to keep a good mood!

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