Eight ways to get happy quick

Siski Green / 09 March 2015 ( 09 December 2019 )

If the corners of your mouth are firmly down, you need a quick fix to lift your mood. Here are eight proven ways to get a smile back on your face.

1. Go to the park to beat stress and feel better

Mother Nature can help get you smiling again. Research shows that being exposed to greenery reduces stress levels and even causes levels of cortisol to fall.

If you can’t get outside, put some greenery in your home – research from the University of Minnesota indicates that plants in hospital settings help relieve symptoms and improves mood.

Discover 10 great reasons to get outdoors

2. Grab some nuts or fish for a mood boost

Nuts and fish contain omega-3 fats which are associated with lower risk of depression. Plus, eating healthily will make you feel in control of your health and that’s a good feeling.

Going to the supermarket and filling your basket with healthy foods will do wonders for your body over the week, and it’ll boost your mood too because you’re looking after yourself.

Find out more about the health benefits of eating fish

3. Think fast to lift your mood

Feeling down feels slow... and research from Princeton University, USA, shows that if you can speed up your thoughts, your mood improves.

So how can you speed up your thoughts? Set a timer to 60 seconds and then write down your negative thoughts as fast as you can; if you can write down positive thoughts, it’ll work even better.

Researchers aren’t sure whether this works because it’s distracting or whether the process releases feel-good chemicals, but either way, you’ll feel better afterwards.

4. Get the photo album out to make yourself feel better

While you might think that thinking about the past would make you sad, there’s evidence to show that looking at photos of good times makes you feel good.

A study from the Open University found that moods were instantly lifted when study participants viewed personal photos and what’s more, the mood change was greater than other feel-good activities such as eating chocolate or listening to music.  

Top eight tips for taking a family portrait

5. Use your skills to improve your wellbeing

According to research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine people who noted their unique strengths or abilities and then used them in some way for a week reported improved wellbeing for six months afterwards. So if you paint pretty watercolours, go out each day and paint in the park or in town and maybe offer them to passersby.

Or if you’re an expert carpenter, offer your services to your local church or charity group. Find a way to use your skills as often as possible and you’ll feel more confident, more useful and happier overall.

6. Go for the burn to lift your spirits

Exercise is usually last on your list when you’re feeling low but it should be first. Study after study has shown how exercise boosts mood, while you’re doing it and for some time afterwards too.

If you can’t bear to get out of the house, try going up and down the stairs several times for a quick and easy way to get that heart racing.

Easy exercises to do at home – without even noticing

7. Get some sunshine to boost your mood

Not always easy to get in the UK but sunshine is the quickest and easiest way to boost your mood. Feeling the sun’s rays on your bare skin releases endorphins. 

8. Why drinking more water will make you feel better

No, not alcohol – you need water. Being dehydrated makes you grumpy, partly because your energy levels fall – no one likes feeling tired all day long.

Make sure you drink plenty of liquid every day. It needn’t be water, you can drink tea, herbal tea, juice and milk, even soup. The important thing is that your urine should be light coloured. If it’s darker, you’re not drinking enough.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.