10 Things You Can Do to Be Happier Today

by Mikey Rox on 11 October 2013 4 comments

Not every day can be the best day of your life, but there are lots of ways to make a bad day better. If you've got the blues, turn that frown upside down with these ideas on how to be happier right now. (See also: 44 Ways to Be Healthier and Happier)

1. Fit in a Workout

We've all experienced that feeling of general unhappiness with ourselves when we've eaten one too many French fries and skipped the gym. But you can change that by mustering up the motivation to sweat out your stress before work, during your lunch break, or at the end of the workday if you need a pick-me-up. Studies show that physically active people experience greater feelings of excitement and enthusiasm, and if you want to be like them, it's time to get movin'.

2. Perform a Good Deed

It's hard not to experience a feeling of momentary euphoria when you've done something nice for someone else. Performing a good deed with the purpose of making yourself feel better isn't exactly altruistic, but, hey, if you're making someone else's day better, you might as well reap the benefits too, right? A few small-but-impactful deeds include paying for someone else's coffee, helping your neighbor bring in groceries, or offering to pick up a friend's kids from school when you know they're busy. (See also: Frugal Ways to Pay It Forward)

3. Cross an Item Off Your To-Do List

There are few feelings better than the one that comes with accomplishing a task that's been nagging you for days. Set your sights on a particular task on your list and get it done. When it's finished, you'll feel a sense of relief that will make your entire day run a little smoother. If you don't have a to-do list, make one right now. Crossing off even the most insignificant of tasks will result in instant gratification. (See also: 5 Hacks to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective)

4. Eat Something That Will Hit the Spot

Granted, this is a slippery slope, but we all need to satiate our cravings every once in a while. There's just something about a tasty, often-forbidden treat that's always capable of putting a smile on that mug. If this is how you choose to feel better today, go for it. Just keep yourself in check. A small milkshake is OK; an entire pie is not. (At least not until Thanksgiving night, anyway.)

5. Indulge in a Nap

For most people naps are a rarity, which is why it'll make you so happy to take one today. It's probably not ideal to sleep at your desk, so if you want to catch a few winks midday in hopes of the rest of it going smoother, head over to the parking lot and curl up in the backseat of your car. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, either. It's your lunch break; you can spend it however you'd like.

6. Take the Day Off

Most unhappy moments can be remedied with a quick fix, the likes of which populate the rest of this list. But sometimes… well, sometimes you just need a break from life all together. If you're having one of those, take a personal day and concentrate on yourself. Hit the gym for an hour, accomplish a task on your personal to-do list, and take a nap. Do whatever it is you want to do to get back to your happy place. There's no shame in waving the white flag for a few hours — so long as you're using that downtime productively, evaluating what's got you down, and finding ways to make yourself feel better.

7. Meet a Good Friend for a Drink

Alcohol and idle chatter with a good friend go together like rum and Coke, like gin and tonic, like… what are you waiting for? Call your buddy and meet them at the bar.

8. Watch Feel-Good Videos Online

How many times have you gotten sucked into the YouTube abyss of clumsy pandas, stick-em-up kittens, and kids that say the darndest things? And every time you do, you get up smiling and happier than before you pressed play, right? If today isn't your day, search for a few of your favorite videos (or find a few new ones by browsing your Facebook News Feed) and let your cares melt away as you enjoy what the Internet has to offer.

9. Create a New List of Short-Term Goals

How can anyone be happy if they have nothing to work toward? If you're feeling unhappy because you're feeling lost, perhaps you need new goals. Creating a new list of short-term goals will not only motivate you to accomplish something, but — as mentioned earlier — you'll experience happiness once you've accomplished that something. Short-term goals can include cleaning your house, organizing your work life, registering for a local race, tending to your garden, and lots of other stimulating, give-your-life-more-meaning activities. (See also: How to Measure Your Goals)

10. Make a Few More Bucks

More money in your pocket = more happiness on your face. To earn quick cash that'll turn your mug from glum to glowing, pick up a quick gig on Craigslist, sell an unwanted item on eBay or Amazon, or cash in all that change you've been saving for a day just like today. Funny how dead presidents always have a way of making it a better day.

Do you have tips on how to be happier right now? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

I like the idea of crossing stuff off the short term list. It really feels good to complete those to-do items!

Guest's picture

Amazing post! Anything to help us to feel happy is important! We have to work at it everyday and maintain it.

Guest's picture
Lindsay

I would add "Read blog posts about happiness and productivity" to that list....reading blogs like yours always give me that lift to be more mindful and find ways to be grateful!

Guest's picture

I like #2, 5, 7 and 10. #2 I always try to follow the Golden Rule with other people. #5 A nap sounds good right about now. #7 We will be meeting my SIL's new boyfriend later today. #10 I always like to make more money. I do have some junk, err valuable stuff, out in the garage I need to get rid of.