50 Life Hacks You Can Use to Improve Your Mood & Happiness

Just Smile

Hitting a slump is something that almost everyone goes through at some point and it can be caused by a myriad of things. Maybe it is poor diet, maybe your environment isn’t conducive to positivity, maybe your friends are bringing you down, or you’re just too stressed out. No matter what it is, you can take your mind back! In the article below, you can read 50 tips and tricks to hack your way to happiness.

Body

Try Vitamins: A deficiency in iron can have similar symptoms to depression like fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation, and more. Research completed in 2017 found that 40% of Americans have a B12 deficiency which also leads to depression. Taking a multivitamin is not going to be a panacea but it could be causing you to feel down in the dumps. It could also help your joints feel better, your gut function better, and so on. Feeling healthier is a big factor in feeling happier.

Processed Food

Eat Less Processed Food: It’s no secret that what you eat can change the way your brain functions and alter your brain chemistry. Refined carbohydrates, sugar, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and just processed food, in general, can all lead to a bad mood. There is evidence that aspartame (a common sugar substitute) decreases serotonin in the brain. High blood sugar can cause irritability, and a diet full of sugar can cause more bodily inflammation. All of these things can lead to feeling low and if left unchecked can lead to full-blown depression.

Take A Nap: Taking a nap is almost the human version of “Have you tried turning it off and then back on again?” But, there’s a reason why people suggest it and that’s that it just works. Sleep deprivation is extremely prevalent, and naps are amazing. In the Journal of Sleep Research, it was published that naps improve cognitive performance. A doctoral student at the University of Michigan found that participants that had a short nap were less impulsive and had a greater tolerance for frustration.

Get Active: Exercise is something that most people dread and this is a tip that you will read in every single one of the list like this one, but it’s worth looking into. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones in your brain. Movement can decrease stress in a matter of minutes, and stress is a leading factor in feelings of unhappiness and irrational mood swings.

Have Breakfast: Not controlling your blood sugar can cause feelings of irritability, increased frustration, trouble focusing, and more. None of those things are going to help lift your spirits. To combat that, you can make sure that you eat breakfast (even just a small one). This leads to more stable glucose levels throughout the day, gets you ready to face the day, and might even help you shed a few pounds.

Meditate: When you come across a stressful situation, or when you sit in your car after clocking out for the day, you sigh out a nice long breath. That is one of the most satisfying moments of the day, isn’t it? It’s quiet, you can finally be still, process your feelings, and breathe. Meditation would be a perfect addition to your day because it allows you to do all of those things and it is good for both your mind and body.

Get Enough Sleep: Sleep deprivation is a massive zombie, and your happiness is the brains that it is starving for. Not getting enough sleep can cause all kinds of aches, can lead to binge eating, and when you aren’t getting enough sleep, your brain pumps out cortisol to keep your mind running. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain tries to trigger it’s fight or flight system to keep you going. This makes you agitated and gives you a feeling of brain fog. It’s hard to be happy in that amped up state.

Wear Clothes That You Love: If you don’t feel good about yourself, it shows, and it also does something to your brain. It just brings you down. You should wear things that make you feel confident, comfortable, and happy. Wearing something uncomfortable or that you don’t feel like you look your best in puts a damper on your whole day. You will be able to feel the difference immediately. Science has shown that warm colors have the best effect.

Drink Coffee: Coffee isn’t as bad for you as some people would have you believe, even if those venti Java Chip Frappucinos are doing bad things to your bank account. The Journal of the American Medical Association has found that coffee is a mild antidepressant; when you drink it, the caffeine releases dopamine and serotonin. Both are important chemicals that stave off the blues.

Just Smile

Just Smile: The Journal of Pain published a study in 2008 that says that expressing an emotion can lead to you feeling that emotion, even if you’re not sincerely feeling it at the moment. Try smiling at yourself in the mirror, and maybe even laugh about how silly you feel doing it. Smiling and laughing even when you don’t feel like it can help you feel like it more often and improve your overall happiness because both actions decrease stress.

Home

Get Organized: As you can probably tell, stress is something that wreaks havoc on your state of mind. Getting things in order around your desk, home, or even on your computer can help you feel better throughout your day. When you don’t have to look for something, it makes things run smoother. Also, being surrounded by clutter can make you feel more frustrated and depressed.

Clean Up: Just like in the last hack, a messy home just isn’t a happy one. When you hit a lull, you might not feel like doing your chores. The longer you put it off, the worse it gets, and the more you’re going to dread it, so it’ll just keep bringing you down. If you power through and tidy up, you’ll feel accomplished and you’ll be able to relax in a more welcoming space.

Aromatherapy

Try Aromatherapy: Essential oils activate the messenger area of the brain which it can lead to immediate changes in the body, boosting the immune system, improving productivity, and stimulating digestion. A lot of good things can come from using aromatherapy a good mood in one of them. Scents like lemon, lavender, jasmine, and rosemary are great options to start with.

Decorate: The best thing that you can do around your house to make you feel happier is to make it feel like home. Decorate with things that you like to look at and things that bring you joy. Family photos, art, positive quotes, and anything else that you can think of that you will enjoy waking up to can make you more apt to enjoy waking up. Also, seeing something positive first thing in the morning will set the tone for the whole day.

Get Some Plants: Various sources have done research on this and found that plants are good for stress reduction, pain tolerance, and physical discomfort. They help your body by filtering out almost all of the toxins in the air, purifying it and providing more oxygen. Plants are good for your mind because they trigger the same feelings as being out in nature, helping you to relax and feel happier. You can read more about it in this study.

Play Background Music: Have you ever felt like it’s just too quiet? Or maybe you constantly feel like being at home just sours your whole day. You can try playing some music quietly enough that it won’t disturb your other activities, but you can still hear it. Listening to music you like is going to put you in a better mood; but, studies have found that listening to upbeat music like pop or dance contributes to feelings of happiness.

Let The Sun In: Being in the dark isn’t good for you during the day, but a lack of natural light can also make you feel more solemn. Letting in some sunshine by opening up the windows when you can’t just sit outside is something that can instantly improve your mood. Natural light has been proven to help fight depression by helping your brain increase its serotonin levels.

Host Parties

Host Parties: Having some friends over every once in a while can make a world of difference when it comes to how you feel about your home. Having small gatherings every few weeks or so can help you form stronger positive associations with being at home because you’ll have more good times to attribute to being there. Spending time with people that you care about also helps you to feel happier because you won’t be lonely.

Get Out More: If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it could just be that you’re not doing enough for yourself or getting enough time out of the house. If your bad mood stems from feeling stagnant, lonely, or spending too much time in your own head, this will help. Just going out for coffee by yourself or going for a walk can shake away the cobwebs that are clouding your emotions and bringing you down.

Add In More Color: Dreary or dark colors make rooms look smaller and lead to you feeling more closed-in and confined. Colors have a direct psychological effect on people, and you can use this to your advantage. Incorporating more color in your home can benefit you with increased productivity, a more positive mood, and better sleep. Colors will not affect everyone the same way, though; there is plenty of research out there about the psychology of color, but you should choose shades that help you personally.

Social

Take A Break From Social Media

Take A Break From Social Media: Social media has its pros, but it comes with a lot of cons. Being on social media leads to negative behaviors like comparing yourself to others but it also exposes you to a lot of negative news, even if it isn’t important news. You should try not to spend so much time on social media; it is actually a very freeing experience and will undoubtedly make you feel better.

Follow Motivating People: When you are on social media, you can use it to expose yourself to more positive influences. You can follow accounts on Twitter or Instagram that post uplifting stories, motivational content, or just follow people that inspire you. You can still keep up with the news but, consuming more positive media on a regular basis is going to make you feel more positive.

Say No When You Need To: Going out with friends or family is always a good time, right? Honestly, no, it isn’t. But there is nothing wrong with that! If you feel obligated to go out with friends or it has just become too routine to be enjoyable anymore, feel free to take a step back. Don’t be afraid to say no to outings or guests at your place when you need some time to recuperate.

Spend More Time With People: Somewhat counterintuitive to the last hack, this is for those of you who don’t get out enough. Staying cooped up in your house all the time isn’t good for you. Humans are social creatures and you should try to spend some time with others and see how that affects your mood. The best people to surround yourself with are the ones that make you laugh!

Leave Behind Negative Influences: There are people out there that are going to do what they can to hold you back. It’s just a part of life. But, you don’t have to keep these people around. If you notice that every time you’re around a certain person, the energy just shifts and your happiness just dissipates, you should consider distancing yourself.

Learn Something New

Learn Something New: Craft stores and local community centers often offer free classes for the surrounding community to participate in and learn something new. You can use this as an opportunity to make some new friends! Also, expanding your mind is going to make you feel good because you’re learning and growing, which is something that people want to do and enjoy doing.

Try Getting Spiritual: This isn’t going to be for everyone, but it could end up changing your life. A lot of people feel happier when they explore their spirituality because it can teach them about life, it can help them make better decisions, give them things to looks forward to and help create a sense of community. You could try researching different churches or other religious places in your community and give it a try.

Give More Compliments: Being nice to other people makes them feel good, you knew that much; but, did you know that it can improve your mood as well? Making someone smile makes us smile, making someone happier makes us happier, and those small moments are going to add up and create happier vibes and a better mood overall throughout your day.

Do Something Kind: Doing good deeds usually makes you feel warm and fuzzy, so why not capitalize on it? When you do something nice for someone else, it helps boost your mood and theirs. Even something small can help make you feel good, and if there is no one that you can do something for, you can log on to several charity websites that help you help someone else at no cost.

Volunteer: This one falls in line with the last one, but on a larger scale. Helping out someone you know is something that anyone can do, sure, but this is something that is going to make you feel more peaceful and happy but also give back to your community or a cause you care about. Volunteering just once a month can make you happier, make you feel like you’re doing something, and make the day of other people that you’re helping.

Mental

Keep A Journal: Writing out your feelings will keep you from ruminating on them. Whenever you write down what you’re feeling or what you’ve done for the day, it helps you to process those emotions rather than keeping them in and letting them sour your mood for the next day. Try writing for just ten minutes a day about how your day was, or you can do it in a simpler fashion and write out a bulleted list.

Embrace Failure: Beating yourself up isn’t going to get you anywhere. Failure is completely natural and it is part of everyone’s life. Everyone, even your heroes, has failed or fallen short at some point in their lives. By embracing failure and understanding that it doesn’t say anything negative about you as a person is going to help you to not be so hard on yourself, and make you feel better.

Create Something: Getting creative is another good way to process your emotions and get them out in some tangible way. There are strong links between being creative and having better physical and mental health. It provides us with an outlet to explore our passions, gets us out of our own head, and gives us an opportunity to recharge without feeling like we’re wasting time.

Prepare The Night Before: Not getting enough sleep and feelings of anxiety go hand in hand, and both of them can ruin your mood for the day to come. In order to get around that and stop worrying so much, you can try to get ready the night before. Laying out clothes, packing your lunch, and other similar tasks will help your morning run smoother. This leads to you falling asleep easier, and starting your day on a positive note.

Complain: Let it out! Not getting things off your chest is absolutely toxic to your mindset. It makes you harbor ill feelings about the people you work or live with, it makes you more angry about other things going on, and it is bad for your health. You shouldn’t obsess over things but complaining is very cathartic. Getting your thoughts and feelings out in the open will definitely lift your spirits.

Log Your Gratitude

Log Your Gratitude: Being more thankful for the things that you have is one of the best things that you can do for yourself, and one way to start being more appreciative is writing down a few things a week (or day!) that you’re grateful for. It helps you to truly appreciate the good in your life and stop focusing on the negative aspects of your life or the things that you wish that you had.

Sing and Dance: Move around and have a laugh with this one. This does a lot for you, it can be great exercise and it is something fun to do, and a little silly if you don’t do it very often. Singing and dancing both can get your mind off of your stresses of the day. Science has also shown that singing stimulates the brain to create a more positive mood, no matter how it sounds.

Visualize: Creating a vision board for your goals is something that is usually presented as a productivity hack, but it can do so much more. If you look at things that inspire you every day, it is going to put you in a better mood; additionally, it will motivate you to achieve those goals which also makes you happier.

Don’t Compare Yourself: It is very easy to look at the people you look up to and look at the people that you are friends with and think: Why can’t I be that? But, this isn’t doing anything but bringing you down. If you have to, delete those friends. Once you learn to stop comparing yourself to the people around you, you can feel better about the things that you’re doing and achieving.

Take A Break

Take A Break: When you’re busy and feel like all you’ve been doing is running around, take a step back and take a break. Taking a break is something that many people can feel guilty for doing but it can be exactly what you need to make things feel like they’re on their way back to normal. Getting some rest and relaxation can help you reset your mind and have the energy you need to face things in a more positive way.

Financial

Don’t Impulse Buy: Emotional shopping is a very bad habit, as is buying things on impulse. Money is a huge factor in the lives of essentially everyone and it can have serious effects on your mood if you’re not financially healthy. Don’t buy things on impulse anymore, keep a list of the things that you want and revisit it every month or two. If you still want something on the list, go for it!

Spend Money on Experiences

Spend Money on Experiences: Concerts, sports events, festivals, and more definitely cost money but they’re worth it. Spending your money on experiences can help you value your life more, you’ll be having more fun, and you can have things to look forward to on the days when you don’t feel very happy.

Purchase Things That Create More Experiences: There are always going to be things that you want, but you can spend your money on things that will create more experiences for you. Invest in a new skill or hobby with something crafty, or purchase an instrument, invest in swimming lessons. Regardless of what you choose to spend your money on, you can do it in a way that will benefit you in the long run.

Make A Budget: Making a budget to keep track of your money is going to help put your mind at ease because you will have a clear picture of what you have, what you need, and what’s left over for you to spend on yourself. Having a budget prepared and managing your money effectively is going to lift so much stress off of your shoulders and let you feel better in your day to day.

Be More Giving: Obviously, only give what you can afford to give! But doing something nice like giving your money to a charity that means something to you, donating to a cause, tipping better, and so on can all help you feel like you’re doing more good in the world. That’s going to make you a lot happier!

Learn How To Save: This goes along with making a budget, but learning how to save your money and have a safety net in case of emergencies is going to provide an important sense of security for you. Managing your money and learning how to save it without leaving yourself with nothing leftover to cover groceries or splurge on a night out will help you consistently contribute to a savings account and make sure that you don’t have to have a nervous breakdown next time your car acts up.

Stop Feeling Guilty

Stop Feeling Guilty: A poor relationship with money like feeling guilty every time you spend money on groceries or spend money that you earned on something nice for yourself is going to make you feel bad all the time. You’ll be much happier if you can stop feeling bad every time you treat yourself or fill up your fridge. Try to understand that money is something that is going to come and go throughout your life, and there’s nothing wrong with spending it.

Invest in Your Mental Health: While this seems obvious to many, there are plenty of people out there that don’t think that they could benefit from doing this. “Toughing it out” or trying things like yoga and eating better food might help you, but there could be something else that is bringing you down or standing in your way of being happy. Try putting some money towards a professional if your bad mood is extremely persistent or disruptive to your life.

Don’t Let Money Rule You: Money is important, and not having any can lead to some really unwelcome circumstances. However, you shouldn’t live to work and you shouldn’t feel like you can’t spend any money outside of the bare minimum essentials to get by. There are ways to continue to make ends meet without running yourself ragged, and healing your relationship with money is going to lead to a lot less stress, in the long run, leading to a happier life overall.

Set Healthy Goals: There are big things that all of us want, to travel, a new computer, a house, those front row concert tickets, and so on. Saving up for things like that tends to feel impossible but if you learn how to budget and save like you read about above, you can learn how to set goals that you can actually reach. When you learn how to do that, you’ll feel more confident that you can make the things you want happen for yourself, and that isn’t just going to put you in a better mood, it is going to motivate you to keep making it happen!

About The Author
Anne Velusa