How to Cheer Yourself Up

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Easy Ways to Raise Your Spirits

If you’re not happy and you know it, clapping your hands probably won’t help. A little self-care is a better way of cheering yourself up when you’re feeling blue. No matter the reason for your bad mood, you can spare just a few minutes to refocus your mind and lift your spirits. You may not be able to instantly fix your problems, but you can lift the weight off your shoulders and find a reason to smile.

When You’re Lonely

If you’re blue because you feel alone, resist the urge to wallow by yourself. Connecting with other people is the surest way to beat feelings of loneliness. Pick up the phone to invite a friend over for dinner or to set up a playdate at the park with a group of kids and parents. If you struggle to think of friends you can call, research local books clubs, art classes, running clubs, and other groups where you can meet new people.

Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to see other people face-to-face or even know them in real life to feel connected. Join an online support group or find a forum devoted to a topic that interests you and introduce yourself. If all else fails, turn to a favorite book. It’s impossible to feel alone when you’re spending time with Harry Potter, Emma Woodhouse or any of the fictional characters you love most.

When You’re Going Through a Breakup

One of the only good things about a breakup is that it gives you more time to spend with your friends. Invite your most sympathetic pals over for a night of drinking wine and wallowing together after the kids go to bed. You can vent, cry, laugh and end the night feeling even closer to your squad.

Make a list of all the things that you can do now that you’re single that you couldn’t or didn’t get to do while you were in a relationship. Create plans to do some of those things in the coming week. Maybe you never got to order Indian food because he hated it. So this week, you’ll eat all the curry you can find.

When you’re alone, create a playlist of songs that celebrate being a strong, independent woman (hello, Beyoncé). Have a one-woman dance party; then indulge in a marathon of happy romantic movies to remind yourself that true love exists, and you’ll find it someday.

When You’re at Work

The end of the day is how many hours away? Even if you love your job, bad days and boring times are an inevitable part of having a career. Cheer yourself up at work by looking ahead to something fun that you have coming up. It’s a great way to remind yourself that you’re working at this job not just to keep food on the table, but also to fund your adventures.

For example, start planning a slate of fun activities to do with the kids this coming Saturday, or send texts to friends to organize a girls’ night. Start daydreaming about where you’ll go on your next vacation. If you already have a vacation planned, take a few minutes to research attractions, look at photos of your hotel and even study menus of restaurants you’d like to visit.

And if you have zero wiggle room in your budget, start listing all the things that your job allows you to provide your family. Reminding yourself that your hard work keeps your kids warm, fed, healthy and happy should spark a feeling of joy and pride in you.

When You’re Feeling Sad or Having a Bad Day

Quick: What always makes you laugh? A deep belly chuckle can chase away the blues in a hurry or at least raise your spirits. Maybe you’re a sucker for dumb movies, have a favorite funny podcast, or cry laughing at compilations of bloopers from TV shows and local newscasts. Whatever makes you giggle, find it, and do it for at least 10 minutes.

Meditation is also a powerful antidote to a bad mood. Download a guided meditation app and settle down in a quiet, peaceful place and follow its instructions. Just a few minutes of focused breathing can leave you feeling peaceful and calm.

If you feel sad most of the time, call your doctor to talk about whether you might be depressed. And if you ever think of hurting yourself, call a suicide hotline or your doctor right away. Depression doesn’t go away overnight, but getting the right treatment will make everything seem brighter.