We all have those days where it feels like nothing is going our way. You slept through the alarm, got to work late, spilt coffee on your lap, and burnt dinner to a crisp—days like these sure know how to bring you down and keep you down, don’t they? I mean just imagining this stinks and makes me feel pretty lousy. But what if I told you there was a way, or a multitude of ways, to lift yourself up on these horrible, no-good days? That’s right—here are 8 scientifically-backed ways to lift your spirits, which will not only come in handy on your off-days but every day:
1) Go for a walk or run outside.
Exercising triggers the release of endorphins, or “feel-good” neurotransmitters, which can improve your mood as well as your overall wellbeing! And if you exercise outside, it’s a double whammy, as spending time outside has similarly proven to boost one’s overall wellbeing and have other amazing benefits. So take a couple laps around the block or move your yoga mat outside to reap the quick benefits of exercising outside!
2) Smile and laugh for no good reason.
Well actually there is a good reason—smiling and laughing aren’t only outcomes of happiness but causes of happiness too! Remember those things called endorphins that we just talked about? Well, smiling and laughing releases these guys too, which again are responsible for making us feel happy.
3) Listen to your favorite upbeat song.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri found that listening to an upbeat song can lift your spirits, as long as you’re actively seeking happiness through the music—easy! Turn up that dial on your radio or break out the earbuds and listen to your favorite upbeat songs with the purpose of feeling awesome.
4) Practice mindfulness.
Being mindful means being aware. So to practice mindfulness means to be aware and conscious of your surroundings and the moment that you’re in—for example, on your walk home from work, really take in all that’s around you, focus on each step, and be in that moment instead of anticipating being home already. Practicing mindfulness like so each day has proven to improve mood, stress levels, and overall quality of life.
5) Book a well-deserved vacation.
Everyone deserves a break from stress-inducing work and school—it’s actually essential to your health and wellbeing that you don’t overdo it on the job. So book a relaxing vacation wherever your heart desires; even just anticipating the trip is going to do wonders for your health and boost levels of happiness.
6) Be kind.
According to research from the University of California, simply doing something nice for someone can make you happier! Bake some cookies for your coworkers, volunteer at the animal shelter, do whatever it is that makes you feel good and helps others at the same time.
7) Pet a pup.
Simply petting a furry friend can make you feel better, as interacting with a pet increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine (two more feel-good chemicals) in your brain. Doing so can also help you recover from stress quicker than being with friends or family would, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). So go spend some time with your furry family member or if you don’t have your own pet, borrow a friend’s!
8) Reminisce about the good ‘ole days.
A study conducted at the University of Southampton found that thinking back on happy times can make you feel happier and more optimistic about what your future has in store. What’s been the happiest day of your life? Reminisce, succumb to the nostalgia, and in turn, be happy.