How To Be Happier Today: 36 Ideas to Climb Out of a Bad Mood

Tips on how to be happier

How to be happier? Well, it certainly doesn’t start by saying “NOTHING EVER WORKS OUT FOR MEEEEEE!”

These are the words I cried to a friend, and then the tears flowed. I’d interviewed for what I thought was my dream job. I was sure I’d nailed the interview. The owner of the company seemed to really like me and even commented on my experience and professionalism.

But in the end, I didn’t hear the words I’d expected to hear—”You’re hired.” That experience occurred several years ago before I started working for myself. But I’ll always remember how crushed I was.

We all have hard days, weeks and even months. Jobs we hope to get don’t materialize and people we thought we could count on let us down. I could go on, but I’m sure you have your own list of disappointments.

The key to getting out of a bad mood and living a happier life is to acknowledge the disappointments, cry if you feel like it, and then dry your eyes and focus on what is going right in your life. 

If you want to know how to improve your mental health, here are 36 of my favorite ways to get out of a funk and manifest the life you desire.

How to be Happier Today: 36 Ideas to Climb Out of a Bad Mood

1. Start the flow of positive energy by doing something good for someone else
Maybe that’s popping quarters in an expired parking meter or holding the door for a mom with her arms full. Doing for others boosts serotonin levels in our brains, and that makes us feel good. Better yet, helping others also makes them happy.

2. Do as many jumping jacks as you can
Movement is a great way to improve your mood. Even better, it’s good for your health. Physical activity creates endorphins. These chemical signals in the brain make you feel good.

3. Play your favorite music super loud. Sing off-key—at the top of your lungs
How off-key can you get? Have a one-person dance party in front of the mirror, in your pajamas! (PS. This is one of my all-time favorite things to do when I’m stressed out.)

4. Indulge in your “guilty pleasures”
Maybe that’s chocolate cake, back-to-back episodes of “The Housewives of Beverly Hills,” cheese and a stack of “US Weekly” magazines. Of course, these are guilty pleasures because we only do them once in a while.

5. Call a good friend and ask them out to dinner or a slumber party
A good pal and a nice plate of pasta can lift your spirits like no other. The best friends listen to your tales of woe, commiserate, and then insist that you focus on something fun and positive.

6. Stay up till sunrise watching your favorite movies
Now that you’re “all grown up,” you can stay up way past your bedtime binge watching your all-time favs. It’s best to have your movie marathon on a Friday or Saturday night so you can sleep in until noon the next day.

7. Do some yoga. Any kind!
Restorative, power flow or kundalini are my favorite types of yoga, but any type will do. Yoga almost immediately improves mood, restoring inner balance and promoting a peaceful way of looking at life.

8. Write a list of things you appreciate right now
Gratitude is one of the fastest ways to boost mood and manifest the life you desire. If you want to know how to better your mental health, quickly write down everything you are grateful for. Then focus intently on each item on the list and let the light build up inside you. Even on our worst of days, there are always things to be happy about.

9. Look through old photos with a close friend or family member if possible
Looking through pictures with someone who remembers us back when can be fun and even funny. It’s cathartic to reminisce about the good ole days. You’ll find yourself saying things like, “Oh my god, remember when I used to wear my hair like that?!”

10. Plan your next vacation
Start a vacation board on Pinterest. Grab a handful of travel magazines from the newsstand and give yourself over to daydreaming about all the adventures to be had. Book the flight, invite your best friends and create your itinerary.

11. Harness to power of essential oils
Essential oils derived from plants, flowers, and herbs are the highest vibrating substances known to man. When topically applied or smelled, they have the unique power to elevate the frequency in our bodies and therefore our emotions and mood.

12. Go on an invigorating hike or walk. Surrender and breathe deep
Put on your best hiking shoes and head out to your favorite outdoor spot. Few things are as healing as venturing out in mother nature and inhaling her fresh air and soaking in her sunshine.

13. Plan a theme party
Invite all your good friends and some new people, too. Think about how you can decorate your home in that theme, what dishes you can cook, what you will wear. Make the party even more fun by requesting that your guests also dress up, and then have a contest! Did you know that having frivolous fun is a key way to become a vibrational match to your dreams and manifest all you desire?

14. Try rock climbing
Rock climbing is an amazing workout, and you’ll be so, so proud of yourself when you get to the top. Have a friend come along to take some photos so you can prove to everyone you know what an awesome climber you are.

15. Load up with new music and go for a walk through your favorite park or city streets
Pretend the music is the soundtrack to the movie of your life. When it comes to your favorite song, walk even faster, or even better, start running.

16. Get dressed up and take yourself out to a fancy lunch or dinner
Pull that stylish black number out of the closet and make reservations at the buzzy new restaurant everyone is talking about. Order something delicious, and make sure to have dessert.

17. Color your hair! 
You can always dye it back. Have you always wanted to be a redhead? Go for it.

18. Make cartoon shaped pancakes for breakfast—or dinner
Top the pancakes with your favorite fruit and maybe some organic whipped cream! Don’t forget to add chocolate chips for an even bigger mood boost!

19. Buy ridiculous pajamas
I personally have a silly sock collection full of polka dots, stripes, cartoon characters and reindeer. They make me happy every time I wear them!

20. Lie on your back in the sunshine
Find a comfy place on the grass and lie down. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and smile. You’ll be surprised how quickly your mood boosts when you get a warm infusion of natural vitamin D.

21. Make a list of actionable, practical, reasonable ways you can improve your situation
Sometimes the best way to deal with a bad mood is to take steps toward resolving the issue that started it all. Who can you talk to? What changes can you make? What can you stop or start right now that will help things?

22. Hug the friends you see today hello
Few actions are as healing and empowering as human touch. When you give a hug, you let the recipient know how much they mean to you. This will improve moods all around.

23. Sleep the opposite way or sideways on your bed
Whenever I do this, I feel like such a rogue! Sometimes it takes stepping away from the norm to get you out of a rut and make you smile or even giggle.

24. Visit a favorite arts and crafts store and make a friend a surprise package
Doing things for others—especially unexpected things—always improves my mood. Put your heart and soul into the gift, and you’re sure to delight your friend, which is sure to make you feel a whole lot better.

25. Eat chocolate with abandon
Okay, maybe not with abandon. But indulge in some of your favorite chocolates. Studies have shown that chocolate boosts mood. So, this is a tasty way to improve your mental health.

26. Be optimistic and feel empowered
Search for the silver lining or a way that you can take ownership of your current situation. If you dig deep, you’ll be surprised at what you unearth. Chances are what is occurring in your life right now is here to help you become stronger. Take advantage of the opportunity.

27. Change the screensavers on your phone and laptop
What about adding a photo of your friends laughing hysterically or an image that just makes you smile? Take the time to choose a photo that means something to you.

28. Spend an hour in a favorite department store smelling and sampling perfumes or cologne
When you find something you like, ask for a sample, tuck it in your pocket and use it for the next week.

29. Write a letter to your future self
When you write the note to yourself, focus on your future plans, hopes and dreams. This is a great way to manifest the life you want. Hide the note somewhere you may forget, such as in an old book, photo album or pocket of a raincoat. When you discover the note months or years from now, you’ll be shocked to see how many of your future plans you manifested!

30. You know that exciting, overwhelming project you’ve been putting off?
Welp, now’s the time to throw yourself into it. It’s good if it feels a tad too big for you! It will be the fuel to your fire for weeks and months to come! You’ll forget all about your bad mood.

31. Browse a vintage record or clothing shop
Imagine all the lives and memories these objects have seen. Pick up an old hat and picture who could have worn it and what the person was doing. Listen to an old song and envision the record studio way back when and the person recording.

32. Spend two hours watching the Biography Channel
Learning about the lives of famous people can be inspiring and invigorating. While you’ll see what they did to become famous, you will also discover they had their own set of challenges.

33. Flirt
(Innocently) with the barista, the FedEx person, the front desk cutie.

34. Be interested
Ask questions like, “Where did you get that?” or “How did you learn how to do that?” When you focus on others, you take the spotlight off yourself and your troubles.

35. Be interesting
“Did I ever tell you about the time I hiked Kilimanjaro?” You’ve got your own riveting tales, so go ahead and share them. Doing so will show you that you’ve had exciting times and your life is pretty great.

36. Know that this too shall pass
Really. In a year, you’ll look back and wonder what the fuss was all about. More likely, you’ll realize that what happened was for the best, after all. Remember that job I thought I just couldn’t live without? I found a much better position that prepared me to start my own business.

Climbing up and out of a bad mood is a life skill we should all master. And it can be as easy as lying in the sunshine daydreaming your desires into reality or giving a real, deep hug. Promise.


  1. Instead of hearing the same old same old antidotes for mood lifting, your suggestions are fresh and worthy. Thank you!

  2. Like this list – but how about a list of similar items that can be done from work? I think that is when we need to lift our moods the most.

  3. This is the best “how to be happier” list I’ve ever read. So many creative ideas that actually made me smile in my seat just reading them! 🙂

  4. If you haven done so yet, You should check out the poem “just for today” by Frank Crane 1921(I like this version). It’ll resonate well with your blog.

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