The world has a funny way of throwing tough curve balls at us.
One day life is just fine and the next you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. It leaves you wondering, “Will I ever be happy again?”
You can’t see a glimmer of light between the dark clouds that seem to surround you.
If you’re feeling down and wondering how to be happy again, either because of a challenging relationship or a recent life difficulty, it is possible to address your feelings and find happiness.
While it’s a process that can take some time, you can take the first steps to improve your life and find joy.
Is Is Possible to Feel Happiness Again?
We all constantly struggle to maintain this elusive feeling and ward off anything that might produce unhappiness.
The truth is that life is unpredictable, and if we try to avoid anything that can undermine happiness, we may wind up more disappointed, disillusioned, and unhappy than ever.
How do you find your joy again? Maintain an attitude of acceptance of life’s inevitable ups and downs, and strive to be present with whatever you are experiencing in the moment.
How to Be Happy Again When Life Gets You Down
How to be Happy with Your Life
1. Be present more often.
The present moment is the only reality, and if you can find joy or contentment in it, you have set the foundation for a happy life.
Of course, being present for every moment of your life isn’t so simple. But try to be present for more and more moments, and watch your happiness levels rise.
Mindfulness means trying to pay attention to what you are doing right now, whether it’s brushing your teeth or chatting with a friend. It’s hard to ruminate on what’s making you unhappy when you’re focused on the task or action at hand.
Meditation is an excellent practice to help you build the mindfulness muscle. It helps you savor the present moment and let go of past or future stressors.
2. Write down how you feel on a regular basis.
This process helps you mentally separate yourself from your depressed thoughts so you can analyze them and keep track of the associated emotions.
Keep a mood journal and track your shifting emotions. Try to determine what might trigger negative thoughts and unhappy feelings. Look for associations that become patterns.
Some of the behaviors that commonly contribute to unhappiness and that you can work on changing include:
- Rumination: Allowing yourself to think on and on about a negative or painful situation.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Creating expectations about people and getting disappointed when they don’t materialize.
- Comparisons: Comparing your unhappy life to the lives of others who appear to have it all.
- All or Nothing Thinking: Assuming that because your life is one way right now that it will always be this way.
3. Start exercising.
Study after study has proven that exercise improves your mood by releasing endorphins. It is the low-hanging fruit of trying to feel happy again. Yep, we know — when you’re unhappy, exercise feels like a huge chore.
But try not to think about it, and just get up and get moving. Take a walk around the block or do some jumping jacks — anything to get the ball rolling.
Once you break through the inertia, you’ll find it much easier to build a routine. One of the worst things you can do when you are feeling down is to stay sedentary.
4. Reconnect with old friends.
Loneliness is an epidemic that leads to unhappiness and even depression. Especially since the pandemic, many of us have lost touch with friends and haven’t had many social interactions.
As the pandemic is receding some and restrictions are lifting, make a concerted effort to socialize more often. Socializing will make you happier, improve memory and cognitive skills, and even increase longevity, according to research.
When you reconnect with old friends, you will likely pick up right where you left off and feel a boost of good feelings. Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to others even if you don’t feel particularly sociable.
5. Start a new project.
Starting a new project of any kind will give you a sense of purpose, and once it is complete, you will feel accomplished.
Tackling something that is moderately challenging will put you in a “flow state” that creates a calm contentment while you’re engaged in it. Time disappears, your mind is fully occupied, so you don’t have room for rumination.
As you work on the project over time, you’ll enjoy the feelings of achievement that come with working toward a goal and completing it.
6. Find a new hobby.
Try something you have never tried before, and even something you never thought you would enjoy. You never know who you will meet or what new passion you could develop.
A hobby can improve your social life and make you a more interesting person. A somewhat challenging hobby also can put you in that same flow state mentioned before.
When you’re busy doing something enjoyable but that involves focus, you’ll feel happy — you just can’t help it!
7. Get outside.
Get some sunlight every day. Natural light is a very effective therapy when you are feeling down.
Especially in the winter when many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), spending time in the sun can increase serotonin, a feel-good chemical in your brain.
Just taking a walk and being in nature can boost your mood and give you sense of connectedness to nature and other people.
8. Get into a good book.
Go to a bookstore and pick up a bestseller that looks interesting to you. Reading a book can help you escape your everyday life for a while and you may even learn something new.
Just be sure you don’t choose a sad or upsetting topic. A humorous book, an interesting and inspiring biography, or even a self-improvement book that helps you strengthen some area of your life are all good choices.
9. Help other people.
The happiest people are those who make a positive impact on the lives of others. Helping other people can bring you a renewed sense of joy.
You don’t have to save the world. Any random act of kindness will give you a boost. When you do this, you’ll recognize that others are also unhappy and suffering in their lives. You aren’t alone.
Supporting someone through a difficult time puts your own problems into perspective which is relieving and reminds you of all the good in your life.
Which brings us to the next point.
10. Practice gratitude.
Research continues to reinforce that a gratitude practice can improve mental health and that the effects of gratitude can last for months.
Be intentional about focusing on everything in your life that you can be grateful for. You can’t feel depressed when you are purposefully feeling appreciative.
One of the best ways to boost the good feelings that come with gratitude is by writing letters of appreciation to the people you truly appreciate. Let them know how they have touched your life or positively impacted it. Letter-writing like this has an amazing effect on your mindset.
Of course, you can also keep a gratitude journal where you write down anything that makes you appreciative. Just be sure you focus on the feelings of gratitude rather than simply making a list.
11. Go out of your way to talk to someone new.
Is there someone that you see on most days, but don’t talk to? Maybe the barista at your coffee shop or someone at your gym? Spark up a conversation with them to have some human connection.
Talking to new people goes hand in hand with socializing more, but this is nuanced. You don’t need to become best friends with this new person. But make contact and share a human experience or brief connection.
Even these micro-interactions can boost your mood and remind you that there are so many good people in this world — just like you.
12. Create a new goal for yourself.
Come up with a long-term goal that you want to start working on. Break this down into mini goals so you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you make progress.
13. Travel more often.
You need a change of pace and new experiences to shake your life up.
Whether it is a day trip or a full-on vacation, take some time to do some traveling.
14. Change up your routine.
Think abYou are probably bored with your daily routine because you do it on autopilot. Switch it up a bit, even if it is just taking a new route to work or having something different for breakfast.
15. Treat yourself with compassion.
This will help boost your self-esteem and increase your emotional intelligence. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.
16. Remind yourself that you are not alone.
You have some kind of support system. Whether it is your friends, family, or co-workers, there are people out there who support you.
17. Remember that you are bigger than your sadness.
Don’t believe the lies that your mind tells you. You are bigger and more powerful than your sadness and you do not need to succumb to it.
18. Don’t refer to yourself as being “depressed.”
Giving your negative thoughts this strong label will only make it worse. Don’t tell people (or think to yourself) that you are depressed. It will not get you anywhere.
19. Allow yourself to feel the pain.
Pain is a feeling that everyone has from time to time. However, it’s not who you are and it does not define you. Allow yourself to feel it, but don’t identify yourself with it.
20. Let go of insecurities.
Sure, this is not an easy task. But it is something that you have to work on in order to create a happier life. Identify where you feel insecure and start taking small actions to feel better about yourself in these areas.
21. Look for the best in other people.
If you are consciously looking for the best in other people, you will be more likely to recognize the best in yourself. It is also important to show your best to other people.
22. Stop making excuses.
Making excuses for failures, inaction, or a negative outlet only adds to your feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness. You may have real reasons for feeling unhappy, but try not to allow these reasons to hold you back from moving forward in other areas of your life.
23. Learn to let go of resentments.
When you are able to let go, forgive other people, and move on, you won’t be changing the past, but you will be changing the future.
24. Stop over-thinking things.
If your fears are causing you to look too deeply into things, you will be creating more problems than you’re fixing. Life is too short to overthink and ruminate on everything.
25. Stretch yourself.
You will realize that you’re on the right track when you no longer want to look back, and you are eager to take the next step. This requires exerting some energy and stepping out of your comfort zone.
How to Become a Happier, More Positive Person
26. Avoid pessimism.
What you find in life is dependent on what you are looking for. Don’t look for the negative. Only look for the positive.
27. Give everyone around you a chance.
People will come and go from your life. Everyone you meet has something to offer or teach you.
Consider everyone you encounter as a valuable and important part of your personal growth.
28. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Often, people struggle with insecurity because they’re comparing their circumstances to those of others. However, you don’t know what others are struggling with behind the scenes. And your life journey is your own — not to be compared with any other.
29. Follow your own path.
Be the author of your own life story and don’t give up. Do the best that you can do and choose to feel good about it. Being authentic and following your own path, even if others try to steer you differently, will increase your life satisfaction.
30. Stop procrastinating.
Make it a point to invest your time in a way that will allow you to get the most out of each day. Don’t put off important tasks or projects as this will be an energy drag on your psyche.
31. Remember that you are responsible for your own happiness.
Too often people believe that their friends, family, or circumstances are responsible for their happiness. The problem with this is that you’re robbing yourself of your power and the ability to change your own circumstances.
32. Surround yourself with positive people.
You are the combination of the five people you spend the most time with. Make sure that these people are positive and uplifting so that will rub off on you.
33. Practice self-care.
Self-care looks different to everyone, but take some time out of each week to do what makes you feel the best. This might be just watching your favorite movie or going to a spa, but treat yourself each week to something special.
34. Seek happiness in the little things.
Find small things to be happy about. This might be a funny picture on your newsfeed or the smell of freshly cut grass outside. Take pleasure in these little moments.
35. Look for happiness in the right places.
Yes, going out to a bar or buying something new may give you some temporary happiness. But think about what you have to do to raise your baseline level of happiness so you will still be happy down the road. This involves creating and following through with long-term goals.
36. Perform random acts of kindness.
Pay for someone else’s coffee, buy your assistant or co-worker flowers just because, help a senior carry their groceries. It will feel rewarding to make other people smile.
37. Aim for quality over quantity with friendships.
One great friend will provide you with so much more joy in life than 100 acquaintances that come and go. Work on nurturing your close friendships and being the kind of friend you want others to be to you.
38. Get enough sleep.
You are probably well aware that sleep helps your body recover and repair itself after being awake all day. It also helps you focus and be more productive during your waking hours. As it turns out, getting sufficient sleep is also important in keeping depression at bay and feeling optimistic during the day.
39. Spend more time with your family.
Not spending enough time with loved ones is one of the top five regrets of people who are dying. Make sure to spend as much time as you can with the people you love.
40. Practice smiling.
This will help you think better and improve your mood. Studies show that smiling triggers the happiness areas of the brain. Just the act of smiling can make you feel better.
41. Plan a trip.
Even if you don’t end up taking the trip, studies have shown that the highest spike in one’s happiness comes while planning the vacation rather than actually being on it. This is because people enjoy the feeling of anticipation.
42. Take your work outside.
If it is a pretty day, try to do some of the work that you would normally do in your office outside in the sun. Bring your laptop and enjoy the nice weather.
43. Experiment in the kitchen.
If you are like most people, you eat the same things on a regular basis. Try making Chinese or Italian food from scratch. This will help fuel your creativity.
44. Listen to live music.
There is something about live music that is always uplifting. Also, you will be around other people who are also enjoying the music and the group vibe will make you feel better.
45. Move closer to work.
This is a big change, but if you can decrease the amount of time you spend on your commute, it will make a big impact on your happiness.
46. Tell a friend three good things that happen each day.
Not only will this help you connect with your friend, but it will also help you reflect on the positive things that are happening in your life.
47. Cut out the negative people in your life.
They are only bringing you down and adding to your unhappiness. Even if you can’t cut someone off altogether right away, reduce the amount of time that you spend with them. Their negative energy is toxic.
48. Clean up your diet.
Focus on real, whole foods to help optimize your health. If you feel physically healthy and you give your body the nutrition that it needs, you will feel more mentally healthy as well.
49. Take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what other people think as the only thing that counts is what you think about yourself. Sometimes what’s best for you is not what’s best for everyone else.
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50. Face your present reality.
You can’t change anything that you won’t confront. You have to deal with your problems before they take control of your happiness.
51. Take a leap of faith.
Doing this will help you figure out who you are capable of becoming. Having faith will help you achieve things that you believe to be impossible.
52. Try out an exercise class.
Signing up for an exercise class and attending regularly will help you get moving and meet other people who are trying to get in shape. Don’t worry if you aren’t the best in the class, chances are that no one is noticing.
53. Change your perception.
If you can’t find meaning and value in the problems that you are facing, they will continue to break you down. Instead, use this difficult time to learn critical lessons and grow stronger from them.
54. Take an active stance.
Don’t just wish for happiness. Do everything you can to create this change. Remove negative things from your life and learn to deal with the hardships that you cannot get rid of.
55. Do not be self-centered.
The problem with focusing too much on yourself and your challenges is that you lose perspective on other aspects of your world. Being laser-focused on yourself can make you feel miserable and prevent you from enjoying the good parts of life.
56. Appreciate yourself.
Who else is going to value you if you don’t even value yourself?
You should think highly of yourself if you want other people to appreciate you, too. Learn to fully accept yourself exactly the way you are — including your flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections.
57. Stop rushing.
Stop rushing through life, constantly waiting for the next thing to happen. Enjoy the journey and realize that life will not speed up just because you are waiting for something to occur.
58. Get unstuck.
If you don’t do anything to change your situation and just choose to stay stuck, you are almost guaranteed to be unhappy. If you want to find happiness again, then you need to alter things in your life to be the person you want to be.
59. Choose what makes you happy.
Remember that being happy does not come from having the things that you want. Rather, it is about wanting the things that you have. Happiness is a byproduct of focusing your time and energy in areas that have historically lifted you up and enlivened you.
60. Get back to dreaming.
If you want to be happy again, acknowledge that there was a time in your life when you were happy. Somewhere along the way, you may have lost your dreams. You need dreams to keep you going and give you hope, so remember what your dreams used to be and aim for them again.
61. Take a look at your priorities.
When your priorities are out of order, you can easily become unhappy. Focusing all of your energy on things that are not important leaves you feeling empty and falling short of your potential. Define your values in life and learn to align your choices with these guiding principles.
62. Who are you living for?
Take a look at your life and determine if you are living for yourself and trying to make yourself happy, or you are living for other people. Are you living out the life that your parents or friends think you should or the one that you want?
63. Let go of control.
To find happiness, you have to stop trying to control the things that you can’t control and just let them be. You can’t control everything. Rather than fighting a losing battle, work with life to get what you want and find happiness. Stop resisting things you can’t change.
64. Learn to say no.
Stop saying yes to anyone who asks for your help or wants you to do something you don’t want to do. You might say yes because you are a people pleaser. But, you probably don’t always feel happy when you are doing the favor. Saying no will help you gain freedom and personal power.
65. Put yourself first.
Don’t give up the things that you are supposed to do because you are too busy doing things for other people. Your well-being, health, and happiness must be honored before you can give to others. Know your boundaries and ensure that others honor them.
66. Unleash your mind.
Always remember that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Try to think outside of the box to acquire the things you want and don’t ever try to talk yourself out of something. Go all in to make yourself happy.
67. Unplug your life.
You will never find happiness on your computer — you will find it with the people you love and real-world experiences. If you are looking for happiness, stop trying to build your life on social media and give yourself a real life with the world around you. Put your phone and tablet away and begin to live in this world.
68. Give yourself the time that you need.
If you are feeling sad, it is important to give yourself the space that you need to feel that way. Be intentional. Stay at your house for an hour and allow yourself to be sad. Set a timer and then once it is over, get up and get moving.
How to be Happy with Yourself
69. Make things easy.
Sometimes the things that seemed minor when you felt happy now seem like huge mountains when you are feeling down. The smaller and more manageable you can make your new activities, the better chance you will have at succeeding. Take it slow and easy to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed.
70. Take a personal mental health day.
Take a day off from work and give yourself a day to breathe. Doing this can give you the space you need to re-energize, assess your challenges, and make a plan for action.
71. Manage your stress.
If you are dealing with a lot of stress, find ways to tackle it, like learning some time-management techniques, deep breathing, or exercise. Don’t push yourself further when you are stressed out. Step back and relieve some of the stress.
Try to find the funny parts of difficult situations, and you may be able to cope with life better. Humor can make your worries seem less important.
73. Don’t use unhealthy coping mechanisms.
This includes things like drinking, binge eating, eating unhealthy food, or using recreational drugs. These short-term fixes often have negative side effects or consequences that will make you feel worse.
74. Build your resilience.
Having resilience will allow you to cope with life’s highs and lows. Making something worthwhile out of your tough times helps you grow resilience. Recognize that you will bounce back after difficult times and embrace your inner strength.
75. Recognize the lesson.
Remember that life’s most important lessons are often learned during the worst times and even from your biggest mistakes. Learn to be grateful for your lessons and move on.
76. Find your courage.
Having courage means that you are willing to be scared to death, but also determined to take the next step anyway. Try to always find the courage to do what you are scared to do.
77. Don’t treat your feelings with shame or self-judgment.
Shaming or harshly judging yourself for your unhappy feelings doesn’t do anything to diminish them. It only makes you feel worse about yourself. Acknowledge that your feelings are valid while working to heal them and get to the other side of them.
78. Spend money on happiness.
Instead of spending your money on junk that will excite you for a short time, spend money on things that will make you happier in the long run. This might be a gym membership, a family vacation, a purchase on something that enhances your life — like a high-quality camera to take pictures of your loved ones.
79. Don’t always demand the best.
There are two types of decisions that you can make. One is making a decision on something that meets your criteria. The second is making the best possible decision. Often just making the decision that meets your criteria, even if it isn’t “the best” available choice, saves you time, energy, and stress.
80. Stop nagging.
Nagging can easily make you angry. Replace nagging with persuasive tools such as negotiating, compromising, or even just doing the task yourself.
81. Stop worrying.
Worrying won’t reduce tomorrow’s troubles, it will only take away from today’s peace and your potential for happiness. Put a rubber band on your wrist to remind you to catch yourself worrying and change your thinking pattern.
82. Accept change.
You will never become what you need to be if you always stay exactly who you are. Life will change whether you want it to or not, but growing along with it is optional.
83. Lose yourself in the things you love.
When you lose ourselves in something that you love, you will find yourself there too. If you have a passion for something, pursue it.
84. Pick the lesser of two evils.
Your perspective tends to gets skewed when you’re depressed. You may lose sight of the things that are good for you. When you are getting over a tough time, you may feel as if you’re choosing between something that’s bad and something that’s worse. Always choose the slightly better option.
Sing in the shower, your car, or anywhere. You will feel better — whether you get a record deal or not.
86. Eat your beans.
Start cooking some fava beans — they have been proven to make you happy! This legume has high concentrations of dopamine, which is an amino acid that will boost your mood and decrease your symptoms of depression.
87. Try some yoga.
Most people have heard about the health benefits of yoga. Find a yoga series on YouTube or a studio to start your own practice.
88. Give compliments left and right.
Making other people feel good will make you feel good also. Even if you don’t love your co-worker’s shirt, .
89. Declutter your life.
Get organized. Get rid of your clutter and rearrange your living and your workspace to make it feel new. It may also inspire you to move forward with future projects.
90. Fake it ’til you make it.
Feelings will follow your actions. If you’re feeling low, deliberately act happy, and you may find yourself actually feeling happier.
91. Do the opposite of what you feel like doing.
For example, if you are annoyed with a friend, do something thoughtful for that person. This will soften your heart and build a deeper connection.
92. Give thanks to the stars.
Look up to the stars on a clear night. For each star you see, think of something that you’re grateful for. Give each star a name based on what you are saying you’re grateful for. On another starry night, try to find those same “gratitude stars.”
93. Pat yourself on the back.
Literally, do this when you do something well. Pat yourself and say, “Way to go.” This will act as a tangible reminder that you did something great,
94. Make a happy folder on your phone.
Create a special “happy folder” of pictures on your phone that make you smile. Whenever you feel miserable or hurt, open your happy folder for a mood boost.
95. Take a 30-second break.
When you feel yourself getting blue or anxious, take a 30-second pause. For the first five seconds, just acknowledge the bad moment. For the rest of the time, let the frustration pass by, and try to take this moment to see the issue for what it is.
96. Stick with it.
You did not get to this unhappy place in one day. Similarly, you won’t get to a happier place in one day either. Make the necessary efforts and you will notice results, even if it takes some time.
97. Acknowledge your progress.
It can be easy to criticize your abilities and progress, especially if you have a co-occurring issue such as anxiety that makes this behavior worse. It is important to acknowledge every new and good thing that comes into your life.
98. Start slowly.
Often, depression leads to a sedentary lifestyle, which can make you stop practicing your healthy habits. Don’t assume that you will jump right back into your normal activities. Give yourself the time you need to slowly get back to your normal self. It is healthy to push yourself, but not too hard.
99. Stop choosing to do nothing.
Every day gives you a new chance to make a choice. Choose to take a new perspective on life. Choose to change your thoughts from negative to positive. Choose to be proud of your work. Choose to live your life to the fullest.
Are you ready to be happy again?
After reviewing the 99 tips listed above, you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact that becoming happy again is completely up to you — and no one else.
So the answer to the question, “Will you ever be happy again?” depends on what you’re willing to do to get to “Yes.”
When it comes to relationships — with other people, with things, or with places — your happiness depends far more on what you put into it than on what you get out of it.
It’s up to you to make yourself happy.
On the flipside, someone else’s unhappiness doesn’t mean you’ve failed them.
If you found these tips helpful, I hope you share them with others you know who are struggling to make their own happiness.
What will you do today to make yourself even a little bit happier than before?