How to Feel Happier in 30 Days
It’s February. It’s still freezing cold. And we haven’t seen the sun in approximately five months. We’re in need of a major mood boost. Here, 30 easy ways to raise your spirits.
Day 1: Sniff A Grapefruit
Did you know? Smelling citrus can help reduce stress and decrease overall mood disturbance. (Pass the grapefruits, please!)
Day 2: Comment on Your Bestie’s Pics
A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University shows that interacting with friends on Facebook actually increased users’ feelings of well-being. So go ahead, let Jules know you “LYSM.”
Day 3: Hit the Gym
A half hour of cardio isn’t just great for your overall health—it also helps release endorphins that boost your mood long after that sweat sesh.
Day 4: Skip the Extra Episode
Sure, we’re all guilty of binge-watching shows here and there. But when eight episodes of Breaking Bad eat into your sleep, it’s time for a change. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of shut-eye to avoid any crankiness the next day.
Day 5: Buy Yourself Flowers
The easiest way to brighten your mood? Create a cheery environment with a fresh bouquet.
Day 6: Have Some Fun with Fido
Don’t have your own four-legged friend? Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog for an hour, since people with pets are proven to be generally happier than those without.
Day 9: Google the Outdoors
Can’t get outside? Interestingly enough, even just looking at pictures of green spaces can help improve mood and reduce stress.
Day 10: Meditate
Sitting in silence for 15 minutes can seem pretty tough at first, but taking time each day to relax and focus can reduce stress, pain and depression.
Day 11: Add an Extra Serving of Fruits and Veggies
Not only are they good for your physical health, they can also improve mental health as well.
Day 13: Pour a Cup of Joe
Go ahead, have a second cup. The Journal of the American Medical Association says that coffee has been proven to reduce the risk of depression by 20 percent over a ten-year span.
Day 14: Listen to this Song
The song “Weightless” by Marconi Union was actually created with stress reduction in mind, and was shown to reduce listeners’ anxiety by a whopping 65 percent. Permission to listen on repeat: granted.
Day 15: Book Your Next Trip
Day 16: Watch a Silly Video
Think of this as your excuse to watch cat videos at work: They could be the ticket to better productivity (and a good laugh), according to one study from the University of New South Wales. Participants who completed tedious tasks with a short LOL clip in between (versus a neutral video clip) were able to concentrate twice as long.
Day 17: Bite off Some Dark Chocolate
It’s packed with mood-lifting polyphenols and blood-pressure-decreasing antioxidants. Oh, and it’s damn delicious.
Day 18: Do Some Stretching
Not only will it help increase flexibility and benefit your posture and muscles, it also reduces blood pressure, which can help combat stress.
Day 19: Freak Out
When all else fails, releasing some negative energy can help you bounce back from a stressful day. Scream into a pillow, yell out the window, take a kickboxing class…whatever it takes to get it out of your system.
Day 20: Eat a Pickle
Whether you’re at a dinner party or going on a date, several studies conducted at the University of Maryland and William and Mary found that fermented foods (pickles, yogurt, kimchi) can lessen anxiety.
Day 21: Keep a Journal
There’s something cathartic about sitting and jotting down your thoughts, but you don’t have to commit to a full-blown dairy. Just write a couple notes to reflect on your day, week or even month.
Day 22: Give Thanks
Phil from Finance helped you figure out your taxes? Showing gratitude isn’t only great for the recipient, it’s also a major mood booster for you. Win-win.
Day 23: Do Some Deskercizes
Not only will it help improve your posture and give you a few minutes to de-stress, it also releases endorphins.
Day 24: Add Color to Your Ensemble
Yes, you can pull off bright and sunny yellow. It’ll help you stay cheery and keep your spirits up even on the grayest of days.
Day 25: Send a Handwrittten Note
Having a pen pal can brighten your mood and give you something to look forward to. Plus, snail mail is the best.
Day 26: Grab Drinks with an Old Friend
There’s nothing quite like catching up with a long-lost pal to make you feel satisfied and fulfilled…especially when you’ve been meaning to for, like, months. Make a point to follow through, even if it means skipping the gym (we won’t tell).
Day 27: Pamper Yourself
A massage, a manicure or just a sheet mask and The Bachelor on the DVR: Indulging in some R&R can have a big impact on overall mood.
Day 28: Cancel Plans
OK, we know we said you should grab drinks with a friend. But it’s also fine to bail if you’re feeling overwhelmed. According to one study published in the British Journal of Psychology, flaking out can actually make you happier since it gives you that necessary me-time you’ve been craving all day. (Self-induced guilt trip not included.)
Day 29: Channel Your Inner Yogi
Nope, you don’t have to be a master of the scorpion pose to know that yoga can relax the mind and body and reduce stress. Start with some super-easy moves (child’s pose, anyone?) and feel the anxiety melt away.
Day 30: Choose Happiness
Yep, life’s little hiccups can get us down. But opting for, well, optimism, can make a world of a difference in your life and the lives of those around you. Go on, get happy.