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15 Small Things That Will Instantly Boost Your Mood

Feeling down? Try one (or more) of these small actions, and watch your outlook instantly brighten.

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When you’re feeling down, simple things can lift your mood and help you feel happier. On those days when you feel like you’ve achieved nothing, take stock of the small wins—and boost your mood in the process.

1. Take a shower (or bath)

Long bubble baths are synonymous with self-care, but even a 10-minute shower can be a mood booster that helps you feel refreshed both physically and mentally.

2. Read for fun

“Fun” being the operative word here. We’re not talking about doom-scrolling the news on your phone. Pick a book you’ve been wanting to read and thumb through a few chapters. This might not be the time for a heavy tome; a detective novel, romance book, or inspiring biography can help shift your mind away from the struggles you’re facing in your own life, even if just for a few minutes.

3. Smile at a stranger

Smiling costs nothing, but it is a serious mood booster. Offering a kind grin can make someone’s day. And plenty of research shows that helping others feel better boosts your own mood.

4. Eat a healthy meal

You don’t need to make an elaborate meal from scratch. But fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods can help your mind and body.

See also: The Anti-Anxiety Diet

5. Journal

Writing your thoughts and feelings down can boost your mood by helping you to process your emotions.

6. Pause in Lion’s Pose

Simhasana relieves tension in the chest and face. It can feel silly but that’s the point—it’s a reminder not to take yourself too seriously.

7. Take a nap

Research suggests that napping is great for improving mood, energy, and productivity while reducing anxiety and physical and mental tension.

8. Buy a houseplant

Greenery gives you something beautiful to look at while purifying the air. And research shows the mood-boosting benefits of being surrounded by plants.

See also: 4 Ways Plants Enhance Your Yoga Practice

"house plants

9. Go outside

Being in nature has a positive effect on your mental health. Natural light exposure stimulates the body’s production of vitamin D and serotonin, both of which play a role in improving your mood.  Even small amounts of time spent outside are have been liked to overall well-being and a decrease in anxiety and depression.

10. Pet an animal

Studies show that petting and playing with animals reduces stress-related hormones in mere minutes. And playing with a dog or cat raises our levels of serotonin and dopamine.


11. Meditate

Meditating restructures your brain and trains it to concentrate, feel greater compassion, cope with stress, and more.

See also: The Big Brain Benefits of Meditation

12. Be Grateful

People who regularly express thanks for the good things in their life are happier, less stressed, and more positive,  leading to lower rates of stress and depression. Write down a few things that you’re grateful for each day, try this meditation.

13. Laugh

Laughter increases the amount of feel-good endorphins that are released by your brain, lowers your stress response, and can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier

14. Ground yourself with lavender oil

Lavender oil promotes relaxation and is believed to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Add a few drops to an essential oil diffuser and allow the relaxing scent to soothe your mind.

15. Paint, doodle, or make some art

Creative pursuits can help you process difficult feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Don’t worry about making something beautiful to show; the process is what matters.

See also: 

Eat Your Way to Happy: How Food Has Mood-Boosting Effects

6 Ways to Achieve a Happier Headspace