30 Proven Ways To Feel Better Instantly When You’re Down

Take care of yourself to be healthier and happier.

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Life can be stressful and downright hard at times — not to mention, you're living through a global pandemic right now.

Who doesn't want to feel better and less depleted, disconnected, or anxious?

When you're juggling all the parts of your life and the many worries on your mind, it's easy to let self-care take a backseat. Expecting to have a fantastic day every day seems highly unrealistic.

If you don't create the space for your well-being and take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, you'll become more easily overwhelmed and out of balance.


Feeling overly stressed or down in the dumps can take a toll on your life, including relationships, work, and even cause you physical symptoms, like stomach trouble, aches and pains, and headaches.

It's time to pay attention to the little things you're doing to sabotage yourself, so you can get on a healthy and happier path. Feeling good doesn't have to be hard.

Here are 30 proven ways to feel better instantly when you're down:

1. Practice saying, "No"

Say, "Yes," to yourself by cutting out activities and interactions that bring you down. Instead, do something that will lift you up.


2. Drink a glass of water

Flush out toxins, send hydration to your cells, and get energized with eight glasses a day.

3. Choose a healthy snack.

Resist the urge to sit down with a bowl of ice cream or a bag of Doritos. Choose a mood-boosting treat, like a square of dark chocolate or a handful of cherries.

4. Move your body

Take a few minutes to get your blood pumping with some jumping jacks or a walk around the block. Even a few sun salutations will loosen tired muscles while calming and lifting your spirits.

5. Smell the roses

Engage your olfactory system and inhale the delightful scents of gardenia, honeysuckle, jasmine, or rose. These flowers smell so good and they'll make your brain happy!


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6. Plan a date.

One of the best ways to gain hope is to have something to look forward to doing. Make a date with someone — either by phone or video chat.

You'll find yourself daydreaming about how fantastic it will be, and that can make the feel-good feelings linger longer.

7. Watch a comedy

Laughter is the best medicine for an emotional slump.

So, skip the news and turn on Comedy Network. Just one joke, and you'll be smiling — guaranteed!

8. Call a supportive friend or loved one

When you're blue, the right friend knows exactly what to say. Phone someone who will listen with a compassionate ear.


Sometimes, just saying your feelings out loud can help you to process them and get you moving past them.

9. Read a book

Snuggle under a blanket and escape into the characters of a novel. Let their stories warm your heart, or give you a new perspective and gratitude.

10. Look at a work of art

Creativity — whether it's on the wall in a museum or displayed on your refrigerator door — can fill you with wonder and pride.

Notice the colors, lines, and tones, and let them speak to you.

11. Give yourself a pedicure

You don't have to go to a spa for a full-day event to feel good. Giving your feet some love can take minutes!

Start with a warm soak with Epsom salts and scrub away dead skin cells with peppermint or grapefruit to wake up your senses.


12. Listen to music

Music stirs the soul. Put on the radio or your headphones, sit back and chill as the notes and the beat take you away.

13. Sing out loud

Singing makes you happier, according to science. Do it often and don't be afraid to belt out your tunes.

You'll feel more positive, confident, and ready to take on your next challenge.

14. Put on a dance party

Why not combine music, singing, and movement? Besides increasing cardiovascular health and flexibility, it can ease anxiety and improve social connectivity.

15. Take a short nap

When you're physically and mentally spent, a quick nap can give you the pause you need. Feel refreshed and renewed, eager to get your day on track with a new perspective.


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16. Extend an act of kindness

Donate to a charity, pick up groceries for a neighbor, or pay it forward in the drive-through line, and you'll be amazed at the rewards these simple acts of kindness can bring to you.

17. Play a game

Remember spending hours putting together a 500-piece puzzle or strategizing over Monopoly? Dust off some old boxes and pull out some cards, and get your brain working differently today.

Solo? Crosswords or Solitaire work fine.

18. Go to bed early

Pretend you're in a luxurious hotel — put on your silkiest pajamas and an eye mask, dab on some lavender body lotion, and tuck yourself in an hour or two before your usual time.


You'll float yourself to sleep and feel fantastic in the morning!

19. Put down your phone

Don't look at your phone for a few minutes. Better yet, leave it in another room. Turn off your notifications and feel the freedom.

20. Hug a loved one

Physical touch increases your sense of well-being. Since hugs are scarce during a pandemic, they're even more needed for our emotional health.

If it's safe to do so, give someone in your bubble a hug. If that's not possible, curl up with a pet, provide a video virtual hug, or go for some self-love.

21. Forgive someone — and yourself

Harboring unresolved feelings can hang over you like a dark cloud. Commit to letting go of resentment, and feel the weight lift from your shoulders.


Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Compassion will lift your mood now, and it will be life-altering.

22. Take up a hobby

Pick up your knitting needles or boxing gloves the next time you're feeling stressed.

You'll be giving yourself a healthy outlet for your energy and creating something of value.

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23. Deal with chronic pain

If pain is interfering with your joy, it's time to find ways to tackle it head-on — or at least divert your attention.

Talk to your doctor, look into alternative approaches, and meditate to help your brain process your pain.

24. Get some sunshine

Being trapped indoors can give you the blues, especially in winter. But, regardless of the weather, a little sunshine and vitamin D can give you an instant feeling of happiness.


Start your day with sunlight on your face and give yourself some more sunshine when you need a mood boost.

24. Lift some weights

Start small and get a spotter, or try some lighter options at home.

Pumping iron can increase your endorphins and lower cortisol — both are great for a temporary emotional high and long-term emotional well-being.

25. Take a break

Sometimes, just permitting yourself to chill out is all you need to feel good. Step away from what you're doing, put up your feet, take the pressure off yourself, and recharge in every way.

26. Bond with a pet

Having a pet helps you live longer. They lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and fend off loneliness.


If you can't have a pet of your own to snuggle with, visit a friend's pet or check out a doggie park, and release some endorphins.

27. Meditate

The first time you meditate might feel awkward. But as you ease into it, you'll feel more curious and less judgmental, and more connected to and accepting of your true self.

28. Pray

Whether you're religious or not, praying to a higher power can calm you down and create a sense of peace.

It might be because you feel a presence or simply because you're breathing deeply and giving yourself over to the moment.

29. Journal

Writing can be therapeutic, so curl up with a beautiful notebook and pen, and pour out your heart and soul.


Journaling helps to process your emotions, and you'll notice by the time your pen lifts from the page, you're already feeling a little bit better!

30. Just breathe

You can do this when you're at a stoplight, at your desk, or in line at the supermarket.

Try this simple exercise:

  • Put a hand on your stomach or over your heart.
  • Say to yourself, "I breathe in calm," and breathe into your abdomen.
  • Let yourself experience your breath before you say, "I breathe out stress."
  • Repeat this several times, and you'll feel calmer and less triggered.

If you struggle with panic attacks, breathing while lying on your stomach helps. It slows your breathing down, so you don't hyperventilate.


Forget to breathe? Create a Post-It reminder and stick it on your laptop or another conspicuous space.

Make a note of the items that resonate with you and create a "feeling good" plan. Try one today and then another.

Notice how you feel when you take care of yourself. Soon, you'll have the awareness and momentum to tip the scale and feel better every day.

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Lisa Petsinis is a certified life and career transformation coach who works with women to get unstuck, empower them to achieve their goals, and live a fulfilling life.