10 Little Habits That Make You Feel Happier Than 98% Of People — Even On Annoying Days

Make your happiness and well-being a priority.

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Whether you're dealing with mental health issues, loneliness, or just looking for ways to be happier, there are a number of simple things anyone can do to lift their mood.

As your mood begins to lift — and sooner or later it will — you can make more and bigger changes to your routine. And if you can hold on to these good habits once your mood has lifted, you will continue to feel better.

Here are 10 habits that make you feel happier, even on annoying days.

1. Spend more time with sympathetic friends and relatives

Talking to others about our feelings helps us to process them, put them into perspective, and obtain advice and support. Don’t be afraid to tell people that you need their help, and don't feel guilty for accepting it.


If you feel uncomfortable talking to friends and relatives, or are unable to, you can phone a helpline. Perhaps you prefer not to talk about your feelings at all. Even so, spending time with sympathetic people and doing things together should help to feel a little happier.

habits that make you feel happierPhoto: Anna Tarazevich / Pexels


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2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

When you take on more tasks than you're capable of completing, it can easily feel overwhelming. But instead of feeling like you have to do everything, tackle the smaller, more manageable items on your list.

Also break down large tasks into smaller ones, and set realistic deadlines for completing them. Try to reduce your levels of stress. Don’t blame yourself for "doing nothing"; you are merely giving yourself the time and space you need to get better. Just think of it as taking a step back to jump further.

3. Do more of the things you normally enjoy, even if they no longer seem appealing

Read your favorite childhood book, go shopping or to the movies, prepare a meal, spend time with an old friend — anything that gets you out and takes your mind off negative thoughts is likely to make things better.


Even when it feels like that old habit or interest may not be so fun anymore, the point is that you're doing something that distracts from the daily ups and downs of life. And that, in turn, will make you have a more positive outlook.

4. Get out of the house

Leave your home at least once per day, even if it's only to buy milk or take a walk in the park.

Bright daylight, fresh air, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life can all be very helpful, as can the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. If you can, try to do some mild exercise, such as 20 minutes of brisk walking.

When you take the time to get a little fresh air and change of scenery, you'll do wonders for your state of mind.




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5. Fight off negative thoughts

Make a list of all the positive things about yourself and your situation (you may need help with this), keep it with you, and read it several times a day. Think about all the good things going on in your life right now, and express gratitude for what you do have, not for what you don't.

However bad you may be feeling, remember that you haven't always felt this way, and you won't always feel this way. In other words, this too shall pass.


6. Be realistic about your progress

Improvements in your mood are likely to be gradual rather than sudden, and you may even get worse before you start getting better.

Once you are on the right track, there are going to be bad days as well as good days. Bad days that come after one or several good days may seem all the worse for it. Don’t blame yourself for the bad days and don’t despair. It will get better.

7. Avoid making or acting upon important decisions

This can include leaving your job, getting divorced, or spending a large amount of money at once. While in the throes of unhappiness, thinking errors are likely to impair your judgment.

Instead, take the time you need to make decisions that are life-changing. Think through all the realities of the situation, and how it will impact you down the line. Taking time to make important decisions is just one of many habits that make you feel happier.


habits that make you feel happierPhoto: Wilson Vitorino / Pexels

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8. Get as much sleep as you can

Our bodies need sleep to survive. In fact, sleep deprivation can have devastating effects, including increasing the risk of brain damage, becoming angry, losing your memory, and even hallucinating.


A single good night’s sleep, or even a nice nap, can make a world of difference to your mood. Make it a point to get to bed at a decent hour, and get the rest your body deserves.

9. Make an appointment with a health professional

When you've talked to your loved ones, and done everything in your power to put yourself in a better mood to no avail, remember that there is help available. Enlist the advice and support of your family doctor or a psychiatrist. Maybe ask for counseling and take things from there.

Your mental health is incredibly important, so be sure to always make it a priority.




10. Decide whom to call in an emergency should you feel overwhelmed

This may be a relative or friend, your doctor, or a helpline. Think of a backup in case you can’t reach your primary support. Carry the appropriate telephone numbers on your person at all times, on your phone or in your wallet.

When thoughts of loneliness or unhappiness are prevailing, make it a point to tackle those problems head-on.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, help is available. Reach out 24/7 to SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you.


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Neel Burton M.D. is a psychiatrist, philosopher, frequent contributor to Psychology Today, and author of several books about mental health and psychology.