We’ve all been there. Days where nothing seems to be going right, where you seem to have your own personal raincloud following around a la Eeyore, and, can I just go crawl into a hole of misery yet, or what?
If you’re like me, crawling into a hole of misery is your number one tactic. But really, how far does wallowing in our own misery get us… sometimes to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee if we’re lucky? That’s about it. The adult thing to do would be to figure out what exactly it is that’s making us unhappy, and then do everything in our power to stop that thing (or things, let’s be real) from happening.
However… some of us (read: me) aren’t emotionally prepared to be an adult about our unhappiness in the moment, so instead, I’ve prepared a list of ways for you to be happy right now, none of which include dissecting your unhappiness, or hiding in a dark, depressing cave. Because sometimes you just need to shake it off, shake it off, and get happy without seeing your therapist.
1. Call Your Grandma
Seriously, whose grandmother doesn’t love getting a random phone call from one of their grandchildren? My Grams is always “pleased as punch” whenever I pick up the phone to tell her I love her. All it takes is a few minutes. And the sound of her happiness? Guaranteed to lift your spirits. Cute old grandmas are the best. Crotchety old grandmas are pretty great too. Just call your damn grandma.
2. Dance Party
Find your favorite guilty pleasure tune, (I’m looking at you, Taylor Swift) and blast it. BLAST IT. Even thirty seconds should do the trick. Excuse yourself to the restroom, look it up on YouTube, and get down with your bad self in the handicapped stall. Seriously, shake your ass like your life depends on it. Do the running man. Headbang a little. You’ll be like the Clark Kent of moods. Step into the bathroom stall in misery, exit in ethereal happiness.
3. Steal A Dog
Okay, don’t actually steal a dog. Stealing a dog is wrong, and very heartbreaking to said dog and their owner. But find a dog. Walk past a dog park, stop someone walking their dog and ask if you can pet their dog. Borrow someone’s dog for five minutes. Petting a dog can dramatically increase your levels of serotonin. Mucho serotonin? Mucho happiness.
4. Give Yourself A Break
95% of us are our own worst enemies. When we’re unhappy, it’s usually because we’re busy beating ourselves up over something – a job poorly done, that date we went on last week, a job interview we bombed, something we could have done better, but didn’t. Guess what? Shit happens. All the time. Give yourself a break. Treat yoself. Even if you feel like you don’t deserve it. Draw yourself a bath. Crack open one of those craft beers you’ve been saving. Buy that gossip magazine at the store. Eat a fricking truffle and refuse to apologize to your daily calorie intake about it. You deserve happiness, you deserve to treat yourself, you deserve that sweater you’ve been looking at every other day. It’s not super wise to practice this tactic every day, or you’ll wind up broke, and/or fat, and/or on a reality television show – but every once in a while? Remind yourself that you are spectacular, and hell yes, you deserve that piece of cheesecake.
5. Make Someone Else’s Day
Focus on brightening someone else’s day. That’s right, I said it. Right after I told you to be selfish up there, now I’m telling you to be selfless. Get your head out of your ass and think of someone else. Write your best friend who lives across the country a letter, just because. Think of the delight (and maybe confusion) she’ll have on her face when she gets it. Bring your coworker a cup of coffee just because. Drop a post card in the mail. Take someone out to dinner. Bring someone else joy. Giving is (almost) always better than getting. (Almost.)
6. Make A List Of Things You Love
Jot them down. It can be ten things. It can be a hundred things. Just write down a bunch of things that you love, just because. It’s like the 2015 version of singing “My Favorite Things” with Fraulein Maria. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? Red wine, and french fries, and cashmere knit mittens. Sunshine, and whiskey, and Miles Teller too, these are my favorites, how about you?
7. Go For A Run. Or A Walk. Or At The Very Least Get Outside.
Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. Or co-workers, ex-boyfriends, ambitions, dreams, etc. The last thing you want to do when you’re experiencing unhappiness is put on compression leggings and wiggle around – but it’s scientifically proven to boost your mood. Thanks, Legally Blonde.
8. Stop Denying Your Love For ____________________.
Go ahead, stop. Just stop. Stop trying to keep your image cool by not admitting that you love one of the following things: Grey’s Anatomy, pictures of baby animals, Taylor Swift, Valentine’s (the kind you used to give out in class), Judge Judy, Fifty Shades of Grey, Oprah, pink wine, cheap beer, you get the idea. Just let go your faux hatred and embrace how much you love that thing. Binge on it. Roll around in it. See how pretending to hate something really does nothing for your cool factor, and revel in your newfound happiness and brazen adoration for Ariana Grande and her high ponytail.
9. Make A List Of Everything That’s Making You Unhappy
And then burn it. Seriously. Unceremoniously burn that horrible fucking piece of paper and watch your emotions go up in flames with it. Feel the freedom. You are no longer obligated to let those things weigh you down, because they’re now in a pile of sad little ashes, and they can’t do anything to hurt you. Burn that piece of paper, burn it good. Preferably in or near an empty metal garbage can, just in case. And maybe have a glass of water near you…not that I have personal experience with this. Precautions, people. Precautions.
10. Cancel Plans*
What is it about cancelling plans that makes you feel like you just won an Oscar? There is little else in this world that can send your mood soaring the way cancelling plans can. Think of all the things you can do with your time now that you don’t have to go sit at a wine bar for three hours talking about all the things you don’t actually want to talk about since you’re in a terrible mood. The prospect of cancelling these plans should elate you. You’re now free to go to Zumba. Or Netflix your heart out. Or go grocery shopping. The choice is yours, my child. Choose wisely.
*Make sure you use this tactic sparingly, as you never want to be known as a chronic-plan-canceller. Those are the worst.
11. Go To Sleep
When all else fails, just get in bed and go to sleep. Seriously. By now we’ve all heard the age old relationship adage: never go to bed angry. Bullshit. Sleep on that unhappiness. Wake up feeling refreshed. Remember that today is a new day. Yesterday is gone, bro. Let it go. Start new. Put on those shoes you bought yesterday and get to going. You’ve got happiness on your side. And if you don’t? Take this list and rinse, lather, repeat.