I wish life was merry 100% of the time. Unfortunately, life is not always fun. But does that mean it has to be bad?
I hate feeling down; I know it’s a part of life, and there’s no escaping it. However, many people seem to feel sad for no reason—or stay sad.
Maybe someone pisses you off. Or you make a mistake, and you blame yourself. We let things get to us, even though we know there’s often no reason to get upset.
But we do. There’s no shame in feeling down—but you don’t have to stay down. I find it unacceptable to stay in a bad mood for longer than 5 minutes.
Andy Warhol’s quote from The Philosophy Of Andy Warhol basically sums it up:
“What makes a person spend time being sad when they could be happy?”
When it comes to feeling good, I firmly believe that it’s something you have to generate from within. Many of us just react to outside events.
We think that being in a good mood is something that is determined by other people, the weather, our job, our bank account, or anything else that we don’t fully control.
The only things you control are your actions. You decided to get down about something. That means you can also decide to do something that cheers you up.
Here are 7 things you can try to instantly feel better.
1. Give Yourself A Compliment
Being alive takes hard work. Just think about all the things you do between you wake up and go to bed. It’s no joke.
And your body also works hard — 24 hours a day. Even when you’re sleeping, your body is working hard to recover.
If that’s not worth a compliment, I honestly don’t know what is. Look yourself in the mirror and say: Great job on being alive.
2. Watch Something Funny
Every day I watch something funny because it’s good for you. This is what laughing does to you:
– Relaxes the whole body
– Boosts the immune system
– Decreases stress hormones
– Triggers the release of endorphins
– Protects the heart
Just open up YouTube and watch something funny. I enjoy like comedians like Hannibal Buress, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Jamie Foxx. I also enjoy watching random scenes from The Office, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
“Whenever you’re sad, just remember you will die, afraid & bewildered, & get burned or buried, to rot and be forgotten. Hope that helps :) — Ricky Gervais
3. Listen to 80s music
This is not scientifically proven, so you just have to trust me. 80s music always improves your mood, no question about it. I don’t know why, but it does.
Here are a few that succeed every time:
- Phil Collins — Sussudio
- Bonnie Tyler — Holding Out For A Hero
- Survivor — Eye Of The Tiger
- Whitesnake — Here I Go Again
- Whitney Houston — I Wanna Dance With Somebody
4. Do Pushups Or Go For A Walk
Research shows that your mood improves within 5 minutes after moderate exercise. I can’t think of a better natural energizer than exercise.
My favorite method to quickly improve my mood by exercise is doing pushups. Usually, 3 sets of 25 reps do it for me.
After that, I feel energized to do whatever. If you’re a beginner, try to do 3 sets of 10 reps. Alternatively, you can go for a 20-minute walk at a fast pace.
The good thing about pushups or a brisk walk is that you can do it any time and any place. If you don’t have 20 minutes of spare time, you need to rethink your life.
5. Meet/Call Your Joyous Friend
Do you know people that, no matter what happens, always find something to whine about? Don’t call them. Some people are always negative.
Good news is that there are also people who are always joyous. Give him or her a call and ask how they are. Even better, try to meet them if they are close. I bet they have a good story to share.
If you don’t have joyous friends, it’s time to find one. It’s basic behavioral science: We copy each other’s behavior.
Who’s behavior would you rather copy? A negative person or a joyous person. Not a difficult decision.
6. Make Fun Of Yourself
If you can’t make fun of yourself, you take life way too seriously. I do it all the time.
For example, I have the weirdest taste in music. One moment I’m listening to Bob Dylan, the other moment I’m listening to 2Pac. You should look at my Spotify—it looks like a collection of albums from someone with multiple personality disorder.
If you want to learn how to make fun of yourself, study comedians. They constantly make fun of themselves (and others).
7. Lie Down In Public
I got this idea from Tim Ferriss, and it’s a blast. When I first read about it, I thought it was weird. But that’s exactly the point.
The idea is basically to lie down in a public place. On a sidewalk, in the library, in a Starbucks, a bar, or any other place people ordinarily don’t lie down.
If someone asks what you’re doing, just reply: “I felt like laying down for a second.” Tim Ferriss says: “The less you say, the funnier and more gratifying this will be.”
I recommend to lie down in public for the first time with a friend, or even better, with a group of people. It’s awesome.
“If you want to be happy, be.” — Leo Tolstoy
I don’t care whether you’re 16 or 66, male or female—every can do these things. And if it’s not one of the above things, find something else that improves your mood when you feel down.
Because one thing is sure: We don’t live to suffer, we live to enjoy.
And if none of this stuff works for you — make sure you’re not a robot by watching The Green Mile. If you don’t even feel slightly emotional, you’re definitely made of steel.
Thanks For Reading
I write on Mondays and Thursdays at DariusForoux.com, where I use tested methods and frameworks to share ideas for overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more.