Long day? Gloomy weather? Got some bad news? Or just down in the dumps? Bad days happen to even the most positive people. Here are 25 ways to turn that frown upside down. A smile can be contagious, after all. You never know whose day you might be turning around with yours.
1. Pop some peppermint.
Peppermint increases blood flow and stimulates the area of the brain responsible for waking our bodies up in the morning. You can also try sipping on some peppermint tea for an effective boost — the aroma alone is intoxicating!
2. Look away from your computer.
Turn on a timer to take a focal break from your computer at least every 15 minutes. Not only does it give your eyes a break, but you might also return to whatever task you were working on a bit more focused after looking away for a bit. Look at a picture of your kids, your dog, or George Clooney. (We’re going with George Clooney.)
3. Spray some scent.
Make your bed and mist it with your favorite essential oil mixed with water. Take a deep breath as you fluff the pillows. Studies have explored the positive relationship between essential oils and mood. You might even go for a perfume you like that reminds you of a specific person or memory.
4. Open the blinds.
Make sure you have plenty of light streaming in from outside. There’s no worse feeling than being stuck inside behind a computer or desk on a beautiful day, but letting the light in is the next best thing.
5. Go outside.
Even better — if you’re able to, step out for a walk. If it’s cold, bundle up and let the wind hit your face. Fresh air on a beautiful day cures just about anything. A quick walk on a brisk day might give you the pep you’re looking for.
6. View an old home video.
Whether it’s your daughter’s first dance recital or your son’s Eagle Scout ceremony, the video is sure to put a smile on your face. (Or maybe a happy tear at how much they’ve grown!)
7. Create with crayons.
Don’t worry about coloring inside the lines. Whip out your favorite drawing tools, and even your adult coloring books if you have them. If not, go online and look for some pages you can work on. If you prefer to let the creative juices flow, ditch the coloring pages and create whatever will bring a smile to your face.
8. Do what you dread.
Is there something you really don’t want to do today but know you have to? Stop putting it off. Empty the dishwasher. Change the kitty litter. Call your most difficult client. Getting that nagging feeling out of the back of your mind will make your load feel lighter lickety-split.
9. Bust a move.
Crank up your favorite playlist and start dancing. It will get your blood flowing and change the tempo of your day. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, and we promise you won’t be able to keep a straight face. If you crave a bit of social interaction, look into dance classes offered in your area.
10. Ask Alexa to tell you a knock-knock joke.
“Laughter is the best medicine” may sound cliché, but it truly makes you feel good, which can counteract the negative thinking that might be making you melancholy.
11. Drink up.
Make yourself a glass of tart lemonade. Include plenty of ice, grab a reusable straw, sit back, and sip. If you’re looking for more sustenance, break out your blender, some fruits and veggies, and make yourself a smoothie. Not only is it therapeutic to make something from scratch, but the reward is delish!
12. Do something different.
Shake up your routine by doing something that’s out of the ordinary. Take an alternate route to work (even if it lengthens your commute a bit), change your default font from Cambria to Arial, or switch out your computer background image.
13. Say hello to a stranger.
Wave and give good wishes to someone you don’t know, whether it’s someone in another department, a new neighbor, or a fellow grocery shopper. After years of keeping our distance, human connection isn’t something to take advantage of.
14. Forgive someone.
Whether you pick up the phone or just write a note and put it in a drawer, the thought of forgiving someone will free up your mind for more joy. Whether you actually tell that person that you’ve forgiven them is not the point. Forgiveness can be a long, complicated process, but find that release where you can.
15. Put on a statement piece.
Try wearing a bright pink scarf, a chunky gold necklace, or a pair of funky purple sneakers. When you look good, you feel good. And who doesn’t love to receive a good compliment here and there?
16. Search your email for “thank you.”
You probably helped someone in the past and got a note of gratitude. Bring back that great memory to make you feel special today. There’s most certainly something validating about knowing you made someone’s life a little better, even if it was in a small way.
17. Choose one drawer to empty.
If you haven’t used something in a long time, ask yourself why you’re holding on to it. Then let it go! Clearing the clutter in your home helps free the mess in your mind. You’ll feel lighter and more joyful immediately. It’s the perfect time of year for a good spring cleaning, so start sifting through the things that no longer serve you.
18. Take a virtual vacation.
Close your eyes and visualize your favorite spot in the world or a place you’d like to visit. If it’s a beach location, picture the ocean, hear the waves crashing, feel the sand beneath your toes, and smell the sea air. The more senses you can engage, the better. Open your eyes and see how much more cheerful and joyous you feel.
19. Shimmy and shake.
Stand with your hands by your sides, making sure you have plenty of room around you. Then, shimmy your body. Stick out your tongue, move your arms, wiggle your hips, and have some fun.
20. Click unfollow.
Social media can be a great way to stay connected to the ones you love. However, it can, at times, be a breeding ground for negativity. Stop following a social media account that frustrates or bothers you (you’ve been meaning to do this for awhile). Replace it with something that makes you feel joyful.
21. Rearrange the furniture.
Pick one room of your house and go for it. There’s something fun about moving things around and creating a new vibe with the things you already have around you.
22. Put a note in your partner’s pocket.
Write something loving or funny that will make them light up when they find it later. If it’s something that brings you both joy, turn it into a tradition. Leaving notes, whether they be to express your care or simply just to make the person laugh, is a mood booster for sure.
23. Paint your nails bright red.
Or pink or purple or blue or even yellow. Then put on your prettiest sandals or adorn your hands with your favorite rings and bracelets and show off your dazzling new pedicure or manicure.
24. Phone a friend.
Text messaging just isn’t the same as hearing a voice. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. They’re sure to be just as happy to hear your voice as you are to hear theirs. Plus, there’s something about hearing the emotion in a person’s voice that texting just can’t capture.
25. Let someone into your lane on the highway.
Even if they don’t have the right of way. Everyone can agree: The pure euphoria you experience when someone lets you into their lane is pretty much one-of-a-kind and almost always restores your faith in humanity, even if for a moment. Put any sort of road rage on the back burner and be that person for someone today.
A version of this article appeared in our partner magazine Mindfulness for Women.