Have you been feeling a bit down, or flat, recently? Are you looking for some quick and easy ways to feel happy more often? If your answer is ‘yes’, then you are in the right place.
I am in no way an expert on mental-health. I did, however, experience severe anxiety as a teenager and still experience some anxiety off and on, as well as the normal stresses and anxieties of motherhood.
Over the years, I have found a number of things that have really helped boost my mood, both in the short, and long-term. I share them with you in the hope they will help you too.
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1. Time outside
Getting outside in the fresh air never fails to make me feel better. Sometimes, I have to really force myself out of my cosy home and into the great outdoors, when it’s pouring with rain and freezing cold, but it’s always worth it. Even in bad weather, taking a quick 10 minute walk around the neighbourhood gives me a boost.
2. Socialising can help you feel happy more often
We are social beings and most of us thrive on at least some level of human contact!
That being said, we are all different, and the amount of social interaction we need differs. This is also the case with the type of social interactions. It may be that you benefit more from meeting up with one friend at a time, or you might feel happier in a group situation, or perhaps a mixture of the two.
There is no set amount, but for the majority of us, a bit of social time, with people we like, can make us feel happier.
3. Learn a new skill
Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby is another way to improve your mental wellbeing. It can add interest and variety to your life if it’s becoming a bit same-y. Learning a new skill also gives you a nice self – esteem boost and can provide socialising opportunities if you join a group or a class to learn.
4. Discover what it is that makes you feel happy more often
Get to know yourself better and what makes you happy. This one sounds so simple, but so many of us haven’t really taken the time to reflect on what makes us feel happy.
It’s worth considering what you would like to achieve in life. This will help you set goals and find motivation.
Taking time to think about what makes you feel happy and relaxed will also help you find relaxing hobbies and interests for your free time, that can benefit your mental wellbeing.
5. Take Care of yourself
I know many of us switch off at the mention of self-care, but trust me, it’s not all bubble baths and chocolate!
Self-care is personal to everyone and it’s simply about doing things that help you feel better, happier or calmer.
It includes taking care of yourself, including eating, drinking, exercising and sleeping well, and doing activities that help you feel well rested and lower your stress levels. This could be going for a walk in nature, getting your nails done, a coffee date, reading a book, creating something in your workshop, crocheting, crafting, going to a show, anything!
Make a list of your top 10 self-care preferences and keep it handy for when you need it, If you are a busy mom, or dad, with no time for self-care then check out, How to Practice Self Care when you have No Time for some quick and easy ideas.
Sleep is such a big one! When we don’t get enough sleep it affects every part of our lives and health. We feel more tired, run-down and our mood is lower as we lack energy and motivation. Aiming to get enough sleep each night really does help me feel happier.
If your sleep is being affected by your kids then take a look at, How to Help your Kid Sleep Better in 10 steps to help get them falling asleep quicker and happier.
7. Eat right
Making sure that you are eating regularly and aiming for a healthy, well-balanced diet can really help your mood. Certain foods can boost your mood too. Alternatively some foods give you a quick high and then drop you just as quick! The Mental Health Charity, Mind, has a great article, Food and Mood, on the affect food and drink can have on your mental health.
8. Talk and Reflect
Talking and reflecting on our feelings can really help produce breakthrough on specific issues that might be affecting our happiness.
It helps our brains to process specific events, and the day-to-day, to come up with our own solutions to potential problems that might be standing in the way of happiness. This can be done with a close, trusted friend or family member or with a counsellor. It’s worth bearing in mind, there are online options for counselling too if you prefer that to in-person.
9. Make a plan for when you have a dip
We all experience ups and downs in our health throughout life and our mental health is no different.
It’s affected by all sorts of things from our physical health, our relationships, or work, our family life, our achievements, life circumstances, our age and stage of life, the amount of support we have, finances, and even the weather and the seasons.
Expecting our mental health to go up and down, helps us not become too worried when it takes a dip. Having a plan for what can help is a safety net for you. (Of course, this does not replace proper medical attention and seeing a professional if your mental health is in need of that.)
When you’re in a good place, write a plan or road-map to help you find your way back there when you’re in a not-so-good place.
10. Keep a compliments jar
If you struggle with low self-esteem, then this could help you.
I did it as a teenager to help with my self-esteem, which was quite low at the time. Every time someone complimented me, I would write it down on a little slip of paper and add it to the jar. Then whenever I felt really rubbish, I would take a moment to read some of them and remind myself what others think is great about me.
It helped me to see myself through their eyes and gradually this helped build my self-esteem over time.
11. Find mutual support
You are not alone. Remember that.
Sometimes it helps to find like-minded people who you can relate to and share tips with. This could be from taking part in initiatives like Knit and Natter Groups, the ‘Men’s Shed’ or a formal support group. If you don’t fancy in-person meetings or don’t have the time, there are some great ones happening online and at different times of day to suit everyone.
Personally, I find exercise a bit of a pain! However, it is something that we know helps our health, both physical and mental.
If you’re like me, and are not a huge fan of exercise, then it does help to find something you enjoy. Try out a few different ways to keep fit and healthy.
Many people find things like yoga, swimming or walking therapeutic as well as good exercises. You might prefer something a bit more energetic. Its entirely up to you.
If you don’t regularly exercise then I would advise you don’t try to bite off more than you can chew when you start. I’ve done that before and then ended up feeling even worse when I couldn’t stick to my new schedule of exercise classes. A little and often to build it up is the best way.
13. How Self-Talk can help you feel happy more often
Self-talk refers to the way we speak to ourselves in our heads.
If you haven’t already, it’s worth taking some time to tune into how you speak to yourself throughout the day. Do you speak to yourself like you’re a loved young kid, or an adored pet, or a friend? Or do you speak to yourself harshly, critically and disparagingly?
It sounds a bit odd, I know, but it really does make a difference to how you feel.
I used to be so bad for shaking my head and rolling my eyes at myself, or telling myself that I should have figured this out by now. It wasn’t helpful.
Now I try really hard to talk to myself like I would to my little ones. I try to be patient and loving and cut myself some slack. I reassure myself and tell myself ‘it will be ok’, ‘I will figure it out’, ‘I can do hard things’, ‘I have people to help me’, ‘I am not alone.’
All the things I say to reassure and comfort my kids, I have started saying to myself. All the self-belief I try to instil in them, I work on instilling in me too. It actually works so well! Just give it a try and see. It might not happen over-night, but give it a week and see if you notice a change in how you feel.
14. Write down what you are thankful for
Keeping a gratitude journal can really help you focus on the positives in your life.
Take some time each day to record the good you found in it, and then look back over the journal to remind yourself when things seem bleak.
Getting into the habit of focussing on the good, can really help to change your mindset, especially if you are a glass-half-empty kind of person.
If you’re looking for journal ideas, this one from Clever Fox, on Amazon, is a complete Self-Care Journal with guided exercises to help you get more out of life and feel happier long-term.
15. Create a sanctuary
This one can help a lot if you feel overwhelmed.
Find a small area of your home that feels calm. Mess can make us feel more stressed, so try to keep this little area clutter free. Put in things that help you feel calm and happy. Find things that bring you joy or that you find beautiful.
This doesn’t have to be expensive to create, or take up much room. It can just be a small corner of your bedroom or lounge.
Having a beautiful area to retreat to when you need it, can have a really positive affect on your mental wellbeing.
16. Do a random act of kindness
Helping other people almost always make us feel better too.
It doesn’t have to be something big, expensive or time-consuming.
Picking some flowers from your garden to give to a friend, paying for the coffee of the person behind you in the queue, donating your time, money or no-longer-needed belongings to a local charity can all make a positive difference to someone else’s day. Even smiling at someone you pass in the street, can give you both a boost.
17. Spend time in nature to feel happy more often
Time outside in nature always makes me feel better. Whether it’s the forest, the beach, or just the local park; a bit of nature helps me slow down and relax.
It’s a great thing to do with kids too, as they thrive on time outside, exploring their world. If you’re heading out in nature with your kids in the Spring time, then be sure to grab a copy of my FREE Spring Nature Hunt checklist, so they can play and learn at the same time!
Listening to music can help you feel happier.
There’s no right or wrong type of music. Just pick whatever music you enjoy and spend some time listening to it. It could be that you enjoy different types of music at different times. I enjoy music with a good beat when I’m motivating myself to clean or exercising, but prefer quieter, more relaxed music in an evening. Experiment a bit and see what works for you.
Now, I’m not encouraging this as a general life coping mechanism, but a little escapism from time-to-time never hurt anyone! Occasionally getting lost in a movie, Netflix series, or novel during a stressful time in your life can help lower your stress and anxiety levels and give your body a break from that stress hormone.
20. Breathing Exercises
Feeling stressed and anxious can greatly reduce your happiness.
If you struggle with stress and anxiety, as I do from time to time, then the good news is that there are so many things wer can do to help ourselves. Breathing exercises are one of the most basic and quickest techniques to learn to really help us in-the-moment.
If you’re not sure where to start with them, then check out Healthlines, 10 Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief and More for a step-by-step guide to 10 different types of breathing techniques.
In our busy, modern lives, we often forget how to slow down and simply be.
Mindfulness is simply tuning into how your body and mind is feeling and taking time to reflect without judgement. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, and make you feel happy more often, as you feel more at peace with yourself.
To learn more about mindfulness and where to begin with it check out, Getting Started with Mindfullness, on Mindful.
22. Long-term solutions to feel happy more often
One of the best ways to feel happy more long-term, is to get to know yourself better.
Make a conscious effort to look for patterns of behaviour and times of the year, or particular days, or seasons of life when you struggle more than normal. Is there a pattern?
When I did this, I realised that I really struggled in the winter, when it’s dark and cold. Realising this, I was able to research Seasonal Affective Disorder and get more tailored solutions to help myself.
Life events and specific circumstances can also trigger low mood. Identifying your triggers can help, as you can either eliminate them if possible, work around them, and/or increase your selfcare and support during these times.
Knowing my triggers means I can pre-empt them and do things to lessen the effect. This keeps my mental wellbeing ticking along nicely.
23. Get the support you need
When you feel low (and it is when, not if, as we all go through low patches in our lives), it’s important to reach out for help when you need it.
Talking about how you feel with a close friend or family member can really help. If you feel more comfortable talking to someone unanimously, then check out the Samaritans service. It’s completely free and their helpline is open every single day, 24 hours a day, and completely free. Call them on 116 123, or check out their other confidential services, like email, letter or their app.
You never have to go through it alone. It is a definite sign of strength to ask for help, so if you need it, please ask.
Feel happy more often
I hope this article has helped you develop simple strategies to feel happy more often. If you’re looking for more ideas to improve your mental wellbeing as a mom, then keep an eye on the ‘looking after mom’ section, or sign up to the weekly newsletter below to stay up-to-date on new posts.