How to Cheer Up

Three Methods:Changing Your PerceptionCreating a Cheerful EnvironmentChanging Your Lifestyle

If you're in a bad mood, you may feel as though you'll never get out of it. Fortunately, your thoughts have a lot of control over your mood. In fact, they have so much power over your mood, that they can even affect the way you physically feel.[1] Your brain processes between 50,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day.[2] Use these to change your perception and cheer up.

Method 1
Changing Your Perception

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    Stop thinking about your situation. Avoid ruminating, or dwelling, on your situation too much, which can make you feel worse by making you feel stuck in a negative cycle.[3] Rumination can prevent you from thinking effectively and problem solving. It also has a strong link to depression.[4] If you find yourself stuck in a certain pattern of thinking, try distracting yourself with other activities or thinking about things that are in your immediate surroundings. For example, look around you and notice the lighting, or buildings on your way to work.[5]
    • Try to refocus your thoughts on what you can change or influence. This can remind you that you're in control of your situation and your own happiness.
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    Reframe your situation or mood. Reframing is a term counselors use to get you to look at your situation in a new light or from a different angle.[6] You might try looking for the silver lining in your situation, remembering what you've learned, or finding humor in a less than optimal situation. Or, if you are just in an odd mood and feel grumpy, you can remind yourself that not everyday is a cheery day and that tomorrow will be better.
    • For example, if you’re sad after a breakup, you might remind yourself that although the end of the relationship has been painful, you learned a lot about yourself through the process.
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    Practice gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude, a moral outlook, or even a daily practice that shows thankfulness. It can also mean showing appreciation and repaying kindness. Try being grateful throughout the day by setting a reminder on your phone. When prompted, take a moment to be thankful for one thing that day. Or, just notice things throughout the day to be grateful for. These can be small things, like finding a close parking spot or seeing a beautiful sunrise. At the end of the day, write down 3 things that you were thankful for that day.
    • Being grateful can put you in a mood of thankfulness and optimism. Studies have shown that it can also improve your well-being and interpersonal relationships.[7]
    • Studies have also shown that gratitude can make you feel more optimistic about the future and improve your outlook.[8]
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    Cuddle your pet. Set aside time to spend cuddling or petting your dog or cat. Or, spend time with your pet by playing a game, if you prefer being active. Research shows that pets and spending time with pets can alleviate poor moods. In fact, spending time with a pet improved mood just as much as spending time with a loved one or significant other.[9]
    • Not only will cuddling your pet cheer you up, but it can also strengthen your bond with your pet.

Method 2
Creating a Cheerful Environment

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    Make your space more comforting. Surround yourself with things that cheer you up, your favorite images, mementos, plants, or books. Don't forget to improve your lighting. Some people that suffer from seasonal affective disorder experience symptoms of depression if they don't have enough sunlight. If you are in a dim room, open up a window for some natural light. Or, if you are using artificial light, try lighting a lamp or candle to cheer you up.
    • If you are at work and in a poor mood, you can try to introduce things from home to make you feel more comfortable. These might be pictures or a certain air fragrance. You can even try bringing your favorite tea as a warm, soothing reminder from home.
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    Make your space smell good. Even if your house doesn’t smell bad, a good smelling candle or favorite fragrance can lift your mood. Try aromatherapy, inhaling or topically applying essential oils, to cheer you up and reduce stress.[10] Studies have found that lemon oil in particular elevates and improves mood,[11] while bad smells in general make you feel tense, depressed, or angry.
    • Researchers are uncertain about what makes essential oils and aromatherapy effective. But, they believe that receptors in your nose stimulate parts of your brain which control emotions and memories.[12]
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    Clean up your space. Spend some time cleaning or re-organizing your home or office. Research has shown that having clutter in your apartment or at work can increase your stress level greatly which can bring down your mood. Try to declutter the space, which can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.[13] Donate, throw out, or recycle things you no longer need or want.
    • You might even find that organizing things to make them more functional may cheer you up.
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    Decorate with color. Color can greatly impact your mood. Consider painting a few rooms or adding decorative elements with a cheerful color to lift your spirits. Yellow is a good choice for brightening a space, while shades of pink might make you feel more playful.[14][15] Don't think that you have to use the brightest, boldest shade of the color. Even a pale yellow can help you cheer up.
    • Try balancing several shades of cheerful colors. For example, you could alternate yellow and orange stripes to make a room feel more energetic and welcoming.[16]

Method 3
Changing Your Lifestyle

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    Change what you're doing. If you're unhappy because you feel stuck in a rut, try doing something different. Sometimes just getting out of your current activity can alter your mood.[17] For instance, if you've been in back-to-back meetings throughout your day with no free time, treat yourself to a funny movie at the end of your day. Changing what you're doing can work wonders on your mood.
    • For example, if you’ve been in a desk chair or on the couch all day, your mood might be low because your body needs some physical activity. Get up, go for a walk, and enjoy the change of pace.
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    Go outside. If you think your poor mood is stress related, get outside to reduce stress and lift your mood. Try going for a walk in the park, or you can visit a garden or arboretum if you live in a city. Being outside can greatly improve your mood. Studies have found that having the opportunity to go outside or visit a garden reduces levels of cortisol, a hormone your body releases when you're stressed.[18]
    • Don't wait for the perfect day or weather before going outside. Grab an umbrella and take a walk in the rain. Just being outdoors can cheer you up.
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    Exercise. Get in a work out, play one of your favorite sports or activities, or just be more active in your daily routine. Studies have shown that exercising improves mood by signalling your body to release “feel-good” neurotransmitters into your brain. Even just 5 minutes of aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety.[19] Working in some physical activity can cheer you up by getting those neurotransmitters pumping.
    • For example, if you take your dog for a walk, extend the walk and let yourself enjoy being outside. Or, you can call up some of your friends and get a game of pickup basketball going.
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    Do something that makes you smile. Studies have shown that smiling can improve your mood,[20] even if you're in a bad mood to begin with. Even if you don't feel like smiling, remind yourself that just the act of smiling can cheer you up. Find activities that will cause you to smile, such as watching a funny TV show or movie. Or you can talk with a friend who you know always makes you laugh or smile.
    • If you can't take the time out to watch something or talk with someone, just practice smiling when you can.


  • Everyone gets in a bad mood sometimes. Remind yourself that things will look up soon enough.
  • Try to be open with people offering support. Don't pull away from hugs and other comforting gestures unless they make you sadder.
  • Learning how to be optimistic is a good way to ensure cheeriness in the long run.
  • Share the problem with someone close.
  • Take deep breaths to calm down.
  • Think about nice memories.


  • Make sure that whatever you do to cheer up doesn't turn into an escape or addiction.
  • If your bad mood or negative thoughts persist for an extended period of time, see a doctor. This is a possible indication of clinical depression. Clinical depression can be medically treated, but can result in serious consequences if left untreated.

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