22 Activities that make you happy: Easy ways to improve your mood on demand

There are times that events might not be going as we would like. But by doing these activities that make you happy, you can change your mood from gloom to sunny. These are easy ways to improve your mood instantly, whenever you want.

activities that make you happy

The methods that will be discussed in this post are backed with scientific proofs. And as you will discover, very potent and effective in making you happier.

We all know the importance of being happy. When we are happy, we are in better health. We are creative, and we see more possibilities in our lives.

When we are happy, it is easier to be positive. It is easier to be resilient, and as a result, it is easier to achieve our goals. These are all among the benefits of being positive.

Without further ado, let’s see what these mood-boosting activities are. The activities that can quickly push you from blue to sunny in a matter of seconds.

The 22 Scientifically-backed mood-boosters you can do to change your mood instantly

  1. Re-appraise whenever you need to

The act of re-appraising is so important that we had to dedicate a whole post to it. We discussed the step by step and frameworks of how to re-appraise different situations as a way to improve positive thinking.

When you are in a situation that is making you sad, the best way to start feeling better and happier is to start re-appraising the situation.

Make a list of the pros of the situation and give less thought to the cons.

For instance, if you lose money while conducting a business deal, a good re-appraisal of the situation might be; “I am definitely in this position because I am here to learn something from this experience. As a result of this, I will be stronger, smarter, and better in doing future dealings”.

  1. Exercise to boost endorphin

exercise happiness

When next you are feeling gloom, it might be a good idea to drop down and do two sets of push-ups. In no time, you will start feeling happier automatically.

When you do any form of exercise, feel-good hormones such as endorphin and dopamine are secreted in the brain.

They are called feel-good hormones because when they are secreted in the brain, they make you feel good about yourself.

Weiyun Cheng and Zhanjia Zhang of the University of Michigan found a positive correlation between the volume of exercise and happiness.They did this by reviewing 23 studies linking physical activity and happiness.

A lot of other health benefits have been associated with exercising regularly. Also, studies have revealed that people that exercise regularly are likely to make better life decisions. And these decisions will make them happier in the long run.

An example of happiness-boosting exercise is HIIT (high-intense interval training). This is a type of exercise that will give you a quick burst of endorphin and dopamine to improve your mood in the long-term.

Irrespective of whether you don’t exercise before, there are some HIIT for beginners that are easy to do and don’t require any types of equipment.

  1. Meditate

activities that make you happy meditate

Have you ever seen a sad monk?

Well, this is one advantage that Buddhist monks have over us.

Meditation can make you happier because it has been shown by studies to have the ability to reduce stress and make you more focused.

When next you are feeling stressed, bored, or sad, it will be a good thing to stop whatever you are doing and take just two minutes and observe your breaths as you inhale and exhale. Short-term meditation has been shown to improve your mood by improving positive emotions.

Also, meditation has been found to physically change the brain chemistry of long-term meditators and set it up for long-term happiness by making it wired for positive emotions. This was revealed by a study in 2004 by Lutz et al when the brain of eight long-term Buddhist practitioners was scanned.

Meditation also boosts dopamine levels in the brain and this is a vital neurotransmitter that induces happiness.

  1. Listen to your favorite song and sing along

activities that make you happy

Our emotions can become tied to the music we are listening to at the moment. This was revealed by a study in UCLA. Listening to upbeat, happy music, which is usually in major keys can result in faster breath which is a physical sign of happiness.

Also, a research published in the Journal of positive psychology found that the participants who listened to upbeat and happy music successfully raised their positive mood.

So, go ahead and create a killer upbeat-music playlist.

Take the time to sift through your music gallery and make a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs. This is so that anytime you are feeling blue; you can listen to those songs that lift your mood, non-stop.

Don’t stop at only listening to the music, sing along LOUDLY to it. Before you know it, you are happier and feeling good already.

  1. Dance along to a song

Dancing feels good in itself.

The reason for this is still pretty obscure.

Maybe it is the rhythm, or the different body movement coordination that is associated with dancing.

A study by Zajenkowski published in the European Journal of Sports Science found that the participants that took part in recreational dancing have uplifted and more creative mood after dancing.

Several similar studies around the world have linked dancing to happiness. One study conducted in Greece found that women diagnosed with breast cancer showed a decrease in depression and an increase in happiness and life’s satisfaction when they participated in dance therapy.

You don’t need to be a professional dancer to move your body to the rhythm. Whenever you feel like it, irrespective of whether there are people around or not, happiness is a good motivator for you to dance.

Also, as an additional bonus, dancing to the stage where you break a sweat is a good form of exercise that aids sugar metabolism in the body.

  1. Go to your garden and get busy

Gardening is a very good grounding activity. It enhances positive feelings by clearing out negative channels of energies in the body.

If you live in a spacious environment, and you don’t have a place in your backyard, or front yard, that is dedicated for growing flowers or plants, then it is time to seriously consider getting one.

If you are still in doubt, take the words of Soga et al who conducted a meta-analysis in 2016 on 26 various studies from USA, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. All these studies linked gardening to well-being.

The study confirmed that gardening has a positive impact on various health outcomes. This includes; reduction in depression, increase in quality of life, life satisfaction, and sense of community.

“A regular dose of gardening can improve public health” – Soga et al, 2016

  1. Take a walk

positive thinking

One of the easiest things you can do to boost your mood is to go for a walk outside. Much more powerful is to take the walk in nature and look at objects that are far away.

A study conducted on 156 people with depression symptoms found that participants thatt took a brisk 30-minute walk, three times a week, showed improvements in their symptoms as much as those participants on depression medication. Also, the research found that 65.5% of the participants that took daily walks were totally cured of the depression symptoms after 16 weeks.

Another study also found that taking just a 12-minute walk without nature around is bound to boost your mood.

  1. Play with your pet

positive thought

In a research conducted by psychology today, and other studies that were reviewed, it was found by the researchers that pet owners stand to gain a lot of benefits when it comes to social support.

One of those benefits is that pet owners tend to be happier and have a greater self-esteem.

If you don’t have a pet, you should consider getting one.

If you have one at home, whenever you are feeling down, it is time to get physical contact with your pet. This act has the power to lift your mood.

  1. Watch your favorite movie or go to the cinema and catch the latest blockbuster

Going to the cinema to catch a movie would not only get you out of the house, it will also boost your mood in the process.

And why go to the cinema alone?

You can take your loved ones along or go with a friend and that will serve as an opportunity to catch up and bond.

If you are not able to go to the cinema, you can always count on your favorite movies that are on Blu-ray and DVD.

Watching re-runs of your favorite TV shows is another thing you can look forward to and use to brighten your day.

Also, if you are a film buff, there are some movies that classified as “feel-good” movies. These movies have the tendency to lift your mood.

  1. Watch something funny

Laughter is the best medicine for sadness.

Another way to instantly become happy is by laughing. And the quickest way to laugh is to watch something that is funny.

Funny things can range from a comedy movie, a standup comedy show, funny clips on youtube to viral comedy skits on social media like cats freaking out at the sight of a cucumber (that usually cracks me up).

The aim here is to start laughing immediately. This method always works like a charm and this is my go-to method for instant happiness.

  1. Jump up, jump on a trampoline, rebound on a mattress, or skip a rope

activities that make you happy

Even Bill Gates knows the usefulness of trampolining to keep those happy hormones flowing. He admitted that he has a room in his house specifically dedicated to trampolining on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

Jumping, tumbling, trampolining, and skipping are all fun-type of exercise that is going to release a burst of endorphins in your brain, which will make you happier as a consequence.

When you look at it from a kid’s perspective, you see that most adults are missing out on all the happy exercise and the fun.

When you want to increase happy feelings instantly, jump on your mattress (if you don’t have a trampoline at home). You will definitely feel like a kid again and not only that, you will feel happier than before, you will feel less stressed out, and you will experience less anxiety.

  1. Spend time with loved ones or socialize

happy couple

Due to the advancements in technology, our busy lifestyles, in this age, most people don’t have tactile contact with human beings anymore.

There are now smartphones and social media that some people have used to replace the people in their lives.

Humans are social animals. We are creatures that thrive on contact with others. Unfortunately, the time we as human spend with each other have been greatly reduced lately.

When there is this type of gap in our lives, that is, spending most of our time with our devices, one of the side effects is depression.

This might be what you need to get a boost emotionally and mentally, in the positive direction.

Stop being a stranger and spend quality time with your loved ones. You will find that you are automatically and instantly feeling better than you did before.

  1. Make a gratitude list

In an attempt to see why grateful people are generally happier, researchers at the University of Miami asked a group of participants to make a list of what they were grateful for during the week in a few sentences.

Another group was asked to list what irritated them during the course of the week. A third group served as the control group and was asked to write about events that affected them without focusing on whether it being positive or negative.

It was found that the group that made a weekly gratitude list were feeling better, more optimistic, exercised more, and visited the doctor’s office less.

No matter how bad circumstances are, I believe that everybody has something they can be thankful and grateful for.

Showing gratitude for the good things, no matter how small, will feel your head mostly with good images and memories. And as a result of this, you will feel happier and more satisfied with your life.

Get a small notebook and name it your gratitude notebook. The purpose of this book is that whenever you are feeling sad, go to a fresh page in the book and start listing those things you are thankful for in your life (list at least three things for a start).

  1. Do a selfless act

Numerous studies have been conducted on the act of helping others and its relationship with happiness. And what these studies concluded was that givers reported being happier people than non-givers.

In a study on over 2000 people, sociologists found that people that are classified as very happy volunteered at least 5.8 hours every month.

Also, science has revealed that aside from being happy, helping others also helps to prevent chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, promotes positive behaviors, and gives a sense of purpose and overall life’s satisfaction.

Helping others will make you happy. It’s as simple as that. So, acts of selflessness like volunteering at a shelter, donating money to a charitable cause, are all ways that you can do right now to instantly lift your mood.

  1. Take a power nap

Power naps are especially most powerful when they are taken mid-day. In the afternoon, when the stress of the day’s work and your to-do list start getting you, power naps can serve as a very potent bail-out.

In today’s society, most adults do not get enough sleep. All we’ve been programmed to do is to work, work, and work.

So, the idea of napping during working hours is awkward to some people. What these people don’t know is that a short nap during the day has been found by NASA to boost alertness by 54% and thereby increasing productivity.

Also, when over 1000 study participants were asked to rate their happiness based on their nap times, it was found that 67% of short nappers (sleeping for less than 30 minutes during the day) reported being happier.

An ideal power nap would be 10-20 minutes long and between 2 pm and 4 pm in the afternoon.

  1. Read a captivating novel indoors, or outside if you are up for it

activities that make you happy

Good novels have a way of transporting us into other realms. When you get a hold of a really captivating, you tend to forget your worries and get lost in that world.

Books have a way of motivating and bring us comfort when we are feeling down. This was confirmed in a study at the University of Liverpool in the UK when avid novel readers reported greater feelings of happiness, life’s satisfaction, and better connections with other people. Also, 27% of the participants reported being inspired to make a life decision from a novel.

Picking up a novel and reading it outside has a lot of benefits. This is due to the fact that you get some sunlight, a dose of nature, and you also exercise and enrich you mental faculties all at the same time.

  1. Cook a meal from scratch, paint, draw, or any other act of creation

improve happy mood

When you create something with your hands, you often feel better.

Cooking from scratch involves physical movement on your part, and at the same time, it is a basic act of creation.

This 2016 study on 658 young adults asked the participants to record the time they spent daily on creative activities, like cooking, for 13 days.

The study found that the people felt higher activated positive affect and flourishing days when they reported more creative activities.

The easiest way to be creative for the majority of the people is to cook a meal from scratch. Aside from getting you out of your funk, it will allow you to eat a home-cooked meal rather than going for fast food junks. And we all know the effects that would have on our health.

So, when next you are feeling a little down, you should go to your kitchen and start cooking.

Whether you are artistically inclined or not, you can get a paint brush and a drawing board for this type of purpose. After scribbling around, you will surely feel better than you did before.

  1. Call up an old friend and reconnect

Whether they are old friends or new ones, the key to maintaining a friendship is staying in touch.

But due to our schedules and the type of fast-paced lives we live, we tend to lose touch with friends at one time or the other.

Reconnecting with old friends has a way of making us happier. Maybe it is due to hearing a friendly voice after so long. Or the good memories that have been buried deep in our minds that comes rushing back to us.

  1. Drink water and eat some fruits

Sometimes we simply FORGET to stay hydrated. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us.

Your grumpiness might be as a result of dehydration. It can sometimes be as simple as that.

In an attempt to find the correlation between water intake and the mood of people, researchers recruited 120 healthy females for a diary study. The researchers discovered that the more water the participants consumed during the course of the day, the better their mood.

As water intake increased, depression, tension, and confusion rate decreased accordingly.

Water intake had since been linked with mood and cognitive functioning by several studies (1, 2). The brain utilizes water in its functioning and when it is deprived of it, some functioning might get impaired.

Also, eating fruits and vegetables have been found in this study to increase happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being.

The study also claims that the “happiness” gains from consuming fruits and vegetables can be instant and immediate.

  1. Sleep. You might be sleep-deprived

It is recommended that every healthy adult should sleep for 7-9 hours per night in order to function at their best.

This is the time that is required by the body to do some necessary repairs in the body. This will allow your body to perform at optimum.

The sad reality is that most adults don’t take this required time to sleep.

One of the side effects of sleep deprivation is grumpiness and cognitive impairment on some certain levels.

So, if at a time during the day, you find that you are feeling grumpy, not motivated, or feeling tired, then, the solution to your problem might be to catch up on your much-needed sleep time.

  1. Take your family to dine out or take friends out for a drink

Sometimes, the change you need for a happier day is to spend some quality time with loved ones outside of the house.

Dining out with family, or taking friends out for a drink might be the thing you need to put that spring in your feet.

This is a great avenue to eat great food and bond with loved ones. What you find after the mini-adventure is that you have a boost in your overall mood.

  1. Smile. It won’t cost you a penny

happy man

Show some teeth!!

Smiling is good for health. Not only is it good for health, it is free.

If you are not used to doing it, you can try and do one right now!!

What better way to induce happiness than tricking your brain that you are happy?

When you smile, either a real one or a fake one, some feel-good hormones including dopamine and serotonin are released in the brain. And the work of these hormones is to automatically make you feel happier.

Closing thoughts and summary; Activities that make you happy

When you start to consciously do the things listed in this post, you will start to see changes in your mood as the days go by.

Even if you never smile and you always walk around with a hardened face, it is time to start practicing smiling until you get proficient at it.

No time is better than now.


Don’t be an island.

Help others whenever you can.

Take a rest. You deserve it.

Sleep. Don’t be an owl.

Stay hydrated.

Sing and dance.

Get out of the house more.

Laugh more.

Be grateful for the things you have.

For life is beautiful.

And don’t forget; to STAY WEALTHY, and STAY BLESSED.