mature woman in field looing happy. How to be happier, improve mood

How to be Happier, 7 Ways to Improve Your Mood

Many everyday factors can influence your mood or overall sense of happiness and fulfillment.

Factors may include diet, physical activity, sleep, weather, social interactions, financial stability, health, stress, exposure to news, social media use, clutter, catastrophes and more.

However, there are actions and routines you can establish to help build and boost positive mood and equip you to better cope with life’s ups and downs.

Here’s seven ways to boost your mood and feel happier.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is one of the top indicators for wellbeing and happiness. The amount and quality of sleep can have a big impact on your mood and overall health.

Around 8 hours is generally the amount of sleep average adults need for their body and mind to fully rest, however this can vary depending on the individual.

Tips for better sleep:

  • Limit naps during the day
  • Establish a nightly routine to unwind in preparation for sleep
  • Avoid caffeine or stimulants too close to bedtime
  • Stop using electronic devices 30 minutes before bed


Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression.

Any type of exercise is useful and can aid in the release of chemicals in your brain that lift your mood. It can help you sleep better, have more energy and keep your heart healthy.

Studies have shown that as little as one hour of exercise per week, regardless of intensity, can help prevent depression and boost mood.

Tips for exercise success:

  • Find an exercise you enjoy
  • Incorporate exercise such as walking into your daily routine
  • Try apps or online exercise programs
  • Keep a daily diary of exercise to help motivate you

Manage Stress with Mindfulness

stress meter, manage stressIf you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to reduce it through learning new techniques, such as problem solving, and practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a practice where you focus on the present, without judging or being distracted. Mindfulness can help you feel better and reduce stress. The practice does not try to quiet your mind or control your experience — you just observe what is happening in the moment.

Being mindful can help you avoid reacting to stressful or negative thoughts and feelings or being drawn into rumination – where you dwell excessively on problems and worries about the past and the future.

Anytime you find yourself ruminating, try to break the pattern by practising some mindfulness, to bring your focus to the present and create some mental space.

Tips to practice mindfulness:

  • Practice periods of mindfulness throughout your day
  • Search for apps that can guide you through mindfulness practice
  • Focus on what’s happening around you now, without judgement

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

Looking after your physical and mental health through making healthy choices can make you feel emotionally stronger, lift your self-esteem and contribute to your overall sense of wellbeing and happiness.

One healthy lifestyle tip is to limit alcohol consumption. While it can be tempting to drink to ‘numb’ painful feelings, it can also exaggerate some negative feelings and make you angry or aggressive. It can also make you feel depressed.

Limiting alcohol and practicing general self-care such as setting regular times to go to bed and wake up, exercising and eating a balanced diet with regular mealtimes can contribute significantly to achieving a sense of wellbeing and happiness.

mature woman exercising, healthy lifestyle for happiness

Engaging in pleasant activities can also improve mood. Think about activities you enjoy and do them every day. For example, listening to music, watching favourite shows, reading a book, exercising, playing board games and keeping in contact with friends and family are activities you can do frequently which may boost your mood.

Savour your enjoyable experiences by anticipating, enjoying in the moment, and reflecting afterwards.


Laughter is proven to increase dopamine and endorphins, chemicals that elevate mood. It also oxygenates your body and cools down your stress-response systems, producing an overall calm, happy feeling.

A good laugh can add joy to your life, ease tension and anxiety, relieve stress, improve mood and strengthen resilience.

Tips to laugh more:

  • Smile
  • Reflect on the positive aspects of your life (don’t dwell on the negative)
  • Spend time with funny people
  • Play with a pet
  • Watch a funny movie, read funny media or try a ‘laughter yoga’ class

Challenge Unhelpful Thoughts

Unhappy and stressful times often lead to unhelpful thinking, including negative predictions about current or future situations, focusing on the negative, predicting the worst-case scenario, or pessimistic thinking.

Taking a flexible, balanced and optimistic view can help ease stress. It is natural to have fears and at the same time, taking a balanced perspective, not assuming the worst, and a long term, optimistic view can help reduce your anxiety.

There are various thinking styles which can be unhelpful and contribute to feeling anxious and depressed. Some examples include:

  • Catastrophising – Worst case scenario thinking, e.g. “I will never find a job”.
  • All or nothing thinking – When you think in an all or nothing way, e.g. “If I cannot finish the entire task, I may as well not event start it”.
  • Noticing the negative and discounting the positive – When you focus on negatives and discount positives, e.g., how you feel lonely and disconnected from friends rather than how you might reconnect with them.
  • Should – When you pressure yourself e.g., “I should never waste time”.
  • Overgeneralising – Where you take one behaviour to make negative overall conclusions e.g., “I didn’t get the job I applied for, I am a failure”.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) comprises strategies which can help reframe how you think about situations and help establish behaviours and thought patterns to ease stress and anxiety and help you feel happier.

Engaging with CBT can help you reduce stress, cope with complicated relationships, deal with grief, and face many other common life challenges.

Using CBT you can learn how to change negative perceptions and achieve a positive effect on behaviour and mood.

Talk and Share

two women talking, improve mood through sharing

Communication is important, whether it’s with a friend, family member or professional support person such as a counsellor or psychologist.

Talking things through helps you to release tension, rather than keeping it inside. It helps strengthen your relationships and connect with people.

While talking about your concerns may not solve all your problems, it can help you to cope with them better and feel happier.

Many people find talking to a psychologist about things that are troubling them to be helpful. Talking with a professional provides an opportunity to look at your issues in a different way with someone who will listen and respect your opinions.

Psychological counselling can also provide proven techniques and teach skills to help manage your issue or improve your mental situation.

If you would like to talk or want to know more about CBT and other strategies to feel happier, contact our team.