How to be happier
You may also be interested in our selection of mental health apps and tools in the Digital Apps Library.
Manage your stress levels
If you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to reduce it, such as learning a few time-management techniques or talking to your boss about changing your working hours.
Introduce regular exercise and time to yourself. These are positive changes. Taking control of your time in this way can effectively reduce stress.
If you have feelings of anxiety along with your stress, breathing techniques can help. Try this breathing exercise for stress.
Use humour and enjoy yourself
Try to see the funny side of situations and you’ll often be able to cope better. Jokes have a way of making worries seem less important.
Doing things that you enjoy is also good for your emotional wellbeing. Simple activities like watching sports with a friend, having a soak in the bath, or meeting up with friends for coffee can all improve your day.
Doing something you’re good at, such as cooking or dancing, is a good way to enjoy yourself and have a sense of achievement.
Try to avoid things that seem enjoyable at the time but make you feel worse afterwards, such as drinking too much alcohol or eating junk food.
Boost your self-esteem
Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. The best way to improve your self-esteem is to treat yourself as you would treat a valued friend, in a positive but honest way.
Notice when you’re putting yourself down, such as thinking, “You’re so stupid for not getting that job”, and instead think, “Would I say that to my best friend?”. You probably wouldn’t.
Tell yourself something positive instead, such as: “You’re a bright person, you’ll get the next job”.
Have a healthy lifestyle
Limit your alcohol intake
When times are hard, it’s tempting to drink alcohol because it “numbs” painful feelings. But it can exaggerate some feelings and make you feel angry or aggressive. It can also make you feel more depressed.
Read more about the effects of alcohol on your health and get simple tips to help you cut down.
Choose a well-balanced diet
Making healthy choices about your diet can make you feel emotionally stronger. You’re doing something positive for yourself, which lifts your self-esteem.
A good diet helps your brain and body work efficiently, too. Aim to have a balanced diet that includes all the main food groups.
Do some exercise
Choose an exercise that you enjoy. If it helps, do it with a friend or listen to music. Adults should aim for 150 minutes a week.
Get enough sleep
Around seven to eight hours is the average amount of sleep an adult needs for their body and mind to fully rest.
Writing a “to do” list for the next day before bed can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions.
Build your resilience
Resilience is what allows you to cope with life’s ups and downs. Making something worthwhile out of painful times helps your resilience grow.
Starting a support group to help others, or making something creative out of bad experiences by, for example, writing, painting or singing, can help you express pain and get through hard times.
Media last reviewed: 2 Mar 2015
Media review due: 2 Mar 2018