How to be Happy Again When You’re Feeling Down

Posted on 07. Dec, 2010 by in Articles, happiness, mood disorders

If you ever suffer from episodes of depression, at the time you wonder how you will ever feel better again. Sometimes this mood just runs its course. However, there a few things you can do to help you recover sooner and get back to your happier self. Many of the tips that follow are also preventative, meaning you can implement them at any time. As such they may help you avoid suffering from the blues in the first place.

1 Do the opposite of what you want. You want to do nothing, all day, each day. Instead force yourself out of bed and do something. It doesn’t have to be much and it doesn’t have to be for long. Depending on how fed up you are it could be as simple as showering and getting dressed. It would be a good idea to keep an activity log and rate your mood. Do what you can to increase your activity levels each day.

2 Speak to someone about how you are feeling. Allow yourself to vent to a friend or family member you can trust. Keeping quiet will keep you inside yourself and leave you feeling like there’s no way out of the bleakness that envelops you. Don’t hold back at the idea of speaking to a counsellor or psychologist. It is their job to listen and just being able to talk to an impartial listener can be hugely cathartic.

3 Exercise. I know you’re not in the mood right now, but it will give you a boost. Promise yourself you can stop after ten minutes. Chances are once you start you will want to keep going. By setting aside time each day for exercise you will do wonders to your wellbeing. Even a walk outside is a start. In addition, getting out in the sun helps you meet your vitamin D needs, which is a known mood enhancer.

4 Keep a journal. Writing down how you are feeling can be hugely therapeutic. Right now you may just want to write down your darkest thoughts. However at some point you will want to turn it around. Start challenging your thoughts if you can. Also, I recommend you keep a happiness journal where you can detail all that is good in your life. This way, when the blues hits, you can read through it and feel comforted.

5 Consider your diet. To begin with, make sure you eat. You will want to keep your energy up. Then you might like to look at the foods you eat. A varied diet that minimises sugar and saturated fat is always a good idea. However some foods are known mood boosters. Try: bananas, nuts, cheese, pumpkin seeds and blueberries. You don’t even need to cook them!

6 Understand your thought patterns. Your thoughts can have a staggering impact on your mood and wellbeing, whether good or bad. If you keep a journal you may become familiar with some of your thoughts. Try to keep an eye out for those thoughts that are not realistic or fair on yourself. ‘Everybody hates me’, ‘I always fail’, ‘There’s nothing to smile about’.  The words in italics should be challenged. I talk about thought patterns throughout my book Promoting Happiness. There are many exercises to help you understand your thoughts better.

7 Carry out relaxation exercises. Whether it is meditation, deep breathing or yoga – do something that gives you time out for yourself and will help relieve stress.  Your low mood may leave you feeling as though you have no control in your life. These exercises will help change this.

8 Speak to a GP. If your symptoms persist or get worse after trying the above, do not hesitate to chat to your Doctor.

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29 Responses to “How to be Happy Again When You’re Feeling Down”

  1. susan

    05. Mar, 2012

    hi there! i suffer from dysthymia and i am tired of taking drugs for it. i wish there are other ways to treat this condition.

    very nice article here with good advice. anymore?

  2. Julia Barnard

    07. Mar, 2012

  3. klaas

    22. Mar, 2012

    Hi. I just feel lonely everyday of my life since me and the mother of my child separated. I no longer love her, but my confidence my happiness left with her. I want to move on but I feel like no body loves me. I feel like I am a failor. What can I do?

  4. Julia Barnard

    26. Mar, 2012

    My best advice would be to speak to someone about what is going on with your life. Counselling may help as it allows you to talk to someone who is not personally involved with the issue and may be able to offer you insight and perspective. Best wishes, Julia.

  5. aktra18091978

    08. May, 2012

    At the stage of your life when you need some buddy to share your happiness and feelings, the person you are legally attached with, gives you something just opposite of it and occupies your life to face such unwanted circumstances. Then what to do to avoid depression which gets created due to it.

  6. eric zimmerman

    06. Jun, 2012

    Thank you iam doing all steps the happyness comes an goes still but the exercise helps. But I still really can’t open up to anyone an tell them my feelings but I wake up everyday an smile somedays its all day but others r still black an cloomy

  7. gabrielle

    11. Jun, 2012

    HI! great article… hand down to the one who managed to write this one… This really touched me. I am suffering from anxiety and insomnia, and just by reading this, It improved my mood and somehow I feel great… thanks! ^_^

    GOD bless…

  8. Julia Barnard

    12. Jun, 2012

    Glad to have been of help!

  9. Julia Barnard

    12. Jun, 2012

    Hi Eric. As someone who has worked as a counsellor, I can tell you that talking to someone will always help. Keeping feelings bottled up means they are allowed to get out of control, making you feel worse not better. One tip you might try is to write down your feelings and then afterwards shred them.

  10. Barb

    03. Jul, 2012

    I’m always waking up angry i feel empty inside. I have two kids and a husband but i still tend to always be angry/ stressed .. I don’t know what to do any advice??

  11. Julia Barnard

    03. Jul, 2012

    Without wishing to do blatant self-promotion, I think my book Promoting Happiness might help. It enables you to work through different aspects of your life, so you may come to understand the root of your anger and unhappiness. I also provide techniques to help turn things around. You can find it on Amazon here:

  12. Julia Barnard

    09. Jul, 2012

    Hi there. I’ve just published a new article that some of you may find helpful:
    The aim is to not just read it, but to do the activities as you go through it. Best wishes, Julia

  13. M

    25. Jul, 2012

    this is a good article and tips are practical.

    However sometimes the cause of depression is in the real world, not just inside ones thought patterns. I am a single dad with no one to help me out and it is an extremely hard struggle everyday and no matter how many mood enhancing tips I try reality eventually caches up. It feels like I am dragging myself uphill everyday each day and this has gone on for years and I am not surprised I am depressed all the time.

  14. Julia Barnard

    06. Aug, 2012

    Hi M

    I’m not sure where you are located but there is support out there for single dads. Have a look at:

    I hope you find some happiness soon. Best wishes, Julia

  15. D

    07. Aug, 2012

    Im not sure whats going on with me. I am in such a funk, I dont know how to snap out of it. I tend to get into funks every so often. Last year when it got bad I went to a therapist. Unfortantely I can not afford one. I don’t have friends (which is another reason why Im a bit depressed). I do try but its like people dont like me. I have no one to talk to. My family is broken where everyone is mad at one another to the point of the family is divided. I have an amazing boyfriend but I feel like this funk is pushing us apart and I dont know what to do to fix it. He is important to me and I dont want to lose him. I use to be bubbly, laughing, smile… now im like miserable. I cant shut my mind off at night. Im negative when I try to be positive. I just want my normal life back.

  16. Julia Barnard

    08. Aug, 2012

    Hi D. Well the good news is you have one friend – your boyfriend. When you’re in a funk, it’s easy to discount what you do have, instead focusing on what you don’t. I would suggest you make time to commit to some of the suggestions in this article. By pushing yourself into action, you are forcing yourself out of your low mood. Not easy, but it will be worth it. I have lots more tips and ideas throughout this website, so do have a good look around. One thing you might try is to keep a gratitude journal that you write in at night. It will help shift your thoughts and hopefully you will sleep better.
    Take care, Julia

  17. Carolyn Chesnutt

    09. Aug, 2012

    Great advivce. Great ideas. Thanks for being open and sharing.

  18. D

    10. Aug, 2012

    Thanks for the response. I do try all those things within the artilce you provided yet I am still in this dark place. I have surrounded myself with postive quotes. I make myself smile during the day to see if that even helps. Before I had a text saying to say positive, that I was beautiful, and that today is a new day…. but I deleted it when my funk started happening again. I always say thank you and I do appreciate the little things in life. I am a very greatful person. Sometimes I wonder if its just all the anger that is built up inside that puts me in this funk. I started exercising to help me as well. I feel like Im on a rollercoaster. Things got better from my last post… but then last night I snapped back into the funk again. My bf told me how he is friends with one of his exs (which is cool), but he did tell me when we started dating that none of his exs like him since he tends to be ajerk when they break up. So I was a bit surprised by this. He also mentioned she was in FL. Since he said that its just sat in the back of my mind. So of course I try to put pieces together of a puzzle that isnt there, or maybe it is, I dont know. Anyways, the gf, if I have the right girl is back from FL. So Im like weird he is bringing all of this up now. Why? So then I start really thinking about things. He said he has only ever said I love you to one person. I think this is the girl. The reason why they broke up is because at that time they didnt see it going any where. So maybe she is back and wants him back. So all night all of thought about is that and it put me back into a funk. So I keep thinking to myself, well he doesnt really tell me he cares, he doesnt really overly show he cares… and then the web just entangles from there. So something as stupid as him saying hes friends with an ex starts my issue and then unfolds from there. I dont know how to stop thinking nad being like that. I want to have a convo where I dont analyze it. I think way tooooo much into things and I dont know how to fix that. I grew up where there was a hidden horrible message behind evrey word spoken. I grew up where we didnt hug, say i love you, etc. So the fact that I am falling for this guy adn being hur tin the past from ex’s freaks me out. So is it everything just tied into one that is doing this to me? is it hte relationship that is making me be in this funk? Not knowing things just kill me. I just wish someone could clap there hands and make me be normal. Thanks for listening and thanks for all the advice.

  19. Julia Barnard

    13. Aug, 2012

    D. Have a quick look at this article:

    I touch on thoughts in no 6 of the article. It’s not about just turning thoughts from negative to positive, it’s about challenging whether they make realistic sense. I talk a lot about this in Promoting Happiness and how it can affect all areas of your life. I also provide you with the steps to challenge your thoughts, come to terms with your past and get the most from your present.

    Also I strongly suggest you get hold of any book by Albert Ellis – perhaps A Guide to Rational Living – but he has written many different books – check out Amazon. I would say such books are perfect for the over-thinker, as it is your thoughts he focuses on and the misery they can cause.

    All the best, Julia

  20. Jenna

    24. Feb, 2015

    hi! I have been suffering from terrible anxiety, seperation anxiety, and depression. I am only 13 and I feel like nothing will ever get better. I stopped seeing my psychiatrist about 5 months ago and I’ve been just feeling sad all the time. Any tips?

  21. Julia Barnard

    25. Feb, 2015

    Hi Jenna. Sorry to hear of your problems. Take the time to read as much of my site as you can. Find something that you think will work for you, then give it a try. Also, have a think about the things you can do that stop you focusing on your worries and anxiety. Which subjects at school do you enjoy? How can you make these things more interesting? What are your hobbies or favourite sports? Make time for these. Don’t have a hobby? Give something new a try. Maybe see how you can be involved with after school activities or things in your community. Remember you don’t have to do all of these things, all at once. Choose one thing and get excited by it. Make a plan then give it a go. Allow yourself to forget your sadness for a bit and focus on other things. Hope this helps. Best wishes, Julia.

  22. L

    27. Apr, 2015

    Hey um im 17 and i just had a fight with my parents im not sure what to do now i always blocked my feelings after the fights but now my girlfriend is worried ill do something harmful to myself how can i feel better fast without scaring the people i care about

  23. Julia Barnard

    29. Apr, 2015

    Hey there. Take a look at these two articles and see if you can find something that might work for you. and
    I would suggest specifically the quieting response at the bottom of the stress relief article as it can be used at any time and you will feel better for it. It may take a little practice at first, but do keep going until you feel better and your anger and bad feelings have subsided. With time it gets easier to do. Then go give your girlfriend a hug 🙂 hope this helps. Take care, Julia

  24. Amanda

    05. May, 2015

    I have been suffering with depression for the past two years. the first year, medication and the beginning of a new relationship with the man I love (and recently bought a house with) put my depression into remission. However, late last year the meds stopped working and my depression came back with a vengeance. Thankfully my boyfriend is incredibly supportive and patient with me when I am petulant and moody. Honestly I have every reason in the world to be happy, but I don’t FEEL happy. My Psychiatrist has adjusted the dose of my antidepressant last week, as well, I go to a therapist but I feel she might not be the best fit for me.. I want to feel happy again and part of me is starting to give up hope that I’ll ever get back to my old self and I’ll have to live with feeling depressed forever. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to feel happy again.

  25. Julia Barnard

    12. May, 2015

    Hey Amanda. Antidepressants can take a few weeks to start working – so hang on in there. There are many therapists out there so do feel free to change therapists if you don’t feel right with your current one. It is a relationship after all and you want it to help you. Take care and best wishes, Julia

  26. sbf

    04. Jun, 2015

    i have a son
    i have my own business but companies are breaking me down..and maybe I’ll lose everything.
    i met someone..i likes me..i like him..he knows all my troubles.
    But im so down at this moment..Don’t want to eat..headache my stomach is hurting.
    im losing my positively 🙁

  27. Julia Barnard

    05. Jun, 2015

    Sorry to hear about your unhappiness. It may help you to speak to a friend who will listen without judgement, or even consider talking to a counsellor. If you are reluctant to go this route you may benefit from reading my book Promoting Happiness. Here you have an opportunity to address your past and present, and lots more besides. It may help you shed light on what is going on for you and help you turn it around. Best wishes, Julia.

  28. monique

    18. Jun, 2015

    i have benn feeling down getting temptaion of spiuid stuff and it gets harder eveytime someone gets crapy at me

  29. Diane

    31. Jul, 2015

    great stuff found here………. i am enjoying this

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