Do you have days where you’re on the verge of tears, and you don’t really know why? Or maybe you do know why but you’re overwhelmed with what you need to do to make changes. Too many of those days can throw me into a funk.

While I do believe it’s important to honor how you’re feeling, I don’t recommend sitting in that mindset for too long. What I have learned is the deeper you go into a funk, the harder it is to get out of it. I’ve also learned there are many things I can do that get me to a place where I wake up with a smile on my face.

Below are some suggestions of things that have helped cheer me up over the years:

1. Write down things you are grateful for

It’s pretty hard to sit in a negative place when you are putting your focus on things you are grateful for. Those who are able to find gratitude in things around them, generally tend to be happier people. You know, the ones who always see the cup half full, the light at the end of the tunnel. I recently recruited a friend to help hold me accountable with this one. Each day we text each other 3 things we’re grateful for, and it’s quickly becoming a habit.

2. Exercise

Exercising can help to boost your mood, improve self-confidence, increase your energy, and be fun all at the same time. My suggestion is choose something that you enjoy. I’m not much of a runner, so to get my cardio in I go to dance classes with loud music and lots of energy. Nowadays, there are so many options to choose from, between Pilates, barre classes, VIPR classes, cycling, weight training, running outside, and the list goes on. Even going on a brisk walk and getting fresh air could brighten your mood.

3. Yoga

Practicing yoga can help you be in the present moment. In class whether it’s one with hip-hop music or no music at all, by focusing on your breath and the placement of your body, you are able to escape whatever thoughts are bringing you down and focus on the now. Yoga is a must for me when I’m in a dark place. I always leave feeling better, more centered, less anxious, and more appreciative.

4. Do something that makes you laugh

Laughter releases endorphins (those feel good chemicals), it lessens anxiety, and relieves stress. When I need a laugh, my go to is an old-school comedy, usually something from the 80’s, any John Hughes movie will do. Or if I can I’ll skype with my niece or nephews. There is a lightness and innocence in kids that is so refreshing. The best part about laughter is that it’s contagious.

5. Spend time with a friend

Friends can be great distractions. They are the ones you share everything with who can offer advice, or just listen. I always find talking things through with friends extremely helpful. It’s like writing in a journal that gives you feedback. Loneliness is a horrible feeling, so the most important thing about friendship, is you’re reminded that you are not alone.

6. Do something outside

One of my favorite things to do, at least here in Santa Monica, is watching the sunset. It never gets old. I watch each one as if it’s the first one I’ve ever seen. The colors of the sky are so beautiful often leaving me speechless, and creating a sense of calm, even if only for a few minutes. If sunsets aren’t your thing, lucky for you there are endless amounts of things to do outdoors. Grab a friend and go for a hike, take a walk through the woods, go surfing, skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, running, climb a tree, roll down a hill, whatever will make you smile.

Photo Credit: Sam Diephuis


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