How to Be Happy Again: 14 Tips

Published on: 26 Apr 2022
Clinically Reviewed by Bisma Anwar, LMHC
woman sitting on couch looking to side

Just be happy. It’s easy, right? For some of us at the present moment, wrong. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking I just want to be happy again…you’re not alone. Depression, life changes, or a multitude of other lifestressors can often leave us feeling blue, but remember, feelings are just temporary. Life is full of ups and downs, and the ebbs and flows don’t come and go without our emotions attaching to them. 

You might be experiencing one of those down times in life right now, where sadness takes a grip on you, and you feel like you’ll never be happy again. The important thing to remember is that you were happy once, and you can get back there. Figuring out ways to be happy again might take a little bit of time and effort, but we assure you, it is possible to have a happier life. 

We’re sharing tips to let go of sadness so you can learn how to be happy again — keep reading if you’re looking to bring happiness back into your life. 

Find What Brings You Joy vs. What Makes You Unhappy

Sometimes figuring out what makes us happy requires us to figure out what’s causing us unhappiness in our life first. It might be a relationship, a job, a living situation, or anything else in your life that’s causing you stress, pain, anxiety, or general unhappiness. Figuring out what has changed or what is contributing to your unhappiness is key in deciding how to move forward towards achieving a life full of joy.

A simple side-by-side comparison list can be a really effective way to determine what things in your life you might want to try cutting out or make changes to, versus where you can focus your energy and time to achieve that peaceful life you’re longing for. 

For example, you might be having relationship problems, a friendship that’s stressing you out, or even feelings about yourself that add to your unhappiness. Try literally listing out both sides of the coin to gain some perspective and focus your efforts.

Things that might make you happy:

  • Working out
  • Eating healthy
  • Meditating
  • Doing yoga
  • Journaling
  • Having a positive support system
  • Taking self-care seriously
  • Being optimistic
  • Saying mantras in the morning
  • Staying off social media
  • Getting outdoors
  • Being creative

Things that might make you unhappy:

  • Not being motivated
  • Being overly pessimistic
  • Isolating yourself
  • Comparing yourself to other people in your life
  • Shaming yourself
  • Not taking time for yourself
  • Not taking care of yourself physically
  • Avoiding healthcare or medical appointments
  • Negative self-talk
  • Doubting yourself
  • Spending too much time on social media

“Finding out what brings us joy is just as important as avoiding the items that make us unhappy, but we have to explore both sides in order to know these answers. Sometimes making a list of each and then finding a means of evaluating the significance of each one is the best way to start.”

Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC

14 Tips for Finding Happiness Again

Once you’ve made your list, you can clearly identify any parts of your life you should reduce (or eliminate, if you can), as well as the aspects you can focus on that bring you overall happiness. There are several ways to be happy again, and focusing on what already brings you joy is the first step.

Check out more tips below on how to be happy again — each of them can be used as an effective way to actively recapture happiness in your life. 

1. Consider therapy

While this might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re trying to figure out how to be happy again, if you’ve experienced any sort of trauma or you’re recovering from a loss or grief, therapy might be a good place to start. Therapy can have a positive impact and help you refocus your energy, accept a painful or uncomfortable experience, and move on in a healthy, positive way, where you can become joyful again.

2. Start or return to a hobby

Finding a hobby and doing what you love is a great way to detach from the stressors in life that are stealing your joy. If you love gardening, painting, music, dance, knitting, hiking, reading, writing, cooking, or anything else that gives you peace and energizes you, make a dedicated effort to find time for it. Even an hour a week spent doing something you love can lift your spirits and offer you hope. 

3. Ditch (or time limit) your social media intake

Recent research shows a link between social media use and depression, especially when people scroll social platforms late at night. Further, studies show that people who limit their time on social media are happier and more content with their life. If you find yourself doom scrolling throughout the day or up late at night checking social media, consider ditching social altogether, or at least putting time limits on your use.

4. Journal

Journaling has long been a well-respected way to improve life satisfaction, focus on the positives, and heal from past trauma. Research shows the effects of keeping a gratitude journal can result in positive emotions and an ability to adjust to life changes.

5. Meditate

The power of meditation has been proven time and again in study after study. Mindfulness meditation is an effective way to let go of stress and anxiety. Downloading a simple app can help you learn the art of meditation. Try to commit to meditating as often as you can — early morning sessions or just before going to bed at night are both great opportunities to hone your meditation skills and reap all the benefits this quiet time has to offer.

6. Spend time with happy people

If we are the company we keep, spending time with happy people can help us maintain a positive attitude and pull us out of a funk. Distance yourself from people whose negativity brings you down. Instead, make an effort to spend time with people who share your same values and are focused on seeing the positives in life.

7. Say goodbye to unhealthy people in your life

If you’re spending time with the happy people in your life, it’s OK to take a break from those who are unhealthy. Setting boundaries and protecting yourself from toxic relationships is one of the most effective ways to be happy again.

8. Do what you love

Doing what you love is good for the soul. This could be in terms of a hobby, your profession, your extracurricular activities, or anything else that you get joy out of. Take the time to make these things a priority.

9. Eat healthy

Eating healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of everything you love all the time. Special treats, in moderation, are fine. Try to eat a nutritious, healthy diet the majority of your days, though, so you can fuel your body and mind. A healthy diet will ultimately help you in the happiness department.

10. Take a “Me-Day” (often)

Self-care is an important component to your lasting happiness. If you’re struggling with how to be happy again, make sure you’re taking time for yourself. It doesn’t need to be overly time-consuming, either. A 30-minute walk outdoors, getting your nails done, or going to coffee with a friend for an hour out of the week all can give you the me-time you need to achieve balance and happiness in your life. 

11. Work out

Working out increases endorphins, which is a significant contributor to happiness. Research shows that the endorphin hormone released during regular exercise functions as a neurotransmitter, transmitting happiness, confidence, and well-being.

12. Make sleep a priority

The relationship between sleep and mood has been well researched. Studies show that sleep quality has a direct correlation to life satisfaction and happiness. Making a good sleep schedule a priority can increase your life satisfaction and greatly enhance how happy you are.

13. Volunteer

The positive effects of altruism include a well-rounded sense of self, physical health benefits, and, you guessed it…happiness. Doing something kind or good for others can offer the type of intrinsic happiness that you might be searching for.

14. Join a support group

Sometimes getting together in a group to discuss challenges or struggles we face in life can be an excellent way to build our way back to happier times. The camaraderie found in sharing with others who understand your experience, which is common in a support group setting, can be hugely beneficial.

“Finding happiness again should incorporate something from each category. For our mind, it’s mindfulness, the power of prayer, or breathing that helps us recenter. For our bodies, what do we enjoy eating that fuels us? Is there something physical that we enjoy? With our relationships, is there a favorite group or team that makes us feel alive? What about our careers/school? Is there passion there?”

Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC

Happiness is On the Horizon

The thing to remember about feeling unhappy is it’s temporary. All emotions, at their core, are just temporary. You can heal from sadness, depression, or any pain you experience in your life. It might not be an easy task, and you’ll have to put in the work to get there, but you can find happiness again. 

The two biggest things you need to do are: believe in yourself and commit to doing the work. Once you do those, you’ll be on the road to reclaiming your happiness in life. 

If you’re struggling, or if you need help finding your way, reach out for help. A therapist can guide you in ways to rediscover the lasting happiness that you might not have considered on your own. 

“It’s most helpful to have a professional explore the pros and cons with us. Sometimes impartial contributions can let us see an angle we haven’t otherwise considered. People find happiness in different ways, so what works for a friend or family member will not necessarily work for everyone.”

Talkspace therapist Meaghan Rice, PsyD, LPC

Talkspace offers online therapy that’s different from any other experience you might have had in terms of mental health and healing. Our accredited, highly skilled therapists understand how to offer the help you need. Talkspace can help you get to a place where you’re living your best, happiest life, once again. 

Sources:

1. Lyall L, Wyse C, Graham N et al. Association of disrupted circadian rhythmicity with mood disorders, subjective wellbeing, and cognitive function: a cross-sectional study of 91 105 participants from the UK Biobank. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2018;5(6):507-514. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(18)30139-1. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(18)30139-1/fulltext. Accessed March 31, 2022.

2. Hunt M, Marx R, Lipson C, Young J. No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression. J Soc Clin Psychol. 2018;37(10):751-768. doi:10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751. https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/10.1521/jscp.2018.37.10.751. Accessed March 31, 2022.

3. Işık Ş, Ergüner-Tekinalp B. The Effects of Gratitude Journaling on Turkish First Year College Students’ College Adjustment, Life Satisfaction and Positive Affect. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. 2017;39(2):164-175. doi:10.1007/s10447-017-9289-8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10447-017-9289-8. Accessed March 31, 2022.

4. van Woudenberg T, Bevelander K, Burk W, Buijzen M. The reciprocal effects of physical activity and happiness in adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2020;17(1). doi:10.1186/s12966-020-01058-8. https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-020-01058-8. Accessed March 31, 2022.

5. Shin J, Kim J. How a Good Sleep Predicts Life Satisfaction: The Role of Zero-Sum Beliefs About Happiness. Front Psychol. 2018;9. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01589. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121950/. Accessed March 31, 2022.

6. Yeung J, Zhang Z, Kim T. Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. BMC Public Health. 2017;18(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504679/. Accessed March 31, 2022.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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