In Case of Emergency: Turning Unhappy to Happy

“Happiness, that is, true well being is not just a mere pleasurable sensation, it is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment, a state that pervades and underlies all emotional states and all the joys and sorrows that come one’s way… It is a state of being; it is not fleeting…Just as the ocean has depth and the waves are on the surface, we have deep consciousness and the feelings and experiences are temporary.”

—Matthieu Ricard TED talk: “The Habits of Happiness 

Here is the beginning of my list. Add to it as you figure out what works for you. Share your ideas in the comments if you’d like.

Try One or  Try One a Day:

Imagine something that makes you feel better, even if it is only for ten minutes. Do ten minutes at a time.

Take A Shower And Brush Your Teeth

Take A Walk

Clean Your Room

Talk To Someone Who Loves You

Do Something For Someone Else

Take Care Of Yourself:

“The Greatest Gift You Can Give Somebody Is Your Own Personal Development. I Used To Say, ‘If You Will Take Care Of Me, I Will Take Care Of You.’ Now I Say, ‘I Will Take Care Of Me For You, If You Will Take Care Of You For Me.’”—Jim Rohn

List Everything You Have Succeeded At In Your Life

Be Busy: Schedule Activities

See An Inspiring Movie

Activate A Relationship: Reach Out

Write In A Journal

Read A Book

Join A Group


Enjoy Small Indulgences

Do Yoga

Get A Massage

Find Deep Conversation

Plan Interesting Experiences

Use Phone Apps And Websites Such As Itsallgoodhere.Com

Visit New Places, Even Locally

Distract Yourself From Negative Thoughts And Bad Habits: Stop Yourself from Ruminating

Express Appreciation, Through Words, Gestures Or Notes

Do Tai Chi

Look At What Other People Do To Be Happy

Change Your Interpretation From Negative To Positive: Reframe

Do What You Are Good At And Get Better At It

Make Open-Ended Goals And Do One Small Step

Work Out: Exercise

Take Action About Something You Care About

Say A Prayer

Tell The Truth

Write Down What Makes You Feel Grateful

Meditate On Compassion

Go Where There Are People:



Shopping Malls

Sports Events

Recite A Mantra

Remember That Whatever You Are Feeling Or Experiencing, There Are Other People In The World Feeling The Same Way

Get Outside In Nature

Recognize We Cannot Control What Is Outside Of Us, Only What Is Inside Of Us

Learn a hobby or craft

A musical instrument, like piano, violin, accordion

A physical activity or sport, like ballroom dancing, skateboarding or circus arts

An art form like painting or sculpture

A craft like knitting, crochet, or sewing

Remember all the difficult emotions and experiences you have already conquered in the past, make a list

Put on energizing music and dance an improvisation

Talk to a wise counselor: a pastor, spiritual advisor, or therapist

Visit an elderly person and ask about their life

Play with children

Watch stand up comedy online

About norasblog

I am a psychotherapist with a private practice in downtown Chicago.
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