Seven tips for making yourself happier IN THE NEXT HOUR.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.
This Wednesday: Seven tips for making yourself happier in the next hour.

You can make yourself happier – and this doesn’t have to be a long-term ambition. You can start right now. In the next hour, check off as many of the following items as possible. Each of these accomplishments will lift your mood, as will the mere fact that you’ve tackled and achieved some concrete goals.

1. Boost your energy: stand up and pace while you talk on the phone or, even better, take a brisk ten-minute walk outside. Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up, and the activity and sunlight are good for your focus, your mood, and the retention of information. Plus, because of “emotional contagion,” if you act energetic, you’ll help the people around you feel energetic, too.

2. Reach out to friends: make a lunch date or send an email to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Having warm, close bonds with other people is one of the keys to happiness, so take the time to stay in touch. Somewhat surprisingly, it turns out that socializing boosts the moods not only of extroverts, but also of introverts.

3. Rid yourself of a nagging task: answer a difficult email, purchase something you need, or call to make that dentist’s appointment. Crossing an irksome chore off your to-do list will give you a big rush of energy and cheer, and you’ll be surprised that you procrastinated for so long.

4. Create a calmer environment: clear some physical and mental space around your desk by sorting papers, pitching junk, stowing supplies, sending out quick responses, filing, or even just making your piles neater. A large stack of little tasks can feel overwhelming, but often just a few minutes of work can make a sizeable dent. Try to get in the habit of using the “one minute rule”—i.e., never postpone any task that can be completed in less than one minute. An uncluttered environment will contribute to a more serene mood.

5. Lay the groundwork for some future fun: order a book you’ve been wanting to read (not something you think you should read) or plan a weekend excursion to a museum, hiking trail, sporting event, gardening store, movie theater—whatever sounds like fun. Studies show that having fun on a regular basis is a pillar of happiness, and anticipation is an important part of that pleasure. Try to involve friends or family, as well; people enjoy almost all activities more when they’re with other people than when they’re alone.

6. Do a good deed: make an email introduction of two people who could help each other, or set up a blind date, or shoot someone a piece of useful information or gratifying praise. Do good, feel good—this really works. Also, although we often believe that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. When you act in a friendly way, you’ll strengthen your feelings of friendliness for other people.

7. Act happy: put a smile on your face right now, and keep smiling. Research shows that even an artificially induced smile has a positive influence on your emotions—turns out that just going through the motion of happiness brightens your mood. And if you’re smiling, other people will perceive you as being friendlier and more approachable.

Some people worry that wanting to be happier is a selfish goal. To the contrary. Studies show that happier people are more sociable, likeable, healthy, and productive—and they’re more inclined to help other people. So in working to boost your own happiness, you’re benefiting others as well.

Feel happier yet?

Just for fun — Bembo’s Zoo is an animal alphabet site. The letters in each animal’s name move and rearrange themselves to form the animal. Gorgeous.

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

  • I find #3 to be particularly influential on my mood. As someone who procrastinates even about insignificant tasks (who doesn’t?) getting rid of one or more make a huge difference. Even small accomplishments give you a sense of satisfaction and it’s funny how you don’t realize your brain has been nagging at you to do something forever until you actually get it done.

  • I found your blog via Lifehacker and am so glad I did! I’m doing exactly the same thing you are but for myself, not for a book … so you can bet I’ll be returning often!

  • Simon

    Regarding number three, earlier this week, I made a list of “10 Simple Things” that was made up of easy to accomplish tasks. These items were either being put off or were being forgotten.
    It clears the mental table to a certain extent and allows you to relax in a more complete manner.

  • Thanks for the link to Bembo’s Zoo — very neat!
    And I needed to improve my happiness immediately! Back to work, hopefully with a happier perspective.

  • African Herbsman

    Herbs…beneficial herbs… =)

    • jbuck


  • Great Ideas!

  • I just cleared my desk right now. It’s kind of nice. I’ll have to do it again by the end of the day, though! 🙂

  • i bet #8 is “put on your favorite tune and dance like no one’s watching” and #9 is make your favorite snack and surprise someone by sharing it with them.
    am i right?

  • here are my 7 steps to happiness…

  • I think number 6 can land you in trouble. You might later regret when those two blind date-ers come to you and hit you hard.
    Its the broker who gets to listen bad words you see.

  • I like your list and the positivity it presents. Seems a bit self driven though, meaning your strength must come from within. What do you do when the tank is empty? When you’re burned out or keep hitting the wall? Is there a faith element? Prayer? How about an act of surrender?

  • Amruthraj Belaldavar

    To add onto #1, exercising helps me!

  • Thanks for the feedback and the additional tips! Good to remember that when that blue mood strikes (as happened to me, today), there is a lot we can do in the near term to try to boost ourselves up again — whether that’s herbs, music, prayer, or a sharing a great snack with a friend. Alas, none of my friends have been converted to my favorite snack, shredded wheat cereal mixed with salsa.

  • Great Tips,
    I’ve always done these things and I’m pretty happy. I can’t imagine not being happy.

  • I like to garden, plants clear my head and remind me what is important.

  • Pursue things you enjoy! … such as drinking .. ahem .. TEA!

  • haywood jablome

    Fuck You!

  • Doing something good. Like helping out non-profits that need our help, during CreatAthon each year makes me happy:

  • The 10 Commandments to the Law of Attraction
    Copyright © 2007 Cheryline Lawson
    The Law of Attraction operates positively only if you put it to use. This means that you can gain negativity in your life until you decide to make changes. It can be just one small change to your life that can determine a positive future. However, some people require several changes because of the extent of the negative vibes in their lives.
    I would like to discuss 10 things that are a requirement of the Law of Attraction to bring positive things toward you. A law is recognized as a rule and is mandatory in certain situations in order to work. The rule of thumb here is that your actions have to be calculating in order to follow the specific commandments of the Law of Attraction. To make it clearer, you must target certain areas of your life to get you to where you want to go.
    1. Purpose
    What is your purpose in this life? Do you know what your gifts and talents are? Are you fulfilling your God-given purpose to help, encourage or contribute to the universe or society? Or are you living your life just tagging along? Search and examine yourself because without purpose, you will not attract success. Success does not just come along to someone who is not prepared or who don’t have any idea where they are going. Therefore, to make the law of attraction work, you need to evaluate your life and see where you are, where you want to be, and what are the talents you have to get there.
    2. Visualize
    Now that you have a clue of what your purpose is, you need to visualize and see yourself already there. Do whatever it takes to keep these pictures in your mind at all times. Make a scrapbook or keep a journal to remind yourself that you are on a mission to get to a place of purpose.
    3. Passion
    Create a passion for your purpose because it is your passion that will attract the tenacity to keep you going and possibly bring people to you that can help you to fulfill your dream.
    4. Perseverance
    Don’t ever give up. There will be times when you feel like nothing is happening, but you have to be patient and in the meantime, do things that will contribute to your dream while you wait for the manifestation.
    5. Courage
    Have no fear of the unknown. Fear stifles your dream. Doubt will kill your purpose. Fear attracts failure, so encourage yourself if you have to and don’t let anyone discourage you.
    6. Desire
    Desire and passion work hand in hand. However, desire is what you have determined that you want to happen. Passion is the excitement of what is about to happen, so don’t confuse the two. Continue to maintain your desire by speaking it out aloud to yourself. Even if it looks crazy, do it. I find that a spoken word is more effective than just a thought.
    7. Goals
    Set realistic goals for yourself and write them down. Start with your short-term goals first. You will be able to identify with a shorter plan and see the results quicker. When you write down your goals, you attract people who will see your organization skills and want to help you to get your goals accomplished. Keep focused on your purpose. Never lose sight of the path that you want to take and let that be your motivation to continue to move toward your purpose and fulfill the law of attraction.
    8. Change
    Don’t be afraid of change. Change is good. It shows that you are on your way to self-improvement. It gives you a sense of hope and attracts new friends who will identify with the change in you and want to be your friend.
    9. Relationships
    Your new friends will help you to stimulate good relationships and it is through your new relationships that you will get to your destined purpose. After you leave your old friends behind, you attract a new future with new people who may make a better impact on your life. Sometimes we get stuck where we are because of the friends we keep; friends who don’t want to change or who don’t have a sense of purpose, so forming new and worthwhile friendships is another key element in following the rules of the law of attraction.
    10. Gratitude
    Lastly, but more importantly, is gratitude. Be thankful for where you are and where you are going. There is a spiritual entity at work in fulfilling the law of attraction, so connect with your spirituality and make it known that you understand the importance of remaining humble and being grateful for the gifts, talents and opportunities that have been afforded you because without these, you would never be able to fulfill the rules of engagement. The law of attraction cannot function without these ten principles. You have to be in touch with your humanity and your spirituality to make it all happen for you.
    Cheryline Lawson is a passionate author of online books and owner of and provides informative articles and information about the law of attraction. Go visit her website and see it for yourself.

  • #8: look at your smiling face in the mirror.

  • A nice list. I find that most of these (appart from 1 and 2) also help with falling asleep, which can be linked to depression. And more sleep = more happiness 🙂

  • Over at 43things, there’s actually a team of us 43thingeristas, *practicing* the Happiness Manifesto. Pretty fun!

  • Hello,
    I make a translation of your article (so great) in french, I hop this is note a problem, the direct link is:
    You have my mail if you want that i erase it.

  • Great stuff! So much to look at here, thanks so much for taking the time to add this material.

  • I remember a psychology class my wife and I took over at the local community college. The teacher was a little old lady who was quite energetic. The best advice she gave us was to wake up everyday and say to yourself it’s going to be a great day, then smile and take a deep breath. You get out of bed feeling great and your day seems to go a little better.

  • CClio333

    Tidying up is always effective for me. Decluttering improves my mood immediately. Getting rid of a nagging task I think depends on what the task is. I got my taxes out of the way tonight, and I am NOT in a better mood.

  • Alexander

    Buy a pet !

    • kitsune_miku

      that’s…a fairly drastic measure but sure why not?!

  • I find your blog fascinating. My older brother and I have discussions based around this topic often. It is always intriguing to hear what others think about it.
    Thanks for all the thoughts and research.

  • julia

    great ideas, but they take me more than one hour to complete!

  • vittu

    fuck this is boring

    • jojo

      dont use idiotic words u idiotic fool

  • Great list, Gretchen. Thank you.

  • What about eating some chocolate?

  • sonal

    am breathing anew after clearing my head, my bed, my desk, my email.. yeh that one minute stuff is good too… sure pushing me around into more than i ever did at one go.
    thanks cheers sonal.

  • NICK

    ur tips are out! they did not help me at all!

  • Meg

    Hello Gretchen, after reading your thoughts I was interested to learn how much research you have done to put this work together. I heard you on CBC radio this afternoon; decided to look up your website. I have been depressed but now wonder if I am not just used to being negative and need to learn how to look for the positive in life again.

  • Gotta love the lovely “fuck you”-type remarks on a happiness blog. Nice, people, very nice.
    Keep up the great work, Gretchen. I’ve read your entire blog in the past few days. Now I’m kinda sad (ha!) that I don’t have more of it to read.

  • jimbo

    the woman in the picture is absolutely beautiful

  • elleissa

    Great ideas for 7 ways to make yourself happier in one hour! I especially like the idea of planning a lunch with friends. But I would go on to include people I’d like to get to know but are just aquaintences since I haven’t lived in my community but for 6 months. I’ve met lots of wonderful people, and I am definately going to try your quick happiness fix. I will let you know how it turns out. I am working on the email now.
    Thank you,

  • Lauren

    I’d like to add an 8th idea… Bring out your inner child. A colleague of mine and I have discovered that doing a head-over-heels in the corridor at work when no-one is around really lifts your mood and makes you feel like anything is possible… go on… try it… They’ll never know!

  • Why God is not mentioned?

    • Tomo

      Because there are no gods.

      • Happy Lily

        That is not truee.And praying or any spritiual thing can lift up your mood according to your own beliefs. 🙂

      • jbuck

        God is great. Noway u culd tell me ther is no god but instead of wasteing my time tryna give hope to the hopeless il n gone now

    • Summer Cummings

      because not everybody beleves in god(s)

  • krishna yadav

    can you send me details on my postal
    2/340 nawab ganj
    kanpur 208002 utter pradesh

  • Tuula kahilahti

    This is a great place!After a lifetime of living alone with my bipolarity except for the medics I am at last able to read about other people with the same challenges and victories.

  • carisoprodol

  • Hello people

  • I have been looking for sites like this for a long time. Thank you! prozac

  • donna

    thank you

  • Alex

    I find it impossible to be happy! does your ways truly help?

    • kitsune_miku

      give them a try^^

  • kamran

    nice tips…thnx

  • john alexander

    LOL… I feel i’m not feel happy today.. i don’t know why?? what should i do, after read your tips i feel better . keeping smile… 😉

  • shaniqua

    this sucks…. im still smiling and i feel nothing. the end

  • Shanaynay

    UGH IM SO DEPRESSED!!! 🙁 this doesn’t work. you should have mention something about happy pills.. then maybe i’d be a LITTLE happy!

  • Ari

    good job i am enjoy these tips i hope you will success in your life and happy thanks a lot
    my name Ari from Kurdistan – iraq

  • me9

    Looking for ways to make happy haha these are pretty obvious need some good ways to keep the dopamine flowing

  • Djamila

    I really liked this site it helped me with my Exhibition project and much more. It also helped me to relax and be happier. I would recommend this site to all my freinds.

  • Rachael

    I found your book at an airport bookstore and it called to me. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before.
    I’ve been taking anti-depressants for years and they have improved the quality of my life 100%, so I appreciated that you acknowledge that serious depression is an illness.

    Although it may seem odd to say this, I have always been an optimistic and happy person-when I wasn’t experiencing the roller coaster of emotions my mental illness brought on.

    So, I am happy now, but the thing I got most from your book is the way you pushed yourself to reach new goals to enrich your life. I am totally motivated now to take more chances! Thank you so much!

  • wintervixen86

    Beautiful list! Was feeling hungover and meh this morning and this really helped 🙂 Nice one.

  • Sara

    this is lame -_-

  • thereal deal

    i want to die

  • Whitewolf

    Wish I could do a ‘head-over-heels’. Sounds like fun!
    I took anti-depressants for 10-months, didn’t like them – they altered my sense of reality.
    I’ve always believed in God and have had belief in my Catholic faith but, after being seriously assaulted and robbed, at an ATM, over the Christmas period, I actually told my husband that ‘there is no God’.
    That was how I felt. I didn’t feel that I deserved to be battered within an inch of my life – by a stranger, who didn’t know that I’m a wife and a mother; and didn’t know that I actually care about other people.
    So, I’ve decided that God is not some ethereal being, we are God and we should all take care of each other; within seconds of the assault upon me, I was supported and comforted by three ladies who were passing by and a gentleman who witnessed the assault as he was driving-by, and pulled-over to offer assistance.
    They are God
    Think about it

  • Whitewolf

    Sorry for being negative. I love the ‘Big Bang Theory’ – I think it’s really funny, quirkiness personified.
    Thank-God I didn’t use the ‘F’ word – do some people have no other adjectives?

  • Sometimes I just feel like I’m complaining and being spoiled about the minor stuff I have going on when other people are facing much worse problems than I am… but still–everybody has bad days 🙁 And since I’ve been so accustomed to being critical and cynical because I’ve been exposed to so much internet crap since I was a pre-teen… I guess that kinda messed me up. Because whenever I see an inspirational quote or people saying stuff trying to make other people feel better–that’s just never worked out for me. But stuff listed like this does kind of give an emotional/physical aid. Well.. yep 🙂

  • I just want to say I am just all new to blogs and absolutely liked your web site. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You actually come with tremendous articles and reviews. Appreciate it for sharing your blog site.

  • I dugg some of you post as I thought they were very helpful extremely helpful

  • Stephen, I got the first letter and every an individual after EXCEPT Margaret Cho’s. Can you remedy that, please?

  • kitsune_miku

    it’s so funny when people comment stuff like ‘fuck you’ or ‘this is boring/lame’ because all i can think is ‘well you came here for a reason, and it’s pretty obvious that you, just like the rest of us, came here because you were unhappy and needed a solution. Don’t you think that being so negative may add to your unhappiness? Before you write off advise as lame or boring or not worth your time, see what other people have said and try it out. If it’s not harmful, why not do something that could put some happiness into your day?’

    just an add on, eat a bit of your favourite food? chocolate has anti-depressants in it and eating something comforting can often make you feel better. make sure it’s not something you’ll regret though because that could bring you down later.A friend and i have both eaten an entire tub of ice-cream together when we were feeling upset and it worked for a bit but then we felt extremely sick and so that is not recommended .