18 Ways to Brighten Your Day

Some days we just wake up feeling tired, unhappy and stressed out be the amount of work that needs to get done. But who said that the day that starts off badly, cannot get better? Consider trying a few (if not all) of these steps to brighten your days. Some are easy, some take more time, and all will put a bounce in your step.

1. Make your bed in the morning

Take two extra minutes in the morning to fluff your pillows and smooth your comforter in the morning, and you’ll relish the opportunity to come home to a tidy room and fresh bed to fall asleep in.

2. Write an email to an old friend.

With Facebook, instant messages and free telephone services like Skype, staying connected is easier than ever. Drop a brief line to an old friend and enjoy catching up little by little.

3. Splurge on a delicious meal.

Luxurious food and drink last for a couple of hours; the memories of a perfect meal are much more substantial. My recommendation: share your experience with someone special. No meal should be eaten alone.

4. Pet an animal.

Studies show that the joy from petting and playing with an animal has the same chemical effect on the brain as playing with your child: that means a big boost in happy energy. If you don’t have your own pet, head to a local animal shelter, or walk the neighbor’s dog.

5. Take time with your appearance.

It’s the ultimate confidence boost when your self-esteem is still in winter hibernation. Dress in clothes that make you feel good, get a haircut, shave, or spritz yourself with something that smells really good. (The best part: you still feel good even if there is no one around to see you!)

6. Start a long-term project.

The hardest part of tackling a huge project is starting it. When end results seem so far away, it’s hard to get motivated to start and to see it through. Whether it’s as small as updating your entire iTunes account with album art or as important as getting out of credit card debt, doing one small thing every day will show big results in the long term. As a bonus, you’ll feel proud that you made the first steps!

7. Prepare for your day the night before.

Have a few extra minutes before you go to sleep? Do one or two small thing that will make your morning scramble a little easier. Pack your lunch, lay out your outfit, blow dry your hair, organize any work supplies. Rather than running around to make it to work on time, you can sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee.

8. Give yourself the chance to laugh.

Watch a comedy, browse some YouTube videos, call up a hilarious friend, or go read through some old Sunday funnies.

9. Save something to look forward to.

Instant gratification can be very satisfying, but there is a reason why your birthday is so special: it only happens once a year. Plan on something to look forward to, be it a weekly podcast, a concert a few months away, a family trip, or extravagant holiday plans.

10. Share something with someone.

Joy is best when split between more than one person (there is a reason women love shopping in pairs). Cook a big meal for a group of close friends or gather a few pals to go on a hike.

11. Get outside.

Now that the sun is shining, it’s time to soak up all the Vitamin D you’ve been missing for the past five months. Get up, get out, and enjoy the fresh air – even if it’s just for a quick walk on your lunch break. But remember to bring a couple of layers: spring is known for its showers.

12. Rock out.

A life without music is really no life at all. Pump up the volume and start getting jiggy. Hint: the more bass the better.

13. Eat breakfast for once.

And I don’t mean a Pop Tart. I mean something with some nutritional value that will jump start your day, boost your mind and body, and get you raring to go.

14. Be really nice to yourself.

Give yourself all the compliments you deserve.

15. Be even nicer to others.

You know how good it feels to receive an unexpected compliment. A good rule to live by: people are nicest to people who are nice.

16. Smile. A lot.

It’s science: the more you smile – even if there is no reason to do it- the better your mood.

17. Get exercise.

Even gentle exercise burns calories and releases mood-enhancing endorphins. Whether you’re training for a marathon or taking a quick walk down to the mail box, your whole day will feel brighter when you start moving.

18. Help someone every day.

It doesn’t have to be a commitment to the Peace Corps, but committing yourself to being available and helpful is both a personal mood booster and the opportunity to make a difference. It could be as simple as offering to grab your coworker a cup of coffee on your trip to Starbucks, or as involved as supporting a child in another country.

No one has the perfect day every day. But working to change your outlook on life and enjoying the small stuff is a great way to improve your attitude!

Emma is a writer who works with Creditnet.com, a service which works to help struggling consumers find credit cards for bad credit, and guides them to smart, responsible spending.