65 Ways to Improve Your Mood

April 25, 2014 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Ways to improve your mood? How about 65 of them? Learn how to improve your mood by building positive experiences to make you happier and boost your self-esteem.

As trivial as it may seem, small behaviors can really impact your mood. The more we spiral into the negative thinking patterns, the more it affects our view of the world and our self-esteem. When a toxic environment takes over or unhappy thoughts to engulf your mind, it leads to anger, resentment, frustration, and bad vibes.


Recently I was stuck on a car ride from hell. The two in the front seat were as judgmental as they come, arguing about politics, the news, anything that was a hot topic. After being in the car for what seemed like an eternity I realized their negative energy was putting me in a terrible mood. I started to think about what I could do to shift my positive energy back into play before getting to the event. I didn't want to show up in a bad mood, frustrated, or feeling bad about myself.

Short-term positive experiences can move your bad mood or low-level thinking into a more positive place, which helps you feel better. I looked up funny dog pictures, emailed a friend, found inspirational quotes, and did a little research on my phone for something I was interested in learning. In my mind, I thought of ways I could rearrange my office and daydreamed about what my home could look like someday. Guess what? It worked, I was able to move forward without their negative vibes (and mine too).

Most of us probably already do something like this in our lives. If you increase pleasant things that give you positive emotions, you feel better about your life. Doing more of this makes us feel good, which we deserve, even in the midst of all the chaos, and it gets us in the habit of having positive feelings.

This helps your self-esteem because the more uplifted you are, the more likely you develop positive feelings about yourself as well. A fine day can turn fabulous if you allow yourself to make more room for positive experiences and thoughts. Here are a few.

65 Ways to Improve Your Mood and Thinking

  1. Enjoying your favorite (non alcoholic) beverage
  2. Buying fresh flowers
  3. Listening to an upbeat song
  4. Going to the park and people watching
  5. Watching a Spoken Word video on YouTube
  6. Going to the gym
  7. Planning a future menu for a dinner party
  8. Going to a pet store and holding puppies or kittens
  9. Planning a future vacation (even if it's 5 years away)
  10. Painting
  11. Doing something spontaneously
  12. Going to the bookstore and browsing
  13. Shopping for something you want, but don't need
  14. Doodling or drawing
  15. Entertaining, or planning a future get together
  16. Going on Pinterest
  17. Hiking
  18. Making something from Pinterest
  19. Researching a topic of interest
  20. Research a new recipe
  21. Playing musical instruments
  22. Doing arts and crafts
  23. Making a gift for someone
  24. Calling an old friend
  25. Watching your favorite sport
  26. Cooking
  27. Writing (poems, articles)
  28. Sewing
  29. Donating to charity
  30. Going out to dinner
  31. Volunteering
  32. Discussing books
  33. Sightseeing
  34. Gardening
  35. Playing a game on your phone
  36. Early morning coffee and newspaper
  37. Going to plays and concerts
  38. Daydreaming
  39. Make a list of goals (non judgmentally)
  40. Going bike riding
  41. Walks in the woods (or at the waterfront)
  42. Photography
  43. Thinking about pleasant events
  44. Playing with animals
  45. Reading fiction
  46. Writing diary entries or letters
  47. Finding a new blog to follow
  48. Dancing
  49. Going on a picnic
  50. Thinking "I did that pretty well" after doing something
  51. Meditating
  52. Having lunch with a friend
  53. Dressing up and looking nice
  54. Getting a massage
  55. Thinking about my good qualities
  56. Taking a sauna or a steam bath
  57. Sitting in a sidewalk café
  58. Reflecting on how I've improved
  59. Going to museums
  60. Buying a magazine you like
  61. Lighting candles
  62. Thinking about having a family
  63. Making a new playlist
  64. Make a vision board
  65. Thoughts about happy moments in my childhood

Which ones work for you? Are there some that you are already doing that others should know about? Share your advice below and take good care.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2014, April 25). 65 Ways to Improve Your Mood, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 9 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Marty Hill
July, 3 2015 at 3:33 am

I suffer from PTSD and extreme social depression is in the backseat driving most of the time. It is very hard for me to get myself out of it..especially when you can't talk to people about it, because you have trust issues...I did like what you had to say about trying to stop the negative thoughts in their tracks...which may be tough because depression is an insidious creature...sometimes you don't realize it is controlling you. I do find the old movies, and music do help...and I also set small tasks for myself...because that helps to keep you aware that you can accomplish things. Sometimes, I fall into the trap of sleeping...and I try to control that too...I keep in mind that if you put 2 feet on the is only a little tougher to stand up. Thank you for the article. It always helps to know that you are not alone. <3

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 13 2015 at 12:21 pm

Great points and I appreciate your ideas. I like the idea of setting small tasks for yourself as well as having an accountability buddy or someone helping you stick to goals (on challenging days I have a friend who will keep me accountable). Good Work and keep it up Marty!
Take Good Care,

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 28 2015 at 10:59 am

Marty I thought I responded to you earlier and I am so sorry it didn't go through! Thanks for posting and I appreciate your words of wisdom. Keep up the good work you are doing the best you can and it's fantastic. On days when things get rough I like to just praise my self for one thing at a time (getting out of bed and eating breakfast- yay). Self-care is so important and you can be your biggest cheerleader. Keep up the awesome work!!!!

Tina sager
May, 27 2014 at 11:23 pm

I'm just completing my internship needed for my state testing LPC . I graduated with my M.A. In may 2012. And I also have 18 extra hours in psychology but I,m terrified in taking my board since I have limited money and have to work and it seems I have no time to study while raising 7 yr old granddaughter with no parents. So please advise on what books you studied before your licensing test. I test in MS. I.m 51 and used all savings for my 7 yr adventure after my children left home. And I need accreditation to get job in small 30,000 census with no sight of relocating. Please help.

Dr Musli Ferati
May, 14 2014 at 12:12 am

The correlation between mood and psycho-motoric activity is intertwined one. If our thoughts lead on the mood to anyone, then our behave manage with whole system of mind. Therefore, we may moderate our mood as predictor of global welfare by some simply activities, that going on concordance with our personal needs and deeds, as well. Your list of practical psycho-mental activities and performances offers excellent choice to achieve this healing goal. Let's accept with pleasure this form of relation with our daily functioning, in order to ameliorate common life problems. The same are without any charge in our family budget. It ought to change only the manner of thoughts and activity that destroys our psycho-social welfare. On the other hand, positive model of thinking improves and develops our social network, through which one we build up our personal, occupational and social happiness. In contrary negative set of thinking and behave diminish the probabilities to increase our global assessment scale of functioning (GAF) as crucial parameter of mental health statement.

Katherine de Young
May, 9 2014 at 2:59 pm

Never go the pet store and cuddle puppies and kittens unless you intend to take one home. It's cruel to the baby when after receiving love and getting its' hopes up, it is thrust back into the cage. And if you DO purchase a puppy, then understand you are most likely supporting a puppy/kitten farm which is an abhorrent practice of business. Adopt from a licensed shelter, or 501c rescue group. If animals make you happy, and you can't have one, considering donating to a 501c animal rescue group. They rely solely on donations, and pull the majority of their animals out of killing shelters. Thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 9 2014 at 12:02 pm

Hi Katherine, This is one of many. Many pet stores actually love when people come in- it helps them give care. Volunteering is great and adopting a pet too, but for the purpose of this article, for things that instantly boost your mood, these were not options. Thanks for your insight about the shelters- I am a dog mom and huge advocate of ending puppy mills! Any good rescue group that you can recommend to donate too? I love that idea!

Pam Jarrett
May, 9 2014 at 11:25 am

I am in terrible trouble as I face withdrawing from the drug Abilify, which gains a black box warning as you taper off of it. Withdrawal can cause death, psychosis, or INCREDIBLY painful, intense states of mind. In addition, I am facing a layoff from my church. This kind of list helps to get my mind off of my black mood, and interrupts thoughts of suicide. Plus, these things can be done alone, and are virtually cost-free. Thank you for the list!

May, 9 2014 at 12:43 pm

I believe the point here is to get your mind off your negative thoughts. I had someone tell me to "just change your thinking". I didn't know how to do that until one day when I was in a negative mood, I put my favorite music on while I was doing something else and my negative mood lifted. I don't always remember to "change my thinking", but I'm working on it and it seems to make things better every time I do it.

One Frosty Cupcake
May, 9 2014 at 6:24 pm

I appreciate the effort it takes to get 65 items. Most of them one doesn't havve to be particularly athetic for.

April, 30 2014 at 11:49 pm

One, all of these take time and energy... Not something I have to spare.
Two, a lot of them would just stress me out.
Not a fan at all of this list.

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