We all have those days. Even though there’s plenty to be happy about, our minds are in a bit of a funk. We want our lives to be filled with positive energy, but somehow, it’s a bit difficult. What’s wrong?
Luckily, there are some things that have been proven to work in these scenarios. You don’t have to just accept that you’re in a funk. In fact, you can use any one of the following methods to add a little bit of positive energy to your day.
In this article, I’ll list the most powerful methods to add positive energy to your day. At the end, I’m positive that you’ll have found some tips that work for you!
- 1. Don’t talk about your problems all the time
- 2. Spend time with someone you like
- 3. Be more proud of yourself
- 4. Acknowledge your victories
- 5. Be thankful for what you have
- 6. Give someone a compliment
- 7. Journal about what’s keeping you down
- 8. Control your happiness
- 9. Pick up litter on the street
- 10. Don’t worry about things that you can’t control
- 11. Forgive yourself and forgive others
- 12. Don’t let small things bother you too much
- 13. Smile more
- 14. Stop running away from your problems
- 15. Create a bucket list
- 16. Mix up your life a little
This article is part of a much bigger guide on learning how to become happy that I’m sure is the biggest freely available guide on the internet right now. This article contains some great tips, but you’ll find a lot more actionable tips in the section Happiness Tips!
1. Don’t talk about your problems all the time
You and I are social creatures. No matter if you’re introverted or extraverted, we all need a little bit of human-interaction to get through the day.
But if that human interaction is purely negative, then there’s a big chance that negativity will spread. For example, imagine talking to a colleague and he goes on and on about how your employer is somehow mistreating him. That’s likely going to have a negative impact on your state of mind.
This has been studied and talked about a lot. Negativity spreads like a virus, and if you don’t focus on stopping it, chances are you will become a victim as well.
The simple solution: try to limit your negative rants. We all have our problems. While it’s okay to share your problems in a constructive way, it’s never beneficial for both the speaker and the listener to go on a 30-minute rant about how your work is boring you to death.
Instead, you can decide to focus on the positive, or just say nothing and get to work.
2. Spend time with someone you like
One of the easiest ways to fill your day with a bit more positive energy is to just spend time with someone you like.
This doesn’t even have to be in person. Whenever you’re feeling a little low on energy, how about giving your parents a call? Even if it means just sharing a ridiculous YouTube video with a close friend, these small steps can go a long way in adding positive energy to your day.
3. Be more proud of yourself
This may be a personal example, but I find it hard sometimes to really appreciate who I am and what I’ve accomplished. As a result, I allow my mood to be affected and sometimes even rant about it to my partner. Is this a good way to spend my time? Absolutely not.
Like myself, you need to be more proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished.
We’re all dealing with stressful situations in life. If you want to feel more positive energy, try to actively think about all the times you navigated these difficult situations by being a great person.
4. Acknowledge your victories
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned about positive energy is that success can come from even the littlest of things. Whether it’s being able to get up in the morning or being resilient about something small, no progress is too small to notice.
Just because we have not arrived at our supposed destination yet, it doesn’t mean that we can’t acknowledge how far we’ve already come. Just because we haven’t reached our fullest potential doesn’t mean that we can’t acknowledge how much we’ve already improved.
5. Be thankful for what you have
There’s a powerful relationship between being thankful and being happy. If you’re aware of this correlation, it’s much easier to use gratitude to fill your life with more positive energy.
The effect of gratitude has been studied a lot recently. One of the most well-known studies on gratitude was conducted in 2003 by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough. They conducted a study in which they surveyed 192 participants – split into 3 groups – that were subjected to different situations. They were all asked to rate how they felt via a combination of 30 factors at the end of each day on a scale from 1 to 5. The answers were used to calculate a subjective well-being rating.
The study shows that people who are encouraged to think of things they’re grateful for are approximately 10% happier than those who are not.
But how can you turn this into actionable advice?
Simple. Try to answer the following question:
What is something that you are grateful for? For example, you can be grateful for someone smiling at you, for a beautiful sunset, or for some nice music that you recently listened to. Whatever comes to your mind is OK!
By just answering this question to the best of your abilities, you’re already allowing positive energy to fill your mind.
6. Give someone a compliment
This one is actually a funny story.
I once went for a run on a Sunday, which is something I typically do on my weekends. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, an old man passes me on his bicycle and shouts at me:
You have a great running form! Keep it going, keep it going!!!
I’m absolutely flabbergasted at this point. I mean, do I even know this guy?
A split second later, I decide that I don’t, and I thank him for his words of encouragement. He actually slows down a bit, and allows me to catch up with him, and gives me tips on my breathing:
Quickly inhale through the nose, and slowly exhale through your mouth. Keep it up, you’re looking good!
After 10 seconds, he takes a turn and shouts goodbye. I complete the rest of my run with a gigantic smile on my face.
Why did this guy strike up a conversation with me? Why did he spend his energy and time to compliment me? What was in it for him?
I still don’t know, but I do know that the world needs more people like this! Happiness is contagious, and if more people would be like this, the world would be a happier place!
But how will this bring positive energy to your own life?
It turns out that spreading happiness is actually something that makes you happy as well. So the next time you see some guy running in the street and compliment him on his running form, you’ll likely experience a bit of your own positivity as well!
7. Journal about what’s keeping you down
As we discussed earlier in this list, it’s not a good idea to talk about your problems all the time.
But we can’t stop ourselves from thinking negative thoughts all the time, right?
If you want to spend some time on what’s keeping you down, there’s a real benefit in journaling about it. Just sit down and write about all the things that are keeping you down.
This does 3 things:
- It keeps you from ranting, as it’s a bit silly to repeat yourself over and over again on paper.
- It allows you to give your thoughts some air to breathe, without getting distracted.
- When you’ve finished writing about your negativity, you’ll be able to forget about it.
This last point is especially powerful. Think of this as clearing the RAM memory of your computer. If you’ve written it down, you can safely forget about it and start with an empty slate.
This may not be a method to directly fill your life with positive energy. But by doing this, you’ll get rid of any negative energy in the most efficient and healthy way possible.
8. Control your happiness
We’ve recently published a study where we found that the idea of controlling your happiness leads to higher happiness. In other words, people who believe their happiness can be controlled are happier than those who don’t.
How is this going to help you fill your day with positive energy?
Answer these questions:
- On a scale from 1 to 100, how would you rate your happiness?
- What factors are having a positive influence on your happiness?
- What factors are having a negative influence on your happiness?
By answering these simple questions, you’re actually showing yourself how to control your happiness.
If you’re currently not as happy as you’d like, try to find what factors are causing this negativity. Is there something that you can control?
If you’re already happy, then you’re still likely to benefit from answering these questions as it helps you be happy with where you already are.
9. Pick up litter on the street
You’re probably aware of climate change. Whether or not you believe in it, I think we can all agree that we humans leave a bit too much of our trash outside.
Depending on where you live, you can fill one or two bags of trash by just going for a 30-minute walk around the block.
Even though this likely doesn’t sound like much fun to you, there’s a psychological benefit to picking up litter on the street. Sustainable behavior is linked to happiness, as we’ve published an entire article about this.
By engaging in sustainable behavior – like picking up trash – we’re likely to experience a bolt of positive energy.
I’ve personally found a really fun way to do this. Whenever I go for a run, and I see a small piece of trash on the ground, I pick it up and try to run to the nearest garbage bin to throw it in.
Funnily enough, this keeps me in better shape and it makes me feel good about myself.
10. Don’t worry about things that you can’t control
This article is about how to fill your life with more positive energy.
But what if this article was about how to fill your life with negative energy instead? Would you need to read it? Probably not.
It turns out that we are pretty good at creating negative energy already. We don’t need articles to help us with that!
- We worry about bad things that might happen in the future.
- We keep re-living bad things that happened in the past.
- And if that wasn’t enough already, most of us are really easily bothered by small things throughout the day.
What’s cynical about all of this is that we can’t even control most of the things that bring us down. A lot of this sadness is just circumstancial.
One of the best ways to deal with these issues is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is all about being in the present and not letting your thoughts run amok. Practicing mindfulness daily will help you let go of worrying over the past and the future, and focus on the here and now.
We published an article specifically about mindfulness and how to get started with it.
11. Forgive yourself and forgive others
There are some things that can’t be forgiven, but often, holding grudges is what makes us feel like victims. When someone has hurt us, it’s natural to want revenge, but life is all about picking your battles.
Prolonged resentment keeps you constantly under stress, which makes you more vulnerable to other blows life might throw at you. In turn, this can make you feel even more like a victim. Forgiving someone can be the most powerful tool in order to move forward and take control of your life.
But sometimes it’s yourself who you have to forgive. Whatever past mistakes you’ve made, you can’t unmake them, but you can make sure that you won’t make them in the future. Accept yourself for who you are and move on.
You’ll be surprised at how much positive energy you’ll feel by practicing forgiveness.
12. Don’t let small things bother you too much
I have an anecdote that perfectly shows the importance of this tip. It shows why you don’t want to let small things bother you:
Years ago, when I was writing my first book, I stopped socializing with my friends. I had a book contract to write 120,000 words and a six-month deadline to complete the work. Having never written a book before, the project seemed daunting. I had no idea how long it would take to complete. For months, I did not call or contact any of my friends. As a result, after the manuscript was completed, one of them wanted to meet me in a coffee shop.
There, he read me a long list of why he never wanted to see me again. As I recall, he had over sixty items on it.
I was stunned by his breaking-up our long friendship, but I also realized that nearly everything he said was true. I didn’t return his calls. I didn’t send him a birthday card. I didn’t come to his garage sale, etc.
My friend was extremely angry and wanted me to defend myself and fight back, but I did the opposite. I agreed with most of what he said. Moreover, instead of being confrontational, I told him that anyone who had given so much time and thought to our relationship must really love me. Instead of adding fuel to a volatile situation, I put what he said about me in neutral. I didn’t get angry or become defensive.
P.S.: My friend and I are good friends once again and frequently joke about “The I-Never-Want-to-See-You-Again” list. Now when either of us does something that irritates the other, we call out what the next number might be on the list…and laugh.Allen Klein, excerpt from our article on How To Not Let Things Bother You
This anecdote shows how improtant it is to not dwell on small stuff that annoys you.
Whenever you feel annoyed at something small, try to focus on one of the other tips we’ve discussed in this article so far:
- Write it down and forget about it.
- Call up a friend and try to laugh about the things that bother you.
- Don’t dwell on it and focus on something positive instead.
13. Smile more
You’ve probably heard this popular piece of advice before:
Smile in the mirror each day to make yourself happier.Your parents, high-school teachers or friends, all with the best intentions.
It’s a popular piece of advice and one that I have given myself as well. But does it really work? Can you really make add positive energy to your day by forcing a smile?
Yes, it does, but only sometimes. A 2014 study reports that frequent smiling only makes you happier if you believe that a smile reflects happiness. If you don’t believe that smiling causes happiness, frequent smiling can backfire and make you less happy! It’s similar to finding your meaning in life – you won’t find it when you’re consciously looking for it.
14. Stop running away from your problems
It’s often easier to avoid a problem than to deal with it, even when you know that avoidance isn’t sustainable in the long run.
These situations occur daily: we’re faced with a problem and need to either tackle it right away or postpone it.
A powerful method to stop running away from your problems is to follow the 5-minute rule.
The 5-minute rule is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique for procrastination in which you set a goal of doing whatever it is you would otherwise avoid, but only do it for five minutes. If after five minutes it’s so horrible that you have to stop, you are free to do so.
Even if you’re unable to complete the task in 5 minutes, you’ll still be one step closer to solving your problem!
If you have several problems, start with the smallest. If there’s one big problem, break it down into bite-sized pieces.
If you’re facing multiple problems at once, you need to start small. Starting small will give you a chance to see progress faster, which will help to boost and maintain your motivation. If you start with the biggest, most terrifying problem, it will take much longer to see success and your motivation can wane.
If you want more specific tips, here is an entire article dedicated to how to stop running away from your problems.
15. Create a bucket list
While the idea of writing down everything you want to do before you die may sound morbid, it’s more about what you want to experience while you live. Writing this down in a big list is a great way to experience a bit of positive energy!
Personally, I love making lists and if there’s something I’ve learned about lists, it’s that they only work if you do. Dreaming without doing won’t make your life that much more interesting.
The secret to a good bucket list is finding the balance between realistic and idealistic. Include both your wildest fantasies and easily achievable things.
By making a bucket list, you’re basically creating a series of goals for yourself, and every good goal needs a deadline. Obviously, you have no way of knowing how long you have left, but just deciding if you’re going to travel to your dream locations this year or the next is a good start.
There’s also a scientific benefit from writing bucket lists. By planning a future holiday, you’ll experience a boost in happy emotions.
16. Mix up your life a little
Routines are safe, and often necessary for self-discipline, but mixing them up can be a good way to make your life just a little more interesting. As a result, you’ll be more likely to experience bursts of positive energy throughout the day.
One of my brightest childhood memories is of a morning in the 1st grade. I remember telling my mom that I didn’t want to go to school. I don’t remember the reason, but I was kicking up a fuss about having to walk to school – I lived about a 10-minute walk away.
In response, my mom told me we would be taking another route to school, which got my interest and I agreed pretty quickly to try going to school after all.
We didn’t actually take a different route, since the route in question was mainly a straight road, but we didn’t cross the street in the usual place. My 7-year-old mind was blown by the fact that you can, in fact, use the other side of the street as well.
Later, in adolescence and adulthood, mixing up my routes became a way to break routine. Right now, I have two main ways I can walk to work and three ways to get home (four if I want a detour).
It’s these little things that help you make your everyday life a little more interesting. You don’t have to visit faraway places; sometimes, discovering an interestingly decorated yard in a side street is enough to add a little positive energy to your day.
Thanks for sticking with me all the way till the end! Next time you’re feeling a bit moody or down, try to think of one of these tips and add some positive energy to your life. Even though they might not all work for you, I’m sure there are one or two tips that will help you spice things up!
Now I want to hear from you! Is there anything that you do in particular to bring positive energy to your days? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!