Five Quick Pick-Me-Ups

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Day five of a nasty summer cold and I’m feeling a little blue. Isn’t it so much better to get sick during the winter when you can cuddle up next to a fire and read a book?

But since I write a blog about happiness, that’s enough whining.

However, this whole feeling miserable and a little depressed got me to thinking.

How can you make yourself feel better without much effort or time? I know exercise or taking a quick walk around the block can lift your mood (see How Exercise Makes You Happier ), but what can you do if you’re stuck at home?

So I made up a list of instant mood-lifting tricks that will make you smile in five minutes or less – even if you’re housebound with a box of Kleenex like me:

Listen to a Happy Song

Image courtesy of stockimages /

Image courtesy of stockimages /

Music can soothe the soul and refresh the spirit, as I wrote in my blog, Music and Happiness, I listed 15 of my favorite happy songs if you want to check it out.

One more song to add to the list, a friend posted a different rendition of the Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” by Walk Off the Earth on Facebook. Love, love this! Makes me feel ever-so-happy and feel so much better! Watch the video and it is sure to make you smile.

Pet Your Dog

When you pet your dog even for just a few minutes, your body releases feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. That means lower blood pressure, less stress, and even a boost in immunity. As I wrote in my blog, Friends with Benefits: How Pets Make Us Happier, our adoring furry friends make us feel loved, provide companionship, and put us at ease. Of course, not only dogs make you feel better. Any pet will do.



Watch a funny movie.

Laughing can improve our immune system, help dissolve stress, and increase our relaxation response. In fact, a good laugh can relax our muscles for up to 45 minutes after we’ve finished chuckling. There’s an increase in dopamine, the pleasure center of our brain, and laughter produces endorphin, feel-good chemicals that can even temporarily reduce pain.

As we all know, day-to-day life drags us down and a good laugh can seem a million miles away. So how can we lighten up and bring more humor into our lives? For some suggestions, you can check out my blog, How to Bring More Humor and Joy to Your Life.

By the way, you don’t even have to laugh out loud. Even being quietly amused or smiling can bring on some of these wonderful benefits.

Take a Deep Breath

Deep breathing sends oxygen surging through your bloodstream, helping to calm your entire body. Or try a whiff of lavender or rosemary. Add a few drops of either oil to a room diffuser. Aromatherapy isn’t just for spas. Inhaling those aromas can lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Flip Through Old Photos

When you’re feeling down, break out your kids’ or grandkids’ baby albums or browse through pictures from your favorite vacation and stroll down memory lane. Upload your favorite photos to your computer and set them as a rotating screensaver. Or splurge on a frame that flips through digital photos.

Studies have shown that viewing pictures made people feel 11 percent better. And as my last blog, Why Being Nostalgic Is Good For You, pointed out, reminiscing is good for you.

So there you have it. Five instant mood lifters when you’re feeling blah. I don’t know about you, but I feel better already. 🙂


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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4 Responses

  1. Cat Michaels says:

    I’m glad you are feeling better. Thanks for the great ideas for curing the blahs. If I’m not too germy, I love watching little ones play. And giggle. Or queuing up a Disney cartoon movie, if I need to be isolated. Jane Austen films work, too.

  2. Keith says:

    My fav pick me up movies: Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Bridesmaids

    • juliegorges says:

      Thank goodness for Netflix when you’re sick or just feeling a bit down, right? Comedies are great. Maybe because my husband and I love sailing, Captain Ron never fails to make me laugh and instantly puts me in a better mood.

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