20 Uplifting Things to Do When You Feel Sad

If you feel down and out, here are 20 uplifting things you can do right now that will help you go back to your regular happy self!

Everyone goes through periods of sadness. People die or hurt you and you feel down, or life isn’t going the way you thought it would which leaves you feeling blue.

Although you can’t avoid sadness entirely, that doesn’t mean that you have to wallow in it. There are several things you can do to turn your grey skies blue, your frown upside down and lighten up your spirits a notch or two.

If you feel down and out, for whatever reason, here are twenty uplifting things you can do right now that will help you go back to your regular ‘ole happy self:

#1: Focus on what you’re doing

ilustracion of a girl thinking

Generally sadness occurs when you think about a loss that you have suffered or are about to endure. Therefore, staying in the moment and focusing on what is happening in your here and now can help you to ease your dreariness and get you to put a smile on your face.

Speaking of smiles…

#2: Go someplace public and smile at people


The one great thing about smiles is that they are infectious. You can’t smile at someone without them smiling back at you (well, it does happen but not often). And, when they smile at you, it makes you happy.

It’s like you are helping others help make you happy, if that makes any sense.

#3: Strike up a conversation with a stranger

couple flirting in the club

Sometimes all you need to lift your veil of sadness is something to take your mind off things. When you strike up a conversation with a total stranger, that is exactly what will happen because you will be engaged with someone you know nothing about.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even make a new friend and that is a reason to be happy, right?

#4: Tackle your to-do list

You may not have a lot of energy if you are sad, but forcing yourself to tackle even one thing on your to-do list will actually make you feel better. You will feel productive and that brings positivity all on its own.

#5: Say “I feel sad”

sad woman with sunglasses sitting outdoor

Oftentimes just saying out loud that you are sad is enough to lighten your mental heaviness. It gives a voice to your feelings and validates them.

Say it to yourself or to someone that you trust – just make sure you say it. It’s like the weight leaves your body when you release the words into the air.

#6: Set a goal

If you are sad because you feel like your life lacks purpose, setting a goal will help. Give yourself something to look forward to – something to be excited about. Imagine reaching your goal and let that thought inspire you.

#7: Play your favorite get-up-and-go music

smiling young woman listening music

This one is very important because if you turn on music that makes you even sadder, then you aren’t going to help yourself at all. Instead, turn on music that gets you feeling good, whether it is rock, soul, R&B or whatever.

Let it flow into your body and push the negative feelings right out.

Still haven’t found the perfect playlist? No worries! Click here for 10 songs that will inspire you.

#8: Sing and dance, even if you can’t

Even if you are like Dudley in the movie Wild Hogs when he says, “Music moves me, it just moves me ugly,” who cares? You’re not getting paid for your talent (or lack thereof), so dance and sing your heart out no matter how bad it is.

You’ll feel better almost instantly!

#9: Take a walk

Fresh air can do wonders for a foul mood. It’s like every breath you take in is filled with hope and encouragement, leaving you feeling refreshed and anew.

Try walking somewhere you’ve never been for an even greater effect as you get sidetracked from your feelings by unfamiliar surroundings.

#10: Go for a run

woman running in the park

If a walk isn’t enough for you and you want to release a lot of feel-good endorphins while getting your fresh air, you may want to consider going for a run.

Sweat the sadness right out of your pores and you’ll walk back in your door feeling like a brand new woman.

#11: Call a friend

Sometimes it helps to talk out your sadness. Give it a voice and let it go. Call a trusted friend to share your down in the dumps feelings and they’re sure to do what they can to make you feel better. They always do.

#12: Watch your favorite television show

A little alone time can help pull you out of your funk and one great way to fill it is by watching your all-time favorite TV shows. Spending a few quality hours with your DVR may be exactly what you needed to reenergize your battery.

#13: Sit in the sun

One way to give a quick pick-me-up to your spirits is to spend some time in the direct sunlight. The vitamin D is extremely good for you and helps you lift your depression naturally and effectively.

#14: Sit by the water

woman sitting by the swimming pool

There is something extremely soothing about watching the waves roll onto the shore. Whether it is a slow sweeping motion, or a semi-violent crashing of the water against rock, it helps you return to nature – and return to peace inside yourself.

#15: Sign up for a new class

Grab a gal pal and sign up for a new class you’ve been meaning to take and the anticipation will likely put a smile on your face. Even if you go solo, you’re sure to not only have fun, but you may meet new people in the process, which is a good thing.

#16: Play with an animal

Whether you have a pet or decide to borrow a neighbors’, animals have a way of bringing you back to your happy place. When they jump around and are excited to get your attention, how can you not treasure life?

#17: Get in touch with your creative side

creative art photo

If you are a creative type, you may find that writing a poem or painting a picture will help pull you from the depths of your sadness. With each stroke of the pen or brush, you’re able to transfer your sadness out of your body and onto your canvas.

#18: Clean and organize

This may not sound like fun to you, but there are times that cleaning and organizing your environment can help. It not only keeps you busy, but it is also productive and you feel very accomplished when you are done, which is a very positive feeling.

#19: Meditate

short hair woman meditating at home

Take a moment and just breathe. Sit in complete and total silence and pay attention to nothing other than the air as it enters and exits your body.

This automatically centers you. Meditation releases your tensions – right along with your sadness.

#20: Play with a child

When you play with a child and see the world through their precious and innocent little eyes, it reminds you how wonderful life can be. You start to look at your own world and remember that there is still a lot of good in it.

Try these twenty things when you’re feeling down and they’ll help uplift you and bring you to a better place. What are some things that you do when you’re feeling sad?

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.


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  • hey christina everything you said are really helpful and i do some of those when i feel down and out. The really best thing I do is cleaning my things out and throwing crap.