Science has shown that happier people enjoy more pleasant interactions with others, especially in romantic relationships, and tend to be less neurotic (1). In fact, there’s no cap on the level of happiness you feel. Even if you are happy now, you can be even happier (2), and you can raise your vibe with very little effort. It’s all in what makes you smile and appreciative in life.
So what can you do to become happy, or happier than you are now? Hint: it’s not through the accumulation of money, although money can help if invested wisely (3). Take a look at 100 ways you can up your happiness level and raise your vibe:
1. Count how many acts of kindness you complete each week (2).
2. Write a letter to a former teacher. Explain the positive impact they had on your life. We recommend sharing the letter with that teacher, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
3. Bake a family recipe and share it with co-workers.
4. List three things you’re grateful for each night before bed.
5. Sit for five minutes with your face in the sunlight, feeling the warmth on your skin.
6. Adopt a shelter cat or dog. Take a photo of your new furry friend the moment you get home. Then take another photo a month later. Share the before and after with friends, family, and the shelter (they love seeing adopted pets happy).
7. Drink at least the recommended daily allotment of water. We consist mostly of water, so keeping the machine for your soul well lubricated is important for optimal life performance.
8. Read a story to children. Really get into it. Do sound effects, exaggerated facial expressions, and different voices for different characters. Watch their reactions.
9. Play the silliest board game with a group of friends.
10. Be thankful for the money you use to pay bills.
11. Watch your favorite movie. Three of my favs are The Fifth Element, Hidden Figures and Old School.
12. Call up a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile and have a chat. Yes, I said call, not text. Even better if you make plans to meet up.
13. Have a dance party in your living room. Best part? No need to get all dressed up! Just get your groove thang on.
14. Go for a walk/hike. It’s said that walking through a quiet park or the woods helps rewire the brain, so that you don’t worry as much. And exercise has been proven time and again to be highly beneficial in improving your happiness.
15. Take a relaxing bath with some Epsom salts and your favorite oils.
16. Next time you eat, don’t scarf your food down. Take your time chewing. Notice the consistency, spices or sweetness, how it makes you feel to eat something you enjoy.
17. There’s something primal about sitting in front of a campfire that both energizes and calms you. If you have the chance, attend a bonfire or sit around a campfire with friends.
18. Play a make-believe game with your kid(s), nieces/nephews, etc. The way their minds think at their young age is refreshing and will probably leave you laughing.
19. Break out the fingerpaints and go to town. Don’t worry about what you’re painting but how it makes you feel. If you still want something pretty that you can hang, try placing tape that can be easily removed in shapes or words. Then, paint. When you’re done painting, remove the tape, and voila!
20. If you can’t adopt, the next best thing is to volunteer. Many shelters are in dire need of cat petters and dog walkers (yes, cat petter is a position). These animals need love more than anything, and their returned affection will warm your heart, too.
21. Do you like to cook? Get creative with a dish and share it with someone special. Even better if it’s a surprise.
22. Re-read a favorite book or ask for some new book recommendations of books that will make you laugh or lighten your soul.
23. If you can, take a trip to the beach and take a dip in the salty water. In a Livestrong article on the benefits of sea salt water, they say, “Sea salt, especially unrefined sea salt, contains vitamins, minerals and other microorganisms that can release substances like helpful bacteria and chemicals that affect our hormonal balances to improve your overall quality of life, according to Health Benefits of Water.” Bonus: It does wonders for your skin!
24. Get a haircut. You’ll feel refreshed and like a new person, especially if you get something slightly out of your comfort zone.
25. Attend a mystery dinner with friends or family and try to figure out who-dunnit.
26. Plug in some headphones, turn on some of your favorite music, close your eyes, and just sit and listen. Listen with your whole body, down to your cells. Feel the notes fill you completely.
27.Take an art class currently out of your skillset, such as glass blowing, ceramics, or photography.
28. Tend to a garden. If you don’t have the time for something huge, grow some herbs on your windowsill. If you have a black thumb, try an aloe plant, cactus, or air plant. They require less involvement but still add to your overall joy.
29. Get some water shoes and take a walk through a creek. It gets you out in the fresh air and the cool water will feel good.
30. Turn your favorite song up on the radio in your car, roll down the windows, and sing at the top of your lungs.
31. Go on a star-gazing excursion or just sit in a comfy chair in your backyard, wherever you can best see the stars. Even better is there’s a meteor shower occurring!
32. Sit out on a porch or beside a window and listen to the rain fall. Watch the lightning flash across the sky, and feel the thunder rumble deep within. You’ll inevitably feel charged up and lighter with the shift in ions around you.
33. Get a manicure (yes, even you guys!). If you don’t have the funds, invite some friends over and treat each other to your own home spa manicures with lotion and some nail polish.
34. Take a trip to an amusement park. See how many roller coasters you can ride on in a day.
35. See a movie you’ve been wanting to watch in IMAX 3D.
36. Take a relaxing kayak or canoe trip on a still lake near sunset.
37. Attend a drumming circle. The energy at drumming events will lift any mood!
38. Join a local club that participates in something you’re passionate about.
39. If you’re in a relationship and have kids, take some alone time to be with your significant other, even if that’s just hanging out around home, working on a project together or cuddling up on the couch for a movie.
40. Get a meaningful tattoo. Just be sure to do your homework on the artist, the shop’s hygiene practices, placement, and so on. Having a lasting piece of art on your body to remind you of something important in your life can be a really quick pick-me-up when you catch a glimpse of it in the mirror or someone asks you about the tattoo.
41. Attend a live concert, whether it’s a big production of one of your favorite bands or a small gig in a local park.
42. Keep a journal and count 1–3 things you’re grateful for each night before bed. Re-read them in the morning.
43. Remove negative people from your life. If you are the company you keep, you don’t want company that brings you down often.
44. Pay it forward!
45. Take a yoga class. If you’re a beginner, try a beginner class. You’ll feel so chill and loosened up afterward! If you’re an experienced yogi and haven’t already, try Bikram yoga. You’ll sweat so good.
46. Sit outside at night listening to the crickets and cicadas and watch the fireflies. If you live in a city, try to find a quiet spot in a park or away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
47. Visit your local or state fair and try a new food.
48. Check out a flea market on the weekend to see what unique goodies you can find. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and if you find something, you’re helping keep one more item from the dump.
49. Have breakfast at a local farmer’s market with fresh fruit.
50. Start a project that involves a hammer, nails, and some paint. What that is, though, is entirely up to you. You’ll find major satisfaction after it’s complete! Check out Pinterest to gather some ideas.
51. Plan a day where you can be super fancy. Wear the nicest clothes you have, eat at an amazing restaurant, and take in a play or foreign film. Live the ritzy life for a day.
52. Start writing to a pen pal or send an actual letter to someone whose address you have. It’ll be a really pleasant surprise.
53. Take a blanket, book, and your favorite sandwich out and just chill under a tree reading in the sunshine.
54. If you drink coffee or tea in the morning, take 5 minutes by yourself to really savor your drink. Breathe in the aromas. Feel the warmth of the liquid on your lips. Really focus on the enjoyment you receive from imbibing that particular drink.
55. Dust off your bicycle and take a ride around a park or on some bike trails. Feeling the wind pass through your hair as you whoosh on by is exhilarating.
56. Liven things up a bit in the bedroom.
57. Join a local sports team for the exercise, to enjoy a sport you love, and the be a part of a like-minded community.
58. Take one week to reflect on what you communicate. If you find you complain a lot, stop for a week. You’ll notice a major difference in how you feel.
59. Have a potluck with your friends where each friend makes their favorite dish or a dish well-known within their heritage.
60. If you have your own business, attend a networking event that will get you into contact with other like-minded business owners.
61. Kick off your shoes whenever you can and go barefoot, even if it’s briefly under your desk at work. It’s better if you can place your bare feet in the grass, as you are directly grounding then.
62. Volunteer to work at a farm helping with the animals, feeding, cleaning, and grooming. The farm owners will be incredibly grateful for the assistance, and there’s something unique about standing next to a large, powerful animal you don’t experience often in everyday life.
63. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds float by above. See what kind of shapes you can find. This can be incredibly entertaining
64. Sit on your couch, snuggled up with your favorite blanket and a beverage of your choice, and watch an episode of your favorite tv show.
65. Watch your local high school’s musical or theater production. Not only are you supporting community, you may be pleasantly surprised by how great of a production it is, and you’d be giving a confidence boost of those involved in the show.
66. Visit a local historical landmark and learn a bit about the area you’re living in.
67. Go out for brunch and mimosas with your friends.
68. Visit a local art exhibition. Really take your time at each piece. Consider what the artist was feeling and what they’re trying to convey.
69. Watch inspirational interviews or collections of people who have created amazing lives on YouTube.
70. Check your phone no more than ten times in a day. Leave it out of sight and reach the other times. You’d be surprised at how less anxious you’ll be after even a few days of doing this.
71. Paint a room in your house a different color. If you can’t paint where you’re at, grab a really large canvas and get creative on it. Make a collage of dreams or give a go at painting something. Then, hang it for a change of scenery.
72. Light your favorite incense. If you don’t normally use incense, trek over to your local holistic shop and find a few that you like.
73. Create your own homemade bath bombs with your favorite scent. Then, take a nice long bath with your favorite book.
74. Knit or crochet a scarf or, if you’re ambitious, a blanket for a close friend. Use their favorite colors or tailor it to match the decor of a certain room. You’ll love the feeling you get when handing it over.
75. Update the pictures around your house.
76. Take an exercise class in a pool. You’ll get exercise with less stress on your body, and you can take a dip afterward.
77. Be a animal foster mom/dad and help rehabilitate animals that need love and attention outside of a shelter facility before finding forever homes.
78. Stop watching or reading the news, or at least cut back on your consumption drastically. News designed to grab your attention and keep you reading until the end tends to be negative in nature, and you don’t want to constantly be inundated with the bad things going on in the world.
79. Start a community library box where anyone can take or leave used books.
80. Learn a new skill.
81. Attend a cosplay event as your favorite character. Everyone loves Halloween and getting dressed up as someone else. Cosplay events are the best way to combine both outside of Halloween. It can be really fun!
82. Participate in a themed race. Really get into it! Dress in crazy colors for the color run. Don a full Santa suit for the Santa run or deck out your big wheel for the Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race. Rent a penguin suit for the Polar Plunge. You get the idea.
83. Splurge on a high-quality sheet set. You’ll love getting into bed every night if you do.
84. Create a list of 3 things you want to accomplish each day. Ideally, they’re small things that can actually be done within a day. If you complete all three, you’ll have the satisfaction of crossing each task off. If you don’t, you’ll still be more productive each week than if you didn’t.
85. Deep clean your stove or fridge. There’s no better feeling than to see large appliances sparkling after a good scrub down.
86. Start learning a new language. Not only will it be highly satisfying to be able to communicate with more people in a foreign, exotic language, but more doors to opportunities will open by being able to speak another language.
87. Clear up any clutter piles you have lying around your home. Less clutter leads to better thinking and more pride and overall satisfaction in your living space.
88. Go big and try something exhilarating you’ve never done before, such as skydiving or snorkeling.
89. Create homemade ice cream from your favorite fruit. It’ll be oh so tasty and more healthy for you.
90. See an improv comedy performance.
91. Build a bird feeder. Then, throw in some seed and hang it up where you can watch the birds that gather.
92. Add plants for pollinators, like butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, around your property. Not only will they make you smile while seeing them busy at work, the flowers add color to your property AND you’re helping the environment. For a list a good list of what you can plant, click here.
93. Get to know a few of the people on your friend’s list that you don’t see face-to-face.
94. Stand firm with your personal boundaries. If you say no, stick with it. Don’t let others guilt or bully others into changing your mind. (See #43, removing negative people from your life.)
95. If you play an instrument, pick it up and play some music. If you don’t play, no better time to learn than now.
96. Help a friend
97. Volunteer to deliver flowers in your local hospital.
98. Go for some retail therapy. Just be sure to not spend more than you allocate. Treat yourself to something you’ve been wanting for awhile.
99. Learn how to rock climb. It can be challenging but incredibly rewarding when you finally reach the top.
100. My personal favorite is to activate your DNA, which is awakening the dormant strands of your DNA. Scientists call these strands of DNA “junk” because they can’t find any irrefutable proof they do anything, but these strands are actually responsible for your transcendence. People have seen MANY benefits to activating their DNA. You can read more about that here.”
Now, I challenge you to raise your vibe. Do one activity on this list once a month, at least, or create your own vibe-raising bucket list. And if you have anything you do that makes you happy not on this list, please share in the comments.
Note: I want to thank everyone who helped provide suggestions and input for creating happiness in others’ lives. Helping others is the biggest vibe-raiser there is. Share the love!
- Diener E, Seligman MEP. Very happy people. Psychological Science. 2002;13. [PubMed]
- OTAKE K, SHIMAI S, TANAKA-MATSUMI J, OTSUI K, FREDRICKSON BL. HAPPY PEOPLE BECOME HAPPIER THROUGH KINDNESS: A COUNTING KINDNESSES INTERVENTION. Journal of happiness studies. 2006;7(3):361–375. doi:10.1007/s10902–005–3650-z.
- Dunn, E. W., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2010, November 12). If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right[Https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/danielgilbert/files/if-money-doesnt-make-you-happy.nov-12-20101.pdf].