Quick Pick-Me-Up
May 24, 2010 2:27 PM   Subscribe

What are some ways to "feel better fast"?

What are some "quick tricks" you can use to give yourself a boost? Like an exercise, or eating something, or calling your Mom. Something to lower stress, or just make yourself happy. No booze or drugs, just good natural high.
posted by LonnieK to Health & Fitness (50 answers total) 134 users marked this as a favorite
I usually feel better after I take a shower.
posted by royalsong at 2:28 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Back when I lived in Chicago, every time I felt like crap, I went to the Chicago Diner and had a macrobiotic plate (seaweed et al). It always made me feel better for a few hours.
posted by davejay at 2:30 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

A quick howdy do, with your partner or by yourself.
posted by TheBones at 2:33 PM on May 24, 2010 [9 favorites]

Do you have someone you can hug? If you do, sit on a sofa and hug each other for a while.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:34 PM on May 24, 2010

Take a walk in a park, or make plans with friends for later.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 2:35 PM on May 24, 2010

If you want dopamine, have a chat with a friend or (better yet) get a backrub.
If you want endorphin, do fifty jumping jacks as fast as you can.
If you want serotonin, have a cup of joe or some dark chocolate.

And put them all together... bolt down an espresso and engage in some truly heroic shagging.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:36 PM on May 24, 2010 [54 favorites]

It's easier to work yourself up to happy than to go from feeling bad to happy in one jump. So I usually start with something small that has nothing to do with the stressful situation like thinking about something that made me laugh, one of my pets, looking at a LOL cat. I will often do something nurturing for myself like eating a tasty meal, taking a long bath, making time to read a book, whatever floats your boat.

The other thing you can do is to look at the situation that's making you unhappy and turn it around and think about the positives of it. [If it's work stress, for example, you can list the things you like about your job: steady paycheck, co-worker who is fun to be around, a certain project you find interesting etc.] One thing that does not work for me is venting about it. Sometimes that's necessary when I feel like I need to let it out, but dwelling on all the crap tends to work me up even more.
posted by Kimberly at 2:36 PM on May 24, 2010

No! I don't condone that - I start my day off usually with a nice bike ride. I like going as fast as I can! Paying very close attention to the traffic around me, the sights and smells of the city, the skirts flying by and -

what was I all bummed about? See, I forget.
posted by alex_skazat at 2:39 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Yoga. After a yoga class I feel exhausted and at peace. Really calm and just untouchable.

Also, I tend to hold stress in my shoulders. I have a friend who excels at unknotting my shoulders in just a few minutes.

Hot bath and a glass of wine.

Finding someone to rub my back or pet my head for a few minutes.

Calling my friend Bill. (He'll always support me unconditionally while giving it to me straight.)
posted by mollymayhem at 2:40 PM on May 24, 2010

OH! Going for a motorcycle ride, especially late at night. Duh. Can't believe I forgot that one!
posted by mollymayhem at 2:42 PM on May 24, 2010

brushing my teeth. I don't know why, but it kind of resets me.
posted by gaspode at 2:47 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

yoga and dark chocolate, separately of course.

also: maru
posted by inertia at 2:49 PM on May 24, 2010 [5 favorites]

A quiet, contented sort of good: cats
Rowdy, romping good time: dogs

* Stacy Kidd feat. Joi Williams - Don't Let Nobody (from The Movement EP, no handy YT link, sorry!)
* Jorge Ben - Take It Easy My Brother Charles, or pretty much any Jorge Ben
* Drumagick - Easy Boom (original 12") and Marky & XRS - LK (original 12") -- both sampling the Jorge Ben track
Listening to the above may lead to dancing, or at least some joyful bouncing about. This is good.

From a recent thread about how to brighten up after crying: Look up. Stretch your face into the biggest, widest smile you can manage. Make sure the muscles around your eyes are really stretched and squinting. Hold your fake smile for about 30 seconds.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:53 PM on May 24, 2010

I always feel great after I get my hair done, but I can only do that so often.

I really love bird watching. Just going to a park and sitting under a tree on a nice day while watching the birds hop around and chirp brings me a lot of peace.

Going to a specialty chocolate store and picking out one really nice, expensive chocolate bar.

An afternoon nap with some cat snuggling (or if you have a dog, this works too).
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:07 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's liquid magic. It cures colds, heartbreak, and ennui.
posted by desuetude at 3:08 PM on May 24, 2010 [9 favorites]

I had a list of things that I like about myself. When I started to get down I'd pull out the list. Peppy songs from the 80's usually cheer me up, especially the ones I can sing along to.

Also, Robin Williams giving late night interviews never fails to have me laughing to tears.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:12 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pad thai. A cup of tea. Looking at pictures of sloths.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 3:14 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

And washing my face thoroughly. Rest the cool washcloth over your eyes for a bit.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 3:14 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

One of the quickest ways I know to give myself a boost of happy is to find an unavoidable, dreaded task I've been putting off and just do it.

The key is to find something that isn't complicated or lengthy (i.e. taxes, reduce processed sugars in diet, resolve relationship issues with mother).

Instead, it's something fairly simple but annoying (i.e. clean fast food trash out of car, reorganize files I've left on desktop, return those shoes to Nordstrom, take that bag of stuff to Goodwill). You know the type.... where any time you ponder it, you just think, "blergh. Not today. Can't be arsed. Maybe tomorrow."

It's a thing that isn't necessarily hindering my life all that much, but has been hanging over my head anyway.

It ends up only taking 10 minutes, but when all is said and done, it's two-fold win: I've accomplished something tangible and necessary, and I've eliminated the thing hanging over my head. Double happiness.
posted by pineapple at 3:14 PM on May 24, 2010 [37 favorites]

Sometimes I'll program a few songs and lie down on my bed while listening to it. Try a progression: a relaxing song, a faster, dreamy song, and finally a 'get up and rock the world' song.
posted by blazingunicorn at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

An episode of Arrested Development, with or without my accompanying drinking game. Or a bagel.
posted by oinopaponton at 3:16 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Shower-chocolate-yoga-a-walk too, plus as a faraway dad it helps if I call my (by now grown up) kids.
posted by Namlit at 3:28 PM on May 24, 2010

Comfort food and a favorite TV show. For me, that would be pizza and some Seinfeld episodes.
posted by alligatorman at 3:30 PM on May 24, 2010

Any of the following, in no particular order

1. A massage
2. A long bike ride
3. A romp in the sack with my sweetie
4. A nap on the couch with my cat on my chest
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:57 PM on May 24, 2010

"...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..."

If I find myself thinking that I'm sad, I make a conscious decision to think that I am happy. Every time I catch myself thinking "Oh poo, I'm sad," I shake my head and think again "Nope! I'm happy!" And I just keep doing that until I am.

Dark chocolate and adorable animals also help.
posted by earlygrrl at 3:58 PM on May 24, 2010

pvp, lolcats, ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 4:27 PM on May 24, 2010

For some reason, shaving always makes me feel better. That, and watching some funny videos or reading some funny articles on the web (Onion, Cracked, College Humor etc.. take your pick).
posted by vidur at 4:35 PM on May 24, 2010

SUNLIGHT. The direct, feel-it-seeping-into-your-skin kind; no weak through-the-kitchen-window or I'm-under-a-tree stuff. Few things make me feel instantly better than full-on sunshine, and I usually forget that until I have it.
posted by threeants at 5:08 PM on May 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Take a book and blanket to Central Park and lay in the sun for awhile.
Go for a leisurely bike ride.
Buy some flowers from the farmer's market.
Get some tea with a friend.
Make pancakes topped with coconut butter and maple syrup.
Have a hot bath with chamomile and lavender flowers, scrub myself with a mixture of celtic sea salt (or sugar) and olive oil, then shave my legs. Afterwards, lay in bed and feel the amazingness of soft skin against soft sheets.
Yoga (anti gravity yoga done in hammocks is my favorite).
Get an intense massage by little Chinese ladies and walk out with legs feeling like jelly.
Make myself get ready and leave the apartment, even if I have nothing to do. I'll just walk around and take pictures or listen to music, or sit in a park and people watch.
posted by cm young at 5:21 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

outside exercise (walk or bike)

also, what pineapple said. I hadn't thought about that, but wow: getting that stupid nagging task out of the way always makes me feel better.
posted by epersonae at 5:39 PM on May 24, 2010

Tea, a funny podcast or short story or TV show or blog, sunshine, seltzer water, doing a quick mindless yet productive task like cleaning a particular spill's stain residue off hardwood floor or organizing the t-shirt drawer, hugging, peppy music, exercise, making a list of things I've accomplished this day or week, talking to someone whom I impress, smiling, deep breathing for a minute, dark chocolate, helping someone.
posted by brainwane at 6:21 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also: brass bands.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:25 PM on May 24, 2010

Response by poster: (OP) What astonishing answers. I'm overwhelmed. Thank you, thank you.
posted by LonnieK at 6:36 PM on May 24, 2010

Sing at the top of my lungs.
Go to the dog park and watch the dogs play, since I don't have one of my own.
Eat an orange -- something about the citrus perks me up, and I feel good for doing something healthy.
Even if I don't do anything else worthwhile for the entire day, I take my multivitamin and tell myself that's enough.
Try to tense every muscle in my body at once, hold for 10 seconds, and then just RELAX (this is great for getting rid of the tension you can't seem to get rid of, wherever you hold it).
Read some jokes on MeFi.
Go to the library and read the trashy magazines I don't let myself buy from the supermarket line.
Go swimming! Cold water makes me feel better, but sometimes if I'm really stressed it's nice to scream really really really loud underwater where nobody can hear. You can do this in your car on the freeway too (assuming not stuck in traffic), so your neighbors don't hear you and get worried.
A little dancing goes a long way. Especially when it's to songs I loved in high school.
posted by vytae at 7:01 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Two things that combine steady physical exertion (to whatever effort I'm in the mood for, lazy to hard) with solo time to let my thoughts wander:

- Cycling, preferably involving parks, nature and/or water views.

- Swimming, ideally at a beach, and even more ideally involving surf.

A nice long hot shower afterwards & a fresh change of clothes is the icing on the cake.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:12 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Call a friend and rant. Blow up the situation to epic proportions. Blame people (or things!) that clearly have nothing to do with the situation. Make it clear that you are currently the most miserable person on the planet, but that's okay, since the universe is about to collapse in on itself anyway.


posted by estlin at 8:45 PM on May 24, 2010

posted by infinityjinx at 8:58 PM on May 24, 2010

Boobies :)

Honest to god, they're practically a cure-all (assuming you're of the booby-enjoying persuasion)
posted by 2oh1 at 9:45 PM on May 24, 2010

Go for a long drive with loud music.
posted by youcancallmeal at 4:24 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I run as fast as I can for as long as I can. I have never ever not felt better afterwards.
posted by jasondigitized at 5:31 AM on May 25, 2010

If I can't get outside I take a few really deep, slow breaths.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:24 AM on May 25, 2010

For the past few weeks, it's been the amazing mind of Karl Pilkington, via the various Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant radio shows and podcasts.
posted by Harry at 8:39 AM on May 25, 2010

getting someone to play with my hair

Playing and talking to a dog

eating melt in your mouth tender slow cooked meat
posted by WeekendJen at 9:12 AM on May 25, 2010

dancing, being silly, finding things like metafilter to laugh at, playing with a dog, my son, go out to eat, go to a beach, woods, drive. I used to drive out of the blue a lot when I was single. As soon as I would get in a funk, I was in the car, even at 3am sometimes.
posted by stormpooper at 9:52 AM on May 25, 2010

Cooking or baking something helps me a lot!
posted by The Dutchman at 7:13 PM on May 25, 2010

It depends on why you need to feel better fast.

If you're sick, eat some bread-rice-applesauce-toast (not all together, any of 'em), and go to bed. Get up, eat more of that, go to bed. Repeat until you're improving.

If you're blue, get enough physical activity, eat enough and regularly, sleep enough (and at the same time every night!), and avoid things that make you sad.
posted by talldean at 8:26 AM on May 26, 2010

And put them all together... bolt down an espresso and engage in some truly heroic shagging.

Do this while listening to Al Green. Or actually, do anything while listening to Al Green.

posted by moons in june at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2010

I am certain there are strains of medical marijuana particularly suited for what ails you.
posted by Kale Slayer at 6:22 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love listening to music or reading while eating chocolate.
I also sometimes do this under warm blankets in a cool room.
It always calms me down and I feel rested after it too...
posted by atsyrk at 6:36 PM on May 31, 2010

Making a playlist of happy music to put on my iPods has a made a surprisingly large difference in my general mood. Whenever I'm feeling down, I'll often listen to my playlist for a quick cheer-me-up, and I would say that it works 90% of the time. Everyone's playlist will be different, but here are some of the songs that I have on mine:

She's Electric - Oasis
American Boy - Estelle feat. Kanye West
Blue Sky - Patty Griffin
You're My Best Friend - Queen
Uptight (Everything's Alright) - Stevie Wonder
Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
Nice Weather for Ducks - Lemon Jelly
Space Walk - Lemon Jelly
posted by HeKilledKennedy at 4:14 PM on August 15, 2010

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