Come on, get happy!
May 27, 2008 9:19 AM   Subscribe

What cheers you up?

I'm in a funk, a rut, a temporary state of numbness. What are some little things I can take notice of to cheer me up and make me appreciate the moment?
posted by HotPatatta to Grab Bag (54 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
When the baseball team I follow wins. Reading newspaper accounts of the game always cheers me up. Warning: your baseball team, like mine, may lose a lot.
posted by escabeche at 9:23 AM on May 27, 2008

Volunteer at a shelter? Seriously, nothing makes my humdrum humanoid problems feel slightly smaller than opening up the kennel of an under-loved dog who couldn't be more excited to see a nice person and a leash.
posted by zoomorphic at 9:25 AM on May 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

Reading Metafilter. There's lots of questions like this in the archive that will offer great suggestions.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 9:26 AM on May 27, 2008

posted by sjuhawk31 at 9:27 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Comedy like this.
posted by w0mbat at 9:27 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

It really depends on what has caused the funk...

Generally speaking though, I pick up a new book. Preferably one that is a non-fiction, humorous, account from someone else about how they did something cool or unique.

Here's a book that meets all the criteria above - AND it's about a guy's method for pulling himself out of a funk!

Yes Man by Danny Wallace.

You should be able to get it at your nearest local book store.
posted by xotis at 9:28 AM on May 27, 2008

Yoga! Do this.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 9:29 AM on May 27, 2008

Long warm showers.

Rainy days on my porch.

People biking.

Making a homemade french bread pizza.

The smell said french bread pizza makes as it approaches done.

Cleaning each spoke of my bike until they shine.

Crossing something off my todo list (helps if you itemize your todo list out, both for planning, and satisfaction of extra cross-out opportunities).

Call in sick, biking to the coffee shop, ordering my coffee, and enjoy watching people rush to their work, and then going into work late.

Taking a quick bike trip, and continuing on for another 20 miles.

Stopping to ask if I can help -- only to find out they are local theater preformers and offer me a free ticket to their show.

Paying for someone elses coffee, and imagining the chain reaction it hopefully causes.

Complementing people.

Taking note of obscurities.

Smiling as I let someone go ahead of me at the bank, though I could easily use the ATM, I prefer the greeting of the local teller.

Genuinely asking how others are.

Doing the unexpected (alternatively, without letting anyone know who did it).

Leave inspirational quotes/complements randomly in coworkers mailboxes/keyboards.

Writing a thank you note for the last thing someone did for you that made your life easier.

Call your mom.

Return an email with a call.

Write a letter to a friend.

Really stop; and smell the roses.

Fix that one thing that really annoys everyone else.
posted by SirStan at 9:32 AM on May 27, 2008 [11 favorites]

It really depends on what has caused the funk...

I'm moving to a new city and I'm so overwhelmed by the enormity of how much my life will change that I feel desensitized to everything. I sort of walk around like a robot, thinking only of what I need to do in order to check something off my To Do list.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:33 AM on May 27, 2008

I always find this web site helps me put things in perspective. (I have to use Internet Explorer to get the sound to work correctly, though.)
posted by grouse at 9:34 AM on May 27, 2008

Well, you can appreciate the moment even when it sucks. Here are some songs that cheer me up...

The Apples in Stereo - Same Old Drag, Can You Feel It?
Passion Pit
The Flaming Lips - Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Do You Realize?
Aphex Twin - Girl Boy Song
Simon and Garfunkel - 59th Street Bridge Song
The Avalanches - Since I Left You
Matt and Kim - Yeah Yeah!
Kraftwerk - Autobahn
posted by phrontist at 9:34 AM on May 27, 2008

A friend just introduced me to lolcats and I love it. Know of any other goofball sites?
posted by HotPatatta at 9:39 AM on May 27, 2008

Think about all the good things that could happen to you.
posted by amtho at 9:40 AM on May 27, 2008

Muscles - Ice Cream
posted by phrontist at 9:43 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cats, exercise, Food Network.
posted by crabintheocean at 9:54 AM on May 27, 2008 almost always guarantees me a smile. it actually provokes some sort of positive chemical response in me that I can actually *feel*! it has to be the right picture, but when it is, it's an awesome mood booster. (I'm a cat-and-dog kind of gal, not so much for the lizards...)
posted by inatizzy at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2008

Go to Central Park and stretch out in a sunny place. Or try Prospect Park. Have any hobbies, like drawing or music? Wander around for hours in a big art supply/music store (try all the pens/guitars!). Just give yourself the afternoon off! Go to the farmer's market in Union Square, pick up some bread, cheese, maybe an apple, and eat it on a bench while peoplewatching. Walk from the East Village down to the LES and across to SoHo, then back up to Washington Square Park (or whatever parts of the city interest you) and just take in the sights (& eat street meat).
posted by prefpara at 10:00 AM on May 27, 2008

Buying cheap books on or things on sale at Amazon, retail therapy always lifts my mood...until the bill comes.
posted by Ponderance at 10:04 AM on May 27, 2008

Buy a nice bar of soap or other delicious bath product. Almost every farmers market or street fair will have someone selling lovely soaps. Or in the city you can hit LUSH or Sabon (my favorites). They have nice subtle scents subtable for guys. For $5-$10 you can be enveloped with a wonderful smell every day for a month or longer when you step in the shower. Totally perks me up.
posted by kimdog at 10:12 AM on May 27, 2008

Going out for a walk.

Listening to The Meters.

Making a sandwich with spicy eggplant in oil.

Walking in a big city with headphones on, listening to some Miles Davis.


Skiing by myself with headphones on.

Smoking a joint and going to see an IMax movie.

Cooking food on the BBQ.
posted by furtive at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

What cheers me up? Listening to or making music, exercising and realizing I look better from it, being silly with good friends, playing with my puppy, drinking a good cup of coffee, getting a massage (or steam, or jacuzzi), shopping for books at thrift stores, making a great meal, sitting in a park reading a book, watching the sunset, traveling overseas to meet new people and explore another culture, learning new skills or knowledge, doing something really nice for someone without expecting anything else in return.

Oh, and feigning complete disinterest while a former beau desperately tries to get back together with me by giving me lap dances in public like a total fool. (Damn, Saturday was fun.)
posted by miss lynnster at 10:17 AM on May 27, 2008

For perspective and humor, Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side
posted by paphun123 at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Eating Skittles and watching sketch comedy (Whitest Kids U Know, MadTV, etc.) on my iPod.
posted by govtdrone at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2008

What are some little things I can take notice of to cheer me up and make me appreciate the moment?

You're a first grade teacher? This should shake you out of your funk. If you've just now seen lolcats, you probably never saw that site before. I've seen it at least 50 times and I cry laughing every single time.
posted by cashman at 10:25 AM on May 27, 2008

-Dancable eighties music.
-Completely escapist movies (Sound of Music. Yes, really)
-Making something with my hands (embroidery, food, silly greeting cards for St. Polycarp's day. Or make up your own saint.)
-Talking to a friend (online or phone is ok too)
-Conceive a completely cracktastic revamp of a story or film (can be combined with above) because really, it's harder to be sad when the Music Man is set in a disco or Romeo and Juliet is a gay love story (or vice versa. Or both.)*
-Watch silly stuff on YouTube (old SNL or MadTV skits, stuff that has been posted on MeFi)
Also, 2nd ing LUSH, pets, and exercise (especially in the pool!)

Good luck!
*it's probably very weird how much fun I can have with this
posted by pointystick at 10:27 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Definitely take the day off, before anything else. As long as doing so won't leave you homeless, starving, or in jail, ignore your to-do list for a day. And if you're in New York City, man, fuck, what can't you do? Were I in NYC, I'd go wander around the library for a while, but I'm a huge book nerd. You could also go on a street stall food tour; do a web search for the best street food vendors in NYC, and check them out (I know there are people who have the things rated out there, I've heard it on the radio).

I like to watch or read humorous things, drink a lot of tea or coffee, and sing along to loud, angry music when I'm in a funk. I often find that replacing the blues with a feeling of defiance is very effective.
posted by Caduceus at 10:32 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gets me out of my out of staring at my own navel and forces me to go outside.
posted by CharlieChu at 10:32 AM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

What everyone else has said. Also, reading stuff I enjoy -- even just the newspaper -- cheers me up, because it is a routine and there's something comforting (to me, anyhow) about a daily routine. If that doesn't work, music and podcasts help lift me out of my funk, or at least get my mind to focus on something other than whatever is making me miserable. Yoga always cheers me up, too, although I've been seriously lax about that particular routine in the past couple of years (which may explain a lot about my mindstate). A long bath cheers me up. If nothing else works, my dogs cheer me up and remind me not to take life so seriously. If I'm not around my dogs, just seeing a dog out on the street enjoying itself and existing in the purest of the pure -- a complete present-in-the-moment mentality, or some version of one -- always helps me.
posted by blucevalo at 10:47 AM on May 27, 2008

Discovery Channel ad/ song: I Love the World. Previously.

It's really cheerful.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

I like to get involved in a not too heavy mystery-y book series with a number of volumes already available in cheap paperbacks. Charlaine Harris' southern vampire books (which are not quite as trashy as that sounds) and Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books are recent favorites. They're engrossing but not to deep or challenging, and there's enough of them that I can just read and read without getting to The End.

Also, like escabeche, baseball makes me happy. Winning provides a quick boost that I didn't have to do anything to get, and even when my team is losing, it's much more fulfilling to be a little cranky over something essentially meaningless and transitory than it is to be unhappy because my life is confusing and difficult, if that makes any sense.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:49 AM on May 27, 2008

GO OUTSIDE. Swim, bike, run. People watch. Thrift store shopping. Playing with the puppies at the pound. Read a book in a park. Wander through my city (on foot or bike). Call old friends. Make collages to send to old friends. Rearrange my furniture. Paint a wall in my house. Pretend I know how to garden and garden. Cook some elaborate meal for myself. Re-organize my closet. Run again. Swim again. Make PB&J sandwiches and hand them out to bums on the street.
posted by cachondeo45 at 10:55 AM on May 27, 2008

Change it up. If you're in to-do list, see ball, hit ball mode - get off the list. For me, the answer is almost always claiming time to go get some fresh air and exercise.

If you're in endless leisure mode, same thing, as that can get boring, too. Make a list, and start cranking through it.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 10:58 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

i know exactly what you're feeling. it was the same for me when i moved to new york after living in much smaller cities.

one thing that helped was to find a couple of really peaceful, beautiful place to sit for an hour or two. in new york, i would go to the cloisters, or the flower gardens in riverside park near 72nd street, or the jp morgan rare manuscript library.

exercise is good, as are hot baths, indulgent foods, all the usual comforts.

finally, hang in there. it will pass.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:58 AM on May 27, 2008

Without fail, the Ma Na Ma Na song from Sesame Street/The Muppets always makes me feel better.
posted by aclevername at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2008

Getting the "wow you're cute" smile from a stranger.
posted by Scoops at 11:10 AM on May 27, 2008

Keeping track of things to look forward to helps me -- on a daily, monthly or seasonal basis.
With summer approaching, any music festivals, art walks, friends' housewarming parties/cookouts & other pre-planned gatherings I keep track of on the calendar.
I'm one of those who finds myself more content and alive *looking forward* to something than when it's over & in the past -- whereupon I experience slight post-event depression (or the crash-after-the-high, or something), which is counteracted by looking ahead to the next Major or minor Adventure ASAP.
Daily, I have so many things around-the-house to maintain, it's become necessary to carve time out for enhancing not just cleaning: so I'm finally peeling off the 30-yr-old wallpaper and getting ready to paint our rooms in some new colors. I'm told changing the palette of your surroundings -- whether painting, rearranging furniture, or trying some interesting potted plants/annuals around the house/yard -- can work wonders with mood.
posted by skyper at 11:26 AM on May 27, 2008

Spending time with my granddaughter.
posted by Lynsey at 11:27 AM on May 27, 2008

Puppies or kittens. Flowers (it is spring, after all). Going for a bike ride. Hiking. Definitely get outside and away from the computer.
posted by desjardins at 11:31 AM on May 27, 2008

House music!
posted by citron at 11:31 AM on May 27, 2008

Watching Monty Python galloping on pretend horses - every time.
posted by Cranberry at 11:33 AM on May 27, 2008

Taking a walk cheers me up. A little fresh air, get the blood pumping, etc. It's subtle, nothing hit-you-over-the-head, but it's real and it works.
posted by gyusan at 11:35 AM on May 27, 2008

Booty call?
posted by Calloused_Foot at 11:38 AM on May 27, 2008

--Baking something easy from a mix, enjoying the feeling of Betty Crocker-ness and yummy smell and eventual yummy taste
--A cup of really good, hot, strong coffee, whether brewed at home or obtained at a nice, small coffeehouse
--Making something ridiculous out of rick-rack, hot glue and whatever else is handy
--Playing with the cats
--Hiking with my husband
--A big bouquet of yellow daisies haphazardly arranged in a greenish glass pitcher that's been in my family since god-knows-when.
--Anything that smells like grapefruit

Here's hoping your mood lifts soon. Best of luck in your new digs.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 11:48 AM on May 27, 2008

Interacting with animals of any sort cheers me up. Go feed and talk to pigeons or squirrels in the park or volunteer at an animal shelter [if you don't like walking dogs they sometimes need people to help socialize kittens. KITTENS!].
posted by rhinny at 1:25 PM on May 27, 2008

Itemizing what good things I did for others today, even if they were small. You might benefit from reading about positive psychology and authentic happiness. Book here.

posted by idb at 2:23 PM on May 27, 2008

I have a word doc called "Things That Make Me Feel Loved" for just this purpose. It's just pages and pages of things friends and family and strangers have said or done that made me feel good. Big or little, anything that gave that glow of well-being and feeling valued and close to people. Reading it for the memories feels great, but really it's the writing that's important--it makes me think through my blessings and focus on remembering the good parts of my life.

(Disclosure: one of the people behind this is a friend of mine, but) Paradoxically, Bummer! has been making me giggle lately.

Find silly anagrams of people's names. Here, or do it the labor-intensive way.

Sit outside and say hi to people as they go by.
posted by hippugeek at 3:25 PM on May 27, 2008

Being grateful for what I have, and for the things I've "missed out on". Reading back over my lists of things that I've been grateful for, and laughing to myself as I remember those things.
posted by Solomon at 3:27 PM on May 27, 2008

-listening to really bad music and dancing around by myself
-writing long, gossipy emails to friends
-looking through old letters, pictures, etc. (nostalgia in general)
-going for a bike ride
-cleaning, doing dishes, or anything that is task oriented and produces tangible results
-getting on the bus somewhere you don't know, and then getting off and looking around
-seeing my parents
-writing in a journal
-getting dressed up and then going out and doing routine things
-having long conversations with strangers
posted by lunit at 4:47 PM on May 27, 2008

crossword puzzles in bed on a stormy unfriendly-outside night. favorite tv shows on dvd with someone who likes them as much as you do (arrested development marathon, anybody?). really really good, no really!-type chocolate--just a smidgeon'll do (dagoba's xocatl bars, with chile, nutmeg, maca, and vanilla, do the job in an almost creepily efficient fashion--it's prozac, truly mood altering). going someplace rural on a sunny lazy afternoon for a picnic with a bunch of books or someone you love. playing with pets. going someplace just to order a dessert you've never even imagined (for me it's the local persian place's rosewater saffron and pistachio homemade ice cream)--getting dressed up for it can be nice too. karaoke or drunken bowling. silly card/party games with the right people (apples to apples!). doing something "creative" without stressing about the outcome--for me this involves painting, sometimes sculpting. making mix tapes with someone or some theme or situation in mind, even if you don't plan on actually giving them to anybody. going for a walk with your favorite music on headphones. i know it's juvenile but playing dress up or posing in the mirror alone. writing a letter to someone or giving someone a present that's perfect for them just because (it doesn't have to be a big thing either). drawing silly stuff just for laughs. if it's your kind of thing, cooking something ambitious and sharing the results with someone you like. keeping an eye out for beautiful weather or flowers--there's lots of beautiful things outside that i know i'd just ignore if i didn't remind myself to keep my eyes open. going window shopping with the idea even though you may not buy anything it'll give you ideas for later, or ways to figure out how to make stuff yourself. used book store crawling. listening to jazz in bed on a sunday morning with some coffee or breakfast and someone cute by your side.
posted by ifjuly at 6:47 PM on May 27, 2008

posted by hortense at 8:46 PM on May 27, 2008

Going to the pet store and watching dwarf hamsters sleep in huddles, run on the wheel, and otherwise just do their thing.
posted by nihraguk at 9:26 PM on May 27, 2008

Here's another previously.
posted by loiseau at 11:00 AM on May 28, 2008

at the end of each day, I write in my "what worked today" journal, which is sometimes about how I managed difficult situations, but also sometimes about what was really enjoyable in my day. just knowing that I'm looking for that sort of thing makes those sorts of things emerge more easily. and doing it right before bedtime means that I'm thinking about something happy as I drift off to sleep.
posted by epersonae at 4:31 PM on May 28, 2008

Watching Pride and Prejudice for the 100th time, god I am such a girl. Sometimes I switch it up and watch Before Sunset.
posted by whoaali at 9:29 PM on May 28, 2008

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