How To Be Happy Again

Updated March 2, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Depression can be a vicious cycle. A unique combination of genes and environmental factors build the storm clouds that result in chronic, episodic depression. Once the cycle starts, it tends to become more intense. But an episode of depression — like asking yourself 'Why can't I be happy?' — is something that you can recover from. If your mind tells you there is no point, try not to listen to it. You are the point and your well-being matters. 

Here is a quick guide on some ways to begin to boost your mood in order to be happy again.

It Can Feel Hopeless When You Haven't Felt Happy In A While

  1. Create A Fresh Routine

If one day blends into the next, you might benefit from mixing up your routine. A new routine can provide you with a fresh perspective and approach to life. You may be able to find happiness by grounding yourself in a few "comfort" activities from your old routine while enriching your experience with new, and maybe even spontaneous, activities. 

Cure apathy and boredom by being open to new people, new experiences, and unknown adventures. You do not have to feel “up” or vivacious while trying new things. Try to do one small thing every day that feels a little out of your comfort zone. Experiment with a new route to the grocery store, buy a new exotic smelling shampoo. "New" things can be small.

Pay Attention To Your Self-Talk

Imagine having a parrot on your shoulder who voices negativity constantly – criticizing, nitpicking, and insulting you. Pretty unappealing? You may not be aware of it, but you likely talk to yourself in the same way. 

According to evolutionary psychologists, people naturally have a negativity bias, especially when it comes to critiquing themselves. This means that if you hear 10 things that are positive about yourself versus one thing that is negative, your brain tends to naturally focus on the one that feels bad. For example, while you might forgive your friends for forgetting your birthday, you condemn yourself for forgetting theirs. 

If you want to feel happier again, pay attention to how you talk to yourself.  Help your brain out by making a conscious effort to bring more of the positive things about yourself into your awareness. Turn your mind away from the thoughts that are not serving you and towards the thoughts that are more positive and self-esteem-building.

Spend Time In Nature

Studies have found that there is a significant, positive relationship between spending time in nature and being happy. Break out of your cement box and ground yourself in your natural surroundings. Reconnect with nature to rediscover simplicity and stillness. You do not need to go far – just take a walk in a green space without distracting yourself with headphones or talking on the phone. Take a moment to notice the sunset or even an interesting looking cloud.  Even watching nature-based documentaries have been shown to improve mood and well-being and reduce sadness. 


Many people waste their lives living in the future or past while neglecting the present. But you can cultivate an attitude of mindfulness, engaging your five senses in the present moment. This shift in focus does wonders to conquer worry or regret. Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce depression, stress, anxiety, pain management, addiction, and possibly improve the immune system

Mindfulness practices involve focusing your attention on bodily sensations –oftentimes it is the natural act of breathing – or on an object in front of you. The goal is to notice everything about that activity or object, letting the thoughts in your mind float away without attachment to them. It can be difficult at first to let go of thoughts instead of following them, but with practice, it gets easier to refocus your mind on participating in the here and now. If you are unsure where to begin, you can find many mindfulness exercises on the internet, or an online therapist can help guide you in how to practice it. 

Gratitude Journal

People who consistently write down their blessings tend to be less depressed. This has something to do with the negativity bias mentioned above. If we are focused too much on what we do not have rather than what we do have, that focus brings down our mood. Spend some time appreciating all the things that it can be easy to take for granted.


Religious practices can inspire feelings of faith and hope and cultivates strong community bonds. These factors may act as a shield against life's challenges. Not only that, but religious beliefs may alter your perspective what makes up a happy life. For one example, Buddhism teaches that all struggling and sadness is rooted in desire. To be happy, focus on what you do have instead of fixating on what you do not have. You do not have to have structured religious beliefs to connect to a sense that the world is greater than your current struggles.

Develop Real Connections with Others

Research shows that social media can sometimes trigger loneliness by reducing face-to-face communication. Instead of wasting precious time perusing Facebook, spend time developing real connections with others by taking a genuine interest in them, volunteering your time or resources, or inviting them to a special event.


Too many people become overwhelmed and depressed because they prioritize helping others over taking care of themselves. Be sure to schedule regular self-care, in the form of meditation, a healthy diet, and exercise, so that when you do reach out to help others, you'll be at full force.

Develop Independence

An unhealthy attachment to another person traps you on an emotional rollercoaster, on which his or her every emotion can influence how you are feeling about yourself. Develop your outlets, hobbies, and social groups to increase emotional independence and create sustainable happiness.

It Can Feel Hopeless When You Haven't Felt Happy In A While

Talk to an Online Counselor to Discover How to be Happy Again

If you are living with depression that just will not lift, you do not have to experience this alone and you can feel better. Overcoming chronic depression and achieving lasting happiness can be tough – but it is possible. 

To do so successfully, you need the right resources, which may need to include talking with a professional therapist. 

Many studies have found that psychotherapy can help people living with depression improve moods, thoughts, and the ability to physically function. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular and successful types of therapy for patients with depression. It works by helping identify triggers and false beliefs, then reframing your thoughts so you can experience happiness no matter the situation. 

Because depression can lead to exhaustion that makes it difficult to get out of bed, nonetheless travel across town to talk to a therapist, online therapy is often a smart and effective way to get the help you deserve. Studies have found that online CBT – such as through BetterHelp – is just as effective as in-person therapy for many situations, and offers the added convenience of talking with a therapist via phone, video call, or online chat from the comfort of your home and at a time that works best for you. 


Life has its downs, but it also has its ups. Sometimes it may seem like you may not ever feel happy again, but that doesn’t have to be true. There are small steps you can take on your own to help improve your mental health and wellbeing, and to help you regain happiness. Sometimes though, you may need guidance. Working with a BetterHelp counselor can help you feel happier sooner, and teach you lasting strategies to help you feel better for the long run. Get started on the road back to happiness today. 

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