It’s hard to stay positive when nagging deadlines, lurking tests, and after-school activities all pile on the stress.

While we don’t have a magic pill that’ll make all your troubles disappear, we do know a thing or two about lessening the tension

Keep reading for five happiness hacks will keep you smiling, even when the going gets tough:
smiling girl with ice cream cone

(via Unsplash)

Look at Your Situation Top-Down

It’s very tempting to always look at the world bottom-up. Meaning, you look at your position then find examples of people who are doing better than you (aka looking up). You transfix your attention on the prettier girl, the boy with more money, the classmate with better grades. Social media doesn’t help, as it only portrays people at their best. Next time you feel you’re in the pits, don’t look up—look down and realize you’re lucky for being in the position that you are.

girl with outstretched arms

(via Unsplash)


Use Body Language to Your Advantage

Studies have shown that body language can help kickstart your whole mentality. Whenever you start feeling blue, simply smile big and straighten your back. The physical changes in your persona will trigger real responses from your brain, and just like magic, will make you start feeling better.

girl with happy balloons

(via Unsplash)


Treat Yo Self!

If you feel yourself going through a rough patch, practice self-care. We don’t mean you should go and down a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Self-care focuses on practices that are actually good for your mental health and body. Put on a facemask, workout to your favorite music, or bake your favorite healthy treat. Learning to treat yourself can make you a happy camper in the long run.


Take One Big Breath

Sometimes all a person needs to recalibrate their thinking is one big breath. If you want to be a happier person, practice mindful breathing at least once a day. This involves closing your eyes and really thinking about your breath. Experience it as it enters your nostrils, follow its trip down your throat and into your lungs. Breath it out while taking note of the feeling air creates as it leaves your body. This practice is like a mini-meditation that’s always available to you.

girl smiling in sunflowers

(via Unsplash)


Start a Gratitude Journal

Countless studies have detailed how gratitude produces happier people. Grab an old notebook and place it next to your bed. Either upon waking or as the last step in your bedtime routine, scribble down three things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be huge, momentous things. A simple recognition of how grateful you are for your pet, or for the delicious meal you had that day is totally fine. This practice tricks your brain into reliving those moments and producing all of the same feel-good reactions you had when first experiencing the moment or activity.


Now that you can kickstart your happiness in a flash, learn how to help a friend going through a tough time HERE.