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Woman smiling

Boosting your mood and helping yourself feel more positive is a great thing to do, no matter how tough life can be.

It may be that something as simple as singing along to a favourite piece of music or watching an episode of a classic comedy does the trick.

Or, if you’re feeling lonely, spending time with others - especially children or animals - can help to bring some light back into your life.

We asked psychologist Susan Quilliam for her top 5 tips on how to lift your spirits...

1. Smile

'When you smile it triggers mood-boosting hormones in the brain. So even if you don’t feel happy, put a smile on your face and you may soon start to feel more positive.'

2. Keep busy

'It doesn’t matter whether you tidy up the garden, wash the dishes or go for a walk - any activity that helps to break up your routine and gives you a sense of achievement will do the trick.'

3. Talk to someone

'It doesn’t matter whether you meet up face to face, talk on the phone, chat online or use Skype, connecting with other people helps to bring you out of yourself.'

4. Help others

'Research shows that helping other people will help to lift your mood. So do a favour for a friend, donate to charity or volunteer.'

5. Live in the moment

'If you’re feeling low, try to regulate your breathing and pay attention to what you can see, hear and feel at the present moment. This will help you to feel calm and bring you back into emotional balance.'

Healthy ageing - happiness

Healthy ageing - happiness

Martyn Lewis speaks to Professor Andrew Steptoe about his research into happiness and its effects on healthy ageing

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Writer: Ceri Roberts


Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081