When someone close to you is feeling down, how can you cheer them up?
Whether it’s a friend, your partner, or a family member, here are some things you can do to help make them feel better and put a smile on their face.
1. Give them a hug.
Physical touch is a powerful healer.
The simple act of giving someone a hug is enough to provide an instant boost to their mood.
A hug will show them that they are not alone, and that you are there to help and support them through whatever it is they are facing.
2. Reminisce over a funny shared memory.
“Do you remember when…?”
You can use the way the brain is wired to your advantage by reliving an old, happy memory together.
Thinking back over this more positive time will trigger the emotions associated with it.
You will distract this person from their woes and hopefully make them smile or laugh instead.
3. Dance to some upbeat music.
If you’re in the comfort of their or your home, put on some music that you know they like and dance shamelessly to it.
Choose something upbeat both in tempo and in lyrics if you can.
Getting them to move their body to the beat will not only get their heart pumping, it will trigger some more positive emotions in their brain.
4. Sing at the tops of your voice.
If they don’t like to dance, or simply don’t feel like it, see if they would prefer to sing instead.
Singing connects you to the lyrics of the song and this can be a good way for them to express their feelings.
It doesn’t have to be really upbeat in tempo this time – it can even be more on the angry end of the spectrum if that’s what they like or need right now.
5. Bring them flowers.
If you aren’t already with your friend whilst reading this, but you’re seeing them soon, take them a lovely bunch of flowers.
If you don’t know what sort of flowers they like, opt for a bright and colorful selection or yellows, oranges, and reds.
These vibrant colors are just what they need to cheer them up right now.
6. Bring them something sweet.
While everything is best in moderation, there are times to indulge.
This is one of them.
Buy a luxurious cake or other sweet treat and cut them a suitably large slice.
Or, if you know it’s something they really like, take round a tub of their favorite ice cream and two spoons.
7. Or bake something together.
You can go a step further than buying a cake and buy all the ingredients needed to make one with them.
Baking is a gorgeously fun and tasty way to make someone feel better.
Not only do you get that delicious treat at the end, but the creative process of mixing and decorating and baking is incredibly uplifting.
8. Treat them to a coffee.
There’s a good chance that the person you are trying to cheer up will want to talk about whatever is bringing them down.
Doing this in a big comfortable chair in a charming coffee shop can be a great option if they need to vent.
You can sit and chat over a hot drink (cake optional, but recommended), for as long as they need.
And, sometimes, being out in a public place, doing something normal like grabbing a coffee, can give the person a different perspective on their pain and hurt.
9. Take them out for lunch/dinner.
In a similar vein to the coffee, you might want to consider a trip to a nice cafe or restaurant for a bite to eat.
They may not necessarily be thinking about food, but if you know it’s in their own best interests to eat something, it’s an effective way to coerce them into doing so.
Again, the act of getting out of their home and spending time in a place where there’s lots of other people can help cheer them up.
10. Or cook together.
They may not fancy going out, or it might just not be possible for many reasons.
This doesn’t stop you from buying some ingredients, heading to their place with a recipe in hand, and preparing a nice meal to share.
Much like baking, it can be incredibly therapeutic to make something and then enjoy eating it.
(A good back up if they don’t want to go out or cook is to order in a takeaway.)
11. Take a walk in nature.
There’s something about the great outdoors – the sun, the trees, the birds, the ocean – that has a magical effect on a person’s mood.
Whether it’s just the beauty staring you in the face or the connection you feel to something much greater, spending time in nature is a wonderful way to cheer someone up.
Go for a walk, take a picnic, and enjoy your surroundings.
12. Go to a park.
If forests or the ocean or wildflower meadows are in short supply where you live, walking around or sitting in a park is the next best thing.
Just being out of the house will often help, and even a small amount of sunshine and green grass is good for the soul.
If there’s a playground in the park, you can always get a bit silly on the swings or slide (assuming there aren’t any children waiting for a turn!)
13. Go for a drive.
There’s something to be said about the liberating feeling that comes with taking a drive somewhere.
You don’t even need to have a destination in mind.
You can just hop in the car, hit the road, and see where the winds take you.
Add in some good music, and you have a great way to make someone feel better.
14. Go shopping.
Buying things just for the sake of the buzz you get is not something we typically recommend.
But when it comes to cheering up a friend or loved one, retail therapy does have a place.
It can be really nice for them to treat themselves to something new when they have had a rough time of late.
And the normality of hitting the shops can do wonders for their mindset.
15. Put on an uplifting movie.
Movies can be a form of escapism, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when someone you know is feeling down.
Find a feel-good movie that is joyful and inspiring, make up some fresh popcorn, and drag the duvet over to the couch for you to snuggle under together.
For a couple of hours, they’ll be able to forget their troubles. And when the credits roll, their mood will have undoubtedly improved.
16. Get arty.
Creativity is an effective tonic for sadness, stress, and other difficult emotions.
Get some paints, pens, pencils, chalks, charcoal – whatever you like – along with some big paper and make some art.
Or get more hands on and use what you have around to craft cool decorations.
Let your imaginations run wild.
17. Play games.
Are they a console type of person?
Do they enjoy a classic board game?
Do you know some fun card games?
Playing games of any sort can distract this person from their woes and lift their spirits no end.
Getting your heart racing is a sure-fire way to make someone feel better.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are a natural painkiller and mood booster.
Physical activity also prompts the body to release neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which, again, are your body’s own happiness chemicals.
So go for a jog together, take a bike ride, or even do an intense yoga session if that’s what you’re both into.
19. Have a spa day at home.
A pampering session may be just what your friend or loved one needs to feel more cheerful.
So take round some face masks, a selection of nail polishes, luxurious body butters, and anything else you know they’d like.
If you’re both comfortable with it, offer them a massage to really help them relax and unwind.
20. Tidy up or clean their place.
Healthy home, healthy mind – there’s a lot of truth in this saying.
When things get on top of us, it’s easy to let things slide and end up with clutter and mess everywhere.
So if they are struggling to do the basics, do them yourself.
Tidy things up, vacuum the house, load all their dirty plates into the dishwasher, make their bathroom sparkle.
They will really appreciate such a generous gesture. It will make them feel cared for and ease their mental clutter too.
21. Do random acts of kindness together.
Whilst tidying up their place is your own expression of kindness, getting them to be kind to others is an effective way to cheer them up.
Get out and about and you’ll soon find ways to do random acts of kindness for others.
Help someone carry their shopping.
Sit and chat to someone who seems lonely.
Pay for the coffee of the person in front of you in the queue (when combined with the coffee shop trip from above).
This will remind your friend of their own power to make a positive difference in the world.
22. Stroke and play with a pet.
Animal companions offer unconditional love and unbridled joy to those fortunate enough to have one.
If you do, but your friend or loved one doesn’t, invite them round to your place to play with or stroke your pet.
If you have a dog, take it for a walk together, throw it a ball, and watch as it frolics around.
This is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
23. Crack a joke.
Telling a good joke will make them laugh, and laughter will cheer them up no end.
Look up some jokes if you have to, or tell some that you already know.
Don’t worry if you’re really bad at telling jokes – that is half the fun and will make them smile in and of itself.
If you’re not sure about this, go online and watch some stand up comedy instead.
24. Make a gratitude list.
If your friend or loved one is down in the dumps, they may find it difficult to see the good things in their life.
But you can help open their eyes to all there is to be thankful for by making a gratitude list together.
Prompt them if they struggle to think of things – their health, their friends, the vacation they’ve got coming up, the lovely home they’ve got…
…start with things like these and then get even more granular.
There is no end of things to be grateful for.
25. Listen to them.
Although we’ve put this last on the list, it will be an important part of many of the other items.
By offering an ear and letting them pour out their troubles, you can help ease the burden that is weighing heavily on them.
Talking things through with a friend or loved one is sometimes all we need to make us feel better about a situation.
So be that friend or loved one, open your ears, put judgment aside, and just listen.
How NOT to cheer someone up!
When your friend or loved one is feeling low, it’s important not to invalidate that feeling.
You may be tempted to say something along the lines of, “It’s not so bad,” or “You’ll get over it.”
Phrases such as these often have the opposite effect to what you intended.
They can rile up the other person who may think you are trying to play down the hurt they are feeling.
At which point, the advice above will have far less of a positive effect… if any.
Their rational mind already knows that they’ll feel better soon and that there are people in far worse situations than them.
They don’t need you to point this out to them.
Their emotions are their emotions, and they are valid.
But the tips above can be used to first distract them from those emotions, and then to help them slowly move through them in their own way.
You may also like:
- How To Comfort Someone Who Is Sad Or Crying (+ How NOT To)
- 5 Genuine Ways To Help Others In Their Time Of Need
- How To Help A Friend Through A Breakup (+ What To/Not To Say)
- 16 Fun Things To Do With Your Best Friend