20 Happy Thoughts to Instantly Brighten Your Day

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Life can be hard sometimes and this can often lead to negative thinking. We all have bad days. We have times when we feel low, lacking in energy, and are struggling to see our life in a positive light. 

Yet research shows that thinking positively has so many health benefits for both your physical and mental health. So what can you do about it? 

Well, you can learn to think more positively over time. But if you need a pick me up right now, we’ve got you covered. 

Whether you’re struggling with your mental health, you’re having a bad day, or you just need something to make you smile, here are 20 happy thoughts. 

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1. Each Day is a Fresh Start

Bad days don’t last and tomorrow will likely be a better day. Each day when you wake up, it’s like a fresh start. You have a chance to do things differently and make your day better than yesterday.  

2. Change is Always Possible

If you aren’t happy with something in your life, it’s always possible to change it. Even if change is hard and scary at times, it can be done. You aren’t stuck and you can move forward. 

3. Your Mistakes Don’t Define You

We all make mistakes: it’s a natural part of being human. The mistakes you’ve made in your past don’t define you. They don’t make you a bad person and you don’t need to hold onto them. 

4. You Can Learn From Your Past

Even if there are things in your past that aren’t positive (which is completely normal), they still have a positive aspect to them. We are constantly learning and growing as people. You can learn from your past and use it to help shape your future. 

Psychotherapist Amy Morin explains that we gain valuable wisdom from our past and our mistakes, allowing us to change our future in a positive way. 

5. You’ve Survived 100% of Your Bad Days

If you are going through hard times and you feel as though there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, remember that you’ve survived every one of your bad days so far. I love to remember this phrase when I’m struggling. I find it reminds me how strong I am and gives me hope for the future. 

6. Humans Are Fundamentally Kind

Sometimes we see people acting in negative ways, whether it’s in our personal lives, on the news, or on social media. This can make you feel as though the world is full of bad people, but this is far from the truth.

In fact, humans are fundamentally kind at heart. Research shows that: “compassion and benevolence are an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology, and ready to be cultivated for the greater good.”

If you’re in doubt, look around you and search for the good in people. You won’t have to look far to see someone trying to help others. 

7. It’s Never Too Late 

No matter how old you are or how much time you’ve invested into a specific life goal, it’s never too late to change direction. If you aren’t happy, you can choose a different path, try something new, and set new goals. You are in control of your life. 

8. Your Feelings Are Valid

Sometimes when we’re having negative feelings, we may feel (or be told by others) that we’re overreacting. You might feel alone or isolated in your feelings. 

Remember that however you feel, your feelings are completely valid. You’re experiencing them, which makes them very real. Don’t compare them to how others feel or worry about what you “should” be feeling. 

9. You Are Worthy of Love 

Every single one of us is worthy of love and respect. No matter how you’re feeling about yourself, remember that you always deserve love, both from yourself and from others in your life. 

10. You Can Reach Your Goals

Sometimes the goals we set ourselves can feel out of reach, but remember that you are capable of reaching your goals. If you set your mind to it and are willing to work hard, you can get there. It doesn’t matter if it takes you longer than you planned or you face setbacks: don’t give up. 

Action for Happiness says that setting goals helps to motivate us, making us more likely to reach those goals. 

11. There’s Joy to be Found Each Day

No matter how hard your day is, there is always some sort of joy to be found if you look for it. It might be something ‘small’, like having a roof over your head, hearing from a friend, or having a yummy piece of cake to eat. But no matter how small it seems, it still matters. 

Try to actively look for joyful things during the day and focus your attention on them, rather than focusing solely on the negative. This can be hard at first (especially if you’re going through a lot), but helps to shift your mindset into more positive thinking. 

12. You’re Full of Potential

You have so much potential within you: the potential to reach your goals, the potential to be great at something, the potential to be kind to someone else, and the list goes on. Remind yourself of that potential when you’re feeling lost, and use that thought to motivate yourself. 

13. You Can Shape Your Future

As corny as it sounds, your future is exactly that: yours! It’s your life, and you can decide what you want it to be. You can choose what you want from your future and work towards it. 

14. Hard Times Always Pass

I find that when I’m going through a hard time, it’s really useful to remember that hard times always pass. Good times will come again no matter how hard things are right now. 

There are ups and downs in life, it’s a natural part of the human experience. Wait for the ‘ups’: they are coming. 

15. You’re Trying Your Best

Even if everything isn’t going perfectly, you’re trying your best and that is more than good enough. Be the best person you can be and be true to yourself, and that’s the best you can do. 

Try to practice self-compassion by cheering yourself on and encouraging yourself, rather than being harsh with yourself. 

16. There’s a Lot to be Grateful for

Looking at your life from a grateful perspective can contribute to your happiness, and it’s something you can actively do more of. There are lots of things to be grateful for. Take a few moments to think about the good things in your life.

This can be anything big or small: it might be that you have good friends around you, it may be that you have a safe place to live, you might have a good job, or you may be in good health. Actively looking for the good in your life is uplifting and helps to cultivate a more positive mindset overall. 

An article from Harvard Medical School states: “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

17. I Have Achieved….

In a similar way to focusing on what you’re grateful for, you can also focus on what you’ve achieved so far in your life. Looking back at your achievements and really paying attention to them can be encouraging, motivating, and help to build your confidence. It can also help you to feel much more positive about your life. 

Remember that achievements don’t have to be academic or career-related (although these are wonderful too). They can also be challenges you’ve overcome, goals you’ve reached, and fun experiences you’ve had. 

18. I’m Looking Forward to..

There’s always something to look forward to in the future if you look for it. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to experience? What future plans make you feel excited?

Looking towards your future with excitement, anticipation, and positivity can help you to feel motivated and hopeful about what’s ahead. If you’re going through a particularly tough time right now, focusing on the future can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

19. I’ve Learned…

Throughout our lives, we’re constantly learning (and I don’t just mean at school). We learn about the world around us, about other people, and about ourselves. That’s how we grow as people.

You will have learned a lot in your life so far and thinking about important lessons you’ve learned can be very powerful. It can help you realize how far you’ve come in your life. 

20. You Can Train Your Brain to Think Positively 

Last, but in no way least, even if you are in a negative headspace right now and find it hard to see the positive, know that you can train your brain to think positively

Tchiki Davis, MA, PhD explains that our brains are neuroplastic, which means that we can change how they work. She states that we can change our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions to help us become happier. 

This means that you can learn to start looking at things from a more positive perspective which in turn will make you feel happier. 

I know all too well that life can be very difficult, but it can also be so beautiful and full of joy. There are always positive ways to look at things that can brighten your day and help to set you back on track.

Additional Resources

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About the author

Ann-Marie Darcy
Ann-Marie has been a freelance writer for over 7 years. She has lived with mental illness and chronic illness, which makes her extremely passionate about helping others through her writing. When she's not writing, you'll find her adventuring in the countryside with her dogs!

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