How to smile when everything is terrible

Perhaps the most necessary blog post I’ve written, welcome to your guide on how to smile when everything is terrible. Even if your goldfish has died, you failed your exams and stepped in dog shit on your way home, I think you’ll still be able to smile with these suggestions.

In all seriousness, when I started therapy I realised I needed a ‘smile routine’. Things to do in the morning, every morning, that meant I was starting the day right. This is that routine.

Listen to HAIM

HAIM’s new album is as god damn flawless as the last one and it has such spring-seasonal, empowering vibes to it. It’s AMAZING. The songs on this album make me want to wear mom jeans and skip through fields. ‘Something to tell you’ is definitely a good source of smiling when you’re feeling down! And if HAIM isn’t your thing (it should be), go for another light-hearted band that you know and love. Maybe even head to Spotify and find some new artists within a genre you enjoy. Music is great therapy.

Sing really loudly, especially in the shower.

I think most people probably do this one anyway, but singing in the shower is an oddly simple yet effective source of happiness. When you’re feeling really down, it can be difficult to force yourself to do things like this. It seems silly and pointless. But once you’ve done it, you’ll be glad you did. Singing in the shower disconnects you from real life for a little while. Just focus on washing your hair and singing the lyrics, it’ll take you away for a moment or two.

Remember to dance too.
But if you’re going to do that one in the shower, do so with caution


Act like that Phoebe’s boyfriend from friends who Alec Baldwin played. The one who thinks EVERYTHING IS AMAZING.

Sometimes faking it until you’re making it actually kind of works? For me, when it’s hard to feel a enthusiastic about everything, manically becoming excited about tiny things, like your toast finally popping up or wearing nice underwear, will get your happy juices flowing. You might feel like a twat at first, but I promise it works! Go and try it. Open up your fridge, drink a glass of orange juice and shout “WOW, HOW ZESTY. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!”

Treat yourself
Don’t spend a thousand pounds an ASOS (unless you have that kind of vast disposable income) but do treat yourself to something you wouldn’t usually buy. Head to your local shop and buy a chocolate pudding. Grab a magazine you used to like but haven’t read for a while. Something seemingly invaluable that will help you to relax and you can get lost in it for a little while – even a colouring book might be an idea.

Have a Pamper Evening

Plan and carry out an evening pamper session, either solo or with a group of friends (it works either way). Popping a face mask on, using all your favourite skin care items and shaving your legs gives you the feeling of getting yourself together. Pampering is an act of self-care for a lot people, and self-care is absolutely key to retrieving your smile when everything feels negative. I’ll be writing a blog post on the steps I take to having a solo relaxing night in soon so look out for that.

Get creative
This can really be anything. Everyone has different ideas of what ‘creative’ means to them. Personally, I think for the best chance of therapy through art and growing a smile, it needs to be something technology-less and using your hands. Sure, blogging or other online hobbies are creative, but I’ve found that putting away the devices and just using yourself and what’s around you is much more grounding. I like to whip out a journal and draw little doodles. I also like to write random semantic fields or lines of poetry. This just puts me in a good headspace.

I hope these tips help you to feel happier. Try applying them to your routine and let me know if you see improvement! If you have any of your own tips for growing a smile, leave them down below! We can all help one another.

Beth Ashley
Beth Ashley

Writer/wronger. Provides words about mental health and feminism and runs this very blog. Copywriter for Godaddy and editor of Paperfox Literary Magazine.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


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