77 Creative Ways to Lighten Up In Tough Times

by Tess















We’re living in a time where nearly everyone is  feeling overwhelmed with the changes and problems in the world.

Some of us feel stuck, uninspired and fearful. Others have suffered major losses and feel hopeless and helpless.

Some people find ways to thrive even in bad times. They refuse to fall into “the sky is falling mode.”

Today  you can make a conscious decision to revitalize and renew your body, mind and spirit. You can lift the weight off you shoulders. It’s a choice we make every second of every day. The following are methods to do so.

1. Journal. Lose the weight you carry on your shoulders. Write 2 pages of your thoughts daily until you feel better.

2. Get a new mantra. ” Repeat it when you find yourself filled with negativity.
Mine is  “All is well

3. Choose to do low key exercise. Something that doesn’t feel like work. A walk in nature, at the zoo or in a new city. Ride your bike for short distance errands.

4. Connect with others. Sign up for a new class or volunteer for a road race. Join a support group or creativity group. Meet face to face with a friend or family member. Get outside of yourself.

5. Touch.Find people you can hug, hold and be physically close too. Appropriately touch someone’s arm or hand when you are with them. You are suppose to get 5 hugs per day. Have you had your quota today? Don’t remain cut off from the world.

6. Practice self acceptance. Look at yourself in the mirror and praise yourself for doing 3 things. Self-rejection will hold you back. No self put downs allowed.

7. Plan a vacation. Give yourself something to look forward too.

8. Be gentle with yourself. Do something nice for yourself. Give yourself the tenderness you need. Take a nap. Visit a friend. Go to the movies. You’re are OK.

9. List your strengths.
Begin sentences with “I am…” Are compassionate, determined, likable, disciplined? 

10. Be loving with yourself. Treat yourself as you would a best friend.

11. Remind yourself you’re not alone. Everyone goes through trials and tribulations. We don’t get through life without facing failure or tragedy. It’s part of being human.

12. Shift your perspective. What will life look like when you have a solution? Hold a vision of the end result you want. See it happening in detail.

13. Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s suffering we bring on ourselves. You don’t know what anybody else is going through.

14. Express your feelings in an acceptable manner.
Don’t suffer in silence. Cry if you need to cry. Manage your anger. Check in with yourself and your emotions daily.

15. Have an open mind. Become curious and creative about the solutions to your issue. Explore it from all angles. Ask someone you respect for advice.

16. Be tolerant of your flaws and personality defects. Everyone needs to work on some aspect of their personality. Nobody is perfect.

17. Listen to Music. Choose uplifting music with a positive message.

18. Repeat the Serenity Prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

19. Spend time in nature. 10 minutes spent sitting outside daily will uplift you in ways you can’t imagine. Touch the earth by going barefoot.

20. Plant a vegetable garden. Dig in the dirt with your bare hands. Invite a child to garden with you.

21. Plant a flower garden. Put in flowers that will attract bees and butterflies.

22. Practice focused breathing.

23. Brighten your world. Pick wildflowers. Wear a bold color. Add color to your environment with paint or accessories..

24. This too shall pass.Always has always will. Think about the difficulties you have overcome. Take one step at a time and “keep on keepin on.”

25. Smile. Laugh. Be Silly. Practice being happy.

26. Have good posture.

27. Spend time near water. Find a pond, lake or ocean. The energy of the water will calm you. Even a water park with change your mood. Swim, float, and wade. Kids love to play in water for a reason!

28. Volunteer to work at a children’s camp. Spending your vacation this way will heal your broken spirit faster than an island and a fancy drink.

29. Put on a pair of shorts and flip flops. Who doesn’t feel good in this attire.

30. Present well. Keep up your personal care. Keep your nails and hair trimmed. Put on your best clothing. When you dress well you feel well and look well.

31. Take photographs of nature. Print them and post them on your office wall. Use it as an escape for a few minutes a day.

32. Go to an outdoor concert or ball game. If this is out of your budget go to a little league game or school concert.

33. Throw out your bathroom scale forever.
Every one’s body is different. If you listen to your body it will tell you what to eat and drink.

34. Go to the library and browse the CD’s, Books and DVD’s. Anything uplifting will do.

35. Invite someone over. This will cause you to clean up your environment a bit. Order a pizza and set the table with your best dishes and glasses.

36. Create a Ritual. Write down all of your feelings, anger, judgment, frustration etc. Dig a deep hole, burn the paper and bury the ashes. Finally plant a new tree. The new tree symbolizes new beginnings. It will grow as you grow. It will always be a reminder of how far you have come.

37. Eat Healthy. Include one new fruit or vegetable every day. Preparing and eating healthy food will keep your mind off your troubles.

38. Get creative with some jeans. Cut off an old pair of jeans for shorts. Take your oldest pair of jeans and slice the material wear you want holes to be. Then unravel the loose thread.

39. Dance. Find a location or club where you can dance and invite others to dance with you. Do this for at least two hours.
The more you fear this exercise the more you need to do it and the bigger your reward will be.

40. Visit a museum or art gallery.
Examine the art, color and light in the paintings.

41. Purchase a new pillow.
Yes you read that right. When is the last time you bought a new pillow for your bed? We spend one third of our time in bed. Make it comfortable.
44. Get enough sleep. Purchase a meditation CD if you have trouble
getting to sleep. Turn the CD on when you turn the lights off.

45. Make Your Feet Happy.
Get a manicure or a foot massage. Purchase a good pair of exercise shoes. You won’t regret it.

46. Light Candles.
Candles are subtle mood enhancers.

47. Watch the sunrise and sunset.
Mark your calendar and decide to two this at least twice a month. It’s the best show on earth!

48. Do something adventurous.
Kayak, canoe, bungee jump, go camping, hiking or rock climbing.

49. Go for a drive
, play your favorite music and sing at the top of your lungs. You will change your mood.

50. Work out with weights. Focus on your breathing and results you want to see instead of the pain.

51. Write yourself a love letter.
Thank yourself for getting this far in life. Tell yourself how much you love yourself. Mail it to yourself in one month.

52. Spend time star gazing.
Identify constellations.

53. Daydream.
Plan a fantastic future for yourself. Get excited about it. Include people, places and things.

54. Sign up for a personal development workshop. Attend in person and meet new people.

55. Date yourself.
Become comfortable dining alone.

56. Create and practice positive affirmations.
Write them on index cards using colored markers.

57. Spend time with animals.
If you don’t own a dog, walk a neighbors.

58. Reflect on your values
and be grateful for them.

59. Hang out in a coffee/tea shop
and enjoy your favorite drink.

60. Practice forgiveness.
It will set you free.

61. Practice tolerance and patience.
Are high expectations of others only disappoint us.

62. Avoid eating too much sugar
, carbohydrates and using drugs alcohol and other stimulants.

63. Change your routine.
Get up earlier. Go to bed later. Take in a different route to work. Don’t check your emails more than twice a day.

64. Spend time with enthusiastic and happy people.
Eliminate the crazy makers in your life. Break free from codependency.

65. Spend time in silence.
Ask for guidance, receive it and act on it. Your inner voice will guide you.

66. Practice meditation
, yoga or other activities that take you inward.

67. Focus n the present moment.
Refuse to live in the pain of the past or fear of the future. Joy doesn’t reside there.

68. Give up bad habits
.  Excessive TV, game playing or surfing the net too much?  Eliminate your bad habit for 10 days. You will gain a fresh perspective and discover new ways to spend your time.

69. Refuse to complain for 3 weeks. When you catch yourself begin your 3 weeks over again. You will find that you complain about the same thing repeatedly.

70. Pay attention
to what you tell yourself.

71. Have Courage.
Move out of your comfort zone and do what frightens you. You will gain self-esteem and confidence.

72. Ask for help.
There is no need to struggle. There are over 6 and 1/2 billion people in the world. Someone will help you.

73. Do the most difficult first.
What ever it is you’re neglecting, do it during your best time of the day. Make time for it and don’t move to another task until it is finished.

74. Reward and treat yourself
as you move forward. Bribe yourself to do difficult tasks with a new book, dinner out or an afternoon off.

75.  Take 100% responsibility.
Use your energy and ability to turn your life around. Changing your situation empowers you.

76. Tap into unlimited possibilities
and enjoy your life.

77. Take the action needed to succeed.
Print this list and use it to change your future.

Phot by: DH Hamp1


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie May 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Tess, this is a fabulous list! Your item #3 is the one that alwaysdoes it for me. I could be really deep in a well, with none of the others doing much more than being like a flashlight in the dark, and that one—moving my feet, outside—is the one that NEVER fails. It just gets the blood moving, again.

Julie’s last blog post..Making Life Beautiful for You


Tess The Bold Life May 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I know what you mean. I walked five miles with Roger this morning. Thanks for the compliment on the list. I worked two days on it.


Daphne @ Joyful Days May 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Wow, I’ll take a lifetime to do all 77 items! I love the flower garden and vegetable garden suggestions, and may start with those!

Daphne @ Joyful Days’s last blog post..8 Lessons from the Lindy Hop


Tess The Bold Life May 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Anyone who is feeling down would be lifted by the time they got to no.3

The gardens? Those are two things I don’t have and wish I did? Oh, maybe I shouldn’t be so attached!


Positively Present May 6, 2009 at 6:09 pm

GREAT post! I really enjoyed reading all of your suggestions and I think they’re all great. I know a lot of people (including me!) can really use this now. Thanks for sharing such great ideas!

Positively Present’s last blog post..13 ways you distort your thoughts (and how to stop doing it)


Vered - MomGrind May 6, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Being kind and gentle to myself do not come easily to this competitive perfectionist overachiever. :)

But it’s a good tip. I’ll keep trying…

Vered – MomGrind’s last blog post..Bloggers Who Quit


Shankar May 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm


Thank you! I’m nuts about your view and equally admire you. Though I practice almost all your tips but out of 77, I’ve selected 7 way to be practiced and mastered.
I don’t know how I could DO THE MOST DIFFICULT FIRST, but I’m moving ahead. I’m learning to control my thoughts but you know this is not an emotional exercise rather it is a spiritual warfare between Good & Bad. And it is endless. You just have to be a warrior, as long as you live in this planet.

We all are warriors, in some field or the other and seek to attain only VICTORY.

So, hope for the best. You are a Gem. Keep it up!May God bless you.



Yum Yucky May 7, 2009 at 6:23 am

Loving’ it! I do some of these things already but I’m going to start another by adding #69 – refuse to complain for 3 weeks.

There’s something about negativity that gets down into your spirit and just festers to become a rotten old mess. Not good! And not me. Thanks for this!


Jocelyn of I TAKE OFF THE MASK May 7, 2009 at 6:32 am

I think I will adopt a new mantra, Tess. I’d say “beautiful things just happen by surprise!” And they really do :-)

Jocelyn of I TAKE OFF THE MASK’s last blog post..Life Skills – Words of Wisdom to Live Life Fully!


Penny May 7, 2009 at 7:35 am

These are some great suggestions. I have started writing three pages a day each morning in my notebook, and it does help. I’m also trying to be grateful for what I have and who I am. Easier said than done, but I’m getting there slowly.

Penny’s last blog post..Things I Love Thursday (An Introduction)


Kathy | Virtual Impax May 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Tess -

Great list!!! I love “Refuse to complain for 3 weeks. When you catch yourself begin your 3 weeks over again. You will find that you complain about the same thing repeatedly.”

This is so true!!! The thing is, when you complain – you give power to that negativity. Any time I’ve made a conscious decision to “quitcherbitchin” the issue at hand almost always fades effortlessly away.

Oh, if the issue DOES NOT fade effortlessly away – then perhaps it’s time to DO something BOLD about it!!! :)

I couldn’t resist….

Kathy | Virtual Impax’s last blog post..#1 Rule for Social Media Marketing Success…


Tess The Bold Life May 7, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Positively Present,
So glad I could be of service. I do agree we all can use a lighter load. And we all have to lighten our own. I don’t know anyone coming with a magic wand!

Positve, perfectionist overachiever? I like people like that! Little steps are enough.
You just made my day with your compliments. I think the hardest is always the one we put last and it’s probably the most important thing we need to work on. Just remember all steps forward is progress no matter what you choose.

Yum Yucky,
I love no. 69. I heard it from a minister years ago and practiced until I quit complaining. I honestly can say I don’t complain anymore.

You are so right. Beautiful things do happen by surprise. We only need to become aware! Love the mantra.

It’s all easier said than done. I think all we need is a little willingness!

I just love you!


Patricia May 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Dynamic list and a lot of action possible ! Viva La Possibility!

Patricia’s last blog post..Relationships and the Role of Boundaries


Liara Covert May 7, 2009 at 6:41 pm

This is a truly uplifting list Tess. Many people benefit from stepping back to reviewing the blessings in their lives. Its also useul to train the mind to recognize nothing is wrong unless you decide that it is. You are capable, worthy, versatile, loving, resourceful and an uplifting survivor, come what may.

Liara Covert’s last blog post..10 Reminders the Intuition Age is Now


Barbara Swafford May 8, 2009 at 12:31 am

Hi Tess,

What a wonderful resource your list is. I like the one, “this too shall pass”. It reminds me of how all we need to do is look at what we’ve been through and how we survived. It gives us reassurance brighter days are just around the corner.


Miz May 8, 2009 at 2:20 am

This is on my fridge now.


Miz’s last blog post..Link Love & Temporary Tats.


Hilary May 8, 2009 at 4:06 am

Hi Tess .. perhaps there’s a reason for the blog site to bomb out taking my comment with it = it ensures I have another read and see if I remember the points I wanted to make!! So a positive …

Number 1 was my first resonance .. losing the weight from my shoulders – this is tricky with my mother in hospital/nursing centre .. but I need to find a way to lighten it .. number 3 – my Mantra is to turn on my heel and say ok .. move .. re think … number 18: The Serenity Prayer – thanks for letting me know about the prayer .. number 24 -’ this too shall pass’ – it will do and I shall be pleased I’ve been around with my mother at the most important time in her life .. and no 25: Laugh .. I do a lot with my Ma .. number 51 – I do like the idea of writing myself a love letter each month and posting it .. … and the others and number 77 – take the action you need to achieve success ..

Number 78 – spend an hour a day improving yourself for your future ..
taken from Hugo and Roxanne’s Believe Achieve blog: http.believeachievesucceed.blogspot.com

Thanks Tess – excellent 77 ideas ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Hilary’s last blog post..Moles, Worms and Charles Darwin – Naturalist …


Robin May 8, 2009 at 5:37 am

Hi Tess – nice list! To pick out just one, “Don’t compare yourself to others.” is especially useful, I think – an easy way to get stuck is to decide we are not as good, or better than other people. Frank and I are lucky enough to live near some parklands that have a few lakes and a creek – we love the water.

Robin’s last blog post..Wanting To Look Young


Frances May 8, 2009 at 7:56 am

Oh, wow! This is an amazing list and exactly what I’ve been needing! It’s easy to remember 3 or 4 things you have listed, but keeping so many of them together is going to prove really helpful. Thank you so much!

Frances’s last blog post..Taking Your Own Advice


Tess The Bold Life May 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Viva la Posibility! I love that!

Nothing is wrong unless you decide it is. Well that little gem is going in my journal!

That’s a compliment coming from you!

Yes it does. Thanks for stopping by.

The time you have with your mom is such a blessing even though it’s challenging. What a daughter to have! I love the “improving your self for your future 1 hour a day.”
I just got some CDs out of the library to brush up on my Spanish!

Not comparing has given me such freedom and I love water even though there isn’t much in the dessert.

Thanks I worked hard on coming up with original stuff. I surprised even myself with this list. I’m glad you stopped by.

Tess The Bold Life’s last blog post..77 Creative Ways to Lighten Up In Tough Times


Hilda May 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

Wow Tess, what a brilliant list and all truly effective tips! I [try to] practice most of them so it’s hard to pick one out that I would say is most effective – they all work. But the one I use EVERY time I recognise I need a shift is a mantra pretty much like yours: “All is well – no matter what it looks like. It’s all happening perfectly.”

Thanks for this. My Game of Life ezine for May will be a round-up of posts on thriving during difficult times and this is a perfect resource. I’m thrilled :-)

Hilda’s last blog post..Advice from my future (and wiser) self


Tess The Bold Life May 9, 2009 at 11:17 am

Thanks Hilda,
I so appreciate your help and kindness!

Tess The Bold Life’s last blog post..77 Creative Ways to Lighten Up In Tough Times


Jannie Funster May 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I’m sending you 77 BIB BIG HUGS for this Tess.

You are one of my great heroes, you know.

(Hope me saying that doesn’t embarrass ya)


Jannie Funster’s last blog post..The CDs Have Landed!


Albert | UrbanMonk.Net May 10, 2009 at 1:33 am

Hey Tess! This is a great list. I’ve had a few friends tell me of their troubles and I just harp on meditation, forgetting that not everyone likes the same stuff I do. I’ll refer them on to this article!

Albert | UrbanMonk.Net’s last blog post..Realizing We Secretly Want Our Suffering – A Process for Emotional Healing


Lance May 10, 2009 at 2:23 am

Hi Tess,
What a wonderful list! All of them are such great ways to lighten up. In fact, right now I’m doing one of them – listening to some soothing music – and it’s one that has been really resonating with me recently. The right music really brings an extra level of calm – and that’s a place I really do enjoy spending time in. Meditation – that’s one I really want to focus more on, and see where it takes me. Tess, thank you for this list – there’s so much here, and it’s all such good stuff!

Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day


Keith May 12, 2009 at 7:15 am

Awesome list you have here Tess!

I have used several of the things you list here. One of my favorites has always been to go out into nature, preferably some woods with a trail or something. That never fails to calm me to the core and also serves to shift my perspective.

Thanks Tess

Keith’s last blog post..


cycling shorts December 16, 2009 at 4:30 pm

I’ve also found a good hard sprint up a hill to be very effective at banishing the blues. Gets the blood pumping and blows away the cobwebs. I’m also a big fan of cycling but need to put in a lot of miles to get the same effect.
.-= cycling shorts´s last post…More Cycling Shorts, Tops and Gear =-.


Trisha December 10, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Hi :-) I just wanted to say I really enjoyed this list. I am a very positive person with very negative situations and people around me. Things have happened to come at me all at once recently, so I was looking for a small boost to just get me back on the track I was on and not feel as “half-empty” as I was. I’d like to feature your list on my website (The Mommy Trisha Show – For a better, happier, healthier life. inspiration.motivation.relaxation.life) which I will give full credit to you and your page. :-)


Marine February 25, 2012 at 7:52 am



Hani November 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

I really enjoyed the list.One main reason I love the list because I felt like I am reading my own thoughts which I thought to be followed at any rate in the following life but I couldn’t………..ThankQQQQQQ very much


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