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Want to make someone’s day? 10 tips on how (or if) to cheer someone up

July 28, 2022 - 14 min read

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Should you try to cheer someone up?

How to cheer someone up 4 ways

6 ways to cheer someone up over text

5 things to avoid when trying to cheer someone up

How to ask for help when you're feeling down

How to cheer yourself up

Something to remember: the importance of friendship during hard times

Have you ever had a coworker get bad news at work, or see a friend going through something tough? We all have difficult days, so knowing how to cheer someone up is a great life skill. 

You probably know firsthand that when you’re in a bad mood, you can’t always overcome it alone. We need people around who can cheer us up, motivate us, and get us out of a funk. 

A person who knows how to help you swap your negative emotions for positive ones is unmatched. So why can't this person be you? 

We all have the ability to be a positive force in our friends, family, and coworkers’ lives. With a few tips, you can learn how to cheer someone up, what mistakes to avoid, and the best ways to offer support.

 

Should you try to cheer someone up?

While you certainly have good intentions in your quest to cheer someone up, it isn’t always what they want.

If someone is going through a tough time, it's okay to ask them directly how you can best support them and offer some positive vibes. Ask them if they want to talk, if they need a distraction, or if they wish to be left alone.

They might want advice, but they also might want to rant about their problems without your input. We all need to swallow sometimes. 

After they decide what they need, you can act appropriately. The person you’re trying to support is also allowed to change their minds, so do your best to be supportive however they need.

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How to cheer someone up 4 ways

There’s no single best way to cheer someone up when they aren't feeling like themselves. Often, it just depends on the person. Some people might prefer socializing while others might like relaxing. They may even want you to simply send them helpful articles or funny memes online without actually seeing you in person.

Here are four ways to cheer someone up after a bad day:

1. Write them a handwritten note

If you want to cheer someone up, you don't have to write a six-page letter detailing every happy thing you can think of. A simple sticky note with a supportive sentence or a little card will do the trick. 

Try writing out positive things like affirmations, good memories you have together, or even a motivational quote. If you want to cheer up a coworker or your manager, a note is the perfect supportive action — you can leave your note on their desk when they step away. It could be the pick-me-up they needed to refocus their negative thoughts and improve their mood.

2. Have a movie night

Perhaps you won't be talking a lot during the movie, but it's an excuse to come together with the person you’re trying to support. Sometimes you just need a little company when you’re feeling down. 

Being close to someone can definitely help them feel less alone. Turn on the TV and find a movie that you'll both enjoy. It doesn't have to be a comedy, either. Anything that the person wants to watch is perfect, and your willingness will let them know that they can unwind and start moving forward.

3. Try something new together

Your normal routine can feel dull and remind a person of what's upsetting them. Try doing something new with the friend you want to cheer up. It could be getting some fresh air on a hiking trail you've never tried or explored a new exhibit at your local museum.

Any of these ideas are a perfect excuse to have a change of scenery and build some memories together. Shaking up your friend’s day-to-day life will lift their spirits. Before planning anything, just make sure you ask the person if they're game to go on an adventure. They might prefer to stay closer to their comfort zone.

4. Bring them their favorite food

Surprising someone with their favorite meal is an act of kindness that many appreciate. They’re called our “comfort foods” for a reason, and sharing them will help your friend or coworker feel better.

Plus, sharing a meal together is an opportunity to sit down and chat about whatever they want. They can either process their feelings and get advice, or distract themselves by talking about other things. Next time you want to cheer someone up, try bringing your friend some ice cream or ordering your coworker their favorite lunch.

6 ways to cheer someone up over text

You don't have to be physically beside a person to cheer them up. You could be in a neighboring city or even a time zone away and still do things to uplift them

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Here's how to cheer someone up over text in 6 different ways: 

  1. Send them a playlist with some motivational tunes and their favorite songs
  2. Share a funny video or meme
  3. Send them a list of 10 things you appreciate about them
  4. Remind them of a fun memory you share
  5. Let them know that you're there to support them however they want
  6. Send them a feel-good story you read recently

If you’re trying to cheer up your manager or colleague, you can do the same thing over your office chat platform. Just remember to keep it professional and give them space. In the workplace, the person you’re trying to support may not want to open up about the details of how they’re feeling.

5 things to avoid when trying to cheer someone up

If you’re trying to learn how to cheer someone up, your actions definitely have good intentions behind them. That said, you could be doing more harm than good if you aren’t careful. As you try to make someone feel better, you need to keep some potential mistakes in mind. 

To be more aware of what not to do when you try to cheer someone up, check out these 5 tips:

Woman-Hugging-Her-Friend-how-to-cheer-someone-up 

  1. Don't push your friend to experience things they don't want, like going to a party if they have social anxiety
  2. Don't interrupt them as they talk — focus on being a good listener
  3. Don't invalidate their feelings or be insensitive 
  4. Don't talk all about how wonderful your days have been going
  5. Don't assume they want to be left alone or on the other hand, that they want your company all the time

Communication is a skill, and it doesn’t come naturally to all of us. If you want to improve your ability to cheer others up and be a better communicator, a platform like BetterUp can help. You can get the support and guidance you need to become the best version of yourself.

How to ask for help when you're feeling down

If you find yourself putting a lot of your time and energy into cheering up others, remember that you deserve the same for yourself. Perhaps it's you that's been having a bad day and could use some extra love. It's always okay to pause and evaluate how you're feeling. Take a few deep breaths, and then figure out what you need.

If you need to ask for help, here are four ways to work towards cheering yourself up:

  1. Call your best friend or a family member and ask if they can talk
  2. Get in touch with a therapist
  3. If work is taking a toll on you, talk to your boss about things that have been impacting your mood
  4. Write down your feelings so that you can articulate them better and ask for what you need

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How to cheer yourself up

Perhaps you don't want support from someone else if you're feeling down one day. That's alright — we can use some tips to help ourselves. One place to start is with "happy hormones,” otherwise known as serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin.

For each hormone, here are three ways you can increase the production of each and help yourself feel happier:

Serotonin

  1. Eat some dark chocolate to reduce cortisol
  2. Make a home-cooked meal you love
  3. Dance, sing, and laugh along to fun music

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Oxytocin

  1. Play with an animal you love
  2. Pamper yourself with a spa day filled with self-care
  3. Enjoy a warm drink like tea

Endorphins

  1. Increase your heart rate through exercise
  2. Eat spicy foods
  3. Vent out your feelings in your journal

Something to remember: the importance of friendship during hard times

Hard times can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. That's why having a sense of community is so important. Relying on one another during difficult moments builds stronger bonds and deepens our relationships with others.

When we’re struggling, we can count on our friends for support.

Letting others know that they aren’t alone is an excellent start to cheering someone up, even if they feel lonely.

Knowing how to cheer someone up might not fix all of their problems, but knowing that they have a supportive community can undoubtedly bring a smile to their face. This will help them experience brighter days.

At BetterUp, we’re interested in helping you be your best self so that you can be at your best for the people you care about. Learning how to better communicate and support your loved ones means you need to know how to support yourself, and we’re here to help with both.

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Published July 28, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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