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9 Easy Ways to Instantly Feel Happier on a Rainy Day, Experts Say

These expert-approved tips will bring sunshine to the darkest days.

If you notice your mood dampening as the clouds converge, you're not alone. According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, it's common for people to report feelings of depression on rainy days. However, the weather forecast shouldn't seal your fate—experts say there are plenty of ways to boost your mood when the sun is nowhere in sight. Wondering where to begin? Read on to learn nine easy ways to feel instantly happier when the weather is getting you down, according to mental health experts.

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Try light therapy.

Woman getting light therapy for her seasonal depression

If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or find that rainy days don't exactly spark joy, using light therapy may help boost your mood.

Julia Baum, MSEd, BFA, LMHC, a therapist and owner of Julia Baum Therapy, recommends trying a SAD lamp, which can positively impact your body's production of melatonin and serotonin.

"Light therapy is accessible from home, and using it for just 10-15 minutes can boost your mood and energy levels," Baum tells Best Life, noting that these lamps can easily be purchased online. Use your lamp early in the day instead of during the evening hours to avoid disturbing your sleep, she recommends.

Enter a flow state.

woman journaling in bed

Another way to instantly feel happier on a rainy day is to get yourself into a flow state by engaging in a hobby or personal interest, says Baum.

"A flow state is when you focus intently and fully engage in your actions. It feels like you're in a rhythm and can be both energizing and soothing," she explains. "Some measures that can help get into a flow state are writing, cleaning, and crafting. Often there is a repetitive nature or rhythm to the activity, which helps get in the zone."

LaVante' N. Dorsey, LCSW, a counselor, therapist, and motivational speaker with LaVante' N. Dorsey & Associates, agrees that these types of creative pursuits are ideal for overcast days.

"Rainy days can spark your creativity. Try activities like drawing, painting, writing, or crafting," she suggests. "Engaging in creative pursuits can boost your mood and provide a sense of accomplishment."

RELATED: 8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Take a Daily Walk.

Indulge in self-care.

Three mature happy women with face masks at home.
Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock

Spending a rainy day tending to your self-care needs can instantly make you happier, says Dorsey. "Use the rainy day as an opportunity to pamper yourself. Take a long, relaxing bath, do a face mask, or practice other self-care activities that make you feel good," she advises.

According to Andrea Marano, LCSW, a therapist based in New York, self-care doesn't have to take the form of self-pampering—it can be as simple as enjoying some unapologetic rest.

"There is so much pressure to 'perform' your way out of a rainy day. If you find that you're spending more time ruminating on the pressure and sitting in a shame spiral over your lack of productivity, today is the day to lean into unapologetic, restorative rest," she shares. "Make your one and only focus to give yourself the most nourishing, cleansing, soul-filling rest you can—and loving every single minute of it."

Connected: 6 Mental Health Benefits of Listening to Audiobooks.

Catch up with friends and loved ones.

iStock / Jovanmandic

On bright, sunny days, you're likelier to take on a big, outdoor activity. However, experts say that rainy days present an opportunity to connect with friends in a more intimate setting—and that this can help improve your mood.

Dorsey recommends contacting friends or family members and hosting a cozy indoor hangout. If that's not possible, try a phone call or video call. "Social connections can have a positive impact on your mood, even if it's virtual," she notes.

"Sharing about your life can be cathartic, and listening to and supporting a friend can be meaningful and fulfilling," Baum adds.

Find ways to laugh.

better parent over 40

Laughter is the best medicine—especially on a rainy day. Besides connecting with loved ones who make you feel good, you may also enjoy watching a funny movie or stand-up special, says Baum.

"Rainy days are perfect for watching your favorite movies or TV shows. Choose something lighthearted and enjoyable to lift your spirits," agrees Dorsey.

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Move your body.

When workouts get too strenuous, the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in your body can go down. At the same time, your stress hormone cortisol may go up, which may interfere with the ability of certain immune cells to work right.

Getting some exercise is one of the single best things you can do to boost your mood on a rainy day—or any day.

"Exercise is a natural antidepressant. Whether you want to go out and brave the rain or stay inside, get your body moving for 30 to 60 minutes," says Baum.

Looking for something you can do indoors until the rain passes? Try doing a workout video, yoga, jumping rope, or lifting weights.

Practice mindfulness and meditation.

Woman meditating on a mat.
fizkes / Shutterstock

Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can significantly improve mood, making this a great tool for feeling better on bad weather days.

"Rainy days can encourage you to slow down and be present in the moment. Try mindfulness exercises or meditation to connect with your thoughts and feelings, reducing stress and anxiety," suggests Dorsey.

In fact, the therapist notes that rainy days offer a uniquely relaxing backdrop for your mindfulness meditation. "The sound of rain can be incredibly soothing," she notes.

RELATED: 5 Morning Stretches That Will Instantly Boost Your Energy, Experts Say.

Catch up on things you've been putting off.

older couple cleaning kitchen
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

A rainy day can also be the perfect opportunity to devote your full attention to something that's been hanging over your head—and completing such a chore can bring you joy and a feeling of accomplishment after the fact.

"Think about one task that you've been pushing off that really impacts your day-to-day. Is it your closet overflowing? That dreaded bedroom chair that needs attending? No groceries in the fridge for a few days? Making that appointment? Whatever it is, tackling it today is a gift to your future self that keeps on giving," says Marano.

"It's not very fun in the moment, but the relief and satisfaction of whittling down your to-do list is unbeatable!" agrees Baum.

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Cook or bake something from scratch.

Asian senior couple cooking in kitchen

Any activity that's new, challenging, and creative is perfectly poised to make you happier on a rainy day, but there's something especially restorative about cooking yourself or your family a nourishing meal, says Marano.

Brandon Santan, PhD, LPC-MHSP, a counselor and coach with Thrivepoint Counseling, suggests that cooking or baking can also help you lean into your senses, which can help lift your mood. "The aroma of freshly baked goods or a delicious meal can add to the cozy atmosphere," he says.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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