51 Things That Will Make You Smile

Some days, it’s easy to smile. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, with the warm glow of the morning sun cradling your face. You take several deep, cleansing breaths standing beneath a perfectly cascading shower, just before drawing a smiley face on the steamed-up glass with your index finger.

Your roommate or significant other makes your coffee, just the way you like it. You hit every traffic light. You sing to your favorite tunes. And you arrive at work refreshed, excited, and anxious to create and collaborate.

But not every day starts this way. Sometimes you wake up to chaos, in your head or in the world around you. You hit snags, and bumps, and roadblocks at every turn. You try too hard, or don’t try enough, and things fall apart, or things fall short.

You struggle, you fight yourself and other people, and you find yourself wishing you could stop the world so you could get off for a while.

But there is an alternative. When things go wrong, you can fall down or look up. You can shut down or wake up, all over again, starting from right where you stand. You can accept that the days won’t always look bright, but commit to finding something worth smiling about. Not sure what that might be? No worries, friends! I have a few ideas….

1. Call a friend who knows how to laugh at herself to remember what it’s like not to take yourself too seriously.

2. Ask a friend to come over and make you smile. It’s really simple and obvious, I know, but sometimes we forget to just ask for what we need.

3. Read a letter, card, or email from someone who thought of you when you were going through a hard time.

4. Search your deleted email folder for “thank you.” You probably made a huge difference in someone’s life recently—remember that now!

5. Text a friend, “What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard today?”

6. Text your significant other with a silly picture of you and ask for one in return.

7. Ask your significant other to make you breakfast in bed—and to be creative with it. (I have no idea what that could mean, but just seeing the thought s/he puts into it will likely make it extra fun).

8. Post on your Facebook page, “What made you smile today?” (Like I often do on the Tiny Buddha Facebook page!)

9. Tell a child in your life that you need a hug. Just try to stay stoic when she throws her little arms around your neck and sings “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

10. Alternatively, ask that child to draw a picture of you and him or her together.

11. Take a break to enjoy a simple pleasure that you often multitask—like a cup of flavored coffee, or a favorite snack.

12. Rearrange your furniture. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I do this, and I also really enjoy the novelty of creating a space with a different feel.

13. Give your cat a ball of yarn or give your dog a wrapped gift and watch him try to open it. Pets playing = instant smile, at least, for me!

14. Go out and invest in a hula hoop. It’s nearly impossible to stay glum when you get moving like you haven’t since you were a kid. (Alternative option: jump around on a trampoline and just try to not smile!)

15. For the ladies: paint your toe nails a bright color that you wouldn’t usually pick.

16. Ask a child in your life to do your hair. Seeing yourself with massive 80s bangs (ladies) or a Mohawk-inspired look (men) is sure to get you laughing!

17. Blast your favorite music and dance around with absolutely no regard for rhythm or appearance.

18. Bake something that has a silly face on it. Really—this is a valid suggestion!

19. Eat food that requires you to use your hands, and get messy—and then really get messy. Get rib sauce all over your face and just go with it.

20. Make some type of arts and crafts project, just like you would have as a kid, with plans to give it to someone else. (Two-part smile: when you see the ridiculous thing you made, and when you see your friend’s face after receiving it).

21. Make a snack you loved as a kid. Maybe it’s peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or a sundae with gummy bears on it.

22. Watch a movie or cartoon from your childhood. (Smurfs always do it for me, especially when I remember how my mother called them devil worshipers because Papa Smurf did magic.)

23. Write a hand-written letter to someone you love, using different colored pens.

24. Look at pictures from your childhood. I can’t help but smile when I see the ridiculously thick bangs my mother gave me (translate: the front of a mullet).

25. Pop in the video/DVD from your child’s last recital—or your childhood recital.

26. Call your oldest friend, start a conversation with, “’Member when we…,” and end it with, “That was awesome, huh?”

27. Do an updated version of that awesome thing, right now. Really—grab your markers, or your bike, or your flashlight, or your video camera, and have a childlike adventure.

28. Make a magazine collage of things that always make you smile. Consider it a mini vision board for moments you’d like to create soon.

29. Dress up in clothes you love, just to run a simple errand. When you like how you look, you generally feel good.

30. Wear bright colored socks. If your pants are long, wear a different color on each foot. It’s like a little private joke that only you and your feet know about.

31. Make a beeline to your favorite spot, whether it’s a beach, bike trail, or mall. (No judgment—it’s your favorite spot.)

32. Make time to see the sunrise or sunset, and make it an occasion. Invite a friend and bring wine and a picnic basket. Make a memory, and make it beautiful.

33. Walk by your neighborhood park and soak in the innocence, excitement, and wonder.

34. Grab your camera and go outside with a mission to capture things that make you happy.

35. Make a list of all the amazing things you’ve accomplished and experienced this year, and then bask in the beauty of it all.

36. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Say all the things that might make you feel kind of vulnerable, and then think about how special you just made them feel.

37. Help a neighbor with something, whether it’s pulling weeds from a woman’s garden or running an errand for an elderly man who no longer drives. Two part happiness—forgetting about your own problems, and showing someone that neighborly kindness is not a thing of the past.

38. Ask a friend to tell you what’s new with his or her passion project. Same idea: forget about yourself for a while and watch someone else light up.

39. Commit a random act of kindness and tell that person to pass it on.

40. People-watch with a dialogue-writing slant. As in, find two people sitting across the street and make up a ridiculous conversation in your head that they could be having. I know, it sounds silly, and it is. But it always makes me laugh! (I got this from the movie Date Night, in case it sounds familiar.)

41. Visit a positive news site. (There are tons of them.)

42. Elf yourself or a friend. (I know this one’s seasonal, but it’s funny year-found!)

43. Spend some time exploring 1000 Awesome Things.

44. Make your own list of awesome things.

45. Use the search functionality on Twitter and look for “happy” or “smile.”

46. Create a gratitude list for the day, including the smallest details (a fluffy pillow) and the biggest things (your health and your family).

47. Take a run around your block. Trigger some endorphins, whittle your waist line, and remember that the world is so much bigger and greater than it seems when sadness closes you down.

48. Laugh out loud. Seriously, just choose to laugh and keep going. (They actually offer laughter yoga and laughter meditation, if you’re interested in checking them out.)

49. Hum your favorite song. Humming has all kinds of benefits—it’s soothing, it centers you, and also calms your nervous system.

50. Make a new friend, in person or by commenting on a blog. Like this one. =)

51. And lastly…watch an uplifting video, like Tiny Buddha’s first YouTube video. I asked readers to submit footage of the things that make them smile, and the end result definitely put a smile on my face:


Video Credits:

Editing/Song: “Moving Towards Love” by Cheryl B. Engelhardt (
Download from iTunes:
Download from Amazon:
Purchase CD:

Readers who contributed:

Jennifer Butler-Williams, Victoria Strong, Linda Churchill, Grace, Chris Alexander, Gayle Wright, Nicolette Blubaugh, Richard Barlow, Sarah Maccarelli (Hooping by Sarah), Anna B, Alison Kosakowski (Diary of a Dairy Queen), Elizabeth Lyons, Dan Manning, Nikki Faith (Myth Girl), Michelle Poletti, Gloria Fester, Liliya Pellus, Julia (OmPeaceMom), Regina Goh, Sean (BabylonSeeker), Kalpana Tewani, Ekaterina Perminov, Paul F. Caswell, Dpl. MT, LMT (Performance Muscular Therapy), Rami Liesaho, Lindsay Savage, Justin Carmichael (That Other Justin)

Thank you to everyone who contributed! I aimed to include all video footage (my apologies to anyone who sent in photo montages!) If I missed your name, or you’d like me to include a link, please send it to email(AT)tinybuddha(DOT)com.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Hi Lori, I was in need of a smile this morning, and after reading your words it’s out into the world to share with others what you helped create. Thank you. Cary

  • Lynn Zavaro

    Awesome video!! How FUN!!! Definately smiling…

  • OMG Lori, that video is priceless.  It not only made me smile but brought happy tears as well.

    Thanks again… keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Giselle

    Wonderful collection of happiness all around the world! 😀 I liked the background music too, so refreshing! Thanks Lori!  

  • Silvio

    Thank you very much i enjoyed the list, i will do some of the things listed, have a great day to all,peace Silvio.)

  • Several of these suggestions made me smile, just by reading them!  #17 is awesome… one of my favourite things I did on a recent trip to Seattle was have an impromptu dance session.  My sister’s boyfriend and I performed for her and she was in tears several times.  Great fun!

    As for #36, I will take this oppourtunity to tell you how much I appreciate Tiny Buddha & the work you do to keep it going!  I also appreciate your posts on Twitter & the quotes and support you frequently offer.  So THANK YOU!  I am really grateful for everything you do!

  • Several of these suggestions made me smile, just by reading them!  #17 is awesome… one of my favourite things I did on a recent trip to Seattle was have an impromptu dance session.  My sister’s boyfriend and I performed for her and she was in tears several times.  Great fun!

    As for #36, I will take this oppourtunity to tell you how much I appreciate Tiny Buddha & the work you do to keep it going!  I also appreciate your posts on Twitter & the quotes and support you frequently offer.  So THANK YOU!  I am really grateful for everything you do!

  • Karen

    Love Love Love the video – I am really smiling now!

  • Karen

    Love Love Love the video – I am really smiling now!

  • Deborahabennett

    FANTASTIC!  Thanks so much!

  • Anonymous

    What a lovely post! Thank You!

  • Who knew there were so many ways to make us smile. The best way to make yourself smile is if you make someone else smile. Smiling is contagious! 

  • This is so lovely, Lori, and exactly what I needed today!

    Many bows your way!

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  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, thank you (and SO well-written too – just lovely!)  Thank you!

    I am sharing the link on my own website’s blog right now, so my readers can enjoy it as much as I have!

    …I especially enjoyed numbers 18, 38, and 41 – just thinking about those ones, in particular, made me smile.  (And the video too, I loved it – especially the word “past” in the sand being washed away by the ocean – fabulous!! Huge hugs to whoever submitted that bit!)

    Andrea Sholer

  • Sooby08

    Fantastic. However disappointed by some gender stereotyping on numbers 15 and 16, was it even necessary to mark it as male or female? I don’t think so.

  • Catherine Schuster

    I just “StumbledUpone” this site and LOVE IT!  Thank you sooooo much.  The Smile List is perfect….going to print it out and keep it on the fridge.

    Catherine Schuster

  • Lori,

    I so enjoyed the video full of the sweetness of lives and nature. Thank you for adding light to my day.

    Keep at it!

  • Cecilybunny

    Just what I needed. . .Namaste

  • Veroniek

    What a great list, and it shows again that it’s all in simple things. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!

  • You’re most welcome. I’m glad it gave you a smile =)

  • Fantastic–thanks for commenting! =)

  • Thanks so much Alannah!! I really appreciate your thoughtful words. You put a big smile on my face. =)

  • You are most welcome! I hope you enjoy exploring the site =)

  • Good point, Sooby! I originally had that as a tip for female readers, because I assumed men would be less likely to ask someone do their hair. Then I added the second part to be inclusive–however, I suspect you’re right. Women could also have fake mohawks, and men could also have 80s bangs.

  • Thanks for sharing the post, Andrea! I loved that part of the video, too. There were so many uplifting clips people shared. =)

  • Thanks so much, Maia! 

  • So true! The best to create a smile is to share one.

  • You are most welcome! Thanks for commenting. =)

  • Thanks Deborah!

  • Anonymous

    Lori, this is great!!! Thank you! 🙂

  • Yamini

    i loved this post Lori.! It was a very cheerful read 🙂

  • Divya Babbar

    🙂 this is Great@!

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  • What a fantastic list! One thing that always helps cheer me up is a trip to the dog park. (A dog is a great mood-elevator to begin with)You just can’t be sad in the presence of 50+ wagging tails!

  • Beth Ann

    I love this site – it always helps me to see things in new ways. And today it definitely made me smile!

  • Yes! I love that. Dogs are just so joyful and loving. Always puts a smile on my face. =)

  • Thanks for the comment, Beth. I’m so glad you enjoy Tiny Buddha!

  • Thanks Giselle! The singer/songwriter actually edited this info. If you’re interested, you can get her song here: Have a great day!

  • Lori, thanks again for including my clip of the boys from the Agathians Shelter. Certainly made me and my friends smile again. Good things must be shared. 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing it, Regina! It made me smile to see it. =)

  • Thanks for sharing it, Regina! It made me smile to see it. =)

  • Thanks for sharing it, Regina! It made me smile to see it. =)

  • Really enjoyed that video and yup, it made me smile. Lots. Thanks!

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  • Thanks, Kate! I’ve seen it several times now, and I really love it. I’m so grateful people shared their clips!

  • Sooby08

    Thank you for your openness.

  • What an amazing soul you are!  Thanks you for doing what you do 😀  You are so very appreciated.

  • Wow thank you. What a lovely comment to read at the end of a long day. =)

  • Lpwhite

    Delightful in every way! Thank You!!!!!

  • You are most welcome!!

  • Anonymous

    penguins never cease to make me smile. i just love how they waddle so flawlessly.

    i thought it was just me who sometimes wakes up “in chaos or in my head.” it helps to know this is (somewhat) normal.

    and i completely agree with “dancing with no regard to rhythm or appearance.” sometimes, just five minutes of carefree movement can totally change your mood around. 

    but the thing that helps me the most is just getting outside. you said it perfectly — remembering how much bigger & brighter the world is when sadness closes you down. so true.

    thanks for another awesome post!! 🙂 🙂 <– extra smiley face for this one. 

  • You are most welcome! I love penguins, too. They’re just so cute! You are so not alone, regarding the chaos in your head. I think we all have this sometimes. I know I do!

  • DCD

    Re #15: As a guy, I can guarantee that one would generate a whole lot of smiles if a guy were to paint his toenails! 🙂

  • 1000awesomethings

    Aw, thanks for the big ups, Lori! I love your site! Neil.

  • Ashish

    Nice posts Ms. Deschene. Pls keep it up.


  • LOL yes a nice bright neon color! =)

  • Thanks so much, Neil! As I’m sure is quite obvious, I love yours, as well. =)

  • Thanks Ashish, and happy Saturday. =)

  • Fieldalvarez

    Thank you.  I shared to my facebook. I think I should print it out and post it on my bathroom mirror so I dont forget!

  • Nativeaustinite

    Great list! Thanks for expanding my repertoire.
    I also love to go somewhere that the customer service is always personal, and friendly. And thinking of how many wonders in the world (and beyond) there are yet to be discovered it’s a positive distraction, too.

  • Jaellabella


  • Thank you so much for this. The video made me tear a little. Not been in the greatest shape emotionally & physically for the last few weeks, but I am extremely grateful to have stumbled on your site. So, THANK YOU, Lori Deschene!

  • Sandra Lowndes

    Definitely, YES!!! I became more happy! Thank you a lot for this post, Lori and video too! ))

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  • You are most welcome. =)

  • I like to fantasize about exploring, as well. It always makes me smile to imagine all the adventures to come, some on my own and some with my boyfriend and our families.

  • You’re most welcome, Sharon! I’m glad that Tiny Buddha has helped you work through a hard time. I’ve been there before, and I know it always helps me to remember I am not alone–we all deal with the same things. I hope you’re having a nice Sunday. =)

  • You’re welcome, Sandra–I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  • You made me smile today 🙂 Thank you

  • You are most welcome! =)

  • I love the way you write – thank you so much for bringing positive thoughts to me every day <3 

    Greetz from Germany!

  • Greetings, Yuzu! Thank you for the kind comment. =)

  • Kai

    Wow that’s a pretty awesome first video!

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  • Ayako Sato

    Thanks Lori! I am SO going to get a hula hoop tomorrow. 🙂 🙂

  • I just bought one a couple weeks ago. It’s also a really great ab exercise. =)

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  • Lisa J

    Thank you soooooo much!! I have been having one of “those” mornings you described where I feel rotten and nothing is going right – thank you for reminding me I can reset at any moment xx

  • You’re welcome, Lisa!

  • Thecaotran

    Corgi videos really does it for me too. 😀 They’re sooo cute!

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  • Mary


    I am so inspired by you. Thank you for lifting me up this morning 🙂 51 ways reminded me that there are so much more to life. Wonderful. Just wonderful!

  • That’s great! I’m so glad this post lifted you up 🙂

  • Bcori1999

    thx for this site… i having a hard time and this helped 🙂

  • You’re most welcome. =)

  • (:

    This is lovely, What makes me happy is making someone else happy, that’s why I am searching the Internet for things like this, and writing down things that make you smile, and why you should, I send my friend a nice email everyday so it adds a smile to her day.

  • DC Resident

    I literally found this page by typing into google “things that make you happy” after having a genuinely miserable day.  Your writing is light-hearted and entertaining, and it literally made the difference between me going on a 5 mile run instead of grabbing a couple of drinks.  The run ended up motivating me to sign up for a marathon, so in a strange way I have to thank you for keeping my head up in a tough time.  Thanks so much Lori!

  • I’m glad this post inspired you to get outside and get moving. How exciting that you’ve signed up for a marathon! Have a wonderful day =)

  • Alexandra Ritzel22

    Another thing to smile:
    Yesterday I found an interesting website to make people smile and to “improve the world”. And it seems to be successful! The idea is amazing…Have a look: http://www.just-smile.infoWatch the movies, the reactions of the people are really exciting!

  • Alexandra Ritzel22
  • Lyns

    Great ideas 🙂 made me smile thanks x

  • karyn

    I hate to say it but none of that helped):

  • Guest

    It made me smile just reading this 🙂

  • Awesome! =)

  • Lucy

    you inspire me liasa

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  • Cookerlady

    Just seeing the Smiley faced man made me smile!

  • Kellyguyer3

     haha cute i did the second one and she flipped me off cuz i was in the room with her

  • Em

    thank u i was in need of a smile today 

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Rebecca

    I do this when I am sitting exams: draw smiley faces on my big toes so when I get stressed I know my toes are smiling back at me 🙂 it seems so silly but it makes me smile

  • Emma

    Thank you so much i was very sad the last few weeks/days., and that made me smile. it is very nice that you like to help people and make them smile that is why even though i do not know you you are one of my heroes.
    THANK YOU so much

  • Thanks so much Emma. I’m so glad this post and video cheered you up! =)

  • Loretta

    I unexpectedly popped into this page this morning and I just couldn’t stop reading it..  I have had many of those ideas wondering inside of my mind and sometimes when I decide to do them others may just stare or say “What’s up with this girl?”  but anyway… I guess each person has his or her very peculiar way in seeing things and all the things you had just written above are just out of this world… You had just made my day…  THUMBS UP!!! and THANKS =)

  • You’re most welcome Loretta! =)

  • Hg Prowler75

    They were all about a significant other, mine cheated on me…

  • sweetborigirl

    Love your list!!! Something that always puts me in a good mood is reading positive posts/articles like this one! Also, listening to music while I dance and sing in my living room (lol), a good comedy movie, a good laugh and fun times with family/friends, nature walks, and pets!!! Thank you for your input Lori 🙂

  • Thanks so much! I also love dancing in my living room and taking nature walks. =)

  • Cupcake7

    this website sucks

  • Somelonelyguy :(

    Im actually depressed because i dont have a lot of friends so… yeah thanks for that.

  • Trololololololooooolololo

    lol this make me 🙂

  • Www Alan

    this is a good resource to use when your feeling clumsy

  • SS

    Thank you for posting this!!

  • You’re most welcome! =)

  • Kirsty

    This is so true. And even reading it puts a smile on your face. 🙂 I’m at a cross roads and haven’t felt happy in a long time this defiantly helps shed light on why
    Thank you

  • gay page

    no useless that woudnt make me happy they’re  crap

  • Thanks a lot! I’m doing like 12 right now. God Bless!

  • You’re most welcome! =)

  • After readin this all i could do was smile … I beleave life is hard if u make it hard n to shake away any negitive but i no wa it like when somethings are to hard to shake off … But i love what u r doing n just if this made 1 person smile thats brill but u made so many people smile i think u are brill i would love to make people smile everyday thank u for makeing me smile

  • You’re most welcome Heather. Your comment made me smile. 🙂

  • Whatshename

    I’ll probably forget every suggestion on here but reading the comments beside each one sure did make me lol 😀

  • facebook

    this video was bullshit

  • Mark

    “Nunca te olvides de sonreír porque el día que no sonrías será un día perdido”
    Charles Chaplin

    And in english it would be something like this (I’m sorry if i have any grammar mistakes):
    “Never forget to smile, because the day you don’t smile will be a wasted day”
    Charles Chaplin

  • Susan

    I recently started this page (!/pages/Spark-Up-a-Smile/510243695680662 ) and I posted a link to this site. I really love your ideas!

  • Co nnor


  • Co nnor

    Haha omg Loire

  • Feelingworse

    This is making me feel worse

  • Depresso

    Reading through the list and I can tell that this will only offer me temporary happiness but I guess I’ll take that over being depressed forever

  • Raven

    Love these tips. They will definitely help bring some positive energy into my life thank you. =D

  • You are most welcome!

  • von

    priceless, I”m smiling with my heart

  • allison

    thanks i needed that

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Rajesh Unny Nair


    Might sound very idiotic, but ya I was pretty depressed and now I just smiled reading all this.

    I had a breakup couple of weeks back, and it kinda turned my life upside down. I’m trying my best to recover even when I know its not that easy.

    Anyways great work… keep it going !!

  • This doesn’t sound idiotic at all. I’m so sorry to hear about your break-up–but glad this lifted your spirits a bit!

  • TJLeeWilliams

    I don’t mean to be critical, but for some people the part about friends might make things worse, and for some people looking at photos of our childhoods might make things worse. A lot of us have lost people, and a lot of us who have serious days like this when we really need something to help us through it didn’t have very good childhoods. I thank you for the effort though. I can’t fault you for trying to make other peoples days better. Coming away from this list that’s the thought that made me smile. That there are people like you who not only care, but really try to help. But I’ve been working for NGO’s in Nigeria, and now Bangladesh for years, and going for a walk or buying a hula hoop just isn’t gonna cut it Lori.

  • I understand what you mean, TJ. I suppose it’s tough to create a one-size-fits-all list, since we’re all different and we’ve all had different experiences.

    How kind of you, to be working with NGOs in Nigeria and Bangladesh. That’s what made me smile. =)