Is Midlife Getting You Down? Here Are 7 Science-backed Tips To Boost Your Happiness Today.

Are you stuck in a midlife rut? Is there a feeling of discontent that’s been lingering for a while? Do you worry that the slump you’re in has no end in sight?

Research says that what you’re experiencing is a normal midlife transition just like adolescence was. Jonathan Rauch talks about it in his book ‘The Happiness Curve’ and explains that the dip in happiness you feel won’t last. Better days lie ahead.

Yet what is also true is that the slump can last for years. Yes, you can try to stick it out but that feels pretty miserable to contemplate right? So, what can you do to improve the way you feel right now? Here are 7 scientifically proven tips for boosting your happiness today.

1. Count your blessings

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” Willie Nelson

Research has found that expressing gratitude is one of the most powerful happiness-boosting practices. It has the power to lower depression and anxiety, increase life satisfaction and can be expressed in many forms.

From writing down a list of things you’re thankful for to thanking someone directly, the key is to make it an essential part of your life. Become more thankful and very quickly your perspective and experience of life changes.

What you can do

There are countless ways to show gratitude but an easy way is to write down three things (big or small, they all count) that you are grateful for each day. Others include: thanking someone who has helped you or donating to a worthy cause.

2. Try a little tenderness

“How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.” – Morgan Freeman

A random act of kindness over a short period has been shown to boost wellbeing. More importantly, however, researchers found that those who volunteered their time, energy and money, were happier and lived longer than their less generous counterparts. 

What you can do

Perform a random act of kindness. It could be as simple as paying someone a compliment or taking time out to do some volunteer work. Remember when you give you get so much more in return.

3. Put pen to paper

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

Whether we’re writing about past trauma or about our hopes and dreams for the future, writing it down helps us to put life into perspective, brings hope and helps to regulate our moods. When participants in a study were instructed to write for twenty minutes a day, four days in a row, about their ideal future as having happened, they felt significantly happier and this feeling lasted for weeks after. 

What you can do

Take two minutes each day to journal about a positive experience you’ve had or three things you’re thankful for. Write down your goals and focus on them each day, imagine yourself achieving them. Use happy words as they have been shown to increase longevity.

4. Get still

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”– Anonymous

The research on the benefits of meditation is extensive. It’s been shown to rewire our brains, calming us down and putting us in a more positive frame of mind. Meditation comes in many forms, from walking to singing or chanting. It is a powerful tool that you can access anywhere and at any time.

What you can do

Take some time out during the day to simply focus on your breath. Connect as it goes in and out for two to five minutes and clear your mind. 

5. Move your body

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.” – Jim Rohn

Exercise is one of the best ways to not only improve your physical wellbeing and mood but many other areas of your life as well. Researchers have found that it makes people happier as well as more energised and confident. Its benefits are further enhanced when done outdoors or while socialising with others. 

What you can do

Start with a daily 15 minute walk outdoors or put on that disco music and dance away in your living room. Just get those endorphins going.

6. Do more of what you’re good at

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”– Benjamin Franklin

We all have unique strengths and talents yet sometimes they go undetected. When we embrace our superpowers, those qualities that come most easily to us, we feel a sense of purpose. That focus on making the most of what we’re good at fosters a feeling of wellbeing and boosts our happiness.

What you can do

Figure out what you’re good at and nurture it. Struggling to figure that out? Why not ask family and friends what they think and start there.

7. Remember the good times

“Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.”– Jean de Boufflers

A study in the UK found that being nostalgic was a powerful mood booster. When subjects took the time to recall fond memories they were more cheerful than those who didn’t. Whenever you take the time to recall joyful memories you are practising gratitude and boosting your happiness too. 

What you can do 

Why not create a scrapbook or album showcasing events, people and other highlights that bring a smile to your face and lift your spirits. 


You can boost your happiness in just minutes a day

Being in a midlife slump can feel unbearable at times but there are steps you can take to feel happier. It will mean making changes in both your mindset and behaviour but the results are worth it.

Try one or more of these happiness boosts perhaps incorporating them into your morning routine. Set yourself a challenge to incorporate just a couple of these into your life and try it for the next 21 days. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel. 


Now over to you.

Are you in the dreaded happiness dip?

Are you willing to try any of these tips to boost your mood?

Let me know in the comments.



‘The Happiness Advantage’  by Shawn Achor
‘Creating Your Best Life’ by Caroline Adams

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