6 unique ways to feel happy this summer (in case you get your SADs in reverse)

ways to feel happy
Photography by Peter Stigter
ways to feel happy
Photography by Peter Stigter

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. No seriously, try it—clap your hands. According to a recent study, when adults indulge in similar childhood games they report feeling less tense and their mood improves. While this method isn’t exactly foolproof, it’s certainly one way to cope with summertime sadness. And no, we’re not talking about Lana Del Rey’s hit song, we’re referring to actual summertime sadness, scientifically known as summer-onset seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

But wait, isn’t summer supposed to be one giant funfest? How can someone possibly feel sad because of it? Well, according to researchers, approximately 10% of people with SAD get it in the reverse—instead of feeling blue come winter time, the onset of summer triggers symptoms of depression. From vacation envy to bikini body anxieties, summertime sadness is a very real concern, but you don’t have to let it keep you down. Check out these 6 unique things you can do to feel happy all summer long.

A photo posted by casseyclough (@casseyclough) on

Take a day cruise
It’s simple math: vacations equal happiness. They’re a great way to de-stress and explore the world. But what if you can’t get your boss to agree to give you time off of work? Or what if you can’t afford a major getaway? Your solution: take a day cruise! While a day cruise isn’t exactly the all-inclusive vacay of your dreams, studies show that the simple act of planning a vacation can increase happiness. Additionally, the anticipation of going on a trip can boost happiness for eight weeks. So why not unwind with one of Toronto’s fun and affordable daily day cruises? For under $30, you can sit back, relax and tour the Toronto Harbour. We’re certainly on board with the idea.

Volunteer at a local animal shelter
According to Psychology Today (and any pet owner), pets make people happier. Supposedly, just thinking about one’s pet can prevent people from feeling isolated. If you don’t own a pet (whether it’s too big of a responsibility, a family member’s allergic, or your building won’t allow one), you can still get your daily dose of dopamine by volunteering at a local animal shelter. Not only will playing with puppies and kittens make you feel happy, doing a good deed, like helping animals in need, will improve your mood too. The way we see it, it’s a win-win. Cute animals? Check. Happiness? Guaranteed.

Get artsy
It’s time to bring out those crayons you’ve been saving. Research has found that creating art may actually mediate depression and anxiety by stimulating “flow”—an experience of complete concentration and absorption. Whether you’re going old school and colouring inside your fave colouring book or painting pottery at a local studio, getting artsy is a sure-fire way to feel happy this summer.

Surround yourself with flowers
Flower power’s the real deal. They not only brighten a room, they also have the ability to lighten your mood. One Harvard study found that looking at flowers first thing in the morning leads to increased happiness and energy and decreased anxiety. Yet another reason to visit the Toronto Flower Market this summer.

Pop bubble wrap
We know this sounds strange, but trust us (and this survey), popping bubble wrap leads to an increase in happiness. According to the survey, one minute spent popping bubble wrap relieves as much stress as a 33-minute massage. Try it yourself with this virtual bubble wrap popping game. Feeling happy yet? We sure are.

A photo posted by Rebel Hero (@rebelheromusic) on

Listen to music
Raise your hand if listening to music makes you feel better (pause while everyone’s hand goes up). While this isn’t exactly groundbreaking, a study conducted by the University of Missouri found that listening to upbeat music makes people happy. Reason #1000 why attending a summer music festival is always good idea.



More Health