“Be of Good Cheer”: 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful

"Be of Good Cheer": 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAre you a naturally cheerful person? Sadly, I am not. If I don’t work on it, I can be grumpy, complaining, critical, and downright negative. But, for all who are cheer-challenged, like I am, good news: Cheerfulness can be learned and developed. Yes, with practice, you can become a cheerful person.


My “Year of Cheerfulness”

I know this firsthand after spending an entire year practicing cheerfulness. It was during one of my hardest years, during a time when I desperately wanted to feel joyful, yet knew I couldn’t. At least, not yet. So, instead, I figured I could act cheerfully, hoping perhaps it would bring me a little more joy.

And it did. My year of cheerfulness was one of my favorite years, not because life was easy or fun–it wasn’t–but because no matter what, I told myself, all I had to do was put on a smile and try to “be of good cheer.” The bible tells us to “be of good cheer” more than a dozen times, and what excellent advice it is. Cheerfulness calms us, strengthens our relationships, and can actually create more joy—in us and those around us.

As I wrote in Part 3: Year of Cheerfulness, of my memoir, This Is How We Grow, “I can act cheerfully even if I feel unhappy, stressed, or overwhelmed. I don’t have to feel joyful to be cheerful.” (p. 224) Again, that’s the great news—we don’t have to feel joyful to act cheerfully or even become a cheerful person. And don’t we all want to be a little more cheerful?


12 Ways to Act Cheerfully & Become a Cheerful Person

Here are 12 ways you can begin to practice acting cheerfully. And if you stick with it, eventually, these things just might help you become a more cheerful person, too.


1) Smile on purpose. Even when things are tough–especially when things are tough–smile. As I wrote about my year of cheerfulness, “this is my goal: to smile when I want to scream, hold my tongue when I want to complain, to laugh when I want to escape.” (p. 224)


2) Hold your tongue. When you feel the urge to complain, bite your tongue (and literally, if you need to). If you want to criticize something or someone else, refrain. Staying silent is a wonderful way to get us through stressful moments without saying or doing something we will later regret. If you still feel something needs to be said after thinking it through, then formulate a kind response. Cheerfulness can help us through tough confrontations.


3) Fake it ’til you make it. I’ve written about this before, because it really is a helpful tool. When you’re not sure what to do, fake it. When you feel your stress levels rise and you’re about to lay into someone you love, fake it! I fake laugh when I’m particularly stressed, or pretend I know what I’m doing when faced with a tough new task. Sometimes, it just takes a little “faking” to help us “make it” cheerfully through.


4) Change your brain each morning. Our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative throughout the day. Instead, wake up and tell your brain, “Your job today is to find all the good stuff.” Giving your brain a specific task helps calm the mind chatter and stress that can stand in the way of a cheerful outlook and attitude.


5) Focus on creation. We feel “cheerful” when we are creating something good. Shift your focus from “overcoming a problem” to “creating a solution” or “creating a memory” or “creating a new you.” This creative shift can uplift and inspire us to behave more cheerfully. (For more on creation, read this.)


6) Admit the truth. Acting cheerfully doesn’t mean we ignore our true feelings. It simply means we don’t want our feelings to control how we are in the world. In fact, ignoring our true feelings can destroy cheerfulness. It’s important to check in with ourselves–to FEEL and grieve and process what’s really going on. We may not need to do it all day, with everyone we meet, but in safe places, with people we trust, we must get real and admit the truth. Say, “I don’t like this. I wish this weren’t happening. I wish I did not have to do this.” Let yourself feel the pain or discomfort. Then, when it’s time, get up and say, “I’m going to do it anyway, and doggone it, I’m doing it with a cheerful attitude.”


7) Focus on Making Memories. When you’re creating a memory, it’s hard to want to be anything but cheerful. Memories are all we"Focus on Making Memories," from 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com take with us through life—they matter most. If you’re a parent it’s especially important to make memories with your children. Focus on how to turn this boring, uninspired, or tense moment into a memory, and you just might feel the cheer naturally pouring out of you.


8) Take a Time-Out. Just like kids need a break once in a while, to regroup, so do adults. When cheerfulness feels like an impossibility, put yourself in a quiet place where you can breathe, lie down for a while, or just calm down. Then, put your smile back on and practice cheerfulness again.


9) Practice Gratitude. Gratitude is at the heart of cheerfulness, for when you are conscious of your gifts and blessings, it’s hard not to feel cheerful about them. For more on practicing gratitude, read 10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude, 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude Today, & How to NOT Be UN-Grateful.


10) Practice Patience. Like gratitude, patience and cheerfulness go hand-in-hand. Cheerfulness helps you practice patience, and practicing patience leads to greater cheerfulness. For more ideas, read 20 Ways to Practice Patience Today.


11) Get in the “now”: pray, ponder, meditate, breathe. Take 5-30 minutes each day to slow down, breathe deeply, and pray, meditate, and simply ponder the goodness of life. This will help you focus on “the now.” Countless studies show the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and prayer. So, when you need more cheerfulness, take a deep breath, relax, and pray. Using all your senses, focus on what’s all around you. Tapping into spiritual power and the present moment is essential to living a cheerful life.


12) Let go. One of the biggest barriers to cheerfulness is holding on to the past, worrying about the future, and letting negativity rule your mind. I know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but you must let it go. Work to get worry under control (read The Key to Worry-Free: The Worry Tree), forgive, focus on the here and now, let the past go. “Our past, once examined and processed, must be let go.” (This is How We Grow, p. 314) Choose cheerfulness right now, and let the rest go.



Are you a naturally cheerful person? What have you done to “be of good cheer?” How does cheerfulness improve your life? Share with us by leaving a comment, below!


"Be of Good Cheer": 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comBe sure to check out my new bestselling memoir, 

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About Dr. Christina Hibbert

Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. She really hopes you’ll join the Personal Growth Group and choose to grow together!


  1. Mary Allen says:

    I can do all of these. I am so grateful for my family & especially my two beautiful, smart, talented & kind daughters (can you tell that I’m a proud mom?) . Being a mother has taught me patience & how to smile on purpose & fake it! Admitting the truth is hard.because I admit that I can get.i stuck there. My biggest hardship is that my emotions tend to overwhelm me. They have a way of taking over & not letting go. I’m very embarrassed by this. To some people, I seem “out of control” & I feel this myself. After years of learning to admit the truth, I now have to learn to control these emotions that I am feeling for the first time. I’m a work in progress guess. I am very grateful for this blog . I can express myself with out worrying about being judged.

    • We are all a work in progress, Mary. I love that you are learning from your experiences and you have such insight. That is half the battle right there. Keep working on these things, and you WILL keep progressing. That’s the beauty of life–we can always progress. 🙂 xoxo

  2. I do agree that we need to be cheerful even when we are experiencing some challenges. I also love the fact that we can tell our brain to knock it off. No negative talk. This is a daily battle for me and I read Joyce Meyers “Battle of the Mind” to get me through this. In John 8:32 it says ” And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” Which means that we are free from bondage, sin and strongholds on our mind. But searching for the truth will not set us free. We must be courageous enough to believe the Truth” (Joyce Meyers, “Battle Field of the Mind”).
    Thanks for your post which always helps me to grow.

    • I love that. It is the courage to believe the Truth that sets us free. Part of that truth is that we can choose our mood (at least most of the time). I love that you choose to be cheerful, too. Thank you, as always, for your insights!

  3. Leigh Davenport says:

    Respectfully, I won’t be taking this advice. I don’t “act”, and I most certainly don’t “fake”. I quickly (and with great distaste) identify people who do….and I avoid them.

    I’m no psychologist, but I’d bet that all this dishonesty eventually becomes internalized, to the detriment of one’s mental health.

    • I respect your opinion, Leigh. I believe, however, you misunderstood what I meant by “Fake it til you make it.” If you read the article I wrote about that (in the link), you’ll see I am definitely not advocating for anyone to BE fake. I agree with you–I can quickly identify “fake” people and steer clear of them, too. Instead, I’m saying it’s often better to TRY to feel or act a little more cheerful when you’re in a bad mood instead of acting out in negativity and saying or doing things that bring you or everyone around you down.

      There is certainly a time and a place for expressing negative emotions, and I’m a big advocate of that (see my article, FEEL). But we have a choice in letting our negativity pour out into the world in unhealthy ways–or not. Our emotions come and go like the weather, and we don’t and shouldn’t always give in to them, especially if they cause more negativity and stress for us and those around us in the long run.

      And yes, the research shows that we do internalize some of that “faking,” but not in negative ways. When we choose to put on a smile and act cheerfully (even if we don’t really feel it) we often end up feeling a little more positive, more cheerful, and even happier, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. I would never tell people to fake who they are or how they feel long-term. But I’ve found, in my own life and in my client’s lives, that sometimes, putting on a smile actually does make you feel a little more cheerful inside.

  4. Thank you – this is really quite insightful and I appreciate the practical tips on how to implement this in my daily life. As a 53-yr old male I am learning how to not allow my circumstances to control how cheerful I am. Even though I have a great business, healthy relationships and I have opportunity to serve regularly and meaningfully, I can feel overwhelmed and stressed, and I’ve allowed those feelings to rob me of my joy. Uncertainty causes stress, like for most humans.

    One of the lessons I have learned over the past 3-5 years is that it’s ok to experience emotions, even negative or painful ones. God gave me he capacity to feel these emotions and they exist to tell me something that needs processing. I know someone who was incapable of crying for many years due to her survival mechanism growing up in a highly abusive home – her flight or fight system somehow shut off that emotion. She has now worked through much of that and is can shed tears of joy and pain.

    My daily life is filled with happiness and sadness, joyful and painful moments, feelings of success and letdown – as well as hundreds of other moments throughout my day. I don’t have to let my circumstances dictate my outlook. If I want to choose one set of experiences and feelings to define my countenance and inner feelings, I’d rather choose the happy ones. The rest of them I’ll listen to what they are telling me and then set them aside to disable them. Our emotions aren’t binary – all happy or all sad – they are both. I am learning how to implement this in my life.

    Thanks for the great article. I googled “how to be more cheeful” and found your article. I am going to spend some time reading the rest of your website.

    • Thank you so much, Cal, for your comments. I am grateful you found me and that this has been helpful. And I am especially grateful for your important reminder that emotions are just emotions–that we have all kinds of emotions each day, and that’s just the way it is. You’re so right; when we allow ourselves to feel the good and the not so good emotions, we allow them to pass through us, and we can experience more cheer despite what comes. Wishing you the best in your “cheerful” journey!

  5. I find this article inspiring and gives me hope. Due to a fairly recent medical diagnosis and a challenging marriage I feel very little joy. What bothers me most is the way I’m presenting to the world and the negative energy I put out there. I realize what a waste of time it is to walk around looking and feeling miserable. Just because things are tough doesn’t mean I can’t still make the most of a great day and smile at what is good. Life is precious, I want use it wisely with a smile. I’m going to give these steps a try!

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