OK, big topic. Everybody has bad days–sometimes bad weeks or months. It can seem like nothing is going right, that everything is dark, that there’s no point in going on. This time, I’ve got four ideas for you, not three. They’re all tips I’ve used when I’ve been down in the dumps. They’ve worked for me, and I hope you’ll find them useful.

Assuming you don’t need professional help, try these four little things shift your perspective:

1. Start keeping a Good Stuff list. Every day, write down at least one thing that is positive. If you don’t know where to start because everything seems so black, begin with something trivial: “It isn’t raining.” or “Had a great cup of coffee today.” At the end of the week go back and read the list. You’ll have at least seven Good Things to think about.

2. Turn off the news. Talk about a massive dose of misery, murder, mayhem and malfeasance! If you’re already down, why add someone else’s bad day to yours? If you really can’t stay away from the news, at least read good news!

3. Reach out to someone. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Write a note to someone you’ve been out of touch with. Look for a cause or activity you can get involved with, something that you enjoy. Volunteer at the local animal shelter for an hour or two. If puppies and kittens don’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will.

4. Get out and get some exercise. Walk. Hike. Run. Ride a bike. Swim. Play ball. Take a yoga, tai chi or a martial arts class. Ask a friend to join you. If you exercise regularly, get out of your daily rut and exercise somewhere else, or do something different. Walk around a different block, hike a different trail, practice your yoga in a park instead of a studio.

See, don’t you feel better already?