Brian Armstrong

How to Instantly Feel Better When You're Sad

To date, the most popular post on this blog has been How To Stop Letting Little Things In Life Piss You Off, which is interesting because…well, it has nothing to do with how to start a business ;)

But that’s ok. Today I thought I’d share a similar tip. It is utterly simple, I use it often, and it really works.

We all feel sad at times. It can even happen for no apparent reason at all! One day you might just be driving along and wonder to yourself, “why am I feeling so down, this is weird and there is no reason I should feel this way”. Or you may have a legitimate reason.

Regardless, I’ve discovered a little trick that is counterintuitive and can make you feel better right away: give someone a genuine compliment totally out of the blue.

I think this works because it takes the focus off of you. It makes you realize that if you are sitting there feeling sorry for yourself, then it probably happens to other people too. So why not start thinking about someone else for a change and help them out! Ironically, you do end up helping yourself out in the process…it just happens indirectly by thinking about other people instead.

About a month ago I went running with two friends. Usually I feel “high” after running. Supposedly it releases endorphins or something like that. But that day for some reason I didn’t. On the drive home, I decided to stop thinking about myself and try it out since I knew it had worked in the past.

Now if you’re like me, it can feel a little weird giving someone a huge compliment out of the blue. So I cheated and sent a text message. To one of my female friends I had just ran with I sent “nice job today you are getting faster, keep it up!” She is always the slow one in the group and I knew that would make her feel better.

When my buddy Marshal finally landed a meeting with some potential buyers for his company, I sent him a quick note “Hey super star, all the hard work has finally paid off…you deserve it!”. He walked in more confident.

After a party one time I sent a message to a friend the next day: “by the way, I meant to tell you last night you looked incredibly classy… seriously you were radiating, not sure what it was but keep it up!” She pretty much melted.

Try it out next time you’re feeling sad. Give someone a compliment that is:

  • Genuine

  • Huge

  • and Out of the Blue

Till next time, keep breaking free! Brian Armstrong