10 habits that will make you happier every day, according to psychology

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Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. And like all journeys, it consists of small steps taken each day.

Psychology tells us that our daily habits can have a big impact on our overall happiness. It’s the little things we do regularly that can either lift our spirits or bring us down.

Creating habits that foster happiness doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your entire lifestyle. It’s all about making small, sustainable changes that lead to lasting joy.

Let’s dive into the ten habits that will help you feel happier every day. These tips are backed by science, so you know they’re more than just feel-good fluff.

Let’s get started. 

1) Start your day with gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a powerful tool that can drastically shift your perspective and increase your happiness levels.

According to psychiatrist Kristin Francis, gratitude can positively change the brain by boosting dopamine and serotonin.

It’s a simple habit, but it can make a significant difference in your mood and overall outlook on life.

Starting your day by acknowledging the good things in your life, no matter how small they may seem, can set the tone for the rest of your day. It’s all about focusing on what you have, rather than what you lack.

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier.”

Tomorrow morning, before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as a hot cup of coffee or something more profound like the love of your family.

Gratitude is an act of recognition and acknowledgment. It’s about cherishing the good in your life, and it’s a habit that can certainly make you happier every day.

2) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness – it’s a term you’ve probably heard a lot. But what does it really mean?

For me, mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment. It’s about experiencing life as it unfolds, without getting caught up in thoughts of the past or worries about the future.

There was a time when my mind was constantly racing, always thinking about what’s next. It was exhausting and left me feeling like I was missing out on life. That’s when I decided to try mindfulness.

I started with just five minutes a day, focusing on my breathing and letting go of any distracting thoughts. It wasn’t easy at first, but with persistence, it became a habit. Now, I can honestly say that practicing mindfulness daily has made me a happier person.

Famous psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” And that’s exactly what mindfulness is all about. It’s not about reaching a certain state of mind but rather about embracing the journey of life, moment to moment.

Why not give it a try? Even just a few minutes of mindfulness each day can make a big difference in your happiness levels. Take it from me; it certainly has for mine.

3) Accept imperfection

We are all flawed, and that’s perfectly okay. Yet, we often fall into the trap of pursuing perfection, setting unrealistic standards for ourselves and others.

This drive for perfection can leave us feeling perpetually unsatisfied and unhappy. It’s a cycle that I’ve found myself in more times than I’d like to admit.

I used to chase perfection in every aspect of my life, from work to relationships, and it was draining. I constantly felt like I was falling short. But over time, I realized that this quest for perfection was robbing me of my happiness.

Famed psychologist Carl Jung said, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” Accepting imperfection is a tough task, but it’s a liberating one. It’s about understanding that being perfect isn’t the goal; being real is.

Embrace your imperfections. They’re a part of who you are. Remember, it’s our quirks and flaws that make us unique and human. And there’s something incredibly freeing about accepting yourself, warts and all. It’s a habit that has certainly made me happier every day.

4) Cultivate positive relationships

We humans are social creatures. We thrive in the company of others, and our relationships play a significant role in our overall happiness.

I’ve found that investing time and energy in my relationships, both old and new, has made a world of difference to my happiness levels. Whether it’s catching up with an old friend over coffee, spending quality time with family, or just having a good laugh with colleagues, these moments add a layer of richness to my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

The renowned psychologist Albert Bandura said, “In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.”

And indeed, the support, understanding, and camaraderie we find in positive relationships help us navigate life’s ups and downs with resilience.

Make it a habit to nurture your relationships. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Spend quality time with your loved ones.

It’s the people in our lives who contribute significantly to our happiness.

5) Live with maximum impact and minimum ego

This is a principle I strongly believe in, and one that I discuss extensively in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.

The idea is to strive for meaningful contributions in life while letting go of our ego-driven desires. When we shift our focus from ‘I’ to ‘we’, we not only become more selfless but also find a deeper sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Ego often gets in the way of our happiness. It makes us hold onto grudges, compare ourselves to others, and crave validation. But when we minimize our ego, we can truly focus on making a positive impact.

Consider checking out my book to delve deeper into this concept. It’s a guide that teaches how to use Buddhist principles to lead a fulfilling life. Applying these principles can help you live each day happier and more content.

6) Prioritize self-care

Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s essential. Yet, in our busy lives, we often neglect to take care of ourselves, putting the needs of others before our own.

But the truth is, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is crucial for overall happiness.

I’ve learned that even small acts of self-care, like reading a book, taking a walk, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of tea, can make a big difference. It’s about giving yourself permission to pause and replenish.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” And self-care is one way to foster that awareness. It allows you to tune into your needs and take steps to fulfill them.

Make it a daily habit to prioritize self-care. Your happiness depends on it.

7) Embrace change

Change can be scary. It shakes up our familiar routines and forces us out of our comfort zones. But I’ve found that embracing change, rather than resisting it, can lead to greater happiness.

Life is a constant flux of changes, big and small. From moving to a new city to switching jobs to losing a loved one, changes are inevitable. It was during one such major shift in my life that I realized the power of embracing change.

Instead of dreading the unknown, I began to view each change as an exciting new chapter. It didn’t make the transitions any less challenging, but it did make them more manageable and even enjoyable.

And that’s exactly what embracing change is about. It’s about choosing to see the opportunities in every situation, no matter how daunting it may seem.

Make it a habit to embrace change. It’s not always easy, but it’s certainly worth it for the happiness it can bring.

8) Let go of grudges

Here’s a raw truth – holding onto grudges is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. It’s a heavy burden that only serves to make us unhappy.

I’ve held onto grudges in the past, and it’s an exhausting, joy-stealing endeavor. It keeps us stuck in the past, preventing us from fully enjoying the present.

As the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud once said, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” And that’s exactly what happens when we hold onto grudges. They fester and grow, causing us more harm than good.

Make it a habit to let go of grudges. It’s not about forgetting or condoning someone’s actions; it’s about freeing yourself from the weight of resentment. It’s a difficult but liberating habit that can significantly increase your happiness.

9) Embrace failure

Now this might sound counterintuitive. After all, isn’t failure something we’re supposed to avoid?

But the truth is, failure is an inevitable part of life. It’s how we learn, grow, and ultimately, succeed.

Instead of fearing failure, I’ve learned to embrace it. Each failure is a stepping stone towards success, a lesson learned. It’s not always a pleasant experience, but it’s a crucial part of personal growth and happiness.

The renowned psychologist Carol Dweck once said, “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

And that’s what embracing failure is all about. It’s about shifting your perspective to see failure not as a dead-end, but as a detour on the road to success.

Make it a habit to embrace failure. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s also empowering. And ultimately, it can lead to greater happiness.

10) Practice kindness

Kindness – it’s a simple act that can have a profound impact on our happiness. And I’m not just talking about being kind to others, but also about being kind to ourselves.

I’ve found that practicing kindness in my daily life, whether it’s helping a stranger, complimenting a colleague, or just being gentle with myself when things don’t go as planned, has significantly boosted my happiness levels.

As the famous psychologist Martin Seligman pointed out, “Doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.” Kindness not only benefits the recipient but also the giver. It’s a win-win situation.

Make it a habit to practice kindness every day. It’s a simple yet powerful way to create more happiness in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Conclusion

Incorporating these habits into your daily life may not be easy, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Happiness isn’t a destination. It’s a journey – a journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and compassion. And it’s within your reach.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into these concepts and learning more about how to live with maximum impact and minimum ego, I invite you to check out my book Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.

Here’s to your journey towards a happier everyday life.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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