Why are some people happier than others? It looks like they’ve found what they love to do and have a consistent sense of peace and happiness. They see positive opportunities when most people see closed doors. They handle failures and setbacks with grace and confidently continue moving in their desired direction.
Don’t worry if you think this doesn’t sound like you. The good news is, you can be one of those people. Those characteristics are largely learned. I know this from personal experience. I’ve seen people go through hardships and depression and yet turn their life around purely through their actions and attitude.
Being happy is possible, no matter how dark your days are. Contrary to popular belief, being happy really doesn’t have much to do with “positive thinking”. It’s about cultivating a realistic attitude that embraces life as it is.
Finding lasting happiness is a lot like physical fitness. You have to work your muscles daily if you want to see results over time. So, if you’re looking for a nudge to get the ball rolling, here are 7 habits of authentically happy people.
1) Have 5 close relationships
Did you know that a long-running Harvard study found that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier”.
People who are more socially connected have also been suggested to live longer as well.
But why five relationships?
Take this passage from the book Finding Flow:
“National surveys find that when someone claims to have 5 or more friends with whom they can discuss important problems, they are 60 percent more likely to say that they are ‘very happy’.”
However keep in mind that the actual number doesn’t necessarily matter that much, it is the effort you put into your relationships that matters.
2) Don’t tie your happiness to external events
Research has suggested that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite fickle. For example, if you tie your self-esteem to getting that job promotion, you’ll experience a small boost when you get it, but it won’t last long.
Tying your happiness to external events can also lead to behavior which avoids failure. The key may be to think of yourself less as this C.W Lewis quote says and avoid the trap of tying your self-worth to external signals.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis
Exercise can make you feel better if you stick with it.
Body image improves as a result of exercise and eventually, you’ll begin to experience that “exercise high” thanks to the release of endorphins. It doesn’t matter which physical activity you do, just as long as you do something.
4) Become good at something
Happy people generally have something that they’re “good at”. A skill they’ve honed over the years. People report that even though it may have been tough to improve their skills at something, they are satisfied with themselves when they look back.
The rewards of becoming great at something far outweigh the short-term discomfort.
5) Spend more money on experiences
According to research, experiential purchases tend to make us happier than spending money on material goods. This could be because experiences are something you’ll remember forever, they’re social and they’re unique. Nobody in the world will have the same exact experience you had.
6) Don’t ignore negative emotions
Yes, it’s common for most of us to resist emotions like sadness. But the truth is you might need sadness if you’re going to have happiness.
And resisting negative emotions might actually intensify them.
Carl Jung contended that “what you resist not only persists but will grow in size.”
Perhaps spiritual master Osho says it best with this quote:
“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”- Osho
The No-Nonsense Guide to Using Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy for a Better Life
If you haven't already, check out Hack Spirit's most popular eBook: The No-Nonsense Guide to Using Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy for a Better Life.
Within my book you’ll discover the core components of achieving happiness, anywhere at any time through:
- Creating a state of mindfulness throughout the day
- Learning how to meditate
- Fostering healthier relationships
- Healing from pain and trauma
- Unburdening yourself from intrusive negative thoughts
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