8 simple things happy people do each day when they’re feeling overwhelmed and busy

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I’m Lachlan Brown, and I believe that happiness is not about avoiding the chaos of life, but learning to navigate through it with grace. Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed and busy, which let’s face it, happens a lot.

There’s a common thread that runs through the lives of the happiest people I know. They have simple, daily habits that keep them grounded even on their busiest days.

Now, I’m not saying that these habits will magically make your problems disappear. But they can help you find some calm in the chaos and remind you of the joy that’s present in your everyday life.

In this article, I’m going to share 8 simple things that happy people do every day when they’re feeling overwhelmed and busy. The best part? You can start doing these things today.

1) They take a mindful moment

Living in a constant state of busyness and overwhelm can make it feel like life is passing us by at warp speed. It’s easy to lose touch with the present moment when we’re always focused on the next task on our to-do list.

But happy people know the power of pausing. They understand that taking a mindful moment, even amidst their busiest days, has a profound impact on their wellbeing.

Mindfulness is all about bringing your full attention to the present moment. It’s about noticing what’s happening right now, without judgement. It’s about grounding yourself in the here and now.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, follow the lead of happy people. Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Notice the feel of your feet on the ground, the rhythm of your breath, the sounds around you.

Taking a mindful moment doesn’t just help you calm down and reduce stress, it also helps you reconnect with the joy of simply being alive.

It’s not about eliminating stress or busyness from your life. It’s about learning to stay grounded and present, even amidst the chaos. That’s what happy people do.

2) They practice gratitude

One thing I’ve noticed about happy people is that they make a habit of practicing gratitude, even on their busiest days.

No matter how chaotic or overwhelming things may get, they always find something to be thankful for.

Gratitude has a way of shifting our focus from what’s wrong to what’s right in our lives. It reminds us of the good things we often take for granted.

You might be thinking, “But Lachlan, I’m overwhelmed! I don’t have time to sit down and make a gratitude list.”

Believe me, I get it. But here’s the thing: gratitude doesn’t always have to be a big, time-consuming activity. You can practice it in small ways throughout your day.

For example, you can take a moment to appreciate the taste of your morning coffee, or the sound of your children’s laughter. Or perhaps you can feel grateful for the challenges in your life that are helping you grow.

As Thich Nhat Hanh, renowned mindfulness teacher and Buddhist monk once said, “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

Why not make gratitude a daily habit? It’s a simple thing that can make a big difference in your happiness.

3) They accept things as they are

Life can be messy and unpredictable, especially when we’re busy and overwhelmed. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of stress and frustration when things don’t go as planned.

But here’s a profound truth that I’ve learned from my study of Buddhism: Happy people understand the power of acceptance. They know that fighting against reality only creates more suffering.

In Buddhist philosophy, there’s a concept called “Dukkha,” often translated as suffering, dissatisfaction or stress. One of the primary sources of Dukkha is our resistance to the way things are.

When things aren’t going our way, we often resist, creating more stress and unhappiness in our lives.

But happy people have a different approach. Instead of resisting, they practice accepting things as they are.

This doesn’t mean they passively accept everything that happens without taking action. It means they acknowledge the reality of the situation first, without judgement or resistance.

They understand that life is full of ups and downs, and that it’s natural to feel overwhelmed at times.

But by accepting things as they are, they free themselves from unnecessary suffering and open up to greater peace and happiness.

It’s raw, it’s honest, but it’s incredibly empowering. And it’s something you can start practicing today.

4) They stay connected to their breath

Let’s be honest here. When life gets hectic, it’s easy to forget the most essential thing we do – breathing. We take short, shallow breaths, barely filling our lungs, and our bodies go into a state of stress.

But happy people have a trick up their sleeve. They stay connected to their breath. They understand that their breath is a powerful tool for calming the mind and body.

Mindfulness teaches us the incredible power of the breath. It’s always there, always present. It’s a constant reminder that we are here, alive in this moment.

When things get tough, happy people take a few moments to breathe deeply. They focus on the sensation of the air entering and leaving their bodies. This simple act of mindfulness can help to reduce stress, increase focus and bring a sense of calm and clarity.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a leading figure in mindfulness and meditation, once said, “As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than wrong with you.”

Remembering to breathe might seem like an overly simplistic solution to feeling overwhelmed and busy.

But sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective ones. When you’re feeling swamped, take a moment to connect with your breath. It’s a simple thing happy people do every day.

5) They balance impact with ego

In my journey to happiness, one key principle has guided me: living with maximum impact and minimum ego. It’s a principle I delve into deeply in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.

The idea is simple yet powerful: we should strive to make a positive impact on the world around us, but without letting our egos get in the way. Happy people understand this balance. They strive to contribute, to make a difference, to help others – but they do this without seeking recognition or approval.

When we’re overwhelmed and busy, it’s easy to become self-centered. Our focus narrows to our own stress and problems. But shifting our attention outward can be a powerful antidote.

When you’re feeling swamped, try to balance impact with ego. Do something kind for someone else. Help a colleague out. Volunteer your time or donate to a cause you believe in.

Happiness isn’t just about feeling good, it’s also about doing good. And when we live with maximum impact and minimum ego, we create a ripple effect of positivity that extends beyond ourselves.

6) They remember the impermanence of all things

When we’re caught in the whirlwind of a busy life, it’s easy to feel like we’re stuck. Like this stressful, overwhelming state is going to last forever. But one thing that happy people always remember is the impermanence of all things.

This is a fundamental concept in Buddhist philosophy. Everything in life – every thought, every feeling, every situation – is impermanent. It arises, it persists for a while, and then it passes away.

Remembering this can be incredibly liberating when we’re feeling overwhelmed. It helps us to realize that our current situation, no matter how challenging, is not permanent. It will change, just as everything else does.

It’s raw and honest, but it’s also profoundly comforting. So next time you’re feeling stressed and busy, take a moment to remind yourself: This too shall pass.

It’s a simple thing that happy people do every day to navigate through the ups and downs of life with grace and resilience.

7) They cultivate compassion

In the midst of a busy life, it’s easy to become self-absorbed. Our problems, our tasks, our goals take up all our mental space. But happy people have a different approach. They cultivate compassion, not just for others, but for themselves too.

Compassion is at the heart of Buddhist teachings. It’s the understanding that we all suffer and the desire to alleviate that suffering. Compassion makes us kinder, more understanding, and more connected to others.

But let’s be honest. When we’re overwhelmed and stressed, showing compassion to ourselves can be the hardest thing to do. We judge ourselves for not doing enough, for not being enough.

Pema Chodron, an American Tibetan Buddhist nun, once said, “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and busy, remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to take a break, to make mistakes, to be less than perfect.

Cultivate compassion for your own struggles and remember that you’re doing the best you can.

And it’s a practice that can change not only your relationship with yourself but also with the world around you.

8) They embrace doing nothing

Now, this may sound counterintuitive, especially when we’re talking about being overwhelmed and busy. But one thing happy people often do is embrace the art of doing nothing.

In our productivity-driven society, we’re always pushing ourselves to do more, to achieve more. But constant busyness can leave us feeling stressed and burnt out.

Mindfulness teaches us the importance of simply being. It encourages us to step off the treadmill of constant doing and just be present with ourselves and our surroundings.

Embracing doing nothing is not about laziness or inactivity. It’s about giving ourselves permission to take a break from our endless to-do lists and just be in the moment.

It’s about sitting quietly for a few minutes, observing our thoughts without judgement, feeling the breeze on our skin, listening to the sounds around us.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and busy, remember that it’s okay to do nothing sometimes. Give yourself permission to take a break and just be. It’s a simple thing that happy people do every day, and it can make a big difference in your overall wellbeing.


Each of these practices can help you navigate through the chaos of life with grace and resilience.

It’s not about eliminating stress or busyness from your life. It’s about learning to stay grounded, present, and happy, even amidst the chaos.

And if you’re interested in digging even deeper into these concepts, I invite you to check out my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. It’s a roadmap for living a meaningful life with less ego and more impact.

Life can be overwhelming at times, but remember, happiness is not about avoiding the chaos. It’s about learning to navigate through it with grace. And these simple daily habits can help you do just that.

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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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