30 Characteristics of Genuinely Happy People

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Being happy doesn’t depend on your social status or how much money you make. In fact, being genuinely happy comes down to specific characteristics.

So, does that mean only certain people can achieve happiness?

Absolutely not!

Take a look through the list below – there’s so much we can learn from happy people, and believe it or not, these characteristics can be adopted and practiced until you too are a genuinely happy person!

1. Have a deep sense of purpose

Happy people tend to focus on the wider picture – rather than just on themselves.

Their sense of purpose gives their life meaning…and when you have meaning and purpose, you feel fulfilled and happier!

2. Smile more

They say laughter is the best medicine. Well, genuinely happy people tend to smile more, and make direct eye contact, and as a result? They make people around them happier too!

3. Live authentically

Let’s be honest, if you’re not unapologetically being your true self, you’re never going to find genuine happiness!

Happy people are comfortable with themselves…they don’t feel the need to put on a mask or change themselves just to please others.

4. Tend to live in the moment

Rather than focusing on the past or the future, genuinely happy people recognize the value of living in the present moment.

This cuts out a lot of worry and regret and allows them to focus on what’s really in their control!

5. Inject humor whenever possible

Humor can get you through the worst of times. As the saying goes, “Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”― Veronica Roth, Divergent

6. Feel and express gratitude

Whether it’s through journaling or verbally expressing their gratitude, genuinely happy people appreciate what they have in life.

It doesn’t matter if they’re grateful for their brand-new Ferrari or their first bicycle, they count their blessings regardless!

7. Know when to go with the flow

Instead of trying to always remain in control, happy people know when to roll with the punches.

This saves them the anguish of not getting what they want – they readjust their expectations and can usually turn a bad situation into a good one with this attitude!

8. Take an optimistic approach

Why look on the dark side of life when there’s so much goodness to focus on?

Happy people choose to look for the good. They dream big – even if they don’t get to their ultimate goal, they’ll get further than if they took a pessimistic approach.

9. Like to live life to the fullest

Just like living in the moment, happy people also like to embrace life. When they laugh, they laugh hard.

When they dance, they go all out. Forget looking silly or embarrassing themselves, they know that life is too short!

10. Don’t shy away from their fears

By being courageous and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, happy people don’t put limits on what they can and can’t do.

Every time they overcome a hurdle, they have an increased sense of self-worth and confidence…all of this contributes to feeling happier!

11. Uplift those around them

But it’s not just all about the individual. Happy people also tend to lift up those around them.

Their happiness is infectious. That’s why these types of people can’t help but spread positivity – they don’t even realize they do it.

12. Ask for help when needed

The truth is, happy people go through ups and downs just like everyone else.

But one thing that sets them apart is knowing when to ask for help. Rather than let their ego rule, happy people don’t shy away from leaning on those they trust.

13. Look for the best in others

It’s easy to be cynical and untrusting of people, especially in today’s world.

But genuinely happy people, despite being burned in the past, will always give people the benefit of the doubt.

They look for the positives rather than focusing on the negatives of a person.

14. Go out of their way to help those around them

There’s something about helping others that makes us humans feel great.

When they lend their neighbor a hand or donate to their friend’s Go Fund Me, happy people don’t just make themselves feel like an important part of the community, but they make others feel good too!

15. Avoid holding grudges

We’ve all got reasons to hold grudges. But genuinely happy people don’t bother – what’s the point?

It wastes energy and emotions, and rarely changes anything.

You’ll notice that happy people just get on with life rather than spend years ruminating on an argument that happened 10 years ago!

16. Don’t compare themselves

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Here’s the thing – there’s always someone who’s better off than you.

When we compare ourselves to others, we’re overlooking everything we should be grateful for.

17. Know when to let go of a person or situation

Knowing when to let go of a bad relationship, a crappy job, or an unhealthy habit is something happy people tend to do with ease.

They recognize the importance of not staying “stuck” in a situation for longer than necessary.

18. Surround themselves with other happy people

Happiness is infectious. That’s why genuinely happy people seek out other happy people.

Who wants to hang around with Debbie downer or moody Margaret?

19. Have plenty of self-confidence

By being secure and confident within themselves, happy people tend to focus on their strengths and capabilities rather than their flaws and weaknesses.

20. Adapt easily to change

By letting go of their expectations, people who are happy avoid getting stressed out by every little (or big) life change. As I mentioned earlier, they just go with the flow!

21. Don’t prioritize materialistic things over their values

Money doesn’t buy you happiness, and neither does wearing the latest designer clothes or buying expensive cars.

Genuinely happy people prioritize things like family and community above materialistic items.

22. Don’t feel entitled

Happy people don’t expect the world and its treasures to fall into their laps.

They know they’ve gotta work for what they want.

Managing their expectations reduces the chances of feeling disappointed or angry!

23. Tend to be very resilient

Continuing from the previous point, being resilient is another key characteristic of happy people. When life knocks them down, they brush themselves off and keep on going!

24. Don’t sweat the small stuff

There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy in the world.

But by not sweating the small stuff, happy people tend to stress less. They have their priorities straight and accept that life won’t always work out their way.

25. Have self-control

By not being controlled by their emotions, happy people free up their mental and emotional energy to focus on other things – such as practicing gratitude and living life to the full!

26. Are generous towards others

Helping others releases oxytocin, which is a feel-good chemical.

Genuinely happy people tend to share more and are generous towards others because it evokes happy emotions and forges deeper bonds!

27. Choose to forgive easily

Just as they don’t hold grudges, truly happy people don’t dwell on arguments.

They choose to forgive for their OWN peace of mind.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they forget though!

28. Are kind and nurturing

Happy people are fun to be around because they tend to make you feel comfortable and accepted.

They avoid judging or gossiping. They take people under their wings in the hope of spreading joy and happiness…

29. Have a sense of curiosity and adventure

Another characteristic of genuinely happy people is their natural curiosity about the world around them.

It’s the little things in life that make them happy, and what could be better than adventuring out and discovering new things?

30. Don’t chase happiness

And finally – genuinely happy people don’t chase happiness. They are able to see that true happiness is a journey, not a destination.

That’s why they go with the flow, appreciate what they have, and approach tough times with a positive attitude!

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a foodie, writer and traveler. She considers herself a citizen of the world, who gets her inspiration from the people she meets along her journeys. She's currently living in Spain, where she spends her time writing, watching the shepherds and eating tapas in the mountains of Andalucía.

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