10 habits of smart people who prioritize their happiness

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Life is all about perspective. I know people that are too wealthy for their own good but are unhappy. 

Alternatively, I know people that work minimum wage jobs but are some of the most contented and caring individuals out there. What does this tell you?  

True happiness is something we have to cultivate on a daily basis. And smart people are aware that true happiness just doesn’t appear out of thin air, and certainly not from material things.  

Smart people priortize happiness in their daily activities. Want to join the club?  In this article, I’ll walk you through the 10 habits of smart people who prioritize their happiness. Let’s get into it! 

1) Self-reflection is a way of life 

Here’s the thing: smart people live with meaning. They self-reflect often. 

They know that maintaining happiness takes effort. Almost like an accountant, they make a spreadsheet of what works and what doesn’t in their lives. 

If something doesn’t fit, then they make the appropriate changes. Contrary to the old adage “ignorance is bliss” happy people are self-aware; they are accountable and learn from past blunders.

Smart people learn from their mistakes, bringing them even greater happiness in the long run.

Regardless, self-care is still a priority. Speaking of which…

2) They never leave out self-care

I’ll be honest, I’ve accepted the fact that you cannot be truly happy without some degree of self-care. 

Self-care is the habit of, well, loving and taking care of yourself so you can ultimately be your best version. 

Smart people are well-balanced and self-care is always a priority for them

Self-care is a broad term and can mean anything from spending time with family, exercise, playing with your dog or even getting proper sleep. 

Smart people know that proper self-care cannot be achieved without a proper work-life balance. They are mindful and value mental health. This all adds up in achieving genuine happiness, not burnout. 

And it certainly helps to be around the right crowd…

3) They surround themselves with the right people

Another form of self-care smart people practice is surrounding themselves with uplifting and positive people. 

In many ways, who you hang out with is a reflection of yourself (or at least who you want to be). 

Smart people tend to have rock-solid relationships with good, nourishing people–that aren’t just similar or on the same wavelength–but people that can help be the best version of themselves. And vice versa.

On the flip side, they know when to let go of the toxic or abusive relationships that drain them which is the equivalent to… the opposite of happiness. 

I’ve lost a few friends over the years. 

Looking back, I have no real regrets. At a certain point, you grow up and tend to surround themselves with people that can uplift and inspire free of petty drama and superficiality. 

Smart people are grateful people too. Let’s talk about that…

4) They’re grateful for what they do have 

As we’ve established earlier, happiness is all about perspective

And being grateful is something that the smart person happens to embody. 

No, they don’t have to drive a Rolls-Royce or live in Beverly Hills, smart people express gratitude for the things that matter in life, regardless of how big or small. 

They manifest this gratitude in their everyday actions, namely in the form of positivity and happiness. 

It’s pretty common in this social media-obsessesed world to compare our lives with others (and feel pretty depressed in the process) but the smart person focuses on the present and what they actually have rather than they don’t.

Have this mentality and expect your happiness to grow exponentially! 

Write down the things your grateful for, forget the fancy car or the Swiss bank account. Focus on things like a loving partner, nourishing food, or a roof over your head, to name just a few things.

Simultaneously, smart people still very much have goals…

5) They’re goal-oriented

Smart people don’t just coast day to day; they move with purpose at all times. 

They have goals that are in line with what they want out of life. The process of achieving these goals brings them happiness. 

Waking up in the morning, knowing you are one step closer to where you want to be is a priceless feeling. 

Consistent hard work is ultimately excellent for your overall wellbeing. 

Smart and happy people know what they want out of life and aren’t easily deterred by setbacks. 

Having meaningful goals and purpose gives them that sense of contentedness that eludes so many of us

Smart people don’t forget about mindfulness either. And now that we’re on the topic…

6) They realize the value in mindfulness

Have you been out in public lately? 

It seems like everyone is worried, anxious or angsty over something they probably have no control of… 

The smart person, however, is mindful and isn’t easily distracted by external things that he/she cannot control. 

They are mindful–meaning they embrace the art of being present and fully immersed in the now.

You can practice mindfulness through meditation, or just by focusing on your breaths and being in the present.

By truly embodying mindfulness, your stress and anxiety will decrease and your focus and determination will increase and guess what…you’ll end up feeling a whole lot happier too. 

Smart people also realize that the quest for knowledge never really ends. They’re perpetually curious…

7) Learning is a journey

Smart people never stop learning. 

They seek out new information, skills, and experiences that challenge and stimulate them. 

They read books, take courses, learn languages, and engage in new activities that expand their knowledge and makes their world bigger

Continuous learning keeps their minds and spirits on point.

Like learning, growth never stops either…

8) The growth never stops

Smart people take control of their lives. 

They believe the sky’s the limit as long as they’re dedicated and work hard. 

They embrace a good challenge and change and view failures as opportunities to become better people rather than wallowing in defeat. 

Smart, happy people are resilient and persistent, in case you haven’t noticed.  They always look for solutions when most decide to give up. 

Growth can come in many forms, including hobbies…

9) They use their spare time wisely

Don’t get me wrong, smart people have their fair share of fun too. 

This is a form of self-care that is sometimes overlooked. So get out there and enjoy yourself! 

Smart people have hobbies, interests, and passions that bring them joy, and ultimately re-energize their batteries. 

This can mean cooking, or music, or spending time with friends or going to the pub or going to the beach. The possibilities are endless. 

My dad was a bit of a workaholic back in his day. 

Every night after a stressful day at the office, he’d spend a bit of time with the family then retreat to his corner and play the electric guitar. 

He wasn’t practicing to be in a band or a concert. This was simply his form of relaxation, happiness, and self-care. The guitar gave him balance.  

By engaging in activities that they genuinely enjoy, smart people sustain their happiness. It’s that easy!

Another way to sustain happiness is through giving…

10) They get what they give 

You know the song by the New Radicals “you get what you give?” Of course you do! 

Well not only is it an incredibly melodic and catchy tune, the meaning of this 90s hit is universally relevant. 

What you give out into the universe, you get in the return, in some form or another.  

This can apply to goals and dreams, relationships, anything you want really. You got the music in you! 

Did you know that being generous makes you feel really good too? It’s science! 

Well, smart people are aware that giving back has countless positive benefits for both giver and receiver. 

They may spend their extra time volunteering and aiding those less fortunate than them. 

This gives them an even greater sense of purpose and perspective and a significant contributor to their overall happiness. 


In conclusion, being happy isn’t about the contents of your bank account, it’s all about mindset and perspective.

Smart people are keenly aware of this, prioritizing healthy habits like self-care,  mindfulness, and continuous growth. When you maintain a happy mindset through it all, you’re way ahead of the game, even if you’re not exactly want you to be yet. 

By adopting these habits and having wisdom and patience, you’ll get there soon, I guarantee it. 

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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