We tend to think of happiness as a destination.
One day, you’ll reach all your goals. One day, you’ll become the highest version of yourself. One day, you’ll be happy.
But happiness is actually much simpler than that.
It’s not a noun. It’s a verb.
It’s not a destination. It’s a habit.
What you do every single day matters. It’s what determines your mood, which in turn influences your well-being.
And if you change these 7 behaviors, you’ll quickly become a happier person.
1) Complaining about everything and anything
A few years ago, I challenged myself not to complain for a week straight.
I can’t even begin to describe how impactful this decision was. One week was enough for me to flush out dozens upon dozens of complaints and fill that empty space with gratitude, beauty, and quiet happiness.
When I told my friend about this, she retorted, “But if I just suppress my complaints, it’s not going to help anything. They’ll foster and get worse.”
The exact opposite happened to me, though. I wasn’t suppressing my complaints – I just didn’t give them the space to grow. By not voicing them out loud, I showed my brain that all the little moments of negativity weren’t such a big deal.
And so they began to pass by quicker. Stuff that used to bother me was now nothing more than a sigh and a shrug.
The thoughts you focus on are the thoughts that grow bigger. When you stop complaining, you’re making space for much more beautiful things to take centerstage.
2) Overthinking surface-level issues
On a similar note, the stuff that preoccupies your mind is what determines your well-being in the long term.
And if you often overthink what you’re wearing, how your hair looks, or whether your thigh is a third of an inch smaller, you’re wasting a lot of precious energy and time on thoughts that are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Think of the people you love most. When you’re hanging out with them, do you spend that time wondering about the length of their hair or the color of their socks?
No. You’re focusing on the connection you two have together. You care about what’s behind their eyes first and foremost.
Try and apply that mindset to yourself as well. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put any effort into your looks, but it’s important to figure out how much time you spend obsessing over things that ultimately don’t matter.
If you spend ten minutes trying to pick an outfit, that’s okay. If it takes you half an hour to decide because you’re worried about what the world will think of you…it might be time to take a step back and recognize that it’s your personality people care about the most.
3) Blaming your reactions on external circumstances
Look me in the eye and tell me you have absolutely zero control over your life.
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
While there are many more things we can’t control than those we can, it doesn’t mean you’re completely helpless.
You chose to read this article. And before that, you chose to open up your laptop or grab your phone.
External circumstances will fluctuate and change around you, but you will always have the power to react in whichever way you want.
Your pet might die, your boss may fire you, your partner might break up with you, heck, your whole house can burn down.
Those are all terrible things to happen to a person. But they don’t take away your agency. You’re not a victim. You have power over every single action you take.
There’s freedom in that.
4) Chasing the next high
So, we’ve established that you’re actually quite powerful. That’s great!
Now we’ve got to talk about how you use that power. It’s never as easy as it looks, is it?
Here’s something I’ve noticed over the years: Most of us live our lives chasing the next high.
What I mean by that is that we’re always looking forward to something in the future, something that will save us from our current misery.
And guess what? It never does.
In fact, the anticipation of something is often so much more intense than the actual experience of it.
As an example, think of the most recent time you were looking forward to a holiday. It felt amazing, didn’t it? Just three more days – two – one – and you can finally relax!
Now remember the holiday itself. It was good fun, but when you were *in it*, it was far from perfect. Some things probably went wrong, you may have been really hungry at times, perhaps your feet hurt from all the walking, it was terribly hot, the list goes on and on.
Even the best of holidays can’t beat the platonic idea of a holiday.
The best course of action is to stop clinging to that idea so much. You don’t live in the future. You live in the Now.
And that brings us to the next point.
5) Disregarding the power of Now
Do you know that feeling when you’re walking down the street, and your mind’s someplace completely different? You may be thinking about an upcoming party or about what you’ll have for dinner. You might be imagining the day when you finally get a promotion.
You’re in such a haze that you don’t even notice the beautiful sunset ahead of you. Or the flowers bending in the wind. Or the cute puppy on the opposite side of the road.
Almost everyone is guilty of not living in the present moment often enough.
It’s a real shame, though, because when you really begin to think about the concept of time, you’ll realize that Now is the only time when you truly live.
The future is your imagination. The past is your memory. Now is when life happens.
The more you focus on the Now, the higher your chances of happiness. This is why mindfulness and meditation have such amazing benefits.
6) Staying indoors all day long
I’ve recently seen a video that said, “It’s so frustrating how annoying pieces of advice like ‘go outside’ actually work.”
I couldn’t agree more. When you try to find advice on how to improve your well-being, all the articles online will tell you to go into nature, move your body, get enough sleep, and eat well.
It’s so generic that most of us just sigh and move on.
But those articles actually have a point. The reason they repeat the same thing over and over again is because it works.
Research shows that going outside not only increases your happiness but also enhances memory, attention, empathy, and your resilience to stress.
And what does staying indoors all day do? Well, it can fuel anxiety and overthinking, not to mention you’ll probably feel much less energetic.
Go outside. Look at some trees. You’ll be surprised at how helpful it is.
7) Arguing with strangers online
Lastly, I’ve seen more people than I can count spend a hell of a lot of energy on arguing with strangers on social media.
Every time my mom pops up on my Facebook feed, I just know she’s entered yet another futile battle.
While having an argument with someone online might make you feel a tiny bit better in the short term – that feeling of smugness *does* feel nice from time to time – chances are, you’ll ultimately end up upset and exhausted.
You have limited amounts of energy. Use it to spend time with your loved ones, not to argue with someone you’ve never met.
I can guarantee you’ll quickly become a happier person.