What is happiness?
According to Mahatma Gandhi, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Well, are you living a happy life?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Happiness can be fleeting, but it can also grow slowly and surely in our lives so that we hardly notice it.
Then, one day, we wake up and realize that things are actually pretty darned great.
Maybe you’ve had struggles and conquered them, and at this point, things feel like smooth sailing.
Well, if you recognize these 11 signs, you’re living a genuinely happy life!
1) You sleep soundly.
Can you get to sleep without staying up for hours tossing and turning and worrying?
If you can, this is a pretty good sign that things in your life are really going well.
So many people struggle with dozing off due to the negative effects of stress and anxiety in their lives. They lay awake with their thoughts racing and their worries consuming their attention.
Then they worry about not getting enough sleep, and the whole thing snowballs.
But if this never happens to you (anymore), count your lucky stars!
If you also don’t wake up anxious in the middle of the night (unless you have to pee), this generally means you don’t have anything really heavy weighing on your soul.
Instead, you have space for happiness.
2) You’re excited to get up in the morning.
Every morning, as soon as I start to stir, my dog jumps up, puts her big front paws up on the bed, and wags her tail wildly.
I feel like she’s welcoming me to the new day, as though she wasn’t quite sure I’d make it or not!
I have to say that her enthusiasm is contagious.
While I’m in no way a morning person, I’ve started to appreciate the earlier hours and feel a lot more enthusiastic about getting up and at ’em.
If you’re as excited as my pup to greet the new day, or even more so (is it possible?), you’re probably living a genuinely happy life.
3) You feel a sense of purpose.
German philosopher Nietzsche wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
Famed psychologist and Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl found this related to who died in the concentration camp and who lived on. He wrote:
“Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost.”
His main revelation was that those who were able to perceive a purpose in their lives were able to soldier on even in these most horrific conditions.
Do you feel that you have a purpose? You might say yours is to be a great father or a cool auntie, to make others smile, or to make the world a better place than when you found it.
Whatever yours is, having a purpose really contributes to happiness in life.
4) Your thinking is mostly positive.
Does positive thinking make you happy, or is it happiness that produces positive thinking?
If you ask me, it goes both ways.
If you’re happy, your thinking will almost certainly be positive.
If you’re a little less than happy, you might be able to turn things around by using positive thinking and framing seemingly negative situations in a new, more optimistic light.
If you feel like you have a very optimistic outlook and make generally positive predictions about the future, I’d say you’re probably living a pretty happy life already.
5) You’re healthy, and so are those closest to you.
Good health is hugely important for human happiness.
According to research, there’s a direct correlation between how healthy a person feels and how happy they are with their life.
People who are healthier (or at least think they are!) report much higher levels of life happiness, while those who aren’t healthy report more sadness and depression.
And this doesn’t just hold true for your own happiness.
There are few things in life that get us down more than the poor health of a loved one.
This situation can take almost as much of a toll on our happiness as a personal health problem.
But if you’re relatively healthy and the people you love are, too, this can be a big boost for your happiness.
6) You feel satisfied.
So many people out there are striving for more money, more things, better jobs, and bigger houses.
Will these things make them happy?
Surprisingly, the answer is… maybe!
We all know that old saying that money can’t buy happiness, but you have to wonder why not.
After all, most people chase money their whole lives trying to get enough of it to feel safe and secure.
Well, maybe that’s the answer.
It’s not the amassing of wealth and things that make people happier; it’s just being satisfied.
So you could be a multi-millionaire, but if you feel like you could do more or you want to build your wealth, you might feel unhappy because you’re dissatisfied.
But a person who has very little might be completely satisfied with what they have and feel they want for nothing.
Even the famed Marcus Aurelius said, “Remember this: that very little is needed to make a happy life,” and he was a Roman emperor!
7) You feel authentic gratitude.
Practicing gratitude can be an incredible tool for improving life’s happiness and satisfaction.
This means taking time to actually think about what you’re thankful for, and I don’t mean just around the Thanksgiving dinner table, though this is a great place to start.
People who practice gratitude every day report higher levels of happiness in their lives than people who don’t.
This makes perfect sense because this completely positive act is about examining your own life and actively seeking out and highlighting the positive things you’ve got going on.
There are also people who just naturally think this way and don’t even consciously practice gratitude. Instead, they feel it normally and authentically as a regular part of their lives.
Are you one of them?
If you recognize this sign, you’re probably living a genuinely happy life.
8) You’ve got great friends.
As social creatures, our relationships have immense power to affect our happiness.
People who feel isolated and alone are always in danger of developing depression.
On the other hand, when we have strong, meaningful relationships with others, we can experience way more joy in our lives.
And you don’t need to have a huge circle of friends to help boost your happiness.
Just a handful of close, meaningful relationships are enough to help buoy your spirit and carry you through life happily.
9) You make others happy.
One of the best signs that you’re living a happy life is that your happiness is catching.
Misery might love company, but happiness attracts company and propagates itself outward.
You might be a shining light for others and a big source of happiness in this world.
If you radiate happiness to others around you, it’s because you’re genuinely happy yourself.
You’re able to give this endless gift to others without your own happiness ever diminishing.
You might love working on charity projects or volunteering to help the less fortunate in your community.
However you spread your happiness, there are many people out there who are tremendously thankful for it!
10) You’re self-confident
You’re proud of yourself.
You trust yourself.
You feel that you’re enough.
Do you recognize these feelings?
Sadly, not many people do, at least not fully.
But people who are genuinely leading happy lives generally do share these feelings. They’re happy not only with their lives but with themselves and their accomplishments.
They feel a strong sense of self-worth. They don’t attack their own value and beat themselves down with negative self-talk and other destructive behaviors.
Instead, they feel good about themselves and are happy being who they are.
11) You’re present.
“Remember… Be Here Now,” shouts the cover of Baba Ram Dass’s 1970 book on happiness.
If you’re stuck in the past, worried about the future, or always waiting for something to happen, you’re probably not all that happy with your life as it is right now.
But if you’re able to be here, be present, and appreciate life as it comes, it’s probably because you’re actually a genuinely happy person.
You don’t feel pressing anxiety about the past or future like so many others do.
Instead, you’re here living your life out loud and in the moment.
11 signs you’re living a happy life
If you recognize these 11 signs, you’re living a genuinely happy life full of joy and away from worry.
You aren’t beaten down by jaded negativity or crippled with anxiety.
In short, you’re doing alright.
And since it’s so rare to live this way, this is one more thing to be happy about.