Happiness: the incredibly tempting yet elusive goal most of us have somewhere on our list of big life goals.
We all seem to share this preconceived notion that happiness is something we have to find, or somehow achieve through hard work and labor.
We think we might finally get there – maybe if we scored that big promotion and started earning 6 figures, or signed off on that fancy car, or if we could finally shed those stubborn ten pounds.
But allow me to let you in on a lil’ secret – happiness is not just a destination.
It’s also the journey that we’re blessed with experiencing along the way, as cheesy as that may sound.
And in my experience, the happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything that life has to offer. They just make the best out of everything.
So, what exactly is their secret? How do they stay happy without the newest smartphone, hottest partner, or slimmest bodies?
Well, turns out it’s not about what they have, or what they do; it’s about who they are.
Ready to find out if you’re part of this lucky cohort?
Read on to find out what makes happy people so infectiously happy!
1) They embrace positivity
It’s no secret that life can throw curveballs and pelt you with lemons.
But how good are your lemonade making skills?
Because let’s face it…
Challenges, setbacks, heartbreaks – we all have to face them all at some point.
But here’s the one finite element that distinguishes happy people from the rest of us: genuinely happy people seem to have this uncanny ability to embrace positivity even in the most unnerving of circumstances.
And it’s not that because they’re somehow immune to the harsh realities of life.
Far from it, actually.
They feel pain and disappointment and are weathered just like the rest of us.
But instead of letting those nasty bits drag them down, they choose to focus on the good, the positive, the bright side of things.
They’re not repelled by adversity and hardship. Instead, they see it as an opportunity for growth and learning.
And they focus not on what happens to them, but how they react to it – because after all, we are the masters of our emotions. Not vice versa.
Now, embracing positivity doesn’t mean walking around with a fake smile plastered on your face all day either, getting sore cheeks from fake grinning.
It’s about having a genuine belief that every experience – both good or bad – has something valuable to offer you.
And that is an exemplary trait that sets truly happy people apart.
2) They practice gratitude
It’s a small and simple habit, but it’s one that has changed the lives of many in ways beyond what they could possibly imagine (myself included).
Why not try it?
Tomorrow morning, and each morning from then on, think of 3 things you’re grateful for. Before your first cup of coffee.
It could be something as simple as the sweet sound of birds chirping outside your window, or the feeling of a pet’s soft fur under your fingertips.
It won’t always be easy to name such things. Some days, it feels like everything is going wrong, that a dark cloud is chasing you, and finding something to be grateful for wil feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.
But on those days, remind myself that even the smallest blessings count.
Maybe it’s just the fact that you’re alive, that you have a roof over my head, and food in your belly (or there will soon be, at least!)
Gratitude has this fantastic ability to shift your focus from all of the things that seem wrong in your life, to what’s right, and what you do possess.
You’ll start to see the good in everything and everyone around you. You learn to appreciate the little things, those everyday miracles that we often take for granted.
And genuinely happy people understand this; hence why they don’t just practice gratitude – they live by it, making a world of difference to their human experience.
3) They live in the present
Daydream can be all fun and games until you have to wake up to a gray desk, cold coffee, and a simpering boss.
Overthinking chases neatly behind, tugging at your hand and demanding your attention.
And with these two vying for your time, you forgot to focus on what’s important; what’s actually in front of you, and what matters.
It’s easy to get caught up in the past, dwelling on regrets and what-ifs. It’s just as easy to get anxious about the future, fretting about what may or may not happen.
But genuinely happy people have a knack for living in the here and now.
They savor each moment, each experience. They are fully present and engaged in whatever they’re doing; whether it’s having a conversation, eating a meal, or simply watching a sunset.
Phones down, attention directed on the moment at hand, and no anxiously staring at the clock, either.
They understand that life is happening before their eyes; not yesterday, not tomorrow, but here and now.
Living in the present allows them to truly appreciate life and everything it has to offer. It frees them from the shackles of past regrets and future anxieties.
It’s not always easy, of course. But with practice and mindfulness, anyone can learn to be more present and mindful, which in turn does wonders for the state of being.
4) They are comfortable with who they are
In a world that’s constantly trying to make you something else, being yourself (and being okay with that) is an achievement in itself.
The genuinely happy amongst us tend to have an innate sense of self-acceptance. They are comfortable in their own skin, and don’t strive to fit into a mold, or to live up to someone else’s expectations.
Now, this doesn’t mean they’re complacent, mind you. They’re always striving to be better, to grow, to evolve. But the difference is that they do it for themselves, not for anyone else.
They celebrate and are proud of their strengths, but they also embrace and acknowledge their weaknesses. They understand that they’re not perfect – and they’re totally okay with it.
You see, when you accept yourself – so-called ‘flaws’ and all – you free yourself from the need for validation from others. You start living for yourself, and yourself alone.
And that’s a recipe for genuine happiness waiting right for you.
5) They are kind and compassionate
Kindness and compassion aren’t just virtues – they’re keys that unlock the doors straight to genuine happiness.
Truly happy people have a heart for others. They’re not just concerned with their own well-being, but also with the well-being of those around them.
They show kindness not just when it’s convenient or reciprocated, but even when it’s difficult and thankless. They understand that everyone is fighting their own battles, everyone has their own struggles.
The genuinely happy that grace our world understand that kindness isn’t just about making others happy – it’s also about enriching their own lives.
Because when you lift others up, you lift yourself up too.
6) They nurture their passions
How happy is the sour man atop a skyscraper, who grew up passionate about painting yet was resigned to books, numbers, and stocks by his father?
How happy is the girl who grew up wanting to tend sick animals back to life, whose family deemed that an improper job and who now lives behind a desk for a living?
Sure, following your passion is hard, but so is living under a cloud of what-if.
Happy people know this. They may not have followed a passion to make a career out of it, but the little girl has grown up into a secretary who rescues little birds on the weekend and gently nurses them back to life.
The stout old man sits in a skyscraper and sketches outlines of the city sky at sunset.
Genuinely happy people make time for their passions because there’s something incredibly fulfilling about engaging in an activity you’re passionate about.
They don’t treat these interests as an afterthought or a luxury. Instead, they see them as a necessity – a vital part of their life.
And it doesn’t matter if their passion is as simple as gardening or as complex as astrophysics. What matters is that it brings them joy, that it lights a fire in their soul.
Nurturing their passions allows them to express themselves, to connect with themselves on a deeper level. It provides them with a sense of purpose and fulfillment that’s hard to find elsewhere.
So if you want to be genuinely happy, make room for those passions. Let them guide you and let them inspire you (even after work), because a life filled with passion is a life filled with joy.
7) They cultivate a positive mindset
All the traits I’ve mentioned so far are important, but there’s one trait that ties them all together and acts as the glue for happy folks; a positive mindset.
Genuinely happy people aren’t just positive thinkers. They’re positive beings.
And their positivity isn’t just a way of thinking – it’s a way of living.
They choose to see the good in people, the beauty in life, the silver lining in every cloud. They focus on solutions rather than problems, on opportunities rather than obstacles.
This doesn’t mean they deny the existence of negative things and turn their cheeks from the bad, the sour, the repellent. These, they acknowledge, they deal with, but they don’t allow them to control their lives nor their happiness.
This positive mindset is like a compass that guides them towards happiness. It helps them navigate through life’s ups and downs with grace and resilience.
Developing a positive mindset isn’t always easy, mind you, but it certainly is worth it.
At the end of the day, your mind is a powerful thing; it can either be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.
On the pursuit of happiness…
So there you have it – the 7 personality traits of genuinely happy people.
As you read this, you might have found yourself assimilating with some of the aforementioned traits.
Perhaps you’ve realized that you already possess some of them, and feel a little happier than before. Or perhaps, you’ve identified areas in your life where you can work to nurture and cultivate these traits.
Just remember: happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey.
Be mindful of looking at each day as an opportunity to work on these habits. Change may not happen overnight. But rest assured, each small step you take brings you one step closer to genuine happiness.
So go ahead, start your journey towards genuine happiness today.
Life is too short for anything less.
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