What do people want most out of life?
Is it flashy cars, big houses, lots of money? Well, what if I told you it was happiness?
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. That’s why people want all that stuff, after all.
They think it will make them happy.
And let’s face it. You want it, I want it, Barry down the street definitely wants it. Happiness is a hot commodity.
It’s like pulling that ultra-rare shiny Pokémon holo card.
But it doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
That said, all’s not lost. As it turns out, we have a “psychological immune system” to trick us into looking on the bright side.
Yes. You heard right.
Experts at Harvard University claim that there are two types of happiness – natural and synthetic. And humans (like you) are capable of manufacturing it.
My point is – it can be learned.
So if you aspire to be more content and joyful, here are seven things genuinely happy people do at night.
Perhaps doing some of these will help make you truly happier too.
1) They relax with friends
As a general rule, humans are inherently social beings. We crave interpersonal connection, be it physical or emotional.
But did you know that spending time with others actively improves your well-being?
It’s scientifically proven.
And when we take the time to hang out with friends, it can help reduce stress and anxiety. Most importantly, maintaining positive social relationships can boost your happiness levels.
What’s more, relaxing in itself can be beneficial to your health.
That’s why genuinely happy people treat their weeknights like weekends and weekends like a vacation.
So by setting some time aside in the evening to unwind with friends or family, you’re able to focus on the now rather than things that are out of your control.
It’s a mindset change.
Because no one wants to be up all night thinking about what has been or could be.
Of course, there’s more than one way to relax before bed, and that brings us to the next thing happy people do at night.
2) They read for pleasure
Let’s cast our minds back to when you were little.
The curtains are drawn, you’ve brushed your teeth, your jammies are on, and you’re tucked up safely in bed with the night light on.
Then comes your favorite part of the night… what is it?
Well, it’s story time, of course.
But this timeless activity goes beyond family bonding or trying to stay up past your bedtime.
It helps you relax – maybe even live longer.
And it turns out reading before bed is just as beneficial now as it was when you were young.
It can reduce blood pressure, aid digestion, slow heart rate, regulate breathing, control blood sugar levels, and wait for it, promote the release of endorphins… to name a few.
And that last one (endorphins) is known as the “happy hormone.”
But it doesn’t stop with your physical health.
Not only does learning provoke joy, but reading can be a positive distraction. As a result, studies suggest that it can promote better sleep. Something else happy people need (we’ll go into more detail on that further down the list).
Above all else, it gives you a break from screen time.
3) They have a shutdown ritual
Being an adult is tough. Most of our time is spent commuting, working, and doing chores.
And while the first thing you probably want to do when you get home is play Candy Crush or head straight to bed, it’s important that you establish a shutdown ritual.
Especially at night, before going to sleep.
That goes for all you remote workers out there too.
This can be anything from making a to-do list for the following day to switching off all your electronics.
But what does this have to do with being happy?
Let me explain.
While endlessly scrolling through your socials seems harmless enough, it might be affecting your mood and your mental health.
Not only that, but blue light is a stimulus that can reduce melatonin secretion. Something you need to get a good night’s sleep.
And by limiting your screen time, it gives you more time to spend with loved ones. Thus, helping you avoid one of the top regrets of people who are dying.
That alone is something to be happy about.
4) They never go to bed angry
“Never go to bed angry.” We’ve all heard that old adage before.
But here’s the thing.
There’s some truth behind it. In fact, a study found that those negative emotional memories can affect us during sleep. Even if those memories are suppressed.
Perhaps you’ll have trouble getting to sleep. Or, if you do get some shuteye, you may wake up in the middle of the night with that fight fresh in your mind.
Either way, it stops you from getting a full night’s rest. Basically, it’s a lose-lose.
That’s why happy people like to resolve conflict and embrace forgiveness before their head hits the pillow. Most of all, they never hold a grudge.
And you know what?
Even genuinely happy people can have rough days. But it’s how they handle that bad day that sets them apart from the rest of us.
After all, they’re of the philosophy that tomorrow is a new day.
5) They write it all down by journaling
Sometimes, that bad day can’t be solved by talking it out. Or it may not involve another person at all.
At the end of the day, happy people are aware that they can only control what they can control.
That’s why they like to write things down.
I’m talking about their feelings, worries, hopes, and dreams. It can be as simple as planning their day or documenting what happened by journaling.
Ultimately, it’s a neat way to solve inner conflicts and analyze their emotions. And by putting pen to paper it can help put things into perspective and ease anxiety in the process.
But it’s not all about negative emotions, it’s also a good way to express gratitude.
6) They count their blessings (not sheep)
To be genuinely happy, you must also be grateful.
Do you think cheerful people sit up at night cursing everyone who has it better than them? No, of course not.
There are many ways that you can show gratitude. And there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
It could be by writing it down in a journal, reciting daily affirmations, setting intentions, meditating, or visualizing your ideal life.
A simple smile has also been shown to enhance your mood.
7) They get a good night’s sleep
Last but certainly not least, genuinely happy people get plenty of sleep at night.
Science confirms that sleep and your mental well-being are tightly linked.
And that’s not surprising considering insufficient or poor sleep is connected to a plethora of health issues, including depression.
In contrast, good sleep has been proven to boost your mood, reduce stress, and help you think clearly. All of that can lead to better decision-making and improved relationships.
But if you have trouble sleeping, fear not.
There are ways you can enhance the quality of your sleep.
Similar to having a shutdown ritual, implementing a steady sleep schedule or bedtime routine can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
This can include going to bed at the same time every night, doing light exercise (e.g. stretching), meditating, and creating an inviting environment in your bedroom by adjusting the thermostat.
It’s as simple as that.
Do this, together with the other suggestions above (journaling, reading, etc.), and you too can be genuinely happy in your real life and not just your dreams.