People who are truly happy usually exhibit these 12 traits

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Many of us are quick to say that happiness is the most important thing. But have you thought about what makes a person genuinely happy?

What are the things that separate the happiest people on earth from everybody else?

In this article, we’ll go over 12 traits that truly happy people have in common. Check this list and you might just find some tips to help you on your journey to a happier YOU!

1) They’re grateful

What makes people happier than a grateful heart? Many studies have shown how gratitude is one of the best predictors of happiness and well-being. 

People who are truly happy slow down every day to reflect on all the good things in their lives. Instead of dwelling on what they lack, they focus on what they have — which makes them feel instantly happier. 

It’s about appreciating the little things — from waking up in the morning to savoring that cup of coffee, listening to a favorite song, being with family and friends, and more.

And it doesn’t stop there: Truly happy people are comfortable expressing their gratitude. They say it out loud, keep a gratitude journal, or send thank-you notes to people who’ve helped them along the way. 

2) They’re authentic

Let’s face it: Pretending to be someone you’re not can be very frustrating, overwhelming, and just downright stressful.

That’s why people who are truly happy stay true to themselves, which means they accept themselves for who they are and who they are not.

They don’t try to please everyone because they don’t need everyone to love them. They radiate happiness because they have a strong sense of inner peace.

They’re very likable and relatable because they express their thoughts and feelings in the most genuine and heartfelt ways possible. 

Most importantly, they let their values and principles guide their decisions and actions, even when it’s not the most popular thing to do. 

3) They’re confident

Have you ever wondered why some people just ‘glow with confidence’ when they enter a room?

Maybe it’s in the way they dress, walk, talk, or carry themselves. You just feel their positive vibes and you can’t help but want to be around them.

You see, truly happy people know their worth and are confident in themselves and their abilities.

They don’t compare themselves to others or live up to unrealistic expectations and standards. They believe they’re good enough and have the capacity to better themselves every step of the way. 

4) They’re kind

If you’re doing one thing today to be happier, then help someone in need.

Research has shown that being kind and giving to others increases happiness levels and provides a satisfying sense of fulfillment. And the do-gooders, in turn, are happier than most people.

It’s natural for people who are truly happy to devote plenty of their time to giving. They’re the first to offer their helping hands or make a difference in the communities they’re living in.

And the best part? It doesn’t take a lot of time and money to be kind.

Whether it’s helping someone cross the street, giving a family member a ride to school or the office, or spending some time volunteering, there’s always one thing you can do daily that will greatly benefit someone else.

5) They’re forgiving

Forgiving can be one of the most difficult things to do, especially when the other person left wounds that run deep.

But here’s the kicker: holding on to a grudge can have devastating consequences for your physical, emotional, and mental health in the long run. 

As hard as it is, truly happy people choose to forgive and let go. They don’t let the bitterness and resentment add up to the point that they overpower the happiness and love inside of them.

They know that forgiveness is not about forgetting, denying hurt, or excusing bad behavior. It’s about taking back your power and moving forward.

It’s how they make room for happiness, healing, and peace in their lives.

6) They’re purposeful

Simply put: People who are truly happy lead meaningful lives.

Think about this for a minute: Do you ever find yourself going through life blindly, going from one task to the next, without even finding time to know why it’s so important?

People who are truly happy always take their tasks in perspective, take pride and joy in what they do, and discover the deeper purpose in everything they’re doing.

They’re deeply committed to their goals and make progress on them. Pursuing their passions not only boosts their happiness but also their self-worth. 

7) They’re curious

Nothing beats the joy and excitement that comes from being a lifelong learner. And people who are truly happy are more than happy to explore the unknown

In other words, they’re not afraid to try something new. 

Whether it’s studying a new language, mastering new skills, or taking up a new hobby, truly happy people learn not just for the fun but also for the challenge of it. They’re motivated by a thirst for knowledge. 

8) They live in the present moment

You might be wondering: How do genuinely happy people keep their zest for life?

Their secret’s simple yet profound: They tune into what’s going on now.

They’re not the type of people who will get distracted by their screens when they’re talking to you. They make you feel heard and understood through active listening — paying attention to all the verbal and non-verbal cues.

They’re the kind of people who make it a point to get outdoors — whether that’s a short 10-minute walk or spending time in their backyard or at a nearby park.

They practice mindfulness, staying completely immersed in the experience of the here and now.

9) They practice self-love

People who are truly happy stay happy because they put their health and well-being first.

That means they take the time to take care of themselves and nourish their minds, bodies, and souls.

Whether that’s working out, eating healthily, getting enough rest, reading a good book, or pampering themselves — truly happy people take their “ME time” seriously and without guilt.

10) They build strong social relationships

One of the most significant takeaways from one of the longest studies on adult life is this: the quality of our relationships is key to our overall happiness and well-being in the long run.

The better social support you have, the happier you are. Think of it this way: Taking care of yourself is essential, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care, too.

That’s why people who are truly happy cultivate strong relationships with people in their inner circle. They surround themselves with happy people.

They’re very intentional when it comes to making time for people they care about and love, even when it’s becoming harder and harder to do so.

Ultimately, time spent with our family, friends, and communities are the ones that matter most.

11) They’re optimistic

Ok, I know what you’re thinking: It’s not always easy to look on the bright side of life. But it’s always worth looking for the silver lining in even the darkest of situations.

People who are truly happy stay hopeful. Instead of dwelling on the negative and getting stuck in the problem, they focus on the things they can control.

They set themselves up for success by finding the right solutions and keeping a growth mindset.

This brings me to my last point ….

12) They’re resilient

Truly happy people never deny their struggles, failures, and pains. What sets them apart is their ability to turn every setback into an opportunity.

When they face adversity, their default is to ask what they can learn from it. 

They’re unfazed by defeat, and they’re transformed by it. They have this unwavering belief that no matter how hard life knocks you down, you can always choose to bounce back stronger. 

Final thoughts

There are no one-size-fits-all answers to our deepest questions about happiness. 

At the end of the day, happiness is a choice. It takes a lot of work. But when you cultivate habits that make you happier, the results are just priceless.

Maria Fatima Reyes

Fat Niebres is a freelance writer who loves to chase stories that matter. She finds meaning and inspiration in the mundane. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, eating, traveling, or having deep conversations with her husband. She brings her experience in broadcast, print, and NGO communications, and has been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and

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