There’s a clear distinction between appearing happy and truly feeling it.
It boils down to habits. Some people seem to effortlessly radiate joy due to their everyday routines, while others may struggle to find that same sense of contentment.
As researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky and Kennon M. Sheldon put forth in their study: “Happiness can be successfully pursued, but it is not ‘easy’.”
Embracing certain daily habits can pave the way towards genuine happiness. It’s not about forcing a smile or pretending that everything is perfect. It’s about creating a lifestyle that fosters positivity and satisfaction.
Those who are often happiest in life have a few habits in common. Let’s explore what these habits are, so you too can incorporate them into your daily life.
1) Embracing gratitude
We often overlook the power of gratitude in our daily lives.
Gratitude is more than just saying “thank you”. It’s a mindset, a way of perceiving the world around us. It’s about acknowledging what we have instead of focusing on what we lack.
Think about it. How often do you stop and appreciate the good things in your life? It might be the warmth of the sun, a good book, or even a delicious meal.
Those who practice gratitude daily tend to be happier. They see the positives in their life and don’t let negative thoughts overshadow them.
It’s easy to start. Just take a few moments each day to think about what you’re thankful for. Write it down if it helps.
It’s not about pretending that everything is perfect. It’s about finding joy in what we already have. And that’s a habit worth embracing.
2) Practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness is another habit that often correlates with happiness.
This habit is about being present in the moment. It’s about appreciating the now, rather than worrying about the past or future.
I remember when I first started practicing mindfulness. It was during a particularly stressful period in my life. Work was hectic, and I found myself constantly worrying about things that were out of my control.
One day, I decided to give mindfulness a try. I started by simply focusing on my breath for a few minutes each day. I noticed an immediate change in my mood. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by stress, I felt calm and centered. I could handle whatever came my way.
Now, I practice mindfulness every day. Whether it’s taking a moment to enjoy my morning coffee or taking a mindful walk in nature, this daily habit has drastically improved my happiness levels.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Just taking a few moments each day to focus on the present can make a world of difference to your overall happiness.
3) Regular exercise
Staying physically active is not just about keeping your body in shape. It also plays a significant role in maintaining mental wellbeing and happiness.
When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, often referred to as the ‘feel-good’ hormones. These endorphins interact with the receptors in our brain that reduce the perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
Whether it’s a brisk walk in the park, a yoga class, or a vigorous gym session, regular physical activity can boost your mood and keep stress at bay.
So why not consider adding some form of exercise to your daily routine? It’s not just an investment in your physical health, but also a sure-fire way to increase your happiness levels.
4) Nurturing relationships
Our relationships with others – be it family, friends, or colleagues – play a huge role in our overall happiness.
Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on connection, understanding, and companionship. Spending time with loved ones, sharing experiences, and supporting each other through life’s ups and downs can bring us immense joy.
This doesn’t mean you have to be constantly surrounded by people. It’s about the quality of the relationships that you cultivate.
Take the time to truly listen when someone is speaking to you, show empathy when they are going through a tough time, and celebrate their achievements with them. These small acts can strengthen your bonds with others and in turn, enhance your own happiness.
In other words, happiness shared is happiness doubled.
5) Prioritizing self-care
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves. We often prioritize work, family, and friends, neglecting our own needs in the process.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s vital for maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and others. It promotes feelings of self-love and self-worth, which are key components of happiness.
Self-care can look different for everyone. For some, it might be taking a long bath or reading a good book. For others, it could mean going for a run or cooking a healthy meal.
Whatever form it takes, make sure to carve out some time each day for self-care. You’ll find that this daily habit can significantly boost your mood and overall happiness levels.
6) Embracing change
Change is a constant part of life. It can be scary and uncomfortable, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and new experiences.
Learning to embrace change, rather than resist it, can significantly impact your happiness. It’s about adopting a mindset that views change as an adventure, a chance to learn something new or meet new people.
I’ve seen how the fear of change can hold people back, keeping them stuck in situations that no longer bring them joy. But I’ve also seen how embracing change can open up new paths to happiness.
In the end, it’s not the change itself that’s important, it’s how we react to it. By choosing to approach change with a positive mindset, we can find happiness in the most unexpected places.
7) Discovering passion
Finding something you’re passionate about can bring immense happiness. It’s that activity or hobby that makes you lose track of time, that puts a smile on your face, and gives you a sense of purpose.
For me, it was photography. I was going through a rough patch when a friend suggested I try it out. Initially, I was skeptical. But as I started capturing moments and exploring different perspectives, I found a joy I hadn’t experienced before.
Photography became my outlet, my passion. It provided me an escape from reality, a way to express myself, and most importantly, it brought me happiness.
Identifying and pursuing your passion can be an enriching journey towards happiness. So take some time to explore different interests and hobbies. You never know what might bring you joy.
8) Maintaining a positive attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude can make a substantial difference in your likelihood of experiencing happiness, research showed. It’s not about ignoring life’s challenges or pretending that everything is perfect. It’s about choosing to focus on the good, even when things are tough.
A positive attitude helps you bounce back from setbacks and stay hopeful for the future. It encourages you to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty.
You can foster a positive attitude by practicing positive self-talk, challenging negative thoughts, and surrounding yourself with positive influences.
Remember, happiness is a choice. And choosing a positive attitude can lead you down the path to a happier life.
9) Living authentically
Living authentically is perhaps the most significant habit you can cultivate for happiness. It’s about being true to yourself, honoring your values, and expressing your genuine feelings.
When we live authentically, we align our actions with our beliefs. We are not swayed by others’ opinions or societal expectations. We are true to ourselves and live in a way that reflects who we truly are.
Living authentically brings a sense of peace and satisfaction. It eliminates the stress and dissatisfaction that come with trying to fit into a mold that isn’t meant for us.
The bottom line is: your uniqueness is your strength. Stay true to yourself, and you’ll find happiness follows.
Conclusion: It’s a journey
Happiness, much like life itself, is a journey, not a destination.
It’s about cultivating habits that nurture our well-being and align with our personal values. It’s about cherishing the small moments of joy, embracing change, and living authentically.
Research from the field of positive psychology suggests that about 40% of our happiness is determined by deliberate and purposeful actions. What does that tell us?
It means happiness is within our control, shaped by our thoughts, actions, and behaviors. It’s the everyday habits we’ve discussed – gratitude, mindfulness, exercise, nurturing relationships, self-care, embracing change, discovering passion, maintaining a positive attitude, and living authentically.
The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong journey. But with each positive step you take, you’re one step closer to finding your own unique path to joy.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.