Life’s a funny thing, isn’t it?
Sometimes you’re in the midst of a storm, just trying to keep your head above water. Other times, you’re sailing smoothly, enjoying the ride.
One thing’s for sure though — happiness is elusive.
Does it mean being constantly cheerful? Or is it more about finding peace within yourself? What if I told you, it’s not always about that beaming smile or that infectious laughter?
Well, according to psychology, there are some key indicators that show how genuinely happy you are. And no, it doesn’t always look like sunshine and rainbows.
Here’s how to know for sure if you’re one of those folks who’ve managed to crack the code of true happiness.
Coming up are 7 signs that you’re a genuinely happy person, even if you don’t always feel like it.
1) You embrace life’s ups and downs
Life is a roller coaster ride, full of twists, turns and unexpected moments.
If you’re a genuinely happy person, you’ve learned to embrace these ups and downs, instead of fighting against them.
You understand that it’s not about having a perfect life, but rather how you navigate the imperfections.
Even when things don’t go as planned, you’re able to find a silver lining or a lesson learned.
You don’t let setbacks define you or your happiness. Instead, they serve as stepping stones towards growth and resilience.
This acceptance and resilience are clear signs that you’ve truly found happiness from within. It’s not about the absence of problems, but your ability to deal with them that matters.
2) You’ve learned to live in the present
There was a time when I found myself constantly worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. It was exhausting, to say the least.
But then, I realized something. Life doesn’t happen in the future or the past, it happens in the now.
I started practicing mindfulness, focusing my attention on the present moment. This didn’t come easy. It took time, patience, and a whole lot of self-love.
Now, it’s not that I never worry about the future or reflect on the past. But, I’ve learned not to let these thoughts consume me.
Instead of worrying about that meeting next week, I try to immerse myself fully in what I’m doing at this very moment. Be it washing dishes, having a conversation with a friend or simply watching a sunset.
Living in the present has made me happier. It has helped me appreciate the little things in life that often go unnoticed when we’re too busy worrying about what’s next.
Psychology backs this up too. According to research, people who practice mindfulness tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives. And that’s something worth striving for.
3) You value your relationships
I have to admit, I used to think that achievements and success were the keys to happiness. I worked tirelessly, putting my relationships on the back burner.
One day, I had a wake-up call. A close friend was moving away. As we said our goodbyes, I realized how I had let our relationship slip through the cracks. I’d been so caught up in my own world that I had forgotten to nurture the relationships that mattered most to me.
That’s when it hit me. Relationships are not just about having someone to hang out with on a Saturday night. They’re about connection, understanding, and shared experiences.
Studies show that people with strong social connections are happier, healthier, and live longer lives.
It turns out happiness doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s about our connection with others as much as it is about our connection with ourselves.
I made a conscious decision that day to prioritize my relationships. To spend quality time with the people who matter most. To listen, to understand, and to make sure they know how much they mean to me.
And you know what? It’s made all the difference. It’s made me happier and more fulfilled indeed.
4) Gratitude is a daily practice
Another useful piece of information rooted in psychology — gratitude. It’s more than just feeling blessed and thankful.
According to Greater Good, practicing gratitude has a lot of benefits:
- It frees us up from toxic emotion
- It boosts learning and decision-making
- It improves mental health
When I discovered this, I decided to give it a try. I started to consciously take a few moments each morning to think about what I’m grateful for. It could be something big like a supportive family, or something small like a delicious cup of coffee.
Believe me, this shift in perspective was game-changing. Instead of starting the day feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I began each day with a sense of appreciation and positivity. It didn’t just make me happier; it changed my outlook on life.
Turns out, happiness isn’t just about what happens to us – it’s also about our attitude towards what happens. And nothing helps adjust that attitude better than a dose of daily gratitude.
If you already have an attitude of gratitude, that means you’re genuinely happy!
5) You’ve learned to be kind to yourself
I used to be my own worst critic. If things didn’t go as planned, I would blame myself, thinking I wasn’t good enough or smart enough. This constant self-criticism took a toll on my happiness and self-esteem.
Then one day, I read about the concept of self-compassion in psychology. It’s about being kind and understanding towards oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical.
I decided to give it a go. Now, when things don’t go as planned, instead of blaming myself, I try to treat myself with the same kindness and understanding I would a friend.
I remind myself that it’s okay to make mistakes, that everyone does. Instead of focusing on my flaws, I try to appreciate my strengths and accept myself as I am.
The change was remarkable. Not only did I feel happier, but I also felt more at peace with myself.
Self-compassion doesn’t mean ignoring your faults. It means accepting them with kindness and understanding. And this acceptance is a sign of genuine happiness.
6) You’ve learned to take care of your body
Just as taking care of our mental health is important, so is taking care of our body. Because they do have a significant role to play in terms of happiness.
There was a time when I would push my body to its limits, ignoring signs of exhaustion, surviving on junk food and minimal sleep.
But over time, this neglect started to affect my mood and energy levels. I felt lethargic, irritable, and far from happy.
That’s when I decided to make a change. I started eating healthier, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
I began to notice the difference almost immediately. I felt more energetic, more focused, and overall, happier.
It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good. When we take care of our bodies, we’re not just doing it for our physical health but our mental well-being as well.
Research in psychology supports this too. Regular physical activity is associated with decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety and plays a significant role in fostering happiness.
So now, taking care of my body isn’t just a chore; it’s an integral part of my pursuit of happiness. I hope it’s yours, too!
7) You find joy in helping others
Hurt people hurt people. And the genuinely happy…help people. Makes sense, right?
There’s something deeply fulfilling and joyous about helping others.
Whether it’s volunteering at a local charity, helping a friend with a problem, or simply being there for someone in need – these experiences give you a sense of purpose and happiness that no personal achievement could match.
Psychology explains this beautifully. It’s called the “helper’s high,” a state of euphoria followed by a longer period of calmness, experienced after performing a kind act.
Helping others triggers the release of endorphins, our body’s natural mood booster, leading to this state of happiness.
If you see yourself in these signs, it’s a good indication that you’ve discovered genuine happiness in life. Remember, it’s not about the absence of problems, but about how you handle them that really matters.
Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey. It’s found in the everyday moments, the small acts of kindness, the appreciation of the present. It’s about being kind to yourself and others, and finding joy in the simplest things.
But it’s also important to remember that everyone’s journey to happiness is unique. These signs are guides, not rules. You don’t need to tick all the boxes to be considered happy.
At the end of the day, only you can define what happiness means to you.
So, keep exploring, keep learning, and keep growing. Happiness is a lifelong journey, and every step you take towards it is a step worth celebrating.
As psychologist Carl Rogers said, “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” So here’s to enjoying the process and finding happiness in your own unique way.
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