8 signs you’re quietly thriving in life, according to psychology

There’s a popular misconception that thriving in life is about making big waves—landing that high-powered job, buying that luxury car, or moving into that mansion on the hill. 

But in my experience as the founder of Hack Spirit and a student of mindfulness and Buddhism, I’ve learned that genuine success is often quieter and more subtle.

According to psychology, it’s the small, everyday victories and personal accomplishments that truly indicate you’re flourishing. 

It’s about finding peace within yourself, making meaningful connections, and consistently growing as an individual.

In this article, I’ll share some signs that show you’re quietly thriving in life. These aren’t grand gestures or headline-making achievements. 

Instead, they’re quiet indicators of personal growth and contentment. 

So let’s dive in and explore these signs together. Remember, true success is often quieter than you think.

1) You practice mindfulness

There’s an old saying that goes, “The past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift—that’s why we call it the present.” This wisdom encapsulates the essence of mindfulness.

Mindfulness, a core principle in Buddhism and a key focus of my work at Hack Spirit, is about being fully engaged with the present moment. It’s about letting go of regret about the past and anxiety about the future.

Psychology suggests that if you’re practicing mindfulness, you’re more likely to be quietly thriving in life.

Why? Because when you’re focused on the here and now, you’re more attuned to your emotions, thoughts, and sensations. You’re more likely to make thoughtful decisions rather than reacting impulsively.

Moreover, mindfulness keeps us grounded and helps us appreciate the simple joys of life. It encourages gratitude for what we have right now rather than constantly striving for more.

So if you find yourself consciously savoring your morning coffee, truly listening when someone speaks to you, or simply enjoying a sunset without reaching for your phone to capture it—you’re practicing mindfulness. And that’s a significant sign you’re quietly thriving in life.

Remember, true success isn’t always about constant hustle and achievement. Sometimes, it’s found in the quiet moments of presence and awareness.

2) You’re content with what you have

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” This profound truth is fundamental to Buddhism and has greatly influenced my journey at Hack Spirit.

In our modern world, we’re constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we need more—more money, more possessions, more success—to be happy. But according to psychology, the opposite is often true.

One of the significant signs that you’re quietly thriving in life is contentment. It’s about appreciating what you have right now and not constantly striving for more.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk and mindfulness expert, once said, “Many people think excitement is happiness… But when you are excited, you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”

If you find yourself feeling grateful for what you have and not driven by a constant desire for more, that’s a strong sign that you’re thriving in life. 

You’ve found peace in the present moment and are not incessantly chasing after things that may or may not bring happiness.

Happiness doesn’t come from having everything; it comes from appreciating everything you have.

3) You understand the nature of suffering

Buddhism teaches that suffering is a part of life. This doesn’t mean that life is full of misery, but rather that pain and discomfort are inevitable in our human experience.

This wisdom may sound grim, but it’s actually an empowering realization. When we understand and accept the nature of suffering, we learn to navigate life’s challenges more effectively and with greater resilience.

Psychology echoes this wisdom. Research suggests that people who have faced adversities and learned to cope are often those who are quietly thriving in life. They have developed emotional resilience, understanding that setbacks are not permanent but part of the journey.

Embracing the reality of suffering allows us to develop compassion for ourselves and others. It helps us realize that we’re not alone in our struggles, which can be incredibly comforting and unifying.

So if you understand that pain is a part of life and have learned to cope with it constructively—rather than avoiding or denying it—you are displaying a significant sign of quietly thriving in life.

Embracing life’s ups and downs with compassion and resilience is a strength, not a weakness. In the words of Buddhist wisdom, “No mud, no lotus.”

4) You’re less reactive

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. When things don’t go as planned, it’s easy to react impulsively—often with anger, frustration, or anxiety. But one of the most significant signs you’re quietly thriving in life is that you’ve become less reactive.

Mindfulness plays a crucial role here. By being present and aware, we can observe our emotions without getting swept away by them. We can notice the rush of anger or anxiety, pause, and choose how we want to respond.

Individuals with higher levels of mindfulness tend to be less reactive. They’re more likely to constructively manage their emotions rather than letting their emotions control them.

So if you’re finding yourself pausing before reacting, responding thoughtfully rather than impulsively, you’re practicing mindfulness. And that’s an essential sign of quietly thriving in life.

5) You’ve started to let go of your ego

One of the most transformative lessons I’ve learned in my journey with mindfulness and Buddhism is the importance of letting go of the ego. 

The ego, with its constant need for validation and control, can often hinder our growth and contentment.

In my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”, I delve deeper into this concept.

Psychology suggests that those who are quietly thriving in life have managed to loosen the grip of their ego.

They don’t let their sense of self-worth hinge on external validation or achievements. Instead, they find value in their personal growth, relationships, and experiences.

Letting go of the ego doesn’t mean you stop striving for personal and professional success. It means you strive from a place of authenticity and self-awareness, not from a place of ego-driven desires.

6) You’ve embraced impermanence

Buddhism teaches the principle of impermanence—that everything in life is temporary and ever-changing. While this might sound unsettling, embracing this reality can be liberating and empowering.

When we understand that nothing is permanent, we start to appreciate everything more. We cherish our relationships, knowing they won’t last forever. We savor happy moments, understanding they’re fleeting.

And when we face difficult times, we’re comforted by the knowledge that these too shall pass.

Understanding and accepting the impermanent nature of life is a sign of emotional maturity and resilience—key indicators of someone who’s quietly thriving in life.

So if you find yourself accepting change with grace, appreciating the transient beauty of life, and not clinging to people or situations—that’s a sign you’re quietly thriving.

Remember, as Buddhist wisdom teaches us: “This too shall pass.” Embracing this truth can help us navigate life’s highs and lows with grace and equanimity.

7) You practice self-compassion

Life is full of challenges and setbacks. Often, when we face these obstacles, we can be our own harshest critics. We beat ourselves up over mistakes or perceived shortcomings, adding to our stress and suffering.

But one of the significant signs you’re quietly thriving in life is the practice of self-compassion.

This involves treating ourselves with kindness and understanding when we stumble, recognizing that everyone makes mistakes and experiences difficulties.

Self-compassion is a concept deeply rooted in Buddhist teachings, and it’s also supported by modern psychology.

Research suggests that individuals who practice self-compassion tend to have lower levels of stress and anxiety and a higher degree of emotional resilience.

You are worthy of the same compassion and kindness you extend to others. Be gentle with yourself; we’re all works in progress.

8) You’re comfortable with stillness

In our fast-paced, always-on world, the idea of doing nothing can seem counterintuitive—even uncomfortable. 

We’re conditioned to equate busyness with productivity and worth, but mindfulness teaches us the importance of stillness.

Stillness is not about being idle; it’s about intentionally taking time to just be. It’s about disconnecting from the noise and distractions of our external world and tuning into our inner selves.

Individuals who are comfortable with stillness—those who can sit quietly without the need for constant stimulation—are often those quietly thriving in life. They’ve learned to appreciate the peace that comes from simply being present in the moment.

Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn has an apt quote: “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.”

Remember, stillness is not about doing nothing; it’s about being fully present in the moment. It’s a mindful pause that can bring clarity, peace, and a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Thriving in life isn’t always about grand achievements or outward success. Often, it’s about the subtle signs of personal growth and contentment. 

True growth often happens quietly. It’s about becoming more self-aware, more resilient, and more at peace with yourself and your life.

If you found these points resonating with you and are interested in diving deeper into the wisdom of Buddhism and mindfulness to enhance your life, I invite you to check out my book “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego”.

It’s a comprehensive guide to applying Buddhist principles to live a more authentic, fulfilling life.

Thriving isn’t always loud. Sometimes, it’s found in the quiet moments of reflection, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Here’s to your journey of quiet thriving!

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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