8 simple habits that will make you happier, according to psychology

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Happiness isn’t as elusive as it seems. In fact, psychology has a lot to say about how to cultivate it daily.

The truth is, our habits play a massive role in shaping our emotions and overall mood. And, believe me when I say this, adopting some simple habits can truly turn your life around.

I’ve delved into the realm of psychology and gathered 8 simple habits that are scientifically proven to make you happier.

So stick around, because what you’re about to read might just be the key to unlocking a more joyful you.

1) Practice gratitude

I can’t stress enough how powerful this habit is. Trust me, it’s not just a cliché.

Psychology backs up the fact that expressing gratitude can significantly boost your happiness levels. It’s all about appreciating what you have, instead of always chasing what you don’t have.

It sounds simple, but how often do we actually take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the good things in our life? It can be as simple as writing in a gratitude journal every day or making it a habit to thank someone for their help.

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This small habit can have profound effects on your happiness.

But remember, consistency is key. Make it a part of your daily routine, and you’ll start noticing a positive shift in your mood.

2) Prioritize physical activity

Now, this one isn’t new to anyone, but it’s surprising how many of us neglect it. Yes, I’m talking about the importance of staying physically active.

Psychology tells us that regular physical activity can significantly enhance our mood and overall happiness. It’s not just about looking good, but feeling good too.

A few years ago, I found myself in a bit of a funk. Nothing major, just a general feeling of being down. I wasn’t exercising regularly at the time, and my mood was definitely reflecting that.

So I decided to make a change. I started going for a run every morning before work. Nothing too strenuous, just a steady 30 minutes.

And guess what? It made a world of difference.

Honestly, those morning runs became my therapy. They helped me clear my head and start each day on a positive note. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment that came with sticking to my new routine.

3) Spend time in nature

Let’s face it, we’re spending more and more time indoors, often glued to our screens. But did you know that exposure to nature has been shown to increase happiness?

This is where ‘forest bathing’ comes in. Originating from Japan, forest bathing encourages spending time in woodland for health benefits. It’s not about exercising, but simply being in nature, absorbing its sights, sounds and smells.

Studies have shown that time spent in nature can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve concentration and memory. Not only that, but it can also boost our mood and overall happiness.

So why not make it a point to step outside and breathe in some fresh air? Whether it’s a walk in the park or a weekend hiking trip, reconnecting with nature can do wonders for your happiness.

4) Foster meaningful relationships

Humans are social creatures, and psychology confirms that strong and meaningful relationships can greatly enhance our happiness.

We’re not just talking about romantic relationships here, but also friendships, family ties, and even connections with colleagues or fellow community members.

These relationships provide support, enrich our lives, help us feel accepted and boost our self-esteem. All these factors contribute to our sense of happiness.

But remember, it’s quality over quantity. It’s not about having a long list of acquaintances, but nurturing deeper connections with a few people who truly understand and appreciate you.

5) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about being fully present in the moment, paying attention to your surroundings and acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

This might sound somewhat abstract, but it’s a powerful tool for happiness. Being mindful helps us to better manage stress, enhances our emotional intelligence, and improves our overall well-being.

Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways – meditation, mindful eating, or simply taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath. It’s all about slowing down and living in the present instead of worrying about the past or the future.

Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can help you find joy in the simplest things, making you happier in the process.

6) Be kind to others

This might sound too good to be true, but being kind to others can actually make you happier. It’s a beautiful cycle – when you spread kindness, you not only make others feel good, but you also feel good about yourself.

It’s about more than just grand gestures. Small acts of kindness can have a huge impact too. It could be something as simple as giving up your seat on the bus, helping a colleague with a task, or even just smiling at a stranger.

When we show kindness to others, we foster positive feelings of self-worth and belonging. We feel more connected to the world around us and this boosts our mood.

So why not make it a point to do something kind for someone every day? It’s a simple habit that can bring a lot of happiness into your life and the lives of those around you.

7) Limit screen time

In this digital age, we’re constantly connected to our devices. But too much screen time can actually have a negative impact on our happiness.

Studies have shown that excessive use of technology can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and social isolation. It can also disrupt our sleep patterns, which has a direct impact on our mood.

So, it’s important to set boundaries. Designate certain times of the day to be device-free. Engage in activities that don’t involve screens, like reading a book, going for a walk, or having a face-to-face conversation with someone.

By limiting screen time, you’ll be able to create more space for real-life interactions and experiences that truly contribute to your happiness.

8) Cultivate a positive mindset

Above all, happiness comes from within. It’s about how you perceive the world around you and how you respond to life’s challenges.

A positive mindset doesn’t mean ignoring the negative aspects of life. It means acknowledging them, but choosing to focus on the good instead. It’s about embracing optimism and resilience.

Remember, happiness is not a destination, but a journey. It’s a habit you cultivate every day through your thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

By cultivating a positive mindset, you’ll find that happiness follows you wherever you go.

Final thoughts: It’s all about you

The essence of happiness lies in understanding and accepting ourselves. Each one of us is unique, and so is our journey towards happiness.

These habits, backed by psychology, offer a roadmap. But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to happiness. Maybe you find joy in silence, or perhaps it’s the hustle of a busy day that brings you satisfaction. Maybe you’re energized by social interactions, or perhaps it’s solitude that recharges you.

The key lies in embracing who you are and finding what works for you. It’s about creating a lifestyle that aligns with your values and aspirations.

Because at the end of the day, your happiness is all about you.

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.

 

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

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.

7 unexpected signs you’re more emotionally intelligent than you think

Men who are lonely in life but won’t admit it often display these 9 subtle behaviors