10 things happy people choose to do every single day

Happiness is a state of mind, and it’s one we cultivate daily through our thoughts and actions.

What do happy people do?

Let’s find out…

1) Count their lucky stars

Contrary to popular belief, feeling happy isn’t about having everything you want in life.

It’s far more about being able to feel deep appreciation for whatever it is that you do have.

It’s a tricky thing to fully believe in our consumerist society where we are purposefully sold the lie that more money or more stuff will make you feel more fulfilled.

And sure, it might for a while. But the honest truth is that the shine wears off everything eventually.

Unless we can have the mindset to stop and smell the roses, nothing is ever “enough”.

Happy people show thanks by:

  • Gratitude journaling
  • Expressing appreciation to people in their lives
  • Writing thank you letters
  • Savoring pleasurable experiences — e.g. your morning coffee, playtime with the kids, the feel of the sun on your skin, etc.

Bringing more gratitude to your life can improve your sleep, mood, and immunity.

It can reduce pain and alleviate anxiety and depression. It’s also been shown to strengthen relationships. 

2) Find meaning in whatever they do

We tend to look for purpose as if it’s something that we will find by doing the “right” career or activity. Sometimes we believe we need to find our true calling in life to experience it.

But just like gratitude, that purpose also comes from within. We can choose to apply it to anything we do.

When we approach a task we can decide to give it our full care and attention. And that’s what creates meaning.

It’s actually a decision.

Ways to try to find more meaning can include:

  • Connecting with your “why” for doing anything. What’s the drive and purpose behind it?
  • Understand your core values and check you are living by them
  • Reflecting on any dreams and goals you want to fulfill
  • Trying new things and push your comfort zone
  • Exploring your talents and skills without expectation, to see where they take you

3) Do nice things for others

One of those counter-intuitive secrets to happiness is actually making our lives less about us.

For example. research shows that we get more of a kick out of giving than receiving.

Whenever we’re feeling down, lost, or stuck a great way to shift that energy is helping someone else.

There’s evidence it makes us not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and makes life feel more meaningful.

Acts of kindness, even small ones, strengthen social connections and feelings of belongingness. These are really important to our well-being.

From dishing out kind words to doing small favors — the little things can make a big difference:

  • Give sincere compliments
  • Pay it forward
  • Volunteer your time, money, or expertise
  • Call a friend or relative to check in on them
  • Be polite and mindful of how you speak to others (it can make or break their day)

4) Spend time on the things they love and with the people they love

Life is all about priorities, happy people know theirs.

Some things are non-negotiable. We have to go to work to pay the bills and put food on the table. Likewise, there are certain chores that need our attention to keep life running smoothly.

But even then, we still get a say in where our free time goes.

Happy people make the time and effort to nurture their connections and relationships. And they make the conscious choice to protect time in their day to do the things they love.

This sort of self-care is essential and not just a luxury.

Whether it’s gardening for 30 minutes, having a coffee catch-up with a friend, or going to bed early to read a good book.

They don’t make excuses, they find time.

That may mean cutting out other things like social media scrolling, TV time, or even the people and activities that aren’t as important.

5) Say “no”

Learning to say no is an all too often overlooked part of finding happiness.

Saying no can be literal or metaphorical. Because the reality is that everything we say yes to in life demands that we say no to something else.

It may mean saying “no” to:

  • Bad habits
  • Outdated beliefs, thoughts, and ideas that aren’t serving you
  • The demands of others
  • Requests or invitations

Saying no can involve showing restraint. It may ask us to make better choices. For example, saying no to that second glass of wine for the sake of our health.

It is also vital for our boundaries, which hugely impact happiness.

Without the small but mighty “no” we can fall into people-pleasing behaviors that not only rob us of our time but also our self-esteem. 

6) Think holistically and don’t neglect the basics

It never fails to amaze me how everything is connected — body, mind, and spirit.

After a recent bout of illness, I was feeling run down, both physically and mentally. So I turned to acupuncture.

I wanted to treat myself as a whole rather than just certain parts. Now I don’t profess to understand it all, or why it’s scientifically proven to work.

But I value this holistic approach to well-being in life, and I’m convinced that’s key to its success rate.

If we want to be happy, we need to seek balance. If one part of your life totally sucks, it can throw everything into chaos.

People who choose to be happy know this. They recognize the interconnectedness of everything. They know that neglecting one aspect is going to have a knock-on effect.

That means they always pay attention to the basics like:

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Relaxation
  • Breath

They know these important foundations that cannot be overlooked. Including the next thing on our list — creating routine, and structure.

7) Seize the day

Happy people choose to get up and at ‘em.

Routine and simple actions can be really constructive tools in structuring our day. In a world full of potential stress and anxiety, being organized can save us a lot of strain.

Having positive habits to fall back on daily help us to feel more in control of our lives.

Having a plan of action and some small achievable goals for the day can really help your motivation levels.

Some really simple steps can help you to seize the day:

  • Don’t lie in bed too long when you wake up
  • Do the most important tasks first from your to-do list
  • Move your body (just 7 minutes of daily exercise is enough to boost happiness)
  • Get outside (20 minutes of outdoor time improves health and happiness)
  • Don’t overschedule
  • Seek support and don’t try to do it all alone

8) Cut themselves some slack

Radical self-acceptance does wonders for our happiness. Because it’s difficult to be happy when you’re always beating yourself up.

We know that nobody is perfect, but we can find 1001 ways to chastise ourselves over our natural human flaws.

Happy people choose to cut themselves the slack they need every day.

That doesn’t mean having low standards. But it means approaching themselves with self-love and compassion.

That requires:

  • Dropping perfectionism
  • Being mindful of negative self-talk and changing the script
  • Remembering to celebrate all of your efforts as well as your daily wins
  • Learning to forgive perceived errors, mistakes, or slip-ups

9) Not dwell on things they can’t control

This all comes down to mindset and the way we choose to frame things.

Shit happens — to everyone. Yep, even to the most rich, famous, and successful among us.

There’s no way around it. But we can either decide to focus on lack or abundance in life.

Wherever we put our attention is going to seriously affect our daily happiness.

It’s not about being ignorant of our problems by wearing rose-tinted glasses. But it is about recognizing what you can and cannot control.

When you’re thrown into worry, ask yourself:

  • Will this matter 1 year from now?
  • Is there anything I can do to impact the situation? If so, what?

If you can’t do anything then:

  • Find a positive distraction to shift your attention
  • Release tension through movement or other stressbusting exercise
  • Remind yourself of the bigger picture
  • Meditate or do breathwork
  • Share your feelings with a loved one
  • Do some journalling

10) Take each day at a time

Life is made up of a series of moments. Our job is to focus on each of those moments. When we do, the quality significantly improves. 

That’s not to say we can’t make plans for the future, or learn from our mistakes of the past. But happy people realize that the real power always lies in the present.

Part of adaptability is accepting the flow of life and being prepared to change. When we drift too much into the past or future we welcome in anxiety, overthinking, and rumination.

The reason mindfulness is so potent for our well-being is that it allows us to strip away unnecessary thoughts that clutter the mind.

That way, we can bring our attention to the “now”. We can learn to live more in the present by:

  • Noticing our surroundings and small details
  • Focusing on one thing at a time
  • Approach even familiar tasks with curiosity
  • Observing your breath
  • Accepting our current circumstances (even when we want to change them)
  • Do a body scan and notice how you feel

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

Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

A strong woman will never let these 10 things stand in her way

If someone displays these 12 traits, they’re a really authentic person