Do you ever wonder what it takes to be truly happy in life?
It turns out that genuinely happy people share much in common, and certain traits tend to be more prevalent among those who lead joyful and fulfilling lives.
Let’s explore the key traits that genuinely happy people tend to possess and see if we can integrate them to increase our own happiness.
1) They are optimistic
The main trait of people who live truly happy lives is unwavering optimism. They simply have a positive outlook on life that can’t be shattered by anything happening in the world around them or even in their immediate family.
They know that setbacks are temporary and that everything usually turns out fine in life as long as they stay on course.
I’ve long been very pessimistic and even took some pride in it. Luckily, I realized that’s no way to live life, and I am now much more optimistic even though life occasionally throws curveballs at me.
If you are also struggling with pessimism, here are some tips on how to turn that around:
- When you notice yourself thinking negative thoughts, challenge them by asking yourself if they’re really true.
- When faced with a challenge, focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on the problem.
- Set goals that are challenging but achievable, and break them down into smaller steps.
2) They have a sense of purpose
Another important thing I noticed with genuinely satisfied people is that they have a sense of purpose and direction in their lives.
That doesn’t mean they have a career they’re pursuing, although that also works for many people. On the contrary, they might have crappy jobs, but they don’t feel that their jobs represent their personality.
They like working in their community, helping people in their off time, spending time with their family, or pursuing a hobby that really fulfills them.
In Japan, this is known as Ikigai. It’s, simply put, the reason that gets you out of bed in the morning or a sense of purpose, a reason for living.
Here are some quick tips on how to find a purpose in life:
- Uncover your passions
- Play more
- Stop making it all about you
- Take it one step at a time
- Ask yourself what boils your blood
3) They are compassionate
Think about this last point for a second. What boils your blood? Are there some things in life you find unfair, and you think you could help and fix them?
I’m not really talking about your personal problems here. I’m thinking more about some issues in your community that you could work on.
You see, genuinely happy people are compassionate and tend to work in their communities, as I already mentioned. This gives them purpose in life as they’re focusing on others more than themselves.
This brings us to the next point.
4) They are grateful
To be truly happy and satisfied with life, you need to be grateful for what you have, even if it’s not much.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for more. After all, how can you help other people if you can’t even help yourself?
However, some of the happiest people can be found in some of the poorest parts of the world, as you’ll see next.
5) They are social
Did you know that the happiest place in Latin America, and one of the statistically happiest places in the world, is located just south of the Texas border? We often associate this area with poverty-stricken immigrants.
But Mexicans are extremely social. They love talking, laughing, and joking with their friends and family.
Every weekend, sons, daughters, grandparents, in-laws, grandchildren, cousins, etc., gather around and eat meals together and watch football, prepare BBQ, drink beer, play music, and enjoy life.
Spending time with friends and family goes hand in hand with the next trait on this list.
6) They are present in the moment
Mindfulness might be a buzzword for some, but it can really elevate your life. Being present in the moment is something we all struggle with now.
Just look around yourself. Do you think anyone is present in the moment? We’re all constantly on our smartphones, reading and seeing other people’s lives that we forget to live and enjoy ours.
Stop and smell the roses is an old saying, but it’s arguably never been more fitting than in today’s world.
7) They practice self-care
Happy people tend to care for themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. This doesn’t necessarily include working out, yoga, or meditating – probably the first things that come to mind.
It can simply mean taking half an hour out of a busy schedule for yourself, getting enough sleep, engaging in activities you enjoy, etc.
Self-care looks different for everyone, so it’s important to find what works best for you.
8) They are true to themselves
Genuinely happy folks tend to stay true to themselves and aren’t trying to be someone they aren’t.
Many people present a totally different persona to the outside. This is not something that can make you happy in the long term. We are bombarded with “fake” images on social media.
This puts pressure on people as they think they need to keep up with the Joneses.
There’s really no need for this unnecessary competitiveness, especially when it comes to gathering physical things.
Instead, focus on this next trait.
9) They are open-minded
I’ve never met a close-minded person that was truly happy. In my mind, this is almost impossible. You simply need to be open-minded and welcome new and different ideas and people.
Embrace new experiences and learn from them. Explore the world by trying unknown things and stepping out of your comfort zone. Say yes to challenges and share them with others.
It will keep your mind young well into old age.
10) They have a good sense of humor
People with a good sense of humor are able to find the funny side of life, even when life gives them lemons.
It’s important to not take yourself too seriously and find a humorous side in any situation. Laughter will help reduce stress, boost your mood, and increase your overall sense of well-being.
Try to approach life with a lighthearted and playful attitude. This can help you stay open to new experiences and find joy and humor in everyday moments.
11) They are self-aware
The best thing to do this is to be self-aware. Self-aware people understand their own thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
This makes it easy to make decisions and take actions that align with your values. It also helps with taking things at face value and not overthinking and overcomplicating them.
For me, the path to self-awareness was journaling. Once I started writing down my thoughts, I became more grateful for the small things in life and started to really understand myself.
It’s almost as if I met another person who was inside of me the whole time.
Take time to reflect on your experiences and how they have shaped you.
12) They are adaptable
And lastly, people that are genuinely happy in life are able to adapt quickly to new and changing circumstances with ease.
You got fired from your job? Great! When one door closes, another one opens.
Learn to let go and embrace uncertainty. This will help you develop problem-solving skills to help you find creative solutions to challenges that arise.
After reading this, are you ready to adopt some of these traits? It’s not hard. Simply start from the top and try to be more optimistic.
On the other hand, no matter how much we try to be different from our parents, we have some personality traits that we may have unwittingly inherited from them.
By knowing what they are, we can “break the shackles” and start living our lives to the fullest.
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