10 ways to feel genuinely happy (even when life gets tough)

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We all have rough days or even tough seasons in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find happiness along the way.

Finding joy, even when life is hard, can make a big difference in how we handle challenges.

In this article, we’ll share 10 simple ways to bring a little more happiness into your life, no matter what’s going on around you.

It’s all about taking small steps and making easy changes that can help you feel better, even when times are tough. Let’s get started!

1. Practice Gratitude

One of the simplest ways to feel happier, even when life is tough, is to practice gratitude.

It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong or what we don’t have, but taking time to appreciate what we do have can shift our perspective and make us feel more positive.

Start by making a habit of listing three things you’re grateful for every day.

It could be something big like a supportive friend or something small like a cup of your favorite tea.

By focusing on the good things in your life, you’ll start to notice more of them, and you’ll find it easier to feel genuinely happy, even when times are tough.

Remember, gratitude is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly.

The more you practice it, the stronger it becomes, and the easier it will be to find things to be grateful for, even in the midst of challenges.

2. Connect with Others

When life gets tough, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone.

But reaching out to others can make a big difference in your happiness levels.

Spend time with friends or family who make you feel loved and supported.

Talk about what you’re going through or just share a laugh together.

If you’re not able to meet up with people in person, consider sending a text, making a phone call, or connecting through video calls.

Sometimes, just knowing that someone cares about you can be enough to lift your spirits.

Connecting with others also gives you the opportunity to help them, which can bring its own sense of happiness.

Whether it’s offering a listening ear, helping with a task, or just being there for someone, you’ll find that helping others can make you feel good too.

So, reach out, connect, and share the ups and downs of life with others.

3. Spend Time in Nature

There’s something about spending time in nature that just makes you feel better.

Whether it’s a walk in the park, a hike in the woods, or simply sitting in your backyard, being surrounded by nature can help you feel more relaxed and happy.

I remember a time when I was going through a particularly difficult period in my life.

Everything seemed overwhelming, and I felt like I was on the verge of breaking down.

One day, I decided to take a walk in a nearby park.

As I strolled along the winding paths, I noticed the vibrant colors of the leaves, the gentle rustling of the trees, and the soothing sounds of birds chirping.

For the first time in weeks, I felt a sense of calm wash over me.

Being in nature helped me take a break from my problems and put things into perspective.

It reminded me of the beauty in the world and the simple pleasures that life has to offer.

Even now, when life gets tough, I make it a point to spend some time in nature. It never fails to lift my spirits.

So, if you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, try spending some time outdoors.

Breathe in the fresh air, soak in the beauty around you, and let nature work its magic on your mood.

4. Embrace the Tough Times

Instead of trying to avoid or escape the tough times, try embracing them. It may sound strange, but it can actually help you feel happier.

Life is full of challenges, and it’s natural to want to avoid pain or discomfort.

However, by resisting these experiences, you may inadvertently prolong them or make them feel more intense.

Instead, try acknowledging your feelings, even if they’re negative, and allowing yourself to fully experience them.

When I went through a difficult breakup, I tried to avoid my feelings by keeping busy and distracting myself. It didn’t work.

The pain just kept coming back, and I felt stuck. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to fully feel and process my emotions that I started to heal.

By embracing the tough times, you’ll be better equipped to learn from them, grow, and move on.

You’ll also develop a deeper appreciation for the good times, which can help you feel more genuinely happy overall.

So, when you’re going through a challenging period, try leaning into it, accepting it, and facing it head-on.

You might be surprised at how much lighter and happier you feel.

5. Allow Yourself to Feel Sad

This might seem like a strange way to find happiness, but it’s okay to allow yourself to feel sad.

Often, when life gets tough, we put on a brave face and try to push through, pretending that everything is okay.

But bottling up your emotions can make you feel worse in the long run.

It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated when life throws you a curveball. It’s natural to have those feelings, and allowing yourself to feel them can be healing.

Trying to suppress your emotions can be draining and even damaging.

When you’re feeling down, give yourself permission to feel it.

Cry if you need to, get angry, or just be with your emotions.

You don’t have to fix them or try to make them go away.

Sometimes, just acknowledging your feelings and allowing them to be can be incredibly freeing.

Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. You don’t have to be happy all the time.

Embracing your emotions, even the painful ones, can lead to a deeper and more genuine sense of happiness when the good times come around.

So be honest with yourself, feel your feelings, and know that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. It’s all part of being human.

6. Focus on What You Can Control

When life gets tough, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the things that are out of your control.

Maybe you’re dealing with a difficult situation at work, a health issue, or a family crisis.

Whatever it is, it’s natural to feel powerless and stressed.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, shift your attention to the things you can control.

This could be as simple as your daily routine, the way you respond to others, or the time you spend on self-care.

By focusing on what you can control, you’ll feel more empowered and less overwhelmed.

It’s also a great way to regain a sense of stability and direction when life feels chaotic.

Take small steps to make positive changes in the areas of your life that you can control.

Create a routine that includes activities you enjoy, set realistic goals, and prioritize self-care.

Remember, you may not be able to control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you respond and the choices you make.

Taking charge of what you can control can help you feel happier and more confident, even when life gets tough.

7. Embrace Imperfection

We live in a world where there’s often pressure to be perfect – to have the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect relationships.

But the truth is, there’s no such thing as perfection. In fact, the pursuit of perfection can often lead to unhappiness.

Trying to be perfect all the time can be exhausting and unrealistic.

It can make you feel like you’re constantly falling short and never quite good enough.

But the reality is that everyone has flaws, makes mistakes, and has bad days.

Instead of striving for perfection, try embracing your imperfections.

Accept yourself as you are, with all your quirks, flaws, and unique qualities.

Understand that it’s okay to make mistakes, to have bad days, and to not have everything figured out.

By letting go of the need for perfection, you’ll free yourself from unrealistic expectations and unnecessary stress.

You’ll be able to appreciate the beauty in life’s imperfections and find happiness in the little, messy moments.

Remember, life is a work in progress, and so are you. Embracing imperfection can help you feel more relaxed, authentic, and genuinely happy.

8. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment.

It can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and reduce stress.

When life gets tough, it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.

This can make you feel overwhelmed and anxious.

Practicing mindfulness can help you stay grounded and present, even in the midst of challenges.

Try taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness.

Sit quietly and focus on your breathing, or simply pay attention to your surroundings.

Notice the sounds, smells, and sensations around you. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your focus back to the present moment.

Mindfulness can help you gain a clearer perspective on what’s happening in your life, and it can make it easier to manage your emotions.

By staying present, you’ll be better able to appreciate the small moments of happiness that occur, even during tough times.

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.

 

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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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