Modern society conditions us to believe that happiness is a destination we arrive at: the promotion that will wash away all our problems, the new car that will make us feel good, the freedom we will obtain from leaving a 9–5.
So we now live with this idea: “When X happens, I’ll be happy.”
Newsflash. You can have it all — the dream job, the close-knit friends, the jet-setter lifestyle — you may still be unhappy, and may not even know why.
Happiness is not a distant island we must travel to, happiness is a place we already live in because happiness is found within us.
Happiness a deep-rooted rose of contentment that you carry with you everywhere you go — and you are the one who chooses whether or not to water it every morning upon waking up.
Happiness exists right here, right now.
Our sole objective is to turn our gaze inward and find all the barriers within ourselves that we’ve unconsciously built to bury that happiness beneath our sight. How do we do that? We form new habits that cast away the shadows and allow us to see the light again.
Here are ten typical daily habits of truly happy people.
1. Happy people stay grateful for everything they have.
One day, a man on the streets of Dubai formed a heart shape out of the fallen leaves and twigs he had collected while on his street-cleaning shift. Someone snapped a photo of him and it went viral.
When asked why he did it, he said:
Happy people understand the one fundamental truth of life: What you focus on expands. So if you’re constantly engaging with depressing, self-critical, or negative thoughts, well then guess what? Your life experience will reflect those very thoughts you’re giving your attention to.
And that’s exactly why happy people practice gratitude.
2. They give freely (and that’s how they make an impact).
Taking the time to help others not only makes them happy; it makes you happy as well. When we act with kindness, we do it with the intention of making the recipient feel good.
But, as several studies have revealed, when we engage in an act of kindness, our brain increases the release of oxytocin “the love hormone,” and that’s why we feel a surge of happiness.
It comes to no surprise then, that what Plato wrote centuries ago still holds true today:
Think about it, when you help someone in kindness and generosity, you make them feel special — you make an impact on their life. And isn’t that what we’re all striving for in life?
3. They focus on what they’re good at.
Remember what we said earlier? What you give your attention to, expands. When You focus on your weaknesses, you amplify them, and as a result, feel weak. When you focus on your strengths, magnify them, as a result, you feel confident .
Studies have shown that when we focus our energy on developing our strengths, we grow much faster than when attempting to improve our weaknesses. We become more confident, happier, and energized at work.
That’s why happy people make it a habit to water their strengths.
4. They create time to do what they love every day.
Our days are filled with things we have to do, things we need to do, and things we want to do. Most of the time, however, we end up doing what we have to do, along with all the other things that comfort us and help us escape from the stress that arises from doing the former… And so we end up putting off all the things we really want to do.
How often has this happened to you?.
What you need to do is make time for what you really want to be doing.
Make time for what you love. How? Prioritize it. make time for what matters to you. That’s a habit of happy people — they carve out the time to do what they love because doing what they love makes them happy.
So, what makes you happy? Go make time for it so you can do more of it.
5. Happy people find reasons to laugh and forge deep connections.
Have you ever heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine?”
Well, there’s a reason for that.
Studies have revealed how laughter lowers our levels of cortisol the “stress hormone,” boosts our mood, relieves pain, improves our immune system, and stimulates the release of endorphins the “feel-good hormone.”
Laughter is not only good for your health; it also draws you back to the present moment. When you laugh, you’re not thinking about the past or the future, you’re deeply lost in the joy and silliness of the present.
It also allows you to create, reinforce, and deepen your relationships. This is imperative since true happiness does not stem from our wealth in money or material possessions, it sprouts from the quality of relationships with people.
We all make small mistakes and stupid decisions. Make it a habit to laugh about the silly things. Laugh at yourself. Find humor in difficult times; it’ll draw more joy and human connection (read: happiness) into your life.
6. They are okay with not being okay, but they stay positive and try to make the best of everything.
Happy people know that bad things happen to everyone. So when tragedy hits, they accept it. They allow themselves the privilege of fully feeling that frustrating or sad emotion.
But instead of dwelling in self-pity or complaining about the could have’s and should have’s, happy people reflect on what they can be grateful for.
They turn their attention to the lessons that can be learned from downfalls, and then, they work toward finding solutions to those problems. They face life’s challenges with enthusiasm and optimist — and that’s how they maintain a positive spirit that allows them to try and make the best of everything.
7. Happy people live slow, stay present, and enjoy the hidden pleasures life has to offer.
Do you know what makes you happy?
Reading, writing, and exercising. Sports. Being in nature. Having dinner with friends. Basking in the sun at the seashore. Going for an evening walk . The list goes on.
All of these things are free.
When we rush, we fail to appreciate it. But when we live slow, we begin to see, taste, and feel the beauty that life can offer us.
8. They exercise.
Motion creates emotions. When we move, we change our moods. In fact, research has shown that people who exercise for as little as 10 minutes a day tend to be more cheerful than those who never exercise.
Exercise improves our mental health, cognitive functionality, and memory, while also reducing our stress and anxiety — all of which help us lead a healthier, happier life.
9. They consciously nurture a growth mindset.
There are two core mindsets in life: fixed and growth.
With a fixed mindset, you believe that your qualities are set in stone and thus, you cannot change. With a growth mindset, you believe that you are capable of change and expansion — that you can improve with effort.
10. They only focus on what is within their control.
If you look back at all the habits above, all nine of them relate to this cornerstone habit of happy people: They only focus on what they can control.
Choosing to be grateful, choosing to be kind, to make time for what you love, to stay positive, to slow down, to exercise, and seek growth — all these are habits within your control.