Why do people search for happiness? Is it something you can get in the world like materialistic things? No. But happy people have certain habits that help them being so.
We think we will be happy when we have more money, a bigger house or a dream job.
Our life is a constant chase to achieve certain things so that we can “be happy”.
But does it work like that? If so, the people who have all the materialistic possessions should be the happiest in the world.
And they are not. Happy people are happy because of their habits. It’s how they have trained themselves.
How can we be more happy with what we have? How can we stay content with daily life even though we want to achieve more in life?
It’s not bad to desire things in life. If you think you have more potential to be tapped, by all means, strive for it. You should get to create the life you want to live. But not by disliking what you have now. It will take away your happiness.
So let’s see what the habits of happy people are.
1. Happy people are grateful for what they have
Have you ever felt happy when you are complaining? It’s impossible to be happy when you are thinking about what’s not working in life or you are ‘pissed off’ by other people’s behavior.
If you constantly think about what you don’t have, you can never be happy.
No matter how much you have right now, there will be something to be unhappy about. Because there is always something better out there. But it can happen only if you choose to think about it.
Look at what’s right in your life. Everyday, express gratitude for all the blessings you have. The fact that you have the eyes to read this is a blessing. The fact that you have the devices or the internet connection to read this is a blessing. Not many people are blessed with whatever you have. When you realize every small thing you take for granted is a luxury for many, you have no reason to be sad, my friend.
2. They don’t chase ‘more’
Many people associate materialistic riches with happiness. Sure, when you lack the money to buy everything you want, you might feel jealous of the rich.
You will start chasing money thinking more money will solve your problems. Sure, money can solve many problems and give you freedom. But it can never buy happiness.
I am not saying you should stop working hard or stop trying to make more money. There is nothing wrong in working for a better standard of living. But stop gathering the material riches to keep up with the Jonases and make it the ultimate aim of your life.
Work for your goals, but at the same time, try to be content in everyday things. Celebrate your relationships and your ability to do little things. Try to be content with what you already have. When you have your eyes set on the next big thing, your heart hates what you have right now. And you are unhappy.
3. They love themselves
Fall in love with yourself. You are wonderful, you are unique. There is no one else in this world with the exact same beauty and flaws as you. Stop calling yourself names like ‘failure’ or ‘dumb’.
When you love yourself, you are excited to live. And that makes you genuinely happy.
4. they don’t let criticism affect them
For a long time in my life, I hated myself. I am an introvert and my quietness gets misinterpreted as a negative quality by many. It led me to grow up with the notion that ‘there is something wrong with me’. Until recently, I learned more about introversion and how it simply is a personality trait and not something to be ashamed of. So I have been undoing years of ‘feeling miserable and unworthy’ beliefs and am on a journey of self-discovery and self-love.
It happened to me because I listened to other people’s words and let them affect me. See, many people judge others harshly and have a problem with anyone who doesn’t do things like they do. Some people choose to speak only ill of you no matter how good you are.
Never let other people define you by your weaknesses. It’s like giving the key to your happiness to them and you are locked in. Sure, everyone has their flaws because we are human. And you can always work on them and make yourself better. And for some personality traits like introversion, you accept it and move on. ( I don’t know if we can change introversion, but I don’t want to since I am happy with many qualities that come with introversion).
Therefore, to be happy, don’t let the critics affect you.
5. They hang out with happy people
Examine if you are spending more time with negative people who have a problem for every solution.
The words and attitude of people whom you spend time with can really influence you. Happy people generally have a positive outlook towards life and no matter what life throws at you they have a way to tackle it.
On the other hand, toxic people are complainers and gossipmongers. What they are interested to talk about is why life is unfair or they are fixated upon other people’s shortcomings. Stay away from the complainers!
Choose to hang out with positive and happy people.
6. happy people don’t hang onto resentmentsHanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head”.- Ann LandersClick To Tweet
I was a person who would forgive slowly until one day I read the quote above.
It makes so sense. If you despise the people who wronged you why make them a part of your life by holding onto grudges? When you don’t forgive, you are in fact allowing them to steal your happiness.
Life continues even if you forgive or not. So try to make it happy and worthwhile by letting go of bitterness. When you are angry towards someone, it affects you more than them. Because stuffing all the negative emotions like anger, pain and hatred make you miserable and obstruct happiness.
7. they start their day right
When I was a night owl, I always started my days with stress because I was not prepared for the morning. I would get up late, get ready, grab what was on the table and rush out the door knowing I am again late for college.
I always started my days in a panic mode. And searching for my belongings all over the house in that busy hour added to my stress.
How you start your day determines how well you live that day.
I am not saying you should become a morning person. But including some calming activities like meditation or exercise in the morning before you start your routine chores, can have a wonderful impact on your mood for the whole day. Even if you don’t do anything, just by being yourself with a hot cup of coffee in silence is calming enough.
And whatever you do, don’t start your day by reading the newspaper. Newspapers or live TV news always portray negative news mostly to get more eyeballs on them. You don’t want to start your day by being shocked or stressed by thinking how unfair the world is. Reduce or completely eliminate the habit of news consumption, especially in the morning.
8. they don’t try to please others
I said above that happy people don’t let criticism affect them. Similarly, you can’t be happy if you constantly try to please others. You are wasting your life if you do so because of two reasons,
- You can’t fully please anyone no matter what you do
- You don’t get to live the life you want if you live by others’ opinions
And these are habits that will hinder your happiness. If you want to please anyone in life, please yourself. Because then your actions will be in alignment with what you love and it’s a natural way to be happy.
I am not saying you should never listen to anyone. You can seek guidance from people who matter to you. But in the end, choose what will make YOU happy. And always try to choose what is morally right, because you never want to hurt yourself or others in the long run. That road will never lead to happiness. So always stick to honesty and integrity.
9. they don’t sweat the small stuff
For those who sweat the small stuff, life becomes stressful because there are always little things in life that you may or may not be able to control. Like getting stuck in a traffic jam when you are in a hurry or your kid spilling milk on your new shirt. Such things happen all the time.
But happy people take those moments as….small. Richard Carlson, the author of the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and psychotherapist, says when you have to deal with small stuff that worries you, ask yourself,
“Will this matter a year from now?”
Being happy has a lot to do with keeping stress at bay. You can’t be a happier person if you are always worried and angry about small things. When starting to get worried about small things, see the bigger perspective. “Do you have a roof over your head?”, “A job?”, “Are your kids healthy?”. If you can answer ‘yes’ to most questions, then you are good to go.
10. they live within their means
Happy people have smart spending habits. They spend within their budget, that is, they always spend less than what they earn. Unnecessary debt can take away your peace of mind and block happiness.
Sometimes people end up spending money on unnecessary purchases you do not try to keep up with the Joneses which is a major habit that prevents happiness. And that takes me to the next point.
11. they don’t compare their lives to others
If you want to be happy, stop looking at what others have and what you don’t have. We can get caught up in the comparison game and whatever you have in life becomes never enough. More money, more things, a bigger house, expensive devices etc. are not gonna make you happy.
To be truly happy with what you have, you must practice it. Yes, practice being happy and being content. Enjoy the moment you have right now, rather than always looking for future achievements. It’s called being mindful and something you should practice to live in the moment.
Life, as you see, is never getting longer. It only gets shorter. And all you have is this moment. You are never going to get this day of your life again. Make it worthwhile by being content and grateful. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness help you enjoy your ‘present moment’ as it is without any achievement.
12. they exercise regularly
Ah, the exercise word again! Yes, it is something that has a positive impact on so many areas of your life. Most of us lead a pretty much sedentary lifestyle and so getting exercise is important for a happy and healthy life.
Studies show that exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals called Dopamine into our brain. Ever felt energetic and ready to take on the day after a good workout session? Thanks to Dopamine! It also reduces stress and anxiety, which means, more happiness!
13. they spend time for socializing
Danes, people of Denmark, are voted consistently as the happiest people in the world year after year. Though there are many factors that make them the happiest people, one of them is their social life. Danes give importance to their social life more than money.
They have a good work-life balance and spending time socializing with close friends and family is very important for them.
Studies have shown that people who have an active social life enjoy better physical and mental health. Being with the people we love causes our body to release hormones like oxytocin and serotonin. We get a sense of security, togetherness, and sense of self-worth when we have people to share our happiness and frustrations in life.
So if you want to be happy, make time to interact with the people you love.
14. they are optimistic
Life will throw you curveballs no matter what. We are sure to deal with failures, illnesses, loss of loved ones etc. I like to envision living life as climbing a range of mountains. When you climb a mountain and reach the top, you feel happy and elated. But you can’t stay there forever. You have to climb down. That climbing down is part of life but you are sure there are more mountains to come and you will feel excited again.
Being happy doesn’t mean you are always smiling or laughing. It also means being resilient in the face of crisis. See your problems as challenges. When you see a problem as a challenge, you feel optimistic that there is a solution. But if you see it as a ‘problem’, you feel pessimistic and unhappy.
15. they value experiences more than materialism
If you want to be happier, spend money on experiences more than on materials. When you are on your death bed, what memories would be more valuable to you? The memories of the super expensive car you drove or how much you laughed in life?
Research shows that the happiness you get by acquiring materialistic things doesn’t last long because as humans, we get quickly adapted to them. Experiences are memories that will last forever.
Focus on creating more experiences with your loved ones, visit places that you haven’t gone to, get out of your comfort zone more and experience new things.
Remember happiness is never a destination, but a journey. It is something you create consciously by being content about the little things. Happiness is also the ability to overlook frustrations in life by being positive.
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