We all have varying opinions about what happiness is and how to get it.
So the question is, what are things we can do to make ourselves happier?
Here are some insights worth considering:
Table of Contents
- Be grateful
- Be forgiving
- Be passionate and know your purpose in life
- Surround yourself with positivity
- Love and accept yourself as you are
- Happy talk
- Take back your happy power
- Make someone else happy
- Making yourself happy requires that there is a “good fit” between our environment and ourselves
- Be with positive people
- Selfless Service
- Write encouraging, happy thoughts
- Keep adding to the list
- Look at where you are, look at where you’re wanting to be and celebrate the journey
- Grieve the fairy-tale of what you think happiness should be
- Practice in the art of spin
- Stop being your own worst enemy
- Date yourself
- Know your value
- Find your people
- Count your blessings
- The secret is to spend some time thinking about the things that truly make you happy
- The other important factor in being happy is the way you think
- A daily gesture for me yourself
- Let the sunshine in
- Show appreciation
- Perspective matters
- Focusing more on the small things in life that make a big difference for you
- Make plans with friends and family
- Find a hobby you enjoy
- Practice gratitude every day
- I believe the only way to make yourself happy is by becoming your true self
- Know and embrace your personality type
- You can achieve lasting happiness by changing your perspective about the world you live in
- Take care of your physical health
- Eat enough fiber
- Meditate daily
- Don’t confuse pleasure with happiness
- Be grateful
- Walk barefoot on the ground every day
- Pour a bucket of very cold water on yourself and scream out loud
- Go out into the sunlight
- Dance as silly as you can
- Reach out
- Know thyself
- “Easy does it”
- Trick yourself with your body
- Listen to music with inspirational lyrics and that light you up
- Take a break from social media
- Find a breathing technique that works for you
- Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Elia Gourgouris
President, The Happiness Center | Contributing Expert, Mindcurrent | Author, 7 Paths to Lasting Happiness
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim of human existence -Aristotle
That’s quite a statement and so true, but what actually makes us happy? In my experience working with people and organizations from all walks of life, there are some specific attributes and actions that happy people focus on consistently. Listed below are five of the most important principles:
First of all, most happy individuals have a relentless “attitude of gratitude” approach to life even when life is not perfect. Being grateful when life is good, is relatively easy, but actively choosing to be grateful in the midst of adversity is a big key to happiness.
As I say, we are all graduates from the “University of Adversity” called life, and remember, it’s not an easy road for anyone.
Second, happy people have the ability to forgive themselves and others relatively quickly. In many ways, forgiveness equals personal freedom from the baggage of hurts and resentments. Even more importantly, the consistency of self-forgiveness brings increased happiness.
Related: How to Forgive Yourself: 5 Steps to Self Forgiveness
Be passionate and know your purpose in life
Third, happy people know their purpose in life and as a result have passion, the fuel which supports their vision. They are lovers of learning throughout their lives.
Surround yourself with positivity
Fourth, happy people tend to surround themselves with other positive-minded individuals. They limit or eliminate toxic-relationships from their lives and bask in the positivity and love of their intentionally created relationships.
Love and accept yourself as you are
And finally, happy people choose to love and accept their imperfect selves by gifting that same patience, kindness, and understanding they likely already give to others.
Author | Professional Speaker | World’s only Jollytologist® | Speaker | TED Presenter
Counteract any negativity you may be experiencing with happier thoughts. You can yourself to stay uplifted with inspiring quotations.
When I’m happy I feel like crying, but when I’m sad I don’t feel like laughing. I think it’s better to be happy. Then you get two feelings for the price of one. —Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann.
Take back your happy power
You are in charge of your life. Don’t let anyone or any situation ruin your day. You and only you determine how happy or unhappy you are.
The really happy man is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. —Anonymous
Make someone else happy
Doing volunteer work, helping other people out, and bringing joy to others can be the quickest way to uplift your own spirits.
One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people. —Dick Gregory
Clinical Psychologist | Inspirational Speaker | Author, “But It’s Your Family: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath“
Making yourself happy comes down to:
- Scaling back from other people and focusing on the things that make you happy and discovering what those are.
- Make time for yourself. If we don’t make time for ourselves, we don’t create a space for that happiness we’re looking for to manifest.
- Choose a good company. we must spend time around people that bring us happiness-that add to our lives- rather than people that bring us down, are negative or subtract from our lives.
- Making yourself happy is definitely going to be physical as well. When we enjoy or are proud of what we look like we tend to be happier and feel more confident in life.
- Passion/hard work. When we work hard and we’re achieving something we’re proud of, happiness is almost always a by-product of achievement. It’s a sense of reward.
- Make time for fun, socializing, loving, getting outdoors, travel… doing things that give you a break and make you smile.
Clinical & Community Psychologist and Psychoanalyst
If one believes that human beings are thoroughly social creatures, that one’s very sense of self and what we experience as reality is formed in one’s relationship with one’s environment (and that by “environment” I mean, initially other people), then being secure in that environment is a foundation for how we feel about ourselves, others and the world.
Making yourself happy requires that there is a “good fit” between our environment and ourselves
And, as adults, this environment includes the people who we are close to (friends, family, lovers, co-workers, partners), our educational and occupational endeavors, as well as the goals we set, how we strive to reach them, and what kind of resources, help, and support we find and utilize along the way. And these assets, in turn, are largely social.
Therefore, the answer to the question of how to make oneself happy is paradoxical: It requires that we allow others to care for, help love and support us.
Being happy is a state of taking in that love and care, and—by putting ourselves in a reciprocal relationship with the world and those around us—allowing that care to contribute consistently to our own sense of self-esteem, -worth and -acceptance.
Dr. Sal Raichbach
Psychologist, Ambrosia Treatment Center
Be with positive people
Nothing erodes happiness like negative energy, and negativity is highly contagious. The best way to stay positive is to try to limit contact with friends, family members or co-workers who are consistently negative.
Instead of living in their negativity, do something that benefits you every day. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget about the people that make you happy, but your wellbeing should be the priority.
When you commit to being around positive people, they will remind you every day to treat yourself with respect and kindness.
Rev. Connie L. Habash
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Awakening Self | Author, Awakening from Anxiety: A Spiritual Guide to Living a More Calm, Confident, and Courageous Life
The practice of gratitude, throughout your day, increases happiness and alleviates anxiety and depression.
Focus on what is here, right now, that you can feel grateful for. Your breath, the sun, rain, or starlight, a delicious meal, a simple glass of water are all things to be grateful for. As you practice gratitude, you’ll find more and more things to appreciate – and that increases happiness.
A gratitude journal builds and sustains happiness. Choose a time each day to write in your gratitude journal; many people find that right before bed works well.
List 3-5 things each day that fills you with appreciation and gratitude. Look for the little things, like feeling free of pain or that you have a full tank of gas, as well as big things.
Consider your home, relationships, health, activities that you enjoy, places that you appreciate, simple interactions that happened with strangers, or the beauty of nature. If the trash was picked up today, celebrate that you don’t have to worry about garbage piling up at your house!
There’s so much to be grateful for. Then, notice how you feel when you finish your daily list. Chances are good that you’ll feel happier.
Another practice that has been shown to lift us out of a sour mood and increase happiness is volunteer work. Offer yourself of service to another. This could be through an organization, such as a local food bank, animal shelter, or the recent Coastal Cleanup Day.
But it doesn’t have to be an official event: you can help an elderly neighbor with taking their trash out or assisting a friend with a move.
Find some way to offer yourself without expectation of anything in return, especially to those less fortunate than you. You’ll experience more happiness in your heart from knowing you made a difference.
Certified Addiction Counselor, Your Life Is Your Prayer | President, Prevention Education Program, Inc. | Author, Your Life is Your Prayer
Repetitious thoughts create emotions. We each get to choose what thoughts we think, and we possess the ability to intentionally do just that. We may drift back to displeasing thoughts but, when we notice it, we can again choose the thoughts we think. Here is one of my favorite exercises:
Write encouraging, happy thoughts
If you can create them yourself, terrific! If you can’t create them, it is just as effective to use the pleasing thoughts of other people. You might find them in books, overhear them, or find them in social media memes.
Put the list in your pocket and every time you reach in and feel it, take it out and read the thoughts. Reading them is the same as momentarily thinking them.
If you want, schedule this appointment a few times each day on your smartphone: “Read the list.” When your reminder chimes, you’ll know what to do.
Keep adding to the list
Ask people to share happy thoughts with you and write them down. If we continue this process, it gets easier and easier and before long a happy thought will automatically pop into the mind without reading it. Happiness will smoothly work its way into daily life and thinking.
This takes a small commitment to finding happiness and it’s worth it!
The pursuit of happiness is a good one and owning it is a great start. It’s not expecting it to come from other people and it is not basing it on the circumstance which so often does not cooperate with our plans. People have a way of getting what they’re really seeking.
There is something in the counseling world called the Miracle Question, which stems from solution-focused therapy.
If you were to wake up tomorrow and the world was perfect for you, what would be different?
How to make yourself happy… well if there were a one size fits all for that, this would be a way to easy, but how can you work towards that world where you wake up and everything is closer to perfect for you.
Look at where you are, look at where you’re wanting to be and celebrate the journey
Beyond all of this, creating happiness for others or contributing to making the world better for others is a contagious kind of happiness with a side of fulfillment. For me, it may be praying with a sick person in a hospital room, or a phone call to see how a job interview went.
However, to the recipient of those things its hope and a sign they’re not alone, or someone cheering for them for something they need. For the effort involved to make such a difference… That’ll make you happy right there.
Registered Clinical Counselor, Singled Out
Here are three tips I suggest to make yourself happy:
Grieve the fairy-tale of what you think happiness should be
Before a person can pursue an intentional life, they must first grieve their unintentional life.
Practice in the art of spin
It’s far too easy to compare the worst of your life to the best of someone else’s. Try being grateful for your haves instead of focusing on your have-nots.
That empty bed you feel so lonely in is actually a ton of legroom.That overwhelming financial decision is probably an enviable amount of independence.
Stop being your own worst enemy
Much of our self-talk throughout the day would constitute as bullying if we said it out loud to someone else. Take the time to tell yourself positive messages.
Spend time doing activities you love. Get to know you and enjoy your own company in the same way you would build a relationship with anyone else.
Writer | Motivational Speaker | Life Design Coach | Founder, The Optimists Journal
Ask yourself the kind of questions that you wish someone would ask you on a date. Journal, tell yourself your stories, see where it takes you.
Self-awareness is a major key to long term happiness. Knowing what we value and why we do what we do leads to deeper meaning in our lives which in turns makes us happier. It can also help us identify issues that are keeping our own happiness at bay.
Know your value
When we know our own inherent worth, we don’t waste time proving it to anyone else. The most consistently happy people are internally motivated and don’t need a lot of validation from the outside world to follow their own path.
In short, confidence in yourself and your direction will make you happy along the journey and not overly focused on the destination.
Related: Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough? See Yourself for Your True Value
Find your people
We are not meant to live solitary lives. Meaningful connection is key and the better we know ourselves, the easier we will forge bonds with like-minded, authentic people who share our interests and core values.
Life is not meant to be lived on the surface. The better we know ourselves and our value, and then open ourselves up to meaningful connection, the greater the depths of happiness we will experience.
President, THGM Writers | Author, Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: The 9 Habits of Maximum Happiness
Count your blessings
There are many ways to make yourself happy. When asked which habit is the most important, it was a no-brainer. The reason this is so vital is that this is the habit or attitude that activates pretty much anything else.
Consider a brand new car, an upgrade from you old broken-down puddle-jumper. The new car brings immense happiness. It’s new and clearly better than what you had before. You really appreciate it. It’s a blessing, and you are counting it.
Fast forward six months. The “new” car is no longer new. It’s no longer an upgrade from what you were driving the month before. You aren’t thinking how lucky you are, you are just using it to get to work – same as the old puddle-jumper. Because you are now feeling appreciation for the vehicle, it no longer brings you happiness.
This applies to everything, everyone, and every situation, from food to health to career to the weather. The more you count your blessings, the more those blessings will bring you happiness.
Michael J. Brown, R.Ph., BCPS, BCPP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Sunshine Nutraceuticals
Happiness is a very individual phenomenon. What makes me happy, may or may not make you or others happy.
The secret is to spend some time thinking about the things that truly make you happy
I like to call these “happiness elements”. I use this term because these “elements” may be thoughts, things, places, people and much more. Once you know what these are, the goal is to spend as much time with them as possible.
One of my happiness elements is working in the hospital. This is not because I make money, but because I enjoy the feeling I get from helping others. Because of this, I work two hospital jobs and I sincerely enjoy them both. My guess is your happiness elements are different from mine.
Spend some quality time thinking about what makes you happy and write it down.
When you feel happiness, keep track of what you were doing, where you were, and who you were with. Rank these elements beginning with the one that created the most happiness. Once you have done this, try to spend as much time with these happiness elements as possible.
The other important factor in being happy is the way you think
I try very hard to eliminate negative thoughts from my mind as soon as they arise. If you believe you are happy, you most likely will be. Try to avoid black and white negative thinking completely.
Examples of this are “I’m never going to finish this”, or “This crappy day will never end”. If you have problems with these “thinking errors” write them down on the left side of a piece of paper. For example, on the left side of the paper I would write: “This crappy day will never end”. Then to the right of this, jot down what you know to be true: This day will certainly end, they all do.
If you practice this exercise, you will learn to automatically correct yourself when negative thoughts cross your mind.
In conclusion, identify your “happy elements”, spend as much time with them as possible, and work to eliminate negative thinking. I promise you will be happier if you follow these two simple strategies.
Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics
British writer and lay theologian, C.S. Lewis said,
Don’t think less of yourself as a person, but think of yourself less, focusing more on the betterment of yourself for the sake of those around you, rather than for your own ego.
He may just have a valid point. It seems that self-esteem is without a doubt closely related to happiness. So it would seem that if we were more kind to ourselves, we’d feel higher self-worth and contentment. There are many acts of kindness we can do for ourselves to bring about happiness.
A daily gesture for me yourself
When we to even a small gesture or indulgence a day for ourselves, we’re saying that we’re worth the time or effort. This can be simply scheduling some me time, not emailing/texting friends, not checking with the kids’ daycare, not working, just me.
Let the sunshine in
Yes, the sunlight does trigger the release of the hormone serotonin, known to be associated with boosting mood and feeling calm.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions and consistently associated with happiness and it makes you more desirable to be around. A true sense of gratitude has been shown to have the most significant relationship to the satisfaction of life.
Try to list two good things that occurred that day (even if it is small) we recognize and focus on the positive and not as much of the negative. The negative will still be there but only to compliment the positive, for without them the positive would not feel as good.
Productivity Expert | Founder, The Clever Achiever
Focusing more on the small things in life that make a big difference for you
Small pleasures like walking in nature or spending time with your loved ones help to keep you motivated and confident when obstacles arise while you work on your dreams.
Don’t think of these moments of enjoyment as unproductive and don’t beat yourself up for taking breaks. Your happiness and mental health play a much bigger part in your success than the extra 30 minutes you would get by skipping them.
To become less stressed out about what the future holds, you need to stop worrying about all the negative things that could happen. Instead, focus on the present.
By being more mindful and present at the moment, you stop your fears from dictating your life and take back control over your destiny and happiness.
Founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls
Make plans with friends and family
Put it on your calendar and turn off your phone and computer to enjoy some time off for a meal, activity, weekend away, whatever. There is never a good time to take a break so just schedule downtime and respect your calendar. The work will all be there when you get back.
Find a hobby you enjoy
Whether it is running, knitting, reading, singing, anything just make sure you carve out time to do activities that enrich your life mentally, emotionally and/or physically that keeps your batteries charged and your juices flowing.
Practice gratitude every day
When you find ways to appreciate things no matter how small they may be like a friendly barista, finding a $10 bill in your pocket or someone holding open a door it can become contagious and sometimes just smiling at someone helps you fake it until you actually feel happier.
Jennifer Fidder, M.A.
Mindset Coach & Personal Trainer, Jennifer Alice Training & Coaching LLC
I believe the only way to make yourself happy is by becoming your true self
Most of us live in a world that expects us to fulfill certain roles. We are supposed to be a loving mother, a great lover, and a fierce businesswoman.
We work so hard on satisfying all the tasks and expectations thrown at us that we oftentimes lose the sense for what it is that we want. Becoming aware of this dissonance is the first step in becoming our true self. Once we are aware of what’s going on, we are able to change it.
Finding out who we truly are or who we want to be is a journey.
A journey that can be fun, scary and that definitely takes some time, patience, and the willingness to dig deep into our soul. But if we’re willing to invest the time it takes, we are able to become truly happy.
Introvert Coach | Certified Life Coach | Founder, Limit Breaker
Know and embrace your personality type
My personal development journey started the moment I realized that being an introvert wasn’t a barrier to my happiness, but instead, a reason to be happy. Once I truly understood my unique personality, I was able to embrace the benefits that gave me, instead of the negatives.
I was able to know that my introversion wasn’t holding me back, only my mindset was. I embrace my personal quirks and love them. I learned to communicate better knowing that I needn’t become somebody I’m not.
By taking a reputable personality test such as 16 Personalities, you can see the in-depth analysis of your unique characteristics and use that to your advantage.
Knowing and understanding why you do the things you do and how you see your place in the world will give you a sense of belonging. We can get so caught up in an online world of comparison, that our inner critic can take over and leave us feeling doubt and shame.
But when you embrace your personality, you’ll know you’re not alone and you’ll truly be able to make yourself happy.
It’s when you truly embrace being yourself, that self-doubt melts away.
Master Life Coach | Spiritual Teacher | Best-Selling Author
You can achieve lasting happiness by changing your perspective about the world you live in
The world isn’t anything until you call it something. Which is very annoying at first. Yet, with reflection, you start to realize that how you label things and the meaning you give to your life creates your experience of it.
Recontextualization is the skill of describing the conditions and circumstances of your life in a way that creates an empowering reality for you. Use Recontextualization to change your perspective about the situation and you can create lasting happiness.
Unfortunately, changing your circumstances won’t create lasting happiness. You might get a temporary boost in happiness by changing your job. But your general perspective about yourself and others will eventually erode your happiness at the new job.
Nutritionist | Author, The Candida Diet
Take care of your physical health
Happiness is certainly a goal just about all of us seek in life. We turn to many things in an attempt to grasp happiness; wealth, health, and recognition. When we are taking care of our bodies and healthy physically it rolls into health in other areas of our lives as well.
When we are eating nutrient-dense rather than calorie-dense foods we are giving our bodies antioxidants that are known to fight anxiety and depression by eliminating free radicals. Free radicals damage the cells in the body creating a host of health issues, even emotional health.
When you are seeing results in your physical health it creates in you a sense of accomplishment that triggers a feeling of peace and happiness. This continues to motivate you to continue living a healthy lifestyle.
Eat enough fiber
Eighty percent of serotonin (the feel-good chemical) is made in our intestines. Fiber is the best food for the production of serotonin. If you don’t pay attention to the food you eat, your mood will drop. A solution? Drink a green smoothie every day.
Most of us spend too much time in a tension mode. Tension in the body leads to stressful thoughts. A solution? When we relax, we soften our muscles. Tense your muscles on purpose, pretend you are trying to lift 100 pounds, then relax as if you are a soft stuffed animal.
It is not possible to have relaxed muscles and think unhappy thoughts at the same time. Our minds simply can’t do that. When we relax, all thoughts that are connected to stress and tension evaporate.
Relaxation happens when the brain is not busy (and our brain is busy even during several hours of sleep). When you are looking at the clouds letting your mind drift with them or meditating to quiet your mind, your brain doesn’t have to process a huge amount of information and can focus on happiness.
If your mind is constantly busy you are not allowing a key part of healing to occur. If you don’t have time to look at a leaf on a tree or to sit quietly not thinking about anything, this is a sign that your life has gotten out of balance. You have lost control. Your brain is no longer serving you if it is always active. You have become a slave instead of a creator. But even 5 minutes of relaxation allows us to recharge our mental batteries and this improves well-being.
The best way to get started is to have several mini-sessions throughout the day. During the day, take a short break and sit quietly with your eyes closed.
Breathe slowly and deeply for about 5 minutes. Tense and relax all muscles in your body. Breathe in and hold your breath for a few seconds, breathe out and hold your breath again. You will notice that you have no thoughts while you are holding your breath.
To stay relaxed, diffuse lavender or cedar wood essential oils or just put a few drops on your hands throughout the day. Alternate these relaxation-enhancing essential oils.
Don’t confuse pleasure with happiness
If you eat a piece of cake, you experience pleasure. As soon as you are done, pleasure is gone. You have to eat more to prolong the feeling of pleasure.
Happiness is a mindset that comes from living your life on purpose and serving others. Pleasure comes from receiving and is limited. Happiness comes from giving and is unlimited.
What you focus on increases. Try to talk about things you are grateful for and watch your problems evaporate. Or give someone you love a big long hug. You both will be charged with happy energy.
If you ever look at pictures of people who live in very poor conditions, such as make-shift plastic tents with all of their possessions fitting in one bag, you will notice joyful bright smiles. How can someone who has almost nothing be so happy?
This is because they are grateful for what they have: their life, their family and their community. These are the best things.
Walk barefoot on the ground every day
Feel the ground with your feet, tickle your toes. The earth has amazing healing energy. Imagine dumping all of your negativity to the earth through the soles of your feet.
Pour a bucket of very cold water on yourself and scream out loud
Negative energy does not like cold showers. Imagine a bad mood going down the drain. At work? During your bathroom break, splash some very cold water on your face or just hold your hands in cold water for 10 seconds. You will wash your unhappiness away.
Go out into the sunlight
Being out in the sun has been known for thousands of years to make us feel better.
Dance as silly as you can
Turn on your favorite music and wiggle your body. Move those hips, shake those shoulders. The release of endorphins (another feel-good chemical) will bring a smile to your face in no time. Sing or hum a happy tune.
Denon Lee Alderson
Certified Health Coach, Actively Choose Love | Dharma Mittra Yoga Instructor
If it were obvious and easy how to make yourself happy, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of depression.
Take it easy, get to know yourself, and reach out and connect with someone. Take a scientific approach to your happiness and fulfillment by testing the hypotheses that appeal to you and repeating and recreating the most successful experiments.
Connect with another human being. It could be digitally or face to face, but the power of connection increases the closer you are to being in the physical presence of another person.
If you are struggling, let someone know. Find a friend or reach out to a professional. Attend a group meditation or exercise class, or volunteer for any project where other human beings can be found.
Johann Hari shared a beautiful conversation recently with Matt D’Avella, highlighting the global scale of depression and anxiety, especially in societies experiencing unprecedented levels of material abundance.
Hari underlines that external things and achievements are not making us happy. Connection and collaboration have been and are keys to human survival and success. We did not build civilizations, philosophies, agriculture, language or music by going it alone.
Robert Waldinger’s 75-year Harvard study illuminated that the most significant determinants of a happy and healthy life are good relationships.
Quality relationships take time, practice, courage, and even a new friend or a trusted professional can enhance the overall quality of connection in your life.
Text or personal message is better than posting. Calling is usually far better than texting. Video chat starts to get real — have you changed out of your pajamas? washed your hair? — and in-person is the only way to get a great hug.
For many of us, this might be most effective as a first step. What energizes you? If you’re someone who perpetually hits snooze, what does it take to get you to leap out of bed and jump into the day with excitement?
We all have these magic moments, and it isn’t as complicated or elusive as finding your true love — although that can definitely ignite momentum!
When was the last time you really gave yourself a chance to hear your voice, your desires, your dreams? There are many ways to get here, but your way is unique to you. Journaling, doodling, going on a drive or a long walk/run, making time to watch the sunset.
Taking action doesn’t have to be on your own, either. Sometimes asking the people who know you the best can give you insights that inspire a recommitment to a habit or hobby you truly love.
Be open to the truth that you change over time and be creative. Maybe you’re drawn to studying Chinese, or you have a new passion for nature and discover you are only at your best if you get five minutes a day with your feet in the grass.
“Easy does it”
This slogan is beloved by at least millions of people as a reminder that we can be gentle with ourselves as we look to transform challenging circumstances. It applies equally to the adventure of making your own happiness and magnifying it.
Happy all the time might not be the right goal for you. The Dalai Lama frequently instigates laughter-induced happiness and follows up with a call to compassion, a call to action that recognizes the truth of suffering in our shared human existence.
You can create your own happiness, and the full spectrum of your personality, your life’s work/adventures/struggles, and your community can help magnify and multiply authentic joy.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer | Corrective Exercise Specialist
Happiness didn’t come easy to me; I struggled with crippling anxiety and depression for most of my life. I saw many doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapies to try it heal this and I can tell you two things I’ve learned:
- Medications aren’t the solution; they just temporarily relieve the symptoms.
- The most sustainable and authentic happiness I found was from the practices I did for myself.
It has been apart of my life’s journey to explore how to find happiness. Though the study of psychology, mindfulness, and physical fitness, I am happy to say I found it.
Here are a few tips to cultivating happiness:
Trick yourself with your body
You would be amazed by just how much how the physical body affects our mind and emotions.
Smile; fake a smile for at least 30 seconds, and it will trick your brain into believing it’s happy. Stand strong; often, when I’m not happy, I find it shows in my body posture. Shoulders are hunched forward, back rounded, chin down, almost as if I am subconsciously trying to shelf my heart. Change up your body posture and feel a difference in your mood.
Try a power pose: shoulders down away from your ears and back, chest/ heart open, chin up, and legs firming planted on the ground. If you’re up for some real significant neurochemical shifts, make yourself laugh!
You will probably feel crazy and weird, but also you will begin to stop taking yourself so seriously and lighten up.
Listen to music with inspirational lyrics and that light you up
This is an easy way to expose yourself to positive stimuli that won’t make you feel annoyed and dismissive. You know what works for you, give yourself the time and space to feel into the music and allow it to lift your mood.
I know this sounds simple, but there is power in mindful simplicity. It doesn’t have to be a long practice; it just has to be intentional and rich to make a shift in your mood. When I say ‘rich’, I mean to engage with sensory stimuli.
Go outside and use your senses in a new way. Notice the temperature on your skin, gainst, your skin, the ground beneath your feet, the smell of the air, touch the grass, flowers, trees, etc.
Improving your mindfulness practice opens the opportunity for you to:
- Regain control of your mind.
- Process your emotions and let go of whatever has been keeping you from feeling happiness.
- Discover the joy in small things.
These tips will help you get out of a funk but will only create long-lasting effects by being consistent. It’s though the small daily actions that make a permanent change.
Implement a daily routine that supports your happiness and that’s easy for you to do. Make it non-negotiable and be consistent. You deserve to be happy, make it a priority to experience happiness every day.
Related: Mindfulness: Will It Make Me Happy?
The social media frenzy has now become out of control and studies have shown that extensive use of social media channels can lead to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and low self-esteem. These tend to have a negative effect on our happiness.
We have to stop comparing ourselves to others through social media. Looking at friend’s or stranger’s pictures, stories, and achievements develop a sense of inferiority complex within us because our lives are not as adventurous or romantic.
By choosing to take breaks from social media— or changing the way we use social media, we can boost our happiness. I use Social Fever app to track my social media time and help monitor and control how much time I have spent on each social media forum.
Founder, Formula Life | Entrepreneur
Find a breathing technique that works for you
My relationship with the concept of happiness has been complex, just as anyone’s I imagine. I come from a poor background. Born in Soviet Russia, I spent my early childhood years in a communal flat – that is a flat which accommodates several families at once.
When I was 10, my parents got divorced and my mother moved us to Denmark where we lived in a poor neighborhood and I spent most of my time in the streets. For long, I was convinced that money was the key to happiness until 10 years ago, I was hired as an Executive Assistant to a very rich person, someone who qualifies as an ultra-high net worth individual.
Most probably, life just wanted to teach me a lesson. I have acquired an in-depth insight into the lifestyle of the world’s richest and trust me, money, especially a lot of money, do not bring long-lasting happiness.
Held back by the legacy of my poor childhood, I often forced myself into thinking happy. Surrounded by luxuries, I reminded myself that I was living my dream. And yet, happiness remained a momentary and elusive thing.
Often, in order to relax, I would take a walk in the woods of Surrey and inhale the scent of pine trees and grass. Connecting with nature I felt complete. And happy. Moments later, exposed to the calamities of a working day of an Executive Assistant, I would feel stressed again.
After a major burnout in 2015, I started looking for happiness that lasted. A walk in the woods was simply not enough. I couldn’t simply leave my job as an EA because it had become my life and I truly loved it. But I needed to find ways to deal with the enormous amount of stress it caused.
He who looks finds. I got inspired by the wisdom of ancient Toltecs and Tibetans and invented a breathing technique which helped me, quite literally, to stay alive.
It has helped me to find peace in a moment, to experience time, and to tame happiness. This technique is now accessible through my free mobile app Formula. Life to anyone who is in urgent need to clear up their mind, power up quickly, and stay sane in our hyper demanding world. Also, for starters, I recommend reading ‘Switch on your brain’ by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the key to happiness?
The key to happiness is different for everyone, but there are some common practices that can lead to greater overall happiness, such as:
• Positive relationships: Surrounding yourself with supportive and loving friends and family members can bring joy and fulfillment to your life.
• Gratitude and mindfulness: Practicing gratitude and being present at the moment can help you appreciate the good things in your life and reduce stress.
• Purpose and meaning: Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life, whether it be through work, hobbies, or volunteering, can lead to a more fulfilling life.
• Exercise and self-care: Taking care of your physical and mental health through regular exercise and self-care can improve your overall well-being.
• Giving back: Helping others through volunteer work or acts of kindness can bring a sense of joy and fulfillment.
How can connecting with others improve my happiness?
Connecting with others can have a tremendous impact on your happiness and well-being. Here are a few reasons why:
• Sense of belonging: When we feel connected to others, we feel like we’re part of a community. This sense of belonging can increase our self-esteem and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
• Shared experiences: Spending time with others and sharing experiences can create lasting memories and strengthen our relationships.
• Support: Having people we can turn to for support and advice can help us feel less stressed and more confident. Having someone to talk to can make all the difference.
• Fun: Let’s be real, hanging out with others can be a lot of fun! Whether you’re going out for a night on the town, trying a new activity, or just having a good old-fashioned chat, being with others can bring joy and laughter into our lives.
• Increased empathy and understanding: When we connect with others, we have the opportunity to learn about their perspectives and experiences. This can help us become more empathetic and understanding individuals.
• A sense of purpose: When we work together with others towards a common goal, we can feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment because where we can see the direct impact of our actions on others.
• Better mental health: Social connections can have a positive impact on our mental health. People with strong social support systems are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.
• Stress relief: Spending time with others can provide a welcome distraction from the stress and challenges of everyday life. Laughing, chatting, and simply being in each other’s company can help us relax and recharge.
Can money buy happiness?
Money can certainly bring a certain level of comfort and stability to our lives, and it can also provide access to experiences and material goods that can bring joy and happiness.
But on the other hand, money alone cannot buy happiness. Studies have shown that beyond a certain point, more money does not equate to more happiness. True happiness comes from within, and it’s often the result of our relationships, personal growth, and a sense of purpose in life.
Can practicing positive thinking lead to happiness?
Positive thinking can certainly play a role in improving happiness. Reframing negative thoughts and focusing on the good in our lives can lead to a more positive outlook and greater overall well-being.
However, it’s important to remember that happiness is not just about thinking positively—it involves taking action and making meaningful changes in our lives.
Is it possible to be happy all the time?
No, it is not possible to be happy all the time. Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s normal to experience a range of emotions. The goal is not to eliminate negative emotions but to learn how to manage them in a healthy way and find joy and contentment in life’s ups and downs.
It’s healthier to strive for a sense of overall well-being and contentment to withstand life’s challenges and changes. By practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and finding activities that bring joy and meaning to your life, you can increase your chances of experiencing happiness more often.
What if I’ve tried everything and I’m still not happy?
Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed is understandable when you’ve tried everything but still don’t feel happy. However, it’s important to remember that happiness is a journey, not a destination. Sometimes, finding what truly brings us joy and fulfillment can take time and effort.
If you’ve tried different strategies for improving happiness and are still feeling down, it may be helpful to seek support from a mental health professional. They can help you explore underlying issues and develop a personalized plan for finding greater happiness and fulfillment in life.
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