Now let me clearly say that you WILL NOT be happy all day, every day for the rest of your life. As we all know, being happy 24/7 is impossible. You can, however, be happy most of the time with some conscious effort. There are things that happy people do a little differently than the rest of us.
First and foremost you might want to start by figuring out what makes you truly happy. For some it might be spending time with their family, while for others that could send them into a deep depression! Think back to when you were a child and what you found the most joy in doing. It could be something as simple at going swimming or coloring. You happiness might depend on accomplishing long term goals like becoming financially free or owning your own home. Fundamentally putting yourself in a positive frame of mind and feeling happy can help you regardless of how long it takes to achieve the “thing” that ultimately make you the happiest. Having habits that help you to be happy are worth cultivating.
Your behavior, attitude and choices directly impact your happiness and you might not even realize it. Now external factors and genetics do play a role, but you can control most of the things that effect your own happiness. Other people DO NOT make you happy…you do! Keep in mind that sometimes we think that a certain thing or person or situation will make us happy, but it may not. It’s ok to attain whatever it is that you think will “make” you happy and then change your mind when you realize it doesn’t. That’s ok! It will allow you to find what brings you true happiness, which ultimately lies within the majority of the time.
You might find a lot of this information online, but you might need some real-life examples on how to form these habits. I will expand on this further down the road (as the list is massive), until then, here are 1o habits of happy people that you can start practicing today:
- Understand that you create your own reality- Reality is just an interpretation by your brain. You can guide your thoughts in a positive direction. You also have the power to sabotage yourself. Try to stay in a frame of mind that benefits you the most. Attempt to understand that what others do or think does not concern you. You are the only person you can control. Even in every bad situation you can find a silver lining or find lesson to be learned. So let’s say you just had a bad breakup, the positive lesson you can take is that hopefully now you know what you do not want in a partner. Enjoy that lesson!
- Choose your attitude and responses wisely- You have a choice in everything that you do. Those choices can have positive or negative effects. If you cannot change a person or situation, you can at very least change your attitude and responses. If something won’t matter a year from now, is it worth spending any energy on now? If you still feel like you have to express some negative energy on whatever it is, give yourself a time limit of 10 minutes, set a Happy Time timer if you have to. After 10 minutes, move on and put that negative energy into something productive like a goal or positive like playing with your children.
- Think and act in a positive manner- Speaking of positivity…your thoughts and actions not only impact your character, they directly effect your mental health. You must actively work on thinking, speaking and doing things in a positive way. This is not easy, especially at first. Our entire society is like a big fishbowl full of negativity. Start by being mindful of what you tell yourself, then think of ways to re-phrase the thought in a positive way. For example, you might say, “I want to loose weight,” which doesn’t sound too bad, but your focus will remain on the word “weight.” Instead change it to something like, “I want to be health and strong.” Do you see the difference? Books about the law of attraction like, “The Secret” can shed some light on this concept.
- Love yourself- You might notice that most of these habits involves thoughts and choices. Loving yourself is another thing you have to actively work on. You might think, “yeah, I’m awesome,” but do you really believe it. If you aren’t quite feeling yourself or need to truly believe what you’re already telling yourself, you might have some things to work on. Start by focusing on things you like about yourself, no matter how small they are, and start expanding on that. Affirmations can help you get on the path to believing the thoughts you tell yourself. Let go of the negative thoughts with follow-up thoughts like, “nobody is perfect” or “this frame of mind does not benefit me.” It takes a lot of practice before you can think more positively most of the time, but do not get discouraged. Practice makes perfect.
- Forgive and move on- Forgiving people and situations helps you more than it actually helps anyone else. Forgiving helps you accept what happened, deal with it and move on. Holding negative thoughts and energy can be detrimental to your mental health. Forgiveness can help you heal past wounds. What’s most important here is that you learn to forgive yourself as well. Everyone makes mistakes and you inevitably will. Stop beating yourself up about everything. Truly think about who cares if you dont do something perfectly…nobody! For instance, I forgive myself for not being the Pinterest mom I had hoped I’d be and I embrace being the Instagram mom that I am.
- Self-care and Self-love is a priority- As I mentioned in a previous post about 10 of th Easiest Ways to Practice Self-Care, if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others. I’m guessing like most people, you have a job, children and possibly your parents to take care of. Who takes care of you? How often do you take care of yourself as much as you take care of everything else? You could use your love language to treat yourself. If you don’t know what your love language is, click here to read the book or you can download The 5 Love Languages app on the Appstore to take a quick quiz. Once you know what you need to feel loved, you can treat yo self accordingly. This might mean a new pedicure, a hot bath, reading a chapter in that book you got for your birthday or simply saying no to attending the parent teacher conference.
- Be grateful- Being grateful for what you have in your life can enhance your perspective and remind you that you are very fortunate already. Understanding that you most likely have more than most people in the world can be a humbling thought and really reinforce that you are doing well in life and should be happy. Being grateful for the little things in life can help you realize that happiness is something you get from within, not from material items. Even being thankful that you woke up this morning can start your day on a positive note. I am grateful for the touch of my fiance, the smell of rain, listening to good music on a long drive and hearing my children’s laughter.
- Don’t blame others- This might be one of the hardest things to do on this list. If you are not used to owning your issues or your contribution in situations, this will not be easy for you to wrap your head around. By blaming others you become a victim and allow others to have power over you. That doesn’t sound like fun at all. Once you can finally start to accept your own responsibility in life, you start to realize things aren’t as important as you once thought. This can be extremely liberating. It just takes some courage and time to get used to doing this. The good thing is, once you can start accepting responsibility, you will then be able to see how to resolve the situation the way you want or realize how to prevent unfavorable situations to begin with. A good example, is when you ask your kids to fold the laundry but they don’t quite do it that way that YOU want. You need to realize that if you want it done YOUR way you either need to do it yourself, or give them exact instructions and possibly some coaching, otherwise who is really to blame?
- Detox from negativity- This is something I encourage my patients to do often. Evaluate what is negative in your life and purge it…like immediately! It is possible that some of your family or friends might be part of that purge. This doesn’t mean that you shut them out forever, but maybe take a break from being around these people for some time. You can control when you let them back in…and for some, that day may never come. That is ok! If people or things are not financing you, loving you, supporting you or bringing you joy in some type of way, get rid of them!
- Know you have a purpose- If you don’t know what your purpose is or have no direction in life…find it! Having a purpose will help you create goals and have something to work towards. Once you’ve accomplished your goals, start something new. Your purpose could involve your children, your relationship, your career or a combination. This workbook has helped me figure out what I’m passionate about and what my life purpose is.
As you can see it doesn’t take a lot of money, time or effort to start creating these habits. You can be happy even when life is not exactly where you want it to be. By using these techniques you can start to work on other things that bring you even more happiness. It’s like a big happy cycle!