10 proven strategies you can start using right now to create a life that’s genuinely happy
What’s the secret to happiness?
It’s an age-old question, and, to some degree, happiness is subjective. Afterall, the specifics of what makes one person happy might not be true for another.
But, experts and researchers agree that there are common themes and traits that genuinely happy people share.
The good news is, these habits are things you can do to help you feel happier and more fulfilled.
Because the truth is, you deserve happiness!
And the strategies we’ll cover in this post can make finding happiness more accessible than ever.
What Is Happiness?
Before we can learn to create a happy life, we have to understand what happiness really is.
According to a survey conducted by Time, happiness experts agree on two things:
- Happiness almost always includes: a sense of autonomy over one’s life, meaning and purpose, and connecting with others.
- Happiness can be strengthened, and taught.
These distinctions are important because they help us understand how we might curate more happiness in our lives…
And, they affirm that we can all learn to grow in happiness, no matter how we might feel at this moment.
So, those people we know who always seem to be happy no matter what? They weren’t born with a gift the rest of us are missing. You aren’t destined to whatever level of unhappiness you’ve experienced up until now.
Across fields, experts define happiness with the following criteria:
- Subjective Well-Being: A personal assessment of one’s overall life satisfaction and well-being. How an individual perceives their own life as good or fulfilling.
- Positive Emotions: Happiness is associated with positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, love, and pleasure. Happiness is not the absence of negative emotions but the presence of positive ones.
- Life Fulfillment: Living a meaningful and purposeful life, pursuing personal growth, and realizing one’s full potential.
- Psychological Flourishing: Happiness can also be seen as a state of psychological flourishing. It encompasses positive mental health, resilience, and a sense of self-acceptance.
- Balanced Well-Being: A balanced state of well-being that balances physical, emotional, social, and psychological aspects.
Why does happiness sometimes feel so unattainable? It turns out, a lot of us have misunderstood what happiness is and how to get it.
As you’re learning to redefine happiness, let’s also take this opportunity to explore what happiness is not.
Common Misconceptions About Happiness
These common misconceptions that keep a lot of people from creating lives full of happiness and contentment.
- Happiness is a Constant State: One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that happiness means feeling happy all the time. In reality, it’s normal to experience a full spectrum of emotions throughout life.
- Happiness is the Absence of Negative Emotions: Many people believe that happiness means they never feel bad. True happiness often coexists with a range of emotions, including negative ones. It’s more about how we learn to manage and respond to these emotions.
- External Achievements Guarantee Happiness: There is a widespread belief that external achievements such as wealth, fame, or success guarantee happiness. While these factors can contribute to happiness to some extent, they are not a guarantee.
- Happiness Can Be Bought: Material things can help us feel good temporarily. But sustained happiness typically arises from deeper sources like relationships, purpose, and personal growth.
- Happiness is a Destination: Many individuals view happiness as a destination to reach in the future. This can cause us to postpone happiness as something to be attained later, putting off taking action that could drastically improve our lives.
- Happiness is the Same for Everyone: People often assume that what brings happiness to one person will bring happiness to everyone. In reality, happiness is highly individualized and influenced by personal values, preferences, and circumstances.
- Happiness Is Selfish: Some individuals believe that seeking happiness is selfish or self-indulgent. Personal well-being and happiness are important not only for the individual, but also help them positively impact others!
- You Can’t Change Your Level of Happiness: Another misconception is that happiness is a fixed trait that cannot be changed. Research in positive psychology has shown that people can improve their level of happiness through intentional practices and mindset shifts. (And that means you can too!)
So how can you use this new understanding of happiness to actually improve your life?
10 Daily Habits of Ridiculously Happy People
- Practice Gratitude: One of the most consistently cited habits for happiness is expressing gratitude. Each day, take a moment to reflect on the things you’re grateful for or start a gratitude journal. Regularly practice gratitude, whether it’s for your health, relationships, or simple pleasures like a warm cup of coffee. Doing so will make you more happy over time.
- Connect with Others: Research shows that social connections are a vital component of happiness. Building and maintaining strong relationships can boost your overall well-being. Researchers point to spending time with friends and family outside of the home and outside of work as particularly effective.
- Spend Time in Nature: Experts recommend trying to get outside at least 3x a week. Not only does sun exposure help alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety, but time spent in nature increases mental well-being.
- Engage in Hobbies and Passions: Make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s painting, gardening, reading, or playing a musical instrument, pursuing your passions can boost happiness. Experts recommend trying to spend time on your hobbies or passions 5-6 a week.
- Healthy Sleep Habits: Prioritize getting enough restful sleep. Sleep is crucial for mood regulation and overall well-being. Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a comfortable sleep environment. Researchers recommend 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness practices, including meditation, can help you stay present and reduce stress. Even a few minutes of focused breathing or mindful observation of your surroundings can have a positive impact on your mood.
- Physical Activity & Exercise: Regular physical activity releases endorphins and improves mood. Find ways to move your body that you enjoy and make a daily habit of physical activity.
- Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth. A growth mindset fosters resilience and a positive outlook on life. This is key for building a life of long term happiness.
- Practice Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative self-talk with more positive and constructive thoughts. Challenge negative beliefs and reframe them in a more optimistic light.
- Set and Pursue Goals: Setting meaningful and achievable goals gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Break larger goals into smaller, manageable steps, and work on them daily.
The big takeaway is this: Creating true happiness in your life is a practice.
Happiness isn’t just found in the single, isolated moments of joy or excitement we experience. A happy life is created through growth, mindfulness, and meaning.
To help you cultivate a life of happiness, I have a special gift for you. (In fact, it will help you check Happiness Habits #1, #6, and #8 off your list all at once!)
Click here to download this free, 10 minute guided meditation. Using it just once will generate an instant wave of gratitude for yourself and your life!
It will help shift your focus away from what seems to be missing or wrong in your life. You’ll be empowered to direct your awareness toward what you would love to expand and experience more of in your life (with ease!). Gratitude is an open door to a happier, healthier and wealthier life!