10 Proven Habits of Happy People

Happiness is one of those things in life that we’re constantly on the lookout for. We strive to be happy people, but sometimes life can get in the way. Our daily stresses, our different environments and situations we may come across can all impact our ability to be happy.

So how do we become a happy person, despite all of our obstacles? Here are 10 scientifically proven ways to help become a happier person.

1. Know that happiness is a choice and can be pursued

Although there is evidence showing associations between happiness and genetics, there is no single “happiness” gene.[1] There’s nothing written in our genes saying that we have a limited amount of happiness in our lifetime. We all have the ability to be happy, and choosing to be and actually pursuing it can help make a happy person.

What can you do? Make the effort to monitor your mind. Watch for negative thoughts or feelings, such as anger, resentment, or bitterness. Work through these emotions in healthy ways, so that it isn’t a roadblock in your pursuit of happiness.

2. Learn how to deal with adversity

Just because someone is happy doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen to them. Research has shown that happy people actually thrive on adversity.[2] Handling situations in negative ways such as yelling, lashing out, or shutting people out can really harm personal relationships. So instead, find a way to deal with an issue without compromising your relationships, or your happiness.

What can you do? Write down a situation where you feel any kind of negative emotions. Then, write down a way to handle that situation. For example, let’s say a situation with a friend left you feeling angry, or resentful. You can look back at that situation and instead, feel grateful that you have that person as a friend, or forgive them. Seeing adversity in a new light can really help to relieve some of the tension negative emotions bring about.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Some things in life just aren’t worth getting upset over. It’s easy to forget when just going through your day-to-day activities, but it’s important nonetheless. When you feel yourself getting stressed over something, ask yourself: is this issue truly important to me, and is it something I can control? If your answer is no, then let it go.

What can you do? When faced with a problem you have no control over, just take a deep breath, and let it go. There’s no use in ruminating over something out of your hands. If the situation really bothers you, focus your efforts on something more important to you that also brings happiness.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

Research shows that surrounding yourself with positive people and positive environments increases your own happiness.[3]Having people around you who reflect the emotions you want to feel helps you to keep your mental efforts focused on your own happiness. The same goes with your environment- the less stressful and negative your surroundings are, the easier it is to be happy and positive.

What can you do? Think about all the sources of negativity in your life. Is it something you can control? If so, find ways to change it. For example, if you’re having a hard time at work because you have too many tasks on your plate, talk to someone about lightening your load, so you don’t feel as much pressure.

5. Know your limits

It’s no secret that the more tasks you have, the more stressed out you become. Take the time to learn how you handle stress, and know yourself enough to know when it gets to be too much.

What can you do? If things start to get really overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Sometimes it’s better to divide and conquer, than to take it all upon yourself. And if there are some things that you just can’t get away from, then find new ways to organize and manage your time better.

6. Be grateful

These days, our lives seem to be constantly on the move and dominated by technology. Once in a while, just slow down and put all the screens away. Take the time to appreciate the small things, whether it’s a special moment in time, or the world around you.[4]

What can you do? There is always something beautiful right in front of you; you just have to find it! Take the time to observe the beauty of something, whether it’s your relationships, or nature. The appreciation for something much larger than you is the key to leading a happy and positive life.

7. Make life meaningful

It’s easy to settle for things when we know it’ll be good for us in the long run. We often settle when it comes to our careers- choosing the safer option over our lifelong dream. But this can often bring frustration and dissatisfaction with the way things are. Don’t be afraid to dream your biggest dream, and then turn that into a reality.

What can you do? Turn your dreams into goals and start working to achieve those goals. Remind yourself that achieving your dreams won’t always be easy, but your happiness in the end will be worth it. Know what you want and why you want it, then put everything you have into reaching it.

8. Learn to forgive

Holding grudges against people never helped anyone. In fact, it can destroy a lot of the relationships you already have. Don’t let the negative feelings take over and cloud your judgment. Instead, learn how to work through your emotions and focus more on positivity.[5]

What can you do? Clinical psychologist Everett Worthington Jr. describes the best way to forgive in his 5-step process known as REACH. Recall the situation and empathize to try to understand things from the other person’s point of view. Then, try to be altruistic, and remember a time when you were forgiven for something you did. Commit to your forgiveness by putting it in words, and hold on to your forgiveness.

9. Take care of your physical health

Your mind and body are one, so it’s not enough to focus all of your efforts on just your mental energy. Happiness and positivity can only go so far if your body isn’t as healthy as it can be.[6]

What can you do? Make sure you always have enough sleep so that you feel nice and refreshed in the morning, as opposed to groggy and sleepy. Fill your body with all the proper nutrients, and drink plenty of water. And of course, take the time to properly exercise and get some fresh air (there is a big link between exercise and brain health!)

10. Define what happiness means to you

There is no one thing in life that guarantees happiness. Everyone is different, so different things make us happy. Understand what happiness means to you, and figure out how you can achieve it. Keep it in the back of your mind for when you really need it, to keep yourself grounded.

What can you do? Make a list of everything in your life that makes you happy. It can be anything, from family and friends, to your favorite childhood memory. If something comes up that upsets you, refer to the list and focus on the happy things in your life.
Habits of Happy People Infographic

Image Source: Tollfree Forwarding

About The Author

Jessica Prashad is neuroscience and psychology student, and a writer at CogniFit, a major vendor in neuropsychological assessments. She is fascinated with all things people, from the way our brains work to how we think. She is always looking for new things to learn, and is eager to help others be inspired