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10 Things Happy People Are Doing Differently

10 Things Happy People Are Doing Differently

We all want to be happy.

But have you ever noticed that some people seem to have a knack for being happy in any situation compared to the average person? Do you have a friend that seems to be always up no matter what?

We’re all genetically and psychologically (through our life experiences) pre-disposed to a certain level of happiness, but here are 10 things that happy people are doing differently which help them crush life:

1. They understand that everything is impermanent – emotions, events, and even themselves

In Buddhism there is something called the Law of Nature, which states that everything is impermanent and arises just to pass away. Think about it – you’re never angry forever, that vacation to Hawaii isn’t infinitely long, and you yourself (spoiler alert) will die one day.

This doesn’t mean that they refuse to do anything saying “What’s the point, it’ll just end?”. They just realize that they should enjoy what they have while it lasts to the best of their extent, and that when something bad happens, it won’t last forever.

2. They set internally guided and controllable goals

In his book, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, William B. Irvine says that the happiest people set goals that are completely within their control. Those that become deflated by their goals are people who set them and rely on external items outside their control.

So for example, you can’t control if you get a promotion, but you can control how many hours you work, asking your boss for the promotion, and taking on extra tasks.

You can’t control when you will find a boyfriend or girlfriend, but you can control how many people you talk to each day, whether you ask for their contact information, and if you follow up with them for a date.

You can’t control when you lose 10 pounds, but you can control how many times you go to the gym a week and how many doughnuts you eat (well… unless if it’s a cheat day).

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By setting goals that you have complete control over, you can become happier because you know that there is only one person you rely on to make those goals a reality: you.

3. They understand that life is a journey, and they focus on enjoying the process and grind versus the results

Speaking of goals, many of us get too focused on achieving something and don’t enjoy the build up to it. Or we get so focused on one thing, and then don’t see all the little things that added up to make the goal a reality. Or, maybe we get so focused on achieving something that we highly under-estimate the amount of work that we have to put in.

Many of us fail at goals we set because we don’t realize the amount of work that needs to be put in. Getting a 6-pack takes hours in the gym. Becoming a writer takes hours at the keyboard. Becoming a surfer takes many, MANY crashes face first into the sea.

The happiest people are those that find joy in the process of attaining the goals, so that even if they don’t reach them, they are happy throughout the entire time. This also lets them enjoy what they are doing right NOW, versus waiting for happiness to come later (hint: hitting that goal NEVER makes you as happy as you think it will).

As Mark Manson said, “If life is a hamster wheel, then the goal isn’t to actually get anywhere, it’s to find a way to enjoy running.

4. They take full responsibility for their lives and everything that has happened and will happen to them

This is the difference between feeling powerful or like a victim, and one’s happiness is directly proportional to the amount of control you feel you have over your life.

Are you single? It’s up to you to learn how to talk to people, get over your anxiety, and set up dates.

Are you overweight? You can look up work out routines, sign up for a gym, and get a personal trainer.

Do you not like your job? You can find others or find the resources you need to create your own business.

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When you take responsibility for everything in your life, you know that you can change whatever you want – you can create any life you want as long as you’re willing to do WORK and change your priorities.

5. They focus on what is good about any situation

Cue the trite “looking at the glass half full vs. half empty” saying. In a world up to interpretation, you can look at things however you want. And because your thoughts determine your emotions and mood, this can lead to drastically different lives for people who have the same thing happen to them… but they interpret it differently.

For example compare someone who is reasonably happy to someone who is frought with anxiety:

They have a lot of phone numbers for potential dates

Happy: Oh my God this is awesome! So many people I could meet!

Anxious: Crap, too many numbers. How the hell will I ever have time to meet them?

They are free to travel wherever they want for work

Happy: I have so much freedom and can see so much!

Anxious: Argh I need to make the right decision and what happens if I can’t see other stuff? I mean this is probably SUPER important and I need to make the perfect location selection. I should probably collate library resources and do a week of research…

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The anxious stuff is from personal experience, and it’s a bit funny I admit, but some people aren’t aware of how they think! Your view and interpretations creates your life.

Be careful.

6. They understand that their mind is like a computer or screen creating the reality they see, and what you put in is what you get out

Continuing on from #5, happy people understand that if they always think negatively, they will always be negative. Your mind is a computer and all it knows is what you put in to it: Garbage in, garbage out.

Hence, happy people are very careful about what thoughts they focus on. If you have ever meditated (if not, start NOW), you will know that a billion thoughts are always coming and going, but we don’t have to grab on to them if we don’t want to.

The thoughts you focus on create you mood and reality, so happy people consciously aim to discard as many negative thoughts as possible. You can read more about this in the classic essay “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen.

7. They are grateful for what they have and what happens to them

In his TED talk, David Steindl-Rast focuses on how it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness/gratitude that makes us happy.

Happy people purposely practice gratitude for everything they have and anything unexpected that happens to them: from the fact that someone offered to pay for their dinner, to moments with a significant other, to even HAVING a significant other, to just being able to see, hear, or breathe.

By doing this, they are always filled with joy and wonder about the world, and they are deeply happy. It also helps them get out of negative moods quicker.

8. They are empathetic and caring, but not to their detriment

Volunteering our time or helping others gives a deep sense of happiness. Happy people are empathetic and understanding of the issues of others, but they limit their time and boundaries – they take care of themselves and their needs first, and then they take care of others next. They understand that they can’t help anyone if they are in a state of disarray or are pre-occupied.

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9. They know that they are responsible for creating their own happiness, but understand that others play an important role

While happy people know they must create the circumstances that result in their happiness (a specific job, the means to live in a certain place, financial support,…), they understand that other people play a role in their happiness: their family and friends who support them in tough times, intimate relationships for sex, intimacy, and love, and clients or bosses who pay them for work.

While they know they have to go out and get what they want, they understand that other people will always be a part of their happiness.

10. They understand that they can only control so much in life, but they can always control their reaction

Those that are deeply afraid of the world try to control and micro-manage everything, but in reality, we are only able to control so much in life. Happy people realize they can’t control things that are external (other things, people, or events), but they are 100% in control of their reaction to whatever happens.

So, they are in control of setting boundaries or saying “No” when people are being rude.

They are in control of finding more work when a client leaves them.

They are in control of not reacting on their impulse to punch through glass windows when they are angry.

And as such, they can continuously move forward despite what happens in life.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

14 Things That Make You Happy and Enjoy Life More

14 Things That Make You Happy and Enjoy Life More

Do you ever come across people who are always upbeat and no matter what life throws at them? While people can be genetically disposed toward happiness, it’s more likely that these people have simply discovered more of the things that make you happy in life and utilize them to their advantage.

The good news is that you can increase your own happiness quotient by doing these 14 things that make people happy.

1. Start With a Good Dose of Gratitude

Being consciously aware of what you’re thankful for can actually change your level of happiness.

When you wake up each morning, spend time recalling all the things for which you feel grateful. Before you go to bed, you can keep a gratitude journal. Write down 3 to 5 things that you felt grateful for that day and why. Use all five senses to imagine these things vividly in order to help you brain latch on to all that goodness.

Gratitude leads to more things that make you happy

    One study found that, among mindfulness, belief in personal control, and gratitude, “happiness among students was primarily predicted by gratitude”[1].

    You can learn how to start a gratitude journal here.

    2. Make Sure You’re Giving Back

    Do you give 10% of your income to your favorite charity or organization? Instead of spending money on yourself, you’ll feel happier giving to others.

    There’s something about giving that allows you to receive more in return besides just the act of giving to help others. When you give, you’re sending a message to the Universe that you know everything’s going to be alright.

    According to a study published in 2010, “people experienced happier moods when they gave more money away—but only if they had a choice about how much to give”[2]

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    By giving, you’ll be taken care of, too. You see it from those with very little to those who have millions: you have to give to get, and by doing that, your happiness increases.

    3. Laugh Every Day (It’s Better than Money)

    Do you spend time each day laughing? Do you purposefully find happy things to laugh about?

    When you laugh, you release happy hormones called oxytocin and endorphins. These are hormones that uplifts us as we share experiences with others. Even just making yourself smile will put you in a better place.

    It is thought that the fact that laughter releases these hormones in order to promote social bonding, so try getting together with friends for a good dose of laughter, as well as increased social connection[3]. These are things that make you happy.

    4. Foster Good Relationships With Family and Friends

    Happy people don’t spend large amounts of time alone. By spending time with people you like and love, you forge supportive relationships that help people feel better during times of stress.

    You also bond with others through common experiences, such as life’s ups and downs. They become your support network and help bring more of the things that make people happy.

    People who don’t spend as much time with family or friends are more prone to loneliness and depression. Here’s How to Tell If You Are Fostering Positive Relationships in Life.

    5. Take Some Alone Time

    In contrast to spending time with family and friends, it’s important to step back and take some time for yourself in order to cultivate self-care.

    You can recharge your spirit and find a little peace. Taking some time away and being alone can do wonders for your mood and outlook, as well as help you find the meaning of true happiness.

    Use this time to do more of the things that make you happy, such as a favorite hobby, exercise, or simple relaxation. Even just sitting in the sun or listening to your favorite song can improve your life satisfaction in the short term.

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    6. Do What You Love

    Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do what you love, and the money will follow?” Doing things that you love to do–and even better, getting paid for it–are good ways to boost your levels of happiness.

    When work feels like play, you’re more likely to enjoy other aspects of your life more, too.

    7. Volunteer Your Time

    When you give your time or talent, your focus shifts from your life to that of others.

    This can help you realize that your own problems may not be that bad. You invariably forge new relationships and experience an uplift in your spirit.

    Furthermore, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and keep you active during downtime in your life. It will also increase self-confidence as you begin to feel better about yourself and your place in the world[4].

    8. Get Enough Exercise

    Among the things that make you happy, few are as well researched as exercise. When you take time out for exercise, you’re doing your body good in more ways than one.

    First, you’re doing what it was designed to do: physical exertion. Humans were made to move around, and the body works best when it does what it was meant to do.

    Furthermore, as you exercise, you release a ton of feel-good hormones. These hormones can help increase happiness levels, as well as lower stress.

    One study found that “Exercisers were more satisfied with their life and happier than non-exercisers at all ages”[5]. And the good news is that it takes as little as 30 minutes to gain the amazing benefits of exercise.

    Try these 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

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    9. Avoid Regrets

    We all make mistakes in life–that’s part of the human condition. However, with a little forethought, you can try to avoid making big mistakes and focus more on the happy things in life.

    Even then, they still happen. That’s when it’s best to learn to forgive–yourself and others–because everyone else just trying to get through life the best they can, too. They’ll make mistakes, but the trick is moving on from them.

    10. Take Time to Meditate

    Sitting down, lighting a candle and doing some deep breathing for 10 minutes is all it takes to relax your mind and body.

    In doing so, you get in touch with your inner-self, and invariably, you’ll get to know your values and priorities a little better. That’s definitely a booster on the happiness scale and will lead you toward more of the things that make you happy.

    11. Deal With Clutter

    Are you overrun with books and papers piled everywhere? Too much mail sitting on the table? Why not tackle a small task each day for a month in an effort to de-clutter your life?

    When you’re not running around looking for items you can’t find, and when everything has its place, you’ll automatically be less stressed and in a better mental state.

    That’s a great place to be on Monday morning when you’re trying to get out the door and you already know where the lunchboxes are, and the bills you have to mail.

    Here’s a guide to help you declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    12. Get Enough Rest

    Among the things that make people happy, sleep is one of the easiest and most natural. Ever notice how cranky you are in the afternoon when you’ve only had 5 or 6 hours of sleep? Many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation, which can lead to higher levels of stress and edginess.

    Research has shown that simply getting enough sleep “improves memory, increases people’s ability to concentrate, strengthens the immune system and decreases people’s risk of being killed in accidents”[6].

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    After a good night of sleep, you can tackle your daily tasks in a more calm, alert way. It’s so much better than experiencing that awful sluggish feeling in that oh-so-important meeting with your boss. Your body will thank you, too.

    13. Eat Healthier Foods

    You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Healthy, nutritious foods not only make your body feel good, but they can improve your mental health as well.

    If you spend your time eating package after package of boxed noodles, canned dinners, or fast food, your body is going to let you know by gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and quite possibly having a host of health problems. How can you look and feel your best if the foods you eat are not good for you?

    By eating better, you’re not only taking care of yourself, but you’ll also feel more vibrant and energetic. You’ll literally be healthier from the inside out.

    Try the tips in this article: How to Start Eating Healthy No Matter How Old You Are

    14. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

    This is definitely easier said than done, but if you can condition your mind to focus on the good that you are doing and the good things in your life, you’re not going to be tempted to focus on how others are doing.

    Research on the effects of social media use has found that upward comparisons on social media are associated with lower self-esteem[7].

    Here are some tips to help you stop comparing yourself to others.

    Final Thoughts

    Happiness comes from all the small things and habits you do every day. If you want to start living a happy life, practice these 14 happy things and fit them into your daily routine!

    More on Things That Make You Happy

    Featured photo credit: Matheus Ferrero via unsplash.com

    Reference

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