When you get right down to it, happiness is the driving factor behind most of what we do in our lives. Once your basic needs for survival are satisfied, everything boils down to happiness. Money, work, family, relationships, each is a means by which to increase our overall happiness. So what can we learn from the happiest people among us? Check out these 8 habits of very happy people.
1. They Smile
The first thing you can do to increase your overall happiness is just smile more often. Our emotions influence our actions as much as our actions influence our emotions and according to a growing body of consistent research the simple act of smiling can reduce stress and improve your mood.
2. They Offer a Helping Hand
When a friend needs help moving or someone around the office is stuck on an insurmountable problem, the happiest people are the ones most eager to lend a hand. Not only does is feel good to help another person out, but there is a continuous feedback loop that happens when you are happy, which in turn gives you more energy to do the things that will continue to make you happy. What better excuse to get that ball rolling?
3. They Exercise
Regular exercise is another great predictor of overall happiness. The runner’s high isn’t a myth, it is a scientific fact. In response to exercise, the body releases neurochemicals that make us feel good and improve our moods. On top of that you will look better and be more confident; a recipe for happiness if I’ve ever heard one.
4. They Socialize
One of the largest predictors of happiness in a person’s life is the amount of time they devote to relationships with their friends and family. It all goes back to the fact that humans are social creatures. We are evolved to communicate with one another and build strong ties.
5. They Work Towards Goals
Happy people are also more likely to have a purpose in life. They set long term goals and work steadily towards them. At each point along the way when they take a step closer to achieving one of these goals, they get to feel useful and just, well, happy! This also applies to the beliefs they hold about what it means to be a good person. When they get the chance to do the moral thing or something they feel is right, it boosts their self-esteem even more.
6. They Express Gratitude
Part of being a happy person is to recognize all the things you have in your life and to be grateful for them. The happiest people take time each day to either express their gratitude out loud or at least to themselves. Take some time right now to recognize all the little things in your life that make it worth living and be grateful they are there.
7. They Face Stress Head-On
Being a happy person does not mean that nothing bad ever happens to you and you never experience any stress. What is does mean is that when something bad does happen you handle it better. Happy people face stress head-on. They identify the things that are stressing them out and they work towards correcting them. They also aren’t afraid to ask for help when the going gets tough.
8. They Remain Optimistic
Finally, in the face of everything, happy people maintain a positive outlook on the future. They live by the mantra “Everything will be good in the end. If it’s not good, it’s not the end.” Visualizing a positive future for yourself is something that gets easier with practice, and once you master it you will be well on your way to life-long happiness.
Featured photo credit: Nana B Agyei via flickr.com