I think of myself as the happiest person whenever I walk into a room, and most people notice my smile right away. Here are 20 ways you can find yourself as happy as I am.
1. Let it go.
When someone criticizes you or says something not-so-nice, just forget it. Worse things have been uttered in human history. Even when you know the person meant it, remember that you become stronger by accepting them for who they are and knowing your capabilities.
2. Be kind.
People who are mean and feel the need to put others down are insecure with themselves. But when you are kind to others, kindness returns to you.
3. Think of your problems as challenges.
When you come up against a difficulty, whether a person or an event, consider what your future self will have learned from it. I believe it was Kanye West, or maybe Nietszche, who said, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
4. Express gratitude.
When you let people know that you appreciate them, they are more willing to help you in the future. Saying thank you is more than good manners—it’s karma.
5. Dream big.
The happiest person has reached the highest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—self-actualization. If you want to be happy you must work hard to achieve something, and strive to attain that life goal.
6. Speak well of others.
The Buddhist notion of “right thought, right action” is an important one. It’s in the mind that negativity starts. By clearing your head of negative ideas of others, you will clear your mind of problems, worries and fears, and you won’t be tempted to gossip or speak ill and bring that negativity back to you.
7. Be in the now.
Yes, you have to do your laundry and clean the bathroom when you get home, but while you’re here now eating this cheeseburger, just enjoy the cheeseburger. Then apply this lesson to all other moments of pleasure and work—you can deal with the little stuff later.
8. Do not compare yourself to others.
As soon as you start this, you fall into a trap of ego, a grasping at the temporal, fleeting aspects of reality. Instead, think about what you have that makes you happy, or at least satisfied.
9. Realize you don’t need others’ approval.
As long as you do what makes you happy, you don’t need other people to condone your actions. This will free you to act on what you believe, which will instill confidence into your every act.
10. Be honest.
Lies, even little ones, imply that you are willing to be lied to in return. But when you keep your conversation honest, you will maintain a higher level of integrity in your world.
11. Take time to listen.
The happiest person doesn’t interrupt because she knows that if she wants to be heard, she has to listen to others. By listening instead of waiting to speak, you can understand what motivates others, which can help you build rapport with them and understand yourself.
12. Accept what can’t be changed.
Sure, I wish I was taller, smarter, and better looking. But I’m not. As soon as I realized that I wasn’t going to be President of the U.S.A., I figured out what I did want to do with my life: write.
13. Read daily selections from a book of wisdom.
Magazines and newspapers are all well and good, but the reason people throughout history have dedicated their lives to religion and philosophy is because of the wisdom these sacred texts hold. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Bible, Torah or Quran verse, reading these books of wisdom will remind you of what came before and what will come after you.
14. Travel at least two weeks of the year.
It’s even better if it’s foreign travel. Alas, getting out of the country can be expensive. When you go somewhere different, to remind yourself of how people live in places other than those that you’re used to, you will be happy to return to what you have when it’s time.
15. Catch yourself before negativity starts.
Yeah, it’s easy to read the above points and say, okay, I get it. But the hardest part of being happy is realizing when negativity starts to creep into your mind and from there, getting rid of it.
16. Dress well.
You’re only as good as you feel, and you can only feel good if you look good. Personal hygiene, grooming, and fashion enter into this. Rarely will you find someone well-dressed crying by themselves.
17. Enjoy sadness.
John Keats said that in the “temple of delight melancholy has her sovran shrine.” In other words, at the heart of every joy is a glimmer of sadness waiting to shine through. The same goes for sadness—within every pain is a reversal of fortune that will lead you to feel happy again. So when those moments come, enjoy them. They won’t last long.
18. Eat well.
You are what you eat, so if you’re stuffing yourself with cheeseburgers and hot dogs every day, chances are you are overweight and you lack energy and mental clarity. Instead, make sure to eat enough fruit and vegetables, protein and carbohydrates—and indulge in moderation.
19. Keep in touch with your friends and family.
Your family—in most cases—loves you unconditionally. It’s important to keep in touch with them, whether it’s a weekly phone call or an annual visit. Friends too help to inspire and support happy people. Take time out of your week to communicate with them.
20. Be alone.
The happiest person is comfortable spending time by himself. That’s because he loves himself. A lot. He is just as comfortable spending an entire day alone as he is spending it with someone else. You should be too.