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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Ways to Make Your Life Happier

How to Be Happy in Life? 25 Ways to Make Your Life Happier

Perhaps there’s no such person in the world who wouldn’t like to be happy. We all aim for it, but not everyone succeeds. Is it genuinely possible to learn how to be happy in life? Of course!

It’s not about avoiding sadness; it’s actually about embracing the negativity in life while enjoying every moment you’ve got. It’s important to remember that true happiness is not a destination. Happiness often comes from cultivating goodness and positive feelings in life. It’s a side effect of doing good things for yourself.

However, happy moments can be brought into each and every day in order to take steps toward learning how to have a happy life overall.

Here is a list of 25 simple things you can do to make your life happier.

1. Get a Massage

Who wouldn’t mind receiving a pleasant massage? No matter whether it’s performed by a professional or by your spouse, gentle touches make everyone feel happy and good.

One article pointed out that “the physiological effects that most commonly occur during a massage to help reduce stress include increased endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, decreased cortisol and increased tissue”[1].

All of these effects are great for increasing levels of happiness.

2. Talk With Friends

When you talk to somebody who understands you very well and who can support you and help you whenever you need, it can lead you to feel lighter and happier. Humans are social animals[2], so these social connections will help your life satisfaction overall.

3. Go for a Walk

You need to spend time outdoors at least an hour a day. Walking outdoors can greatly improve your mood and will help you stay fit and healthy, thus making you a little bit happier.

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4. Listen to Music

Listening to music can be a great thing to do when you want to learn how to be happy in life. But be careful…the music you choose is important. Research shows that “Happiness ratings were elevated for fast-tempo and major-key stimuli, [and] sadness ratings were elevated for slow-tempo and minor-key stimuli”[3].

Basically, this means that upbeat, fast-paced music boosts happiness, but the study also made the important observation that it greatly depends on which music you think sounds happy.

5. Avoid Negative Thoughts

Stop thinking only of bad things, get rid of your fears, and try to be an optimist. Avoid negative topics for discussing. Don’t watch bad news on TV every evening. All this can make you depressed and make it difficult to learn how to have a happy life.

6. Find Your Meaning

Be sure of your uniqueness, and to do that, look internally and find your true calling. Only then will you find your place in this world.

If you’re not sure how to find meaning, check out this article to get you started.

7. Take a Relaxing Bath

Prepare a relaxing bath. You can even put in a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or lemon. A bath will relax you, as well as help you feel cleansed, which will make you feel much happier.

8. Practice Meditation

Meditation, as with other relaxation practices, raises the level of your energy and improves your mental health. Try to meditate at least once a day. It’s also very useful to meditate when out in nature.

Many studies have suggested that mindfulness and self-compassion, in particular, are indicators of increased happiness, so try to aim to participate in mindfulness meditation or a loving-kindness meditation[4].

9. Buy Something for Yourself

Take yourself out and buy yourself something nice. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or a birthday. When you want to cultivate happiness, show yourself some kindness by offering yourself a gift for just being you!

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10. Dance

Any kind of dancing is a great thing to raise your mood, shake off negative emotions, express your personality, and live a happier life.

11. Do Yoga

A yoga practice can soothe your mind and give you more energy. Doing it regularly can be a great step when you want to learn how to be happy in life.

One study found that “Yoga practitioners were more likely than college students to report having strong morals and healthy values as well as the ability to express their feelings and consider the feelings of others”[5].

Of course, expressing feelings is key to cultivating positive emotions and happiness.

12. Help Someone

Helping others is a great way to become happier. When doing this you feel positivity inside you. You know that you’re doing something good.

13. Read a Good Book

Whether you like the classics, mysteries, or fantasy stores, pick up a book that interests you and let yourself get lost in it for an hour or two. You’ll be surprised how great it makes you feel.

14. Cook a Healthy Meal

Cooking is something you can do alone or with someone you love. It’s even better if you prepare something healthy and delicious to offer your body a nutrition boost to support your brain and body.

15. Do Something for Your Home

Your home is where you spend most of your time, where you relax, raise your family, and maybe even work. So do something for your home. Make it as comfortable and nice as you can.

16. Make a Plan

Making plans for your future is a powerful thing. There are no guarantees that all of them will be fulfilled, but the more you plan, the bigger the chances are that you’ll succeed in your life.

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If you’re not sure what to plan, try to plan a big vacation. An article in The Atlantic points out that, even if you never go, you’re still getting the benefits of pre-vacation anticipation, as well as gaining a sense of control over a future that may seem hard to imagine[6].

17. Go on a Picnic

Go on a picnic with your friends and family. Spend some time outdoors, enjoying nature, breathing fresh air, and having fun.

18. Go Swimming

Swimming or floating in pools, lakes, or seas is a great way to relax, feel good, and enjoy your life.

19. Get Some Exercise

Physical activity will not only help you to keep fit and remain healthy, but it will also improve your mood and help you to get rid of stress[7].

Learn how to have a happy life by exercising more!

    Studies show that “as little as 10-min physical activity per week or 1 day of doing exercise per week might result in increased levels of happiness”[8]. It doesn’t take much, so get up and get some exercise!

    20. Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle

    Bad habits negatively influence your life. And it’s not only smoking or drinking. It may be laziness, spending too much time on social media, spending money on unimportant things, etc. Being unhealthy can push you further away from learning how to live a happy life in the long term.

    21. Keep a Journal

    Keeping a journal will help you to analyze yourself, understand your emotions, and improve your relationships, work, etc. It’s a great way to connect with yourself in a new way.

    Check out this article to learn about the many benefits of journaling.

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    22. Make a Photo Album

    Having a photo album is a great way to recollect on life and think of the happiest moments. Bringing to mind positive memories can help you experience more happiness now.

    23. Give and Receive Love

    Loving someone and receiving love can be a great way to cultivate happiness. This also applies to loving yourself! Show yourself some love every day by doing something good for yourself. Treat yourself as you would want to be treated by a loving partner.

    24. Spend Time Alone

    Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. When you spend time by yourself, you can learn more about what you like and don’t like. It’s a good chance to think over your problems, to analyze your work, and make plans for the future.

    25. Spend Time With Your Kids

    What can be better than watching your kids grow, playing with them, and making them smile and laugh? This can bring great moments of happiness when you want to learn how to be happy in life.

    Final Thoughts

    Remember, happiness isn’t a myth. It’s just all up to you. You build your own fate and create your own happiness.

    In the end, you can’t chase happiness because it’s not something outside of you. You have everything you need to produce your own happiness in this very moment, no matter your circumstances.

    Stop trying to find happiness and start enjoying the little things in life to feel happy.

    More on How to Be Happy in Life

    Featured photo credit: Courtney Cook via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Roman Soluk

    Roman writes about positive thinking and happiness at Lifehack.

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    Published on April 7, 2021

    6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

    6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

    Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

    While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

    1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

    Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

    If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

    In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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    2. They Make Everything Transactional

    Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

    For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

    Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

    A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

    Some statements to be wary of include:

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    • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
    • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
    • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
    • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

    3. They Criticize Everything

    One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

    However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

    Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

    • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
    • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
    • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
    • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

    4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

    We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

    For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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    This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

    5. They Socially Isolate You

    Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

    Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

    This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

    In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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    6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

    It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

    Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

    Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

    • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
    • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
    • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
    • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

    Final Thoughts

    It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

    More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

    Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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