This week, on the 20th of March, is the international day of happiness. I thought a good way to celebrating it would be to learn how to be happy by looking at the habits of happy people.
We all want to be happy and the search for happiness is gaining serious momentum in the last decade. I’m sure people searched for happiness way before that, but advanced digital technology has made it easier to learn more about happiness.
Happiness is now a science. I focus on happiness in my and help my clients become happier coaching. That’s why I call my business Be Happy in LIFE.
Simply put, happy people have habits that promote happiness. So, develop the habits of happy people, and you will be happy too.
I like the idea of considering happiness as a habit. Why? Because most people think it’s something you’re born with and I disagree with that.
I wasn’t born a happy person. In fact, until I turned 16, I was pretty miserable and made the life of those around me miserable as well.
Over the years, however, I learned that I’d grown up with people who were practicing misery all the time. Therefore, I had the habit of feeling miserable. I just didn’t know what happiness was and how to achieve it.
For me, happiness was like money. You’re either born to money or you’re poor. But even in that area, I proved the concept wrong. My parents were poor. I wasn’t born to wealth, yet I’m a wealthy person now through different habits.
Happy people have happy habits
Happy people think and act differently. They have different beliefs and different behaviors, which promote and sustain their happiness. And not all of them were born to happy, joyful families.
Remember, a habit is something you do automatically, without thinking or assessing. It’s not necessarily easy at first, but at some point, it becomes effortless, as if by magic. Then, you do the same thing easily, and it makes you happy, even while your mind is busy doing something else.
Below is a list of some habits of happy people. Again, they were not born with them. They practiced each of them until it became a habit.
How to be happy with the habits of happy people
- Happy people develop their own definition of happiness and follow it. They learn about happiness and understand it as a personal thing. Therefore, they see happiness as something they need to work on.
- Happy people are very grateful. They appreciate what they have and say they’re grateful for the simple things in life. If you want to develop this habit, make yourself a gratitude list. Go to sleep every night after you’ve written down 3 things you’re grateful for.
- Happy people are optimistic. Yes, it’s hard to think about it that way, but being optimistic is a habit. We can all train ourselves to imagine a good future, instead of a bad one. Both “futures” are imaginary, anyway. But one will bring you happiness, which the other will make you miserable. This is what they mean when they say, “Happiness is a choice”.
- Happy people find their “zone”. They understand we all have different ways to recharge our batteries, and that enjoyment and fun aren’t a luxury. They often do things that make them happy. They pursue their hobbies on a regular basis. If you want to develop this habit, find your hobbies and enjoy them, with no guilt. Invest money and time in your hobbies. They’re your recharging stations.
- Happy people love the state of flow. It’s the place where time doesn’t move. It’s when you’re totally in the moment and it feels like meditation. No thoughts about the past of future. When I do artwork, I feel like I’m in a state of flow. I think of nothing at all. I can work on a piece for 10 hours, and if you ask me what I was thinking about, I just don’t know.
- Happy people have goals, and they pursue them. They understand that if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there. When they achieve something, they enjoy it and move on to the next goal.
- Happy people consider themselves lucky. They don’t take things for granted and are very grateful for the circumstances that helped them get to where they are.
- Happy people take advantage of the nature around them. They spend time outside, in nature, and soak up all the energy of being in the sun, with plants and animals. They regularly travel, hike, go to the beach, or just for a walk in the neighborhood. Make it part of your life. There are plenty of therapies that focus on being in nature. Use them to your advantage.
- Happy people are kind. Research has found that when we do an act of kindness, we benefit from it more than those who receive it. It helps us think good things about ourselves and boost our confidence. So be kind. At the end of every day, write 3 kind things you have done today.
- Happy people surround themselves with friends and family. They love socializing, and spend more time with others than by themselves. Being with others gives people plenty of opportunities to be kind and receive acts of kindness from others. So grow your social circle and spend time with other people as much as you can.
- Happy people show interest in others. They’re not solely focused on themselves. They often ask other people questions that show interest. If you want to develop this habit, talk less, and ask interested questions instead.
- Happy people don’t compare themselves to others. Why? Because they don’t think there’s a standard everyone needs to follow. They understand that they always do the best they can.
- Happy people think they’re good enough. One of the big obstacles to happiness is thinking you’re not good enough. This is a formula for misery. Happy people don’t fall into this trap. They always do the best they can, and that’s good enough.
- Happy people aren’t jealous. They’re inspired. If they see others who are amazing, they don’t envy them, but consider them an inspiration. Instead of hard feelings toward successful people, they learn from them. Make a list of all the people you envy and write down what can you learn from them.
- Happy people make others feel good about themselves. When we make others feel good about themselves, they associate feeling good with us and want to be around us more. This helps us charge our batteries too. It’s an act of kindness that focuses on giving, and ends up receiving. If you want to develop this habit and increase your happiness, make someone else feel good. Do it every day. I give some of my clients this assignment, and sometimes, I tell them they have to make some strangers feel good. It’s harder, but gives the most happiness.
- Happy people know their strengths and use them. They know that not all people are the same. We have strengths and weaknesses. They’re not afraid to use their strengths. They don’t show off with their strengths, but don’t shy from them, either.
- Happy people like to help. They help for the sake of helping and not with the desire to get something in return.
- Happy people ask other people how they feel. They care about others and about what’s happening in others’ lives. They’re open to deep conversations and know how to ask and how to listen when others share.
- Happy people don’t overthink. They understand that thinking doesn’t change situations that already happened. Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book “The how of happiness”, claimed that in her research, the overthinkers were the most unhappy people. Thinking is good, but overthinking turns into an obsession and excessive focus on faults, problems, and deficiencies. If you are overthinker, try mindfulness and meditation!
- Happy people practice mindfulness. Mindfulness it the act of thinking about thinking. Mindfulness is our ability to observe our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This helps us change things we do automatically. It requires time and patience, but when you succeed, you get a huge sense of control. You no longer do things automatically and can control your life.
- Happy people meditate. All meditation practices do the exact same thing. They allow the mind to reach a state of bliss. Not all moments of meditation are blissful, but it calms the mind and the body, and allows them to go back to natural rhythm. Even five minutes every day can do magic. Try it!
- Happy people focus on comforting themselves when they feel bad. They don’t waste time criticizing and punishing themselves for it. When they feel bad, they focus on comfort and making themselves happy. They can be reserved or quiet, but will not be aggressive towards others when they’re in a bad place. They tend not to blame others for their own problems and mistakes, and understand that when they focus on the good, the bad will fade away.
- Happy people move their body on a regular basis. Abraham Maslow said that physical movement is a basic need. When we don’t move our body, we deprive ourselves of this need. Movement releases endorphins and makes us feel happy directly. You can run, walk, lift weights, dance, play sports, or even work in the garden. As long as you move, it will help you develop the habit of moving and be happy.
- Happy people look forward, not backward. The thought of the future, with optimism, makes them excited about simple things that will happen tomorrow, next week, or next month. They’re in constant movement towards the future.
- Happy people are generally busy. Happy people talk about being busy as a good thing, not something to complain about. They’re never bored. They love being active. They love doing things. They love being busy, because busy makes them feel alive. They don’t overdo it out of pressure. They do enough to be productive, and rest when they need to.
- Happy people do jobs that serve their life’s purpose or “calling”. They work to helps others and make the world a better place. A miserable bus driver punches the clock and counts minutes until their shift ends. A happy bus driver helps other people get to work, or home, safely and pleasantly, while reducing climate change. Same job. Different attitude.
- Happy people have the habit of being happy for someone else’s successes and celebrate it with them. They don’t think that other’s happiness takes away from theirs. They think someone else’s happiness, increases the vibration of good around them and they are happy to celebrate other people’s successes.
- Happy people see money as a tool, not a target, and use their money kindly. They don’t collect money for the sake of collecting it, and tend to be less worried about money. They understand that money is not what makes us happy, but can be used to experience happiness.
- Happy people don’t collect things. They collect experiences. Research shows our happiness fades a very short time after buying something new, but remains when we rethink of an enjoyable memory. If you have $100 to spend, spend it on memories, not on objects.
- Happy people are very forgiving towards themselves and others. They understand we all do the best we can with what we have. They prefer to think that what other people do is never done with bad intentions, so they can let go of grudges and move on.
- Happy people take responsibility for their own happiness. They don’t expect others to make them happy, and understand it’s their role. They understand that high expectations of others are a source of misery and only make them feel helpless and dependent.
- Happy people don’t think they can always be happy. Unhappy people give up, because they know they can’t always be happy. When you’re not happy, tell yourself, “This too shall pass”. Remind yourself that happy charges the battery to survive the unhappy moment. Focus on making yourself happy.
- Happy people focus on the full half of the glass. Both happy and unhappy people see the glass. Happy people are in the habit of seeing the full half, while unhappy people always see what they’re missing. When they think of the past, happy people focus on good memories, because they understand that our memories have the ability to heal or kill. If you want to adopt this habit, take situations in life that are challenging and ask yourself, “What good can come out of that?” It’s a good habit that will help you when you’re down.
- Happy people smile more. That’s very simple. Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel good. Make it a habit to smile. It’s also contagious. People who smile end up being surrounded by smiling people, and that’s a great feeling.
- Happy people care for a pet. Pets gives people enormous joy and help them relax. Pets don’t judge, and appreciate human kindness with everything they’ve got. If you want to be happy, get a pet!
- Happy people avoid the news. Some friends asked me why I wasn’t aware of what was happening in different places around the world with COVID-19 and the US elections. I told them I didn’t watch the news for health reasons. When people hear this reason, they all say, “You’re right”, but continue to watch the news. And then, they worry and see the world as a scary place. Whenever I watch the news, the only thing I feel is helplessness. So why do it? Much of it isn’t true anyway, and many important things aren’t even mentioned.
I hope this list gives you a good idea of how to be happy by developing the habits of happy people. Take your time with it and be honest with yourself. The rewards will come.