What is happiness? We all search for it, but the reality is life is hard and this illusion of being happy all the time is just that- an illusion. Instead of seeking this feeling of ‘happy’, practice these 15 steps that will help you feel more peaceful, more fulfilled, and yes, a little bit happier at the end of the day.
1. Have healthy boundaries. Happy people know when to draw the line. They are comfortable saying “no” in order to preserve their happiness. They are not likely to immediately respond to phone calls, text messages, and emails because they are usually more focused on being fully present rather than allowing interruptions.
2. Look for the bright side. This aligns with the old adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Happy people tend to find the silver lining in difficult situations without ignoring the reality that life is tough. People who can sit through a difficult situation, experience it for what it is, and pick up and move forward tend to be healthier and happier than those who dwell. Happy people ‘act’ in difficult situations instead of ‘regress on what ifs’.
3. Love and care for the body. Happy people tend to take care of themselves physically and emotionally. Food and exercise are used to fuel energy and physical well-being rather than to restrict and transform shape.
4. Have realistic expectations. Happy people tend to set high goals for themselves, work hard to achieve them, and accept that the outcome may not always be exactly what was desired or expected.
5. Seek balance. Happy people allow themselves to indulge without overindulging. They work hard, know how to enjoy life without overdoing it, and treasure a good night’s rest.
6. Give. Happy people share their resources and give without the expectation of reciprocation.
7. Are spiritual. Happy people take time to meditate or pray in order to center themselves and stay grounded.
8. Follow through. Happy people don’t just make promises, they keep them. They follow through on their word and are seen as dependable. They set goals and work at a healthy pace in order to achieve them.
9. Avoid negativity. Happy people tend to surround themselves with other happy people. Rather than engaging in friendships built on judging other people, happy people use their time in a more productive manner. When peers start to gossip, happy people tend to stay quiet or find more meaningful, trustworthy friendships.
10. Avoid overusing sarcasm. Humor is certainly part of being happy; however, self-deprecating humor can be hurtful. Happy people tend to be witty without using themselves or other people as the butt of their jokes.
11. Focus on relationships. Happy people are good friends, partners, parents, etc. They take the time to build relationships and keep them strong. There are no ulterior motives, they genuinely care about you and are interested in you and your happiness.
12. Spend less time in front of a screen. Research shows that those who spend more time watching television and sitting in front of a computer tend to have fewer and weaker friendships than those who don’t. Happy people tend to spend a large part of their time with other people instead of interacting mainly over social media.
13. Don’t compare and contrast. Happy people tend to feel grateful for what they have. They don’t focus on the “have nots” and are okay with not being what the world thinks is ‘the best’ or what the world thinks is having ‘the best’.? “Life isn’t about how much a person needs, but how little.”
14. Don’t just tolerate differences but rather accept them. Happy people genuinely care and include others. They are curious about life, people, and differing opinions and seek to understand other perspectives.
15. Praise. Happy people praise themselves, praise others, and use their words and actions to make others feel good. Happy people get excited when great things happen to other people they know and they are excited to share those success stories for others.
Anna Goodwin Settle
Dr. Anna Settle is an award-winning psychologist and relationship expert who has a private practice located on Music Row in Nashville. Learn more on her website @ DrAnnaSettle.com.