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I don’t know you, but I can assure you’re like most people.
You want to be loved, respected, and more than anything, live a happy, fulfilling life.
We all want the same thing.
However, we aren’t taught how to get this. There is no ‘happiness’ class in college and even if there was, everyone’s definition of happiness is different.
What makes my heart glow can very well not matter one bit to you (unless you love lattes and puppies as much as me).
However, differences aside, there are a couple of key habits of genuinely happy people that you can incorporate into your own life to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Habits Of Happy People
1. They Live In The Moment
Very few people live in the moment. Whether you are longing for the past (the good old days) or worried/excited about the future, your mind is rarely in the NOW.
Happy people focus on the moment. If they are with their kids, they are fully enjoying that moment in time, knowing it can never be replicated. They aren’t thinking about what they will make for dinner or how they will pay for their child’s college tuition.
It’s not to say you don’t plan for the future or take time to learn from the past, but you aren’t doing these things during other moments of your day.
If you’re making dinner, be 100% present in making dinner. Be present when out with friends.
Even if you’re just drinking a cup of coffee, be completely immersed in that moment. Be aware of every sip you take and don’t wish you were somewhere else.
A good way to bring yourself into the present moment when your mind tends to wander is to focus on your breath, which brings me to the next habits of happy people….
2. They Meditate
Now, I know plenty of happy people that don’t meditate on a regular basis, however, the science behind meditation is so strong this list would not be complete without it.
Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind and sitting with your thoughts, learning about yourself without judgment.
We have a million thoughts and feelings, many of which we don’t understand. When we meditate, we go inwards and (over time) get a clearer idea of who we are.
Meditating is a great way to increase mindfulness and (like tip #1) teach your mind to live in the moment.
Just 10 minutes a day can increase your baseline happiness level and lower your cortisol (the stress hormone).
3. They Hang Out With Happy People
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’
It’s true that like attracts like. Have you ever been in an average mood, but someone around you is so happy and enthusiastic that your mood automatically shifts? That isn’t a coincidence. Happiness is contagious.
But so is sadness and anger. If you hang around people that are negative, bitter, or problematic you’re likely to become those things as well.
Make sure you surround yourself with happy, positive people that choose to look at the bright side of things.
4. They Exercise Regularly
Ah, exercise. Exercise is one of the most underutilized tools for stress and anxiety.
Exercise relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you up and moving can provide this positive benefit.
You don’t need to spend two hours in the gym, just a thirty minute walk can have tremendous benefits for your mental health.
To get the most out of a workout, simply pick an activity you enjoy. Don’t pick something because it ‘burns the most calories’ or ‘gives you a six pack.’
Sticking to a fitness routine long term requires actually looking forward to and enjoying the exercise. If you have to force yourself to that spinning class you hate, chances are you won’t stick with it for more than a couple of weeks.
5. They Forgive
Happy people don’t hold grudges. It doesn’t mean they welcome back those who have hurt them with open arms, but they hold no resentment in their hearts for those that have wronged them.
“Resentment is Like Taking Poison and Waiting for the Other Person To Die”
Even if the person isn’t sorry or even aware they have done something wrong, happy people let go of any anger or resentment and simply move on.
Since they tend to live in the now (tip #1) they aren’t constantly going to the past replaying in their minds what this person has done.
Also, forgiveness isn’t just meant for other people. Happy people forgive themselves just as much as they forgive others. You are sure to have many shortcomings and lapses of judgements (as all humans do), but you forgive yourself realizing you’re only human.
You’re learning from your mistakes and doing the best you can.
6. They Aren’t Materialistic
Happy people don’t seek happiness in things. They know a new car or shoes isn’t what’s going to make them happier.
Sure, it might give you some instant gratification, but material goods have no long term benefits to your happiness.
Instead, happy people value experiences and people over things.
A weekend at the beach with good friends means more to them than a new cellphone.
If you focus on creating more experiences with loved ones, those experiences become memories you will cherish for a lifetime.
More than that, humans are social creatures who need deep bonds with others in order to feel a sense of belonging and satisfaction.
7. They Don’t Compare Themselves to Others
Comparison truly is the thief of joy.
Especially in the dawn of social media, where we have access to the highlight reel of everyone’s lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game.
Everyone seems to have their life together. They’re graduating, finding the love of their life, getting a promotion, having adorable babies, and even maintaining the perfect tan. How?!
First of all, you need to realize everyone has struggles that they aren’t broadcasting. No one’s life is as perfect as it seems on social media.
One of the best ways to snap ourselves out of the comparison game is to practice gratitude.
Whenever you catch yourself not feeling ‘enough’ because of someone else, make a list of things you are grateful for.
We all have many (many!!) things to be grateful for in our lives and just because someone has something we don’t, that doesn’t take away from our own value.
“The happier the person, the less attention she pays to how others around her are doing.”
8. Happy People Try To Be Happy
Happy people actively try to be happy.
They find activities and seek out experiences that will bring them joy. They know being happy is a full-time job and they don’t leave it up to chance.
Do you listen to music that makes you happy? Do the shows you watch make you laugh or cry?
Most of the time, happiness isn’t something we just walk into. It’s something we have to work hard at.
Especially during hard times, happy people choose to look on the bright side of things and find joy in the situation.
Happiness is determined by your habits. It isn’t predetermined at birth, by the money you have, or the car you drive.
Happy people engage in habits that make them happy. Actively finding what makes you happier and adding more of that to your life, while simultaneously subtracting what makes you unhappy.
Choose to be happy every day and incorporate these powerful happiness habits int your own life.
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