25 Ways to Be Happy
“Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” – Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
Most people don’t sit around thinking about how to be happy, but we recognize it when we’re not. So how do we become happier? In part, by monitoring the workings of our mind.
Happiness is not something the universe will bestow upon you by chance. Being happy requires persistent effort and is dependent upon the way you respond to your situation in life. Happiness is largely a choice. Psychologists believe that it’s a skill we can learn.
A recent study showed that people were 35% less likely to die if they felt happy, excited, or content on a typical day – even if they had chronic health problems.
Here are 25 things you can do to be happy and start living your epic life.
1. LET GO OF THE PAST
“Every hour spent reflecting on the disappointments of the past is an hour stolen from seeing the possibilities that your future holds.” – Robin Sharma
Your past is important because it brought you to where you are. You cannot change your past. Each day is a new beginning. Live each day fully. Don’t let your past get in the way of living the life you were destined to live.
2. BE YOURSELF
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You are a unique individual. You have talents, skills, and beliefs unlike anyone else in the world. Instead of throwing that away just to conform to societal norms, be your authentic self. When you embrace your uniqueness and the differences between you and other people, happiness will surely abound.
3. CREATE DEEPER CONNECTION WITH THOSE WHO MEAN MOST TO YOU
“The single biggest predictor of human happiness is the quality of a person’s relationships.” – Arthur Aron
Meaningful relationships bring joy into our lives in a way that nothing else can. Having someone in your life who cares deeply for you and your wellbeing, and loves you for who you are adds joy and meaning to our lives. Take the time to turn quality friendships into meaningful relationships.
4. FORGIVE OTHERS
“Forgive the people that have hurt you. God will pay you back double the joy, double the victory.” – Joel Osteen
Anger and resentment are destructive emotions that are incompatible with your own peace, joy and happiness. The only way to take your power back from those who have hurt you is to forgive them. There is power in forgiveness.
5. LEARN TO BE CONTENT
“There is an unmistakable freedom that accompanies contentment: a freedom to be who you are, enjoy who you are, and live the life you were destined to live.” – Joshua Becker
The happiness derived from getting what you want is fleeting; the happiness that comes from appreciating what you have is lasting. Contentment goes hand in hand with gratitude. When you are content, you are focused on the things that you have, not on the things you lack. Be grateful for what you have.
6. DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain
Laughter is infectious. The sound of laughter is far more contagious than the common cold. Laughter brings people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress. It’s the single easiest and fastest way to feel happy. What can you do to bring more laughter into your life?
7. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.” – Max Ehrmann
It’s easy to let external demands create a sense of urgency, pushing us to do more, make more, be more. Make a conscious choice to live a slower, simpler and more serene life. Now is the time to create space and balance in your life.
8. KEEP PEACE IN YOUR SOUL
“Whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” – Max Ehrmann
Don’t confuse excitement with happiness. Lasting joy permeates your life when your mind is at peace. Set aside the time you need to keep peace in your soul, through meditation, contact with nature, sport, reading and any other activities that help you reconnect and revive. A peaceful soul is a happy soul.
9. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH HAPPY PEOPLE
“You are the average of the 5 people with whom you spend the most time.” – Jim Rohn
It is said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you want to be happy, get around people who exude happiness and bring out the best in you. Absorb their attitude toward life, their mindset and their thinking. You will begin to take on the life transforming qualities of truly happy people.
10. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
“Taking care of yourself allows you to give your best to others.” – Eric Ungs
Good health is central to good living. When we take care of our body, we feel better. Good health leads to increased energy, stamina and a zest for life. Through proper nutrition, daily exercise, and attention to health and wellness, we can maintain good health.
11. FIND A SENSE OF PURPOSE IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING
“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” – Steve Maraboli
Many people live out their whole lives and look back, only to realize they have spent not a single day doing what they were meant to do.
It happens every day and sadly, many of us are stuck in that situation right now – living to get through another day, believing that someday we will “arrive” to a life of meaning and purpose.
The best way to be happy is to do something you enjoy and see your work as your craft.
Devote yourself to knowing more about what you do than anyone who has ever done what you do.
12. DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE
“All of the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities.” – John O’Donohue
No matter where you are or where you’ve been, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and do something you love. The legendary Scott Dinsmore devoted his life to helping people do just that.
Scott knew that true happiness comes from doing what you love, what you’re good at, and what you are meant to do.
13. DON’T LET DISAPPOINTMENTS BRING YOU DOWN
“It’s not what happens to you that’s important, it’s how you handle the disappointments that makes a difference.” – Zig Ziglar
It’s easy to quit when the going gets tough. We all have disappointments, but the important thing is not to let them bring you down. Learn to be resilient. And don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall. We all fall sometimes.
14. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” – Max Ehrmann
The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion, but it’s an action that steals joy from our lives.
Instead of looking at the lives of others and wishing you were doing it too (or worse, judging them), learn to appreciate where YOU are now and where you can be.
See the goodness that’s inside of you.
You will be so much happier!
15. THINK POSITIVE
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts” – Marcus Aurelius
The secret to happiness lies in our thoughts.
The quality of your thoughts determines your emotions. If you think negative thoughts, you will inevitably feel badly.
But if you think positive thoughts, you will feel more relaxed and considerably happier.
Allow positive thoughts to lift you up.
You can choose to think happy thoughts instead of negative ones. It really works!
16. DEVELOP A SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY
“We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.” – Buddha
Imagine adding the spirit of generosity to your heart. Imagine the goodwill you’d create by being determined to leave no encounter without some small act of generosity.
Imagine how happy you’d feel sharing your spirit of generosity throughout the day!
Embracing a spirit of generosity will go a long way toward experiencing the happiness you so deserve.
17. NEVER STOP DREAMING
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
It’s dreams that make life worth living.
If you’ve forgotten how to dream, or you haven’t allowed yourself to dream lately, I encourage you to begin.
And while you’re at it, dream big!
No, dreams don’t always come true.
But every once in a while, they do. Yours can too.
18. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CANNOT CHANGE
“Worry is a waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All it does is steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.” – Unknown
Most of the things we worry about never come to fruition.
We all know this, yet most of us worry anyway. Worrying about all of the things you cannot change makes you feel anxious and unhappy.
Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.
Instead of worrying about what could go wrong or what might happen, have faith. And trust in God to protect you.
19. EMBRACE THE JOURNEY OF LIFE
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
Many people postpone their happiness, waiting for the perfect job or waiting for retirement. Then they will be happy.
You can choose to be happy now!
Don’t postpone your happiness; learn to fully appreciate every minute of your life. Enjoy the experiences along the way.
You can still celebrate when you get where you’re going, but don’t forget to live your life today.
20. CULTIVATE NEW RELATIONSHIPS
“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” – Joseph F. Newton
Human connection – our ability to empathize, to belong, and to love is an important component of happiness.
New friendships add color and excitement to our lives.
Meeting new people is easier than ever before. We have technology, internet forums, and social media to help you cultivate new relationships with other people.
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people and open the door to new experiences, new friendships and more happiness.
21. BE MINDFUL
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.” – Max Ehrmann
Mindfulness is a potentially transformative quality that involves actively focusing your attention on the present and living in the moment.
Mindful people are more relaxed, more centered, and profoundly more happy.
When you practice mindfulness, you begin to notice the little things around you and truly enjoy each moment, experiencing them with all of your senses.
22. AVOID ANGER
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.” – Gandhi
There is always an alternative to anger. Anger solves nothing.
When you have a disagreement with someone, try to resolve problems peacefully instead.
Instead of anger, choose love!
We should always try to be understanding and tolerant of others and to show love and compassion to those around us.
23. ACCEPT YOURSELF AS YOU ARE
“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.” – Maxwell Maltz
Each and every one of us can improve something about ourselves. If you’re always looking at what’s wrong, you’ll never notice what’s right.
You are beautiful in your own right.
Happiness is internal, and you don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy! Once you realize that, you begin to realize your personal power.
Accept yourself – exactly as you are. Right here, right now.
24. SMILE AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.” – Maya Angelou
Did you know that you can make someone’s whole day with just a smile?
Make a conscious effort every day to be kind to others and to smile more.
Happy people smile – a lot.
You will be absolutely amazed at how much happier you’ll feel and how differently people will treat you when you make this one small gesture.
25. NEVER STOP LOVING
“Love is the strongest force the world possesses, yet it is the humblest imaginable.” – Gandhi
Love never loses its value. The more love you give, the more love you receive.
You want to be happy?
Love others selflessly. Not for any other reason but to love them.
Expect nothing in return. Your life will abound with happiness, I promise you.
There really is nothing in the world stronger than love.
I truly believe that. I encourage you to open up your heart to those around you – even if they’ve wronged you in some way.
Let go of the grudges and mistakes of the past. Just love.
My wish for you is to receive an abundance of love in return and to make every single day a fuller, brighter, more meaningful place to be.