Sometimes it seems like everyone else is so happy, while you’re stuck in the mud, struggling to make ends meet. Happiness is a state of mind, and you can change the way you think with a little bit of practice. Instead of envying others, why not steal some of their habits to use yourself?
1. Believe you can be happy.
Since happiness is a state of mind, you first have to believe that you can be happy. You might not think you deserve happiness for a variety of reasons, but that’s not true. Everyone deserves happiness, and everyone can find it if they try. Preparing your mind to be happy means you first have to accept that you can be happy, too.
2. Know that happiness takes work.
You can’t just sit back and expect happiness to find you. Since happiness depends so much on your state of mind, you need to know going in that you’re going to have to work to train your brain to be optimistic. Once you begin to feel like a happy person, you still have to remain vigilant to keep those happy thoughts at the forefront of your mind.
3. Balance your life.
It’s easy to feel unhappy when you work full-time, bring work home with you, go to bed late, wake up early, and still don’t accomplish everything on your list. Instead of trying to cram everything in, take a step back and try to balance everything you have. Devote time to work, fun, family, friends, and relaxation. Once you know you have time for everything that is important to you, you’ll be able to compartmentalize, get things done, and have time to be happy. When you start to feel stressed and unhappy, look at your life again. It is more than likely something is overflowing into another compartment, and you need to balance again.
4. Be kind.
Being kind to others is easy, and it makes you happy along with the person you’re dealing with. Compliment a stranger, bring a treat for your co-workers, let a car merge in front of you during rush hour traffic — simple actions, but ones that will make you, and others, feel happier.
5. Be healthy.
Having a healthy lifestyle will help you stay happy. Eating right prepares your body to tackle whatever comes your way. Exercise energizes not just your body, but your brain, meaning you’ll feel more equipped for your daily life. Try it: Go out for a brisk walk or run, do some yoga, get your blood flowing. You’ll start feeling better immediately.
6. Appreciate what you have.
It’s so easy to think you’ll be happy if only you have the newest phone, or a better car, or a bigger house. But wanting what others have isn’t going to make you happy; it’s just going to make you feel inadequate. Take stock of everything you have, and not just your material possessions. Appreciate all of your good qualities — those affect your happiness, too!
7. Pick your battles.
If you’re always on the defensive, you’ll get into a lot of fights, and conflict makes you unhappy. Try to not get into arguments over petty things. Only fight if it’s really worth it, and when you think a positive change will result from the fight. Arguing in circles only makes you and others more frustrated in the long run, especially if the issue never gets resolved.
8. Let things go.
Don’t hold onto the past, whether it was good or bad. It’s important to live in the present and make the most of each moment you have, rather than always thinking about things that are over. Letting things go also applies to the last tip about fighting. Someone may say or do something that raises your hackles, but don’t take the bait. Be the bigger person and let insensitive comments roll off your back instead of digging away at your happiness.
9. Be prepared for bad times.
Even if all of these tips help you become a happier person, you have to remember that it won’t make you immune to bad times. Everyone has a share of bad days, hard times, failure, and rejection. The best thing you can do is be aware that this type of thing still will happen to you, and you’ll just have to roll with it and make the best of it. It won’t necessarily make the bad times any easier, but you’ll be able to recover more quickly.
10. Be honest.
Lying takes a lot out of you. You have to come up with a believable story, convince the person it’s true, and remember the details when they ask follow-up questions. Instead of all that extra effort, it’s easier to just tell the truth. You’ll have to face the consequences sooner or later, so why not be honest in the first place and take responsibility for your actions?
11. Be passionate.
This certainly can apply to the relationships in your life, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Be passionate in everything that you do, and every task will make you happy. Even if you think you hate your job, there’s got to be something good about it. Find that good thing, become passionate about it, and do it to the best of your ability. You’ll be happier. This also means you should find hobbies and activities you’re passionate about to enrich your free time and make you happier.
12. Make goals.
It can feel really good to just lay back and let time pass you by. But if you establish goals, you’ll have purpose in your life. Having specific things to work toward will really help you stay happy, because you’ll have a map of how to spend your time. When you complete all of your tasks, you’ll have accomplished something and can mark it off of your list. Anything can be a goal: A work task, a hobby, a dream you’ve always wanted to accomplish but just can’t seem to manage. Break it down into manageable chunks, start working away at it, and see what you’re capable of.
13. Look happy.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true; smiling makes you feel happier. Even if you have to force a fake smile, it will ease into a true smile. It will make others smile back at you, which will make you smile more. It’s a happy circle! Laugh even if a joke just deserves a chuckle, and see how much happier it makes you feel.