Have you ever spent time with someone who’s not happy? After leaving them you probably felt completely drained. They complained about their life, about other people and had nothing good to say. It didn’t leave you wanting more time with them, did it.
On the other hand, have you ever been with someone who sees the good in life and the people around them? Time flies when you’re with them and you leave that person feeling energized.
What is the secret to happiness?
Happy people tend to think differently and have different habits than unhappy people. While we don’t know what makes everyone happy we do know simple habits can make one person happier than the next.
Here are 17 habits to help you become a happy positive person.
1. Be self-aware
Happiness is not something we find it’s something we choose. Being self-aware and in tune will give you the ability to understand what you need in different areas of your life, at that moment. Being aware of your needs, life purpose and path is key to feeling happy. If you’re not in alignment with yourself you’re often forcing life in the direction you think you should go in.
Spend some time witnessing your thoughts and hearing the things you say to others. Notice where you’re feeling frustrated or discouraged. This will clue you into the things that are working in your life and the things that need to change. Look for places where you can let go of what’s not working and form new habits. Keep a daily journal to help you understand yourself more.
2. Develop a good attitude
Your attitude is everything. When you’re happy you see the world differently. It can make or break you and frankly if it’s bad it can ruin your life. Your attitude can far outweigh your abilities and affect your health, relationships and personal growth. How you see yourself and what you believe will determine and shape your emotions. How you react to life circumstances will determine the habits you form.
3. Eat healthy
A healthy diet can make you feel better, look better and live longer. Eating a whole plant-based diet rich in nutrients will help you feel good about your choices. It will stabilize blood sugar and avoid mood swings caused by eating the wrong foods. Our food choices directly affect us both mentally and physically. There is a psychological and physical payoff from eating fresh healthy foods.
Take care of your body, it’s the only one you’re going to have. Exercise releases endorphins, boosts confidence and makes you feel good. Exercise is a reset button for life which helps you release tension and stress. It’s important to find a movement you enjoy so you stick with it. Exercise is good for your brain and body, they are connected.
5. Touch – XOXO
Human touch is healing. Hugging someone, holding their hand or just sitting near contributes to your happiness and even health. It decreases stress hormones and boosts serotonin levels. Studies have proven that premature babies need human touch to survive. Hugs increase oxytocin levels which will lower your heart rate and cortisol (stress hormone). It’s important to hug, kiss and touch each other.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
Not getting a good night’s sleep can throw anyone off the next day. Lack of sleep increases stress hormones and can lead to depression and weight gain. There are a ton of health benefits to getting adequate sleep. Happiness and overall life satisfaction are both high on the list.
7. Make good choices
Choose things that work for you and your life. Make choices that leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. Choosing for yourself (not others) will keep you on your life path and lead to more happiness. If you’re not sure what these things are, ask yourself “what do I value in life?”, “what would I like my life to look like?” “if I could do anything and there were no limitations what would I choose?”
8. Don’t gossip
Say good things about other people even if it’s hard sometimes. Gossip hurts people and damages relationships. Most people gossip out of envy or resentment. In the end, it makes you look bad. People who gossip to you will gossip about you. You’ll lose the trust of people around you and if they’re actually listening they’ll start to guard themselves around you.
9. Start a gratitude list
A gratitude list is associated with greater happiness and a more positive outlook on life. Gratitude can lead to better productivity and the more you do it the easier it gets. Gratitude is looking out in the world and seeing the good things available for you to receive. It doesn’t mean your life is perfect it just means you’re grateful for what is. Check out my Gratitude List: 63 Reasons to Be Instantly Grateful.
10. Smile at others
Smiling at others can cheer you up, build immunity and lower stress levels. It spurs a chemical reaction in the brain which causes you to release neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine and endorphins). All of which makes you feel good. So instead of smiling because your happy try smiling to become happy.
11. Have social support
Surround yourself with healthy supportive people. Research shows if you have one or more close friendships you’ll tend to be happier. If you feel your family and friends are supportive you’ll have greater happiness than those who doubt the support around them. We are social creatures so it makes sense that you would thrive with meaningful social ties.
12. Learn something new
Learning a new skill or challenging yourself can affect your well being in more ways than one. Learning new things builds confidence, gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes you feel better overall. Learning something new exposes you to new ideas and when we succeed it boosts our self-confidence.
13. Start and end your day with something peaceful.
Avoid technology for the first and last hour of the day (emails, news or social media). How you begin your day will set the tone for the rest of the day. Start your day with five to ten minutes of meditation. Go within and check in with yourself. What is it you need from this day and this moment. Be present as your day begins. Enjoy your shower, eat your breakfast mindfully and connect with yourself.
14. Do something nice for someone
Being kind to someone, giving back or helping someone will always boost your mood and make you feel happier. It’s rewarding to be generous and it feels good to be a “better person”. Helping others enriches your life and has many rewards. There’s a significant link between kindness and happiness.
15. Plan something
We all need something to look forward to. Fill your calendar with social activities such as a vacation, hobby or night out with a friend. It can boost your mood and create healthy anticipation of what’s to come.
16. Create a positive living environment
Your environment can affect your mood. Surround yourself with things that make you feel good. The right lighting, paint color and surroundings can make you feel happy. Clear the clutter, donate items you’re not using and only keep your favorites.
17. Commit to making a change
Everything you accomplish in life starts by making a commitment to something. Achieving our goals requires commitment. If you want to be a happier person you have to commit to making that change. Happiness is a choice. Be mindful and choose to make the changes necessary to living a happy life.
Do you have any steps that have helped you become a happier person? Leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
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You might enjoy How to Feel Good About Yourself – No Matter What.