HABITS OF HAPPY PEOPLE
:: Cue “Happy” by Pharrell ::
Happiness. Noun. hap·pi·ness | \ ˈha-pē-nəs \
a: a state of well-being and contentment: JOY
b: a pleasurable or satisfying experience
An extraordinary idea. An experience we constantly chase & a state we all seek to hold onto. In the midst of our ever busy lives, at the end of the day we’re all looking for the same simple thing:
But how simple is it, really?
And is it even something we can look for?
Are we able to truly control it?
If you’re anything like me, leading a life filled with joy, laughter & bliss is an absolute must. No matter the situation, I always try to look at the glass as half full (and sometimes, that can be incredibly hard)! However, capturing & holding onto happiness is not something that you will magically “figure out” one day. It is a continuous practice that you must exercise.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “once I start making x amount of money,” “once I fall in love,” or “once I get in the best shape of my life” - I will finally be happy? Don’t fall into that trap! You can have everything the world has to offer - possessions, pleasure, power - but if you lack peace of mind, you will never be happy.
The good news? You hold the very key to your happiness, no matter the circumstance! After much research, pulling from personal experiences, & connecting with some of the most joyful people I know, I have compiled a list of how to foster your happiness…
Habits of Happy People
They are obsessively grateful. When we take time to acknowledge the things that go right in our lives, it means we are receiving many little rewards throughout the day. This can help with our overall mood and make way for new blessings to come into our lives.
They cultivate resilience. According to psychologist Peter Kramer, resilience, not happiness, is the opposite of depression: Happy people know how to bounce back from failure. Resilience is almost like a padding for the unavoidable adversity humans are bound to face. As the Japanese proverb goes, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”
They surround themselves with the right people. Freddie & I dedicated an entire chapter to this important subject in The Pivot Principle. Flat out, joy is contagious. Surrounding yourself with happy people builds confidence and stimulates creativity. Hanging out with negative people has the opposite effect - they want others to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Don’t be that person - proceed with caution when allowing negative energies into your circle!
They get enough sleep. I cannot stress this one enough! With my body chemistry, if I get less than 6-7 hours of sleep/night, I am a hot mess. Feeling rested allows you to have clarity, better moods & excellent judgment. You get more emotional stability with good sleep!
They LOL. You may have heard of the study where those who laugh more in life, live longer. Laughter truly is the best medicine. A good, ol’ fashioned chuckle releases happy brain chemicals which allow humans to be better equipped to tolerate both stress & pain.
They make a point to listen. "When you listen you open up your ability to take in more knowledge versus blocking the world with your words or your distracting thoughts," writes David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism. "You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others. Knowledge and confidence are proof that you are secure and positive with yourself thus radiating positive energy." The skill of good listening enhances relationships and leads to more delightful experiences. A great listener may walk away from a conversation feeling that their presence served a purpose - an experience closely connected with increased well-being.
They value a great playlist. Music is POWERFUL. Believe it or not, music therapy matches the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy. Over three months, researchers from the Group Health Research Institute found that patients who listened to music had the same decreased anxiety symptoms as those who received 10 hour-long massages! Click here for some of my favorite songs.
They live in the moment & look on the bright side. Until you can learn to live in the present, there is no way to reach your fullest potential. No amount of guilt will change your past & no amount of anxiety can change the future. It is impossible to be happy if you are continually living somewhere else. So how can you fully embrace your reality (the good & bad) of this very moment? 1. Accept your past. If you are unable to make peace with your past, it will never leave you which will result in it creating your future. 2. Welcome & accept the uncertainty of the future. As Mark Twain said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
They devote time to giving. Although there are only 24 hours in a day, happy people fill some of that time doing good for others. This in return, does good for the do-gooders. Givers can experience what researchers call “the helper’s high,” a euphoric state experienced when engaging in a charitable act. Helping others allows us to have a genuine human interaction & connection.
They make exercise a priority. Exercise has been shown to lessen symptoms of anxiety, stress & depression due to the various brain chemicals that are released which amplify feelings of happiness & relaxation. Anytime I feel I need a pep in my step, I try to get to the gym or at least go outside for a quick walk. Activity works like a charm!
They forgive but don’t forget. I am a firm believer in the motto, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Meaning you should forgive to prevent a grudge, but never forget. Believe it or not, the negative emotions that come along with holding a grudge are a stress response. When you hold on to that stress, it can have horrible consequences for your health & mood. Happy people try to avoid grudges AT ALL COSTS. Instead, they make a mental note & move on. Offering forgiveness does not mean that they’ll give the wrongdoer another chance, but they recognize they cannot be bogged down by the mistreatment from others. This will result in quickly letting things go & being assertive in protecting themselves in the future.
Remember, mindset doesn’t just stick overnight. It is a continuous process of rewiring your brain to be positive!
Which “happy habit” do you agree with the most? Do you have any others you would add to the list? I’d love to hear below!