You know that feeling when everything is going well in your life? Imagine waking up in the morning feeling energized and well-rested. Starting your day off with a positive mindset which serendipitously continues throughout the rest of your day. You feel content, happy, relaxed, and full of joy. When I have this type of day, I fantasize about bottling it up so I can have the magic “how to be happy” potion available to me at all times.
Since I can’t have a magic potion, I looked at what the experts have to say about how to be happy.
These 10 tips will lead you to discover how to be happy and lead a more joyful life.
1. Surround yourself with positive people
You probably already know that hanging out with positive and optimistic people improves your mood.
It’s hard to be cranky when you’re around happy people so identify the people in your life who make you feel uplifted, and spend more time with them.
Although I’m an extrovert, my social circle is quite small. I have a modest group of people that I spend time with regularly. These people nurture my soul and I feel a lot happier after I spend time with them.
Not that you should cut out friends or family who are negative.
Instead, focus your energy on cultivating relationships with people who make you feel happier when you’re around them.
2. Join a club
Remember in high school or college when you were part of a club? I bet you enjoyed being part of a group of like-minded people.
If you want to know how to be happy, then start connecting with others.
When you feel like you are part of a community and a larger group, you naturally feel happier.
The best way to join a club is through Facebook or go to meetup events. Perhaps you can join a monthly book club, game night or even crafting group?
Look for a club that focuses on your interests. Then, get to know the people you meet so that you can become friends.
3. Learn to say “no”
One of the best ways to know how to be happy is that you know how to say no.
Remember, “no” is a full sentence.
When you find yourself overbooked and overwhelmed, you have likely prioritized other people’s needs above your own.
An important part of self-care is knowing your own boundaries and respecting them.
One of my favorite mantras from renowned social worker Brené Brown is “choose discomfort over resentment.”
I repeat that mantra to myself whenever I’m tempted to say yes, even though I don’t really want to do whatever is being asked of me.
If you struggle with saying no, read this great article 5 Nice but Firm Ways to Say “No,” Because You Can’t Be Everywhere at Once.
4. Focus on your strengths
One of the key tenents of positive psychology is to focus on your strengths. When you learn to do this, you realize how capable and resilient you are.
I recently took the VIA Survey, which is the only free, scientific survey of character strengths in the world. After 15 minutes, I got a profile that listed all of my character strengths.
Guess what my #1 strength is? Love: being close to people.
Identifying your strengths and directing them to foster your well-being is one of the most effective ways for how to be happy.
5. Keep a gratitude journal
The practice of gratitude can be expressed in many ways.
The secret of how to be happy can start with a gratitude journal. Spend a few minutes a day writing the things for which you are thankful.
To learn more, check out How to start a gratitude practice and change your life.
In essence, when you keep a gratitude journal, you are rewiring your brain to focus more on the positive aspects of your life and build up resilience against negative situations.
6. Start a meditation practice
If you want to know how to be happy, meditation is a good place to start.
Meditation changes your neural pathways and helps lower your stress level and boosts your mood.
Spend 10-15 minutes each morning meditating and you’ll notice an improvement in your well-being and a more optimistic outlook on your life.
To get started check out the best meditation tips for beginners.
I love using guided meditation, and these 5 best meditation apps will make you calm and stress-free.
Remember, meditation relaxes you and helps you connect with your mind, body, and spirit.
7. Don’t compare and despair
I’m not sure about you, but whenever I look at social media, I begin comparing myself to others.
I wonder, how come others look so happy?
The reality is, we are all on our own unique journeys, so stop comparing yourself to other people.
You don’t know the truth of someone else’s life simply by looking at photos.
In addition, keep in mind that the best person to compare yourself with is YOU!
Think about how much you have grown and learned over the past few years and measure your progress that way.
8. Do something that you enjoy every day
Having fun and doing at least one activity you enjoy every day is a helpful strategy for how to be happy.
Another one of my mantras you can borrow is “Do more of what makes you happy.”
Make a list of activities that make you feel happy. Then, schedule time every day to do something on your list.
This can help you enjoy life more and can help you become your best self.
9. Be kind to others
Ever notice you feel happier when you’re kind to someone?
Although at first glance the gesture might not be about you, research shows that being kind to others can make us feel happier.
One of the best ways to learn how to be happy is to practice kindness and giving without expecting anything in return.
10. Invest in self-care
Investing in self-care doesn’t have to mean treating yourself to a spa day every week; it means being intentional about your physical, emotional, and mental health.
So often people put their own needs aside only to find themselves tired, burnt out, overwhelmed, and frustrated.
Learn to carve out little parts of your day for yourself.
Self-care is about doing little things daily like taking a short walk, drinking your favorite beverage mindfully, or writing in your gratitude journal.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are over 40 easy ways to practice self-care.
Want to know how to be happy? Start following these 10 principles for a happier life.
For starters, surround yourself with positive people, learn to say no, practice gratitude and meditation, and be kind to others.
Remember that all you ever have is right now.
Try your best to forget about the past. Focus on being present and don’t think about the future.
Take each day as it comes, and embrace the one unique life you’ve been given.
As famous poet laureate, Mary Oliver says: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”