We all want to live happier lives, so we chase after whatever promises to fulfill that goal. But, many of us have unrealistic benchmarks for when we’ve achieved happiness– a job, an ideal physique, etc. We rely too much on external factors to provide happiness rather than realizing that happiness, contentment, or any other similar feeling is something we should find within ourselves.
There are thousands of online articles giving you a recipe for happiness. However, many are panacea– sound pieces of wisdom distilled into a one-size-fits-all approach. In short, there is no right way to be happy, nor is there a guarantee for it. Hopefully, the habits and tips in this article can help you start.
- Surround yourself with love.
Humans are social beings. Ever since we figured out that a group has a higher chance of survival in the wild than a single individual, we have become social beings. Additionally, our brain releases oxytocin when we interact with others.
Countless studies show correlations between strong social support and happiness. A randomized survey among elderly folks in Hamadan, Iran concluded that higher levels of social support increased happiness in the demographics. But, the correlation goes beyond this demographic. It applies to everyone! When you are surrounded by people you feel safe and emotionally secure, you are happier. If you are still doubtful, take notice of how you feel after meeting up with a dear friend or family member.
- Change the way you think about failure.
Many of us fear failure. It is normal in very competition-driven societies.
But, fear keeps you from so many things in life, and it also robs your happiness.
Fear works to make doubt yourself, and it eats away your confidence until you no longer feel worthy or capable of being happy. It silences you. Fear makes you think you can’t apply to your dream job, travel, or even voice your emotional needs in a relationship. Hence, you stay in places and situations that you do not want because if you leave, you feel like you have failed.
If you want to live a happier life, change how you think about failure. Failure is fertilizer for a new beginning. Think of failure as an opportunity for something better.
- Focus on yourself
Lately, Instagram has a lot of stories on “maybe she’s focusing on herself.” The stories show a quick overview of what that person is doing that brings them happiness. In some way, those stories are not wrong.
Sometimes, it is best to go on do not disturb mode and focus on yourself. Focus on improving and investing in your future self. The process of leaving your past habits can be difficult because you may have already gotten used to them. But, would you rather go through temporary growing pains or regret that you missed out on change?
- Build habits that bring happiness
If you decide to focus on yourself, you will need to build better habits. For these habits to be effective, they need to be sustainable and also be aligned your who you are and your values. If one of your values is to be happier ( I hope it is, or else you wouldn’t be reading this article), then create habits that bring you an overall sense of happiness.
It is easy to confuse happiness and pleasure, but pleasure is momentary. For example, eating fruits and veggies improves my health, thus it makes me happy. Eating ice cream also makes me happy. Therefore, I will find a balanced way of eating that will allow me to enjoy overall health and the occasional ice cream.
- Spread happiness
Another habit that can help you live a happier life is to spread happiness. Happiness is contagious. The more you spread it; the happier you become.
There are various ways to spread happiness. One way is to smile more. Humans tend to mimic each other’s facial expressions, so smiling is a guaranteed way of becoming happier. So, pay it forward!
- Live life to the fullest.
The last way to live a happier life is to live to the fullest. Do things that bring fulfillment to your life. Chasing after things that bring you fulfillment is similar to chasing your happiness.
But, I also understand that it is not always possible to be grateful for everything, even more so when you are going through a tough time.
It is easy to slipe into toxic positivity when trying to force gratitude and happiness.
Gratitude or practice around gratitude must be genuine. It should come with an appreciation for all circumstances and a faith that things will change for the better, regardless of what you see in front of you.
Getting to that state of gratitude may be hard from the onset, so start small. In a journal list five things you are genuinely grateful for that day or week. This practice will help you focus on the better aspects of life rather than on what you might lack.
So, go chase after your happiness! Do so with an open heart filled with gratitude.
Field, B. (2021, May 17). How being grateful can actually make you happier. Verywell Mind. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-gratitude-makes-you-happier-5114446
Moeini, B., Barati, M., Farhadian, M., & Ara, M. H. (2018). The Association between Social Support and Happiness among Elderly in Iran. Korean Journal of family medicine, 39(4), 260–265. https://doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.17.0121
Pietrangelo, A. (2019, January 15). How to be happy: 25 habits to help you live a happier life. Healthline. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-be-happy
Suttie, J. (2017, November 13). Four Ways Social Support Makes You More Resilient. Greater Good. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_ways_social_support_makes_you_more_resilient