How to Be Happy:
Having a happy life is essential to being truly happy. The two are very interrelated, and often one is used in place of the other by people who don’t stop to think about the difference between them.
But when it comes down to it, there’s more to being happy than just experiencing emotions that make you feel good from time to time. There are some specific habits that if you start practicing, you can be on your way to living life happily and contentedly every day.
In this guide, we will cover eight habits that we believe will help anyone live a happier life and thus be happier as well.
1) Keep busy
A happy life is filled with purpose and meaning. When we’re passionate about what we do, whether it’s our job or one of our hobbies, there’s always something to look forward to in life.
The value of staying busy isn’t just limited to work—making sure you carve out time each day that doesn’t revolve around being productive can also help you feel happier.
For example, take advantage of your lunch break by going on a walk or reading outside instead of eating at your desk. Creating time for yourself will boost your energy levels and keep you motivated throughout your day!
2) Set long-term goals
Setting goals is an important part of achieving happiness. In fact, in one study from Harvard Business School, researchers found that people who set specific, written goals—and who had strong reasons why they wanted to achieve those goals—were more successful than those who simply set out to do their best.
But when you’re feeling down or under-motivated, setting long-term goals (those with deadlines farther than one year) can seem difficult. Instead, it can be easier to focus on shorter-term goals and increase your happiness levels by adding positive habits into your daily routine.
The practice of meditation has been shown in numerous studies to decrease stress and anxiety. This is largely because it allows you to work on your brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for things like memory, thinking, and rational decision-making.
In short, it makes you more aware of yourself, but also less reactive to what’s going on around you. Adding meditation as an activity into your daily routine can help reduce many of those issues.
Whether you start with 5 minutes or 20, just remember that every little bit helps. Here are a few helpful apps if you’re new: Headspace and Insight Timer .
4) Read every day
If you want to be happy, you have to read. The best way to improve your life is by surrounding yourself with people smarter than you and learning from them.
Reading is a great way to do that. The benefits of reading include increased vocabulary, cognitive flexibility, and sharper memory recall—which translates into greater happiness as well as increased success in work and personal relationships.
In fact, reading has been shown to create positive brain changes in two parts of our brains called Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area—both of which are involved in language comprehension. Make it a daily habit—and challenge yourself with material that makes you think!
5) Eat healthy, but eat junk sometimes too
We are what we eat. Eating healthy foods is critical to your overall health and happiness, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut out all junk food forever.
In fact, indulging in a little bit of unhealthy food on occasion may help keep things in perspective and avoid burnout—so treat yourself once in awhile! Keep it clean 90% of the time and then allow yourself something extra 10% of the time.
You’ll be better able to resist temptation if you are truly satisfied by what you are eating (you can leave feeling hungry vs. full).
6) Exercise regularly
Studies have shown that exercise is an effective method of combatting mild depression and improving emotional well-being. In order to reap maximum rewards, aim for three workouts per week.
If you’re new to exercise, begin with low impact activities like walking or yoga and work your way up. Exercising regularly will also improve your sleep quality, leaving you feeling more alert and happier during those early morning hours. When starting out, schedule each workout session on your calendar so you don’t forget!
7) Sleep well
It might seem like you can get by with less sleep and still be productive, but that’s not true. Your body needs sleep just as much as it needs food—to live, in fact. Don’t skimp on rest; your body will thank you later.
Consider prioritizing an earlier bedtime over late-night Netflix binges or early-morning workouts if you struggle with getting enough shut-eye on a regular basis. Just make sure not to take it too far;
Eight hours is still considered normal so don’t be tempted to cut back further if you feel better when getting more sleep than that. It could actually cause more harm than good in the long run.
8) Surround yourself with positive people
Humans, in general, are social creatures. We crave connection with others. It’s not just that we want friends and community; we need it.
Socializing releases good chemicals called endorphins, which makes us feel happy and relaxed. When you’re connected with other people—whether they live next door or are located halfway around the world—you’re more likely to stay positive and upbeat in your day-to-day life.
To increase happiness levels over time, build strong relationships with people who make you feel comfortable and help you be at ease when bad things happen.