It is true that some people are born happier. About half of your happiness is genetic, attributable to your personality and temperament. But the great news is that only about 10% is circumstances. The rest is about the intentional choices that you make every single day. There are some habits that happy people have in common, and if you practice these habits, you too are likely to see a boost in how you feel every day. Here are five things happy people do daily:
- Spend time with people they enjoy.
When it comes to happiness, you are about as happy as your relationships. We cannot be happy without people. That’s because we were made for connection and love – and that happens through relationships. When you serve people, connect authentically and allow others to impact you, your life is richer and more meaningful. So intentionally stop to have that conversation, look that friend or co-worker in the eye and really listen. If your relationships are filled with turmoil, make a plan to calm the drama in your life. The stress is a threat to your health and your happiness.
- Focus on what’s right in front of them.
Happy people live in the present moment. They don’t dwell on the past or get overly focused on the future. Instead, they value the power of the present, which means they have fun. When working on a task, they get into “flow,” meaning they engage in tasks where their skill level matches the challenge in front of them, and time seems to fly by because they are so engaged in what they are doing. It is no wonder that people who love their jobs are twice as likely to be happy than those who don’t, according well-being research by Gallup.
- Do something that helps someone other than themselves.
Committing a random act of kindness isn’t just a trendy suggestion. It’s a way to be happier. Serving others is a happiness trigger. And it is the core of what we are all here to do – love. When we focus on helping others, it redirects our focus from our own problems or challenges, and helps put our lives into perspective.
- Express gratitude.
Gratitude is powerful. It keeps you from taking things for granted. It strengthens relationships. It feels good. So say thank you and mean it, even adding to your “thanks” an expression of why another’s gesture was meaningful to you. When you count your blessings, write them down or share them with a loved one. And reflect on why you are grateful. It expands the positive emotion you feel when you are grateful.
- Redirect their happiness-sabotaging thoughts.
Happy people don’t dwell long on thoughts that make them unhappy. This doesn’t mean that they don’t acknowledge negative feelings. They do. But they are also less likely to dwell on them, wallow in self-pity or blame others for their misery. Instead, they ask, “What’s within my control to change?” They change what they can and do their best to work around the things they can’t change.
My challenge to you:
Pick one of these habits that you don’t currently do every day, and intentionally try it every day this week.
Is there something you’re doing every day that might be making you less happy? What could you replace that habit with? Of the five habits above, which one do you most need to practice more?
For more support in your journey to more joy, I have these resources I think you’ll find really helpful: