The secret to happiness is not an arcane scientific formula nor can it be found at the bottom of some bubbling elixir of joy. True happiness already exists within you; you need to find your own key to unlock it. If you want to create your own path to joy, adopt and emulate the habits of the happy people next to you on the bus or waiting in line with you at the grocery store. By changing your outlook on life, you can learn to create your own happiness.
1. Enjoy the Present Moment
Happy people enjoy the present moment without worrying too much about the near or distant future. The unpleasant facts of life, such as lengthy school assignments or difficult projects at work, will happen regardless of whether you worry about them. Don’t borrow troubles from the future; enjoy the present for what it is. Although blocking out your future worries may seem challenging, you can do it if you take the time to concentrate on what is happening in front of you. Immerse yourself in fun projects and engaging activities with your friends and family; if you don’t give yourself time to worry about the future, you’ll be less likely to obsess over it.
2. Choose Friends Wisely
Although you can’t choose your family, you can choose your friends. Pick friends who are determined to be happy. A persistently cynical friend can cast a cloud of negativity over even the happiest of events. Likewise, the effusive optimism of one person can encourage everyone else to see the brighter side of life. If you surround yourself with people who can whistle cheerfully even in the face of catastrophe, you’ll begin to look more positively at your own life.
3. Face Problems as Challenges
Instead of seeing problems as dead-end bridges to nowhere, happy people see problems as an opportunity to overcome a challenge. A challenge presents an opportunity to learn something new, correct an earlier mistake, ask for help from a friend, or gain a new perspective. For example, if you get into a fight with a friend, don’t get upset about the fact that the two of you fought. Instead, view the argument as an opportunity to settle a long-standing dispute or gain a deeper understanding of your friend. By adopting a positive attitude towards challenges, you’ll be able to face difficult situations more easily.
4. Let Go of the Past
In addition to keeping future worries in the future, happy people let their past struggles and mistakes remain in the past. Letting go of your earlier pains can be difficult, especially if you have dealt with stressful situations, such as broken relationships or the death of a loved one. However, regardless of your pain, life must go on; if you wallow in the past, you’ll never be able to move on to the future. View your past as a source of strength, not as an anchor to weigh you down. Your challenges have made you a stronger person; embrace that strength by letting your past remain behind you.
5. Learn to Forgive
Letting go of the past may require you to forgive those who have wronged you. Holding a grudge will only make you feel angry and upset. The desire to even the score can cloud your entire life; instead of looking for happy things, you’ll spend your time tallying up grievances and slights. If you forgive those who sometimes hurt you, you can escape from the death spiral of revenge and one-upmanship.
6. Exercise Regularly
Taking care of your body can strengthen your mind and improve your mood. A consistent exercise program is an excellent way to stretch your limbs and take a break from your couch. Regular exercise doesn’t have to include intense running or extreme weightlifting; even a simple walk around your neighborhood each evening can help your body relax. To make exercise more satisfying, take your family or friends with you.
7. Eat Well
Consuming a diet full of junk, candy and fast food can negatively affect your mood and leave you feeling overextended and exhausted. Eating a healthy and balanced diet filled with vegetables and fruits will fuel both your body and your mood. By properly nourishing your body, you’ll stay strong and healthy. If you don’t have to worry about your health, you can focus on feeling positive and happy.
8. Maintain a Variety of Hobbies
Cultivating a long list of interests and hobbies can keep you more connected to the world around you and help you stay busy with new projects and exciting activities. Happy people don’t wait for excitement to come to them; instead, they create their own fun each day through their hobbies. Mastering a hobby, such as painting or cooking, will give you a feeling of satisfaction and pride. Even if you never achieve mastery, you can still enjoy relaxation and joy as you indulge your interests. Social hobbies, such as dance classes or hiking groups, also offer you the chance to earn recognition and gain new friends.
9. Routinely Set Goals
Happy people set goals and work to achieve them. Goals are a wonderful way to improve your life and give it focus. When you reach your goals, you’ll feel accomplished and pleased. However, you must set realistic goals that you can meet; demanding that you conquer an impossible goal only sets you up for failure. Committing to climb the Seven Summits within the same week may not be realistic, but you can work towards summiting your nearest mountain. As you complete each small goal, you can work towards tackling a larger challenge.
10. Follow Your Own Desires
Few people can be happy following the commands and dictates of everyone else. If you let the opinions of your friends and family rule your decisions, you may feel that you have no control over your own life. Instead, you must forge your own path through life with your own self-knowledge to guide you. Even if your family members think that they have your best interests at heart, they can’t know your desires as well as you do. For example, when choosing a college major, don’t simply study to become a dentist because your parents think that dentistry is a secure career. Instead, choose a major that will support your own future dreams.
11. Willingness to Break Routine
If you follow the same routine every single day, you will eventually grow bored and tune out of your daily activities. Breaking your routine gives you the chance to experience new opportunities, even from a simple change like altering your route to work. If you are unafraid to try new things in life, you’ll have more to look forward to each day instead of the same daily grind. The next time you sit down to eat at your favorite restaurant, order something you’ve never tried before.
12. Acceptance of Difficult Situations
Despite your best efforts, it’s not always possible to change a difficult situation in your life. In these cases, all you can do is change your own attitude towards the problem. Happy people know that sometimes they have to simply accept difficult events. However, they also know that their response to unhappy situations is completely in their control. Only you can decide to put a smile on your face when facing a stressful situation.
13. Tell the Truth
Lies, even the smallest ones, can make you feel guilty, leading to strain in your daily life. If your lies spread, the experience will become even more damaging and stressful. Telling the truth, even when it’s painful, can keep your life simple and honest. You’ll be able to feel at ease with yourself and the people in your life. Honesty will also help you form closer relationships with the people you love.
14. Meditate Daily
Meditation sessions don’t have to include ancient chants or painful sitting positions. A good meditation session only requires you to sit quietly and shut out the distractions around you. Through meditation, you can learn more about yourself and center your thoughts on the present. If you’ve never learned to meditate, study up on modern meditation practices and incorporate them into your daily life. Set aside a few minutes each day to be alone and away from your worries. These few minutes can power you through the day with a smile firmly on your face.
15. Appreciate What You Have
Learning to appreciate the positive elements of your life can help you become more optimistic and joyful. Although it’s beneficial to strive to improve your life, don’t lose sight of the good things that are already around you. Don’t get upset because you don’t have a backyard swimming pool or a vacation home in France. Instead, appreciate the fact that you have the spare time to read articles on the Internet, the comfort of a home to read them in, and the money to pay for the electricity to power your devices.
True happiness does not always come naturally. Joy comes from good habits and a positive approach to daily struggles and frustrations. Sometimes, even the act of attempting a sincere smile is enough to brighten your day completely.