12 Things that Happy People Do

12 Things that Happy People Do

In the last decade there has been a growing interest in what makes people happy.  In addition to dozens of books on happiness, there are now happiness groups, seminars and even “Happiness Clinics” that individuals attend. While each book or clinic has a different spin on the pursuit of happiness, the research findings about what makes people happy are generally the same. 


Below are some of the findings on happiness:

  1. Surround Themselves with Positive, Encouraging People- “Ask me who I am and I’ll show you my friends.”  If you are hanging out with cheerful, positive people, the odds are you will be more content. If you are surrounded by negativity, it is likely to rub off on you.  Observe your social groups and listen to the messages your social network is conveying.  Are the conversations upbeat and grateful or are the discussions full of judgement and resentments?
  2. Happy People Are Grateful- There are good days and bad days, but happy people tend to focus on what they have rather than what they don’t have.  Happy people find the good in mishaps, viewing them as learning experiences- turning lemons into lemonade.  They know how to be present and in the moment. They appreciate what is around them whether it is family, nature or just a good cup of coffee.  Happy people  appreciate what is good about their lives, even in tough times.
  3. Focus on Health-Individuals who reported feeling most content focused on eating well, exercise, adequate rest and in general taking good care of their physical and mental health.
  4. Maintain strong family and community connections-While not everyone is able to live close to their relatives or has a perfect marriage, the happiest individuals still find ways to prioritize their relationships with friends, family, and in their community.  They stay connected to family and friends and make spending time with loved ones a priority.
  5. Focus less on accumulation of wealth or material goods. Surprisingly research indicates that happiness has little to do with economic status.  Of course living in poverty or bankruptcy is stressful: however, those with the most “goods” tend to be less happy than individuals living a more modest lifestyle.
  6. Give back to the community-The happiest individuals report being active in volunteer work, helping others and are invested in their community and youth.  Helping others feels good, gets us out of our own lives, and enhances self-esteem.
  7. Have a strong spiritual life-Having an active spiritual life is different than having religious affiliations.  While many of the happiest persons report being active in religious organizations, what is more important to one’s happiness is having a spiritual connection to power greater than oneself.  Equally important is committing time daily toward meditation and/or prayer.
  8. Happy People are loving and tolerant-In general, the happiest people tend to be tolerant, less judgmental and tend to trust and/or have faith in others.  They focus on what is positive and good about individuals rather than flaws or differences.  Learning to love others, even those who have hurt us is a big step for many. However, being released from the bondage of anger or resentments through forgiveness is a powerful way to achieve a new sense of personal freedom.
  9. Have a positive outlook on life- They see the glass half full.  They hope for and anticipate positive outcomes.  Given what we know about the power of thoughts, they are more likely to experience the positive outcomes they are predicting. 
  10. Remain Action Oriented and Solution Focused- It is not that happy people do not feel disappointed or sad, they just know how to pick themselves up and keep moving forward in a hopeful, productive manner.  They focus on solutions to problems and act on the solutions.  They continue to pursue what brings them pleasure and happiness accepting that life is full of joyous moments as well as disappointments.
  11. Prioritize activities that bring them joy-While most people have busy schedules, the happiest folks are those that make sure they schedule joyful activities into their daily routines.  Whether it is running, gardening or coffee dates with friends, they make time for what brings them joy.
  12. Choose simplicity-If you haven’t begun to declutter your environment or your mind to decrease stress, this is the time to do it.  Research indicates that the happiest individuals live simpler, less complicated lives. Living simply, with less obligations or things to maintain leaves time to do the things you enjoy.

Researchers have discovered many new findings that contribute to one’s happiness.  Try identifying a few areas that you believe contributes to your happiness.  Next, look for areas you can work on.  Spend a week or two committing to changing routines or thoughts related to happiness.  While it takes time and effort for change to occur, remaining hopeful, solution-focused and optimistic about your outcome is an action toward living a more joyful and happy life. 
Choose to be happy, it's possible.

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