Things Happy People Do


Research has shown that people who consistently perceive themselves to be happy engage in certain behaviours on a regular basis that contribute to their happiness.  Adopting these behaviours can help less happy people change their state.

Here is a list of some of the things happy people do:

Express Gratitude
We all have wants and needs, some of which have been met, and some which are unfulfilled.  If you don’t appreciate what you already have, the fulfillment of your unmet wants and needs will not make you happier.  Happiness begins when you value what you have now.

Cultivate Optimism
Optimism is the foundation for resiliency, and resiliency is what gets you through the tough times in the best way.  Hope for the future is what enables people to tolerate their current, less than ideal, conditions; you can only have hope if you are optimistic enough to believe that different conditions are possible.

Avoid Over-Thinking and Social Comparison
Happy people don’t agonize over past decisions or compare themselves to others.

Practice Acts of Kindness
Helping someone promotes positive feelings in several ways.  It takes your mind off your own situation, helps you to appreciate what you have, and may result in feelings of being appreciated by others.  There is no downside to being kind because “kindness is its own reward”.

Nurture Social Relationships
Meaningful relationships bring all kinds of rewards.  Those relationships don’t have to be deep or long-lasting, although those are the kind that are associated with the greatest levels of happiness.  Nor do they have to be relationships with people; relationships with pets/wildlife can be some of life’s greatest treasures.

Develop Strategies for Coping
Life will always toss you a curve ball at some point.  Learning to “bounce back” by developing coping strategies in response to smaller setbacks can make it much easier to handle the bigger crises down the road.  Not sure what those strategies should be?  Check out these posts ongratitude and stress management for some ideas.

“Why should I forgive…” Here’s why: resentment, disdain, hatred and so on are toxic.  They will literally make you sick.  Understand that forgiving is not the same as forgetting.  It’s about doing what is in YOUR best interests, not letting the other person off the hook.  You can forgive someone and still hold them accountable.
Forgiveness is about cultivating empathy, letting go of a negative situation and moving on.

Experience More “Flow”
Being in a state of “flow” occurs when you are so involved with what you are doing that you don’t notice the passage of time.  You can learn more about flow by reading Dr. Steve Wright’s excellent article on the subject.

Stop and Smell the Roses
Ferris Bueller said “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Slow down enough to enjoy the peak moments in your life.

Happy people have a sense of purpose.  Goals are purposeful.  Set goals that reflect your values and commit to them.  Make your commitments to yourself as important as the commitments you make to others.

Engage Your Spirituality
The happiest, most resilient people are those with a system of spiritual beliefs.  The nature of those beliefs is less important than having them.  In other words, any set of beliefs that help you to shape a realistic, optimistic perspective on your life will benefit you.

Look After Your Body
Physical well-being may not be essential for happiness, but it definitely helps.  While some people cultivate the skills for happiness through the trials of poor health, caring for yourself when you are well promotes happiness too.