We all want to feel happy. But some of us wait for happiness to hit us based on when specific life-events occur—such as publishing your next big novel, finding the love of your life, or buying your dream car.
Research shows that this excitement that you feel when that event occurs makes you happy only for a short while.
Real happiness is how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis no matter how your life changes and how your mood shifts.
But it seems that our genes influence our happiness. A Dutch study found that how happy a person feels about his or her life can be influenced by the changes in their DNA and how it interacts with environmental experiences—such as relationships, health, and careers.
This new field of epigenetics isn’t about the DNA you’re born with. It’s about what you do to your genes—all the lifestyle choices you make can actually change how your DNA is expressed, and that can lead to long-term changes in your health and your happiness.
The good news is that with consistent effort you can counteract this effect and develop life-long habits for a happy life.
Positive Habits of Happy People
Extremely happy people have mastered these “happiness” habits to maintain their happiness every day and with consistent practice, so can you.
So what are these habits?
1. They Help Others
Happy people spend time helping others. This makes them feel good about themselves as they experience a “helper’s high” according to scientists. Helping others also has other benefits for the giver. It improves their health and reduces depression while increasing their life satisfaction tremendously.
Generosity also makes people happy. Happy people will share their money with others. It doesn’t matter how much money they spend on others; it is the very act of generosity which makes them happier and subsequently more content with their lives.
When people share their wealth, it creates a social connection with others which is very good for their happiness levels. And happy people genuinely commit to spending their time and money with their friends and family.
2. They Buy Experiences
Happy people spend their money on experiences, not just material things. While a new sofa will give you happiness for a month or so, a holiday trip with your family will create lasting memories. Experiences are primarily social—you usually have experiences with other people—and because we are inherently social, these experiences are much more valuable than material possessions.
Experiences are unique, they reflect our personality, and they can even get better over time as we relive them again and again.
3. They Slow Down And Appreciate Life
Happy people are busy, but they are not rushing around while they go about their day which can potentially leave them feeling stressed and unhappy.
Happy people find a healthy work-life balance, and they focus their energy and effort on things that are truly important. They don’t stress over things they can’t control. It comes down to learning how to let go and not be consumed by things you can’t change.
Happy people also find the time to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. They know the importance of relishing every moment, and they live with gratitude for these simple pleasures—like savoring ice cream, breathing in fresh air when they step outside, playing with their dog, and enjoying a conversation they just had.
4. They Make Sleep a Priority
Happy people make good sleep a priority. They know what it feels like to be sleep deprived and how it can impact them at a much deeper level.
There is enough research out there to tell you that the quality of your sleep is paramount. Sleep deprivation can adversely affect your health, impair your attention, and reduce your productivity. Lack of sleep also increases stress which then leads to other related problems.
That is why happy people have good sleeping habits so that they wake up feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to face the day with a spring in their step and a positive attitude.
If you have trouble getting sleep, start by developing a good sleep routine.
5. They Exercise Regularly
Happy people know that exercise releases endorphins and these “happiness hormones” make them feel better. They schedule regular exercise and keep active.
Happy people are aware of the many benefits exercise has for their health, and they also know that a good dose of physical activity reduces depression, anxiety, and stress—thus improving their well-being.
Happy people also savor their time in nature. They get out and about and connect with nature. In fact, a study suggests that being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day is enough to boost your happiness and resilience to stress.
6. They Work On Their Relationships
It’s no secret that a happy relationship and a vibrant social life are components for being happy. Happy people know this, and they take the time to nurture their relationships—whether with their partners, friends, or family members.
Happy people celebrate others’ successes, and they treat everyone with kindness. They know that being kind to others makes them happy and that kindness is contagious. That warm fuzzy feeling that you get when someone does something for you makes you want to do something for someone else, and happy people thrive on that feeling.
Happy people develop meaningful relationships by respecting others which is an essential aspect of a good relationship. They do this by actively listening to others and engaging in deeper conversations. That’s how they strengthen emotional connections with others while enhancing their well-being and the well-being of others.
Most relationships, especially marriages, decline over time, and happy people work at maintaining these relationships. They know that every time their check in on a loved one, they are strengthening the relationship further and boosting their happiness.
7. They Set Goals And Have A Growth Mindset
Happy people have goals. They are always pursuing something meaningful—whether it is learning something new or raising children. These goals are intrinsic and personally significant to them. Happy people enjoy the process of achieving intrinsic goals because they resonate with their deeply held values and contribute to their personal growth, their health, and their relationships with others.
Planning and pursuing meaningful goals makes them wake up in the morning and look forward to the day. It makes them happy.
People who are happy also have a growth mindset. They believe they can improve through learning and effort. They also adapt better than those with a fixed mindset to new challenges, and they know they can overcome difficult situations which makes them happy. In fact, happy people treat challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. This is because happy people are also positive people.
When things go wrong, they don’t complain, but instead, they are grateful and go about looking for a solution. Happy people find a way to deal with stressful situations and move on.
Happy Thoughts, Happy Mind
Start practicing these habits to bring more happiness into your life and in time you will notice how amazing you feel.
If you want to learn more about happiness and what changes you can make in your life, then give yourself the gift of The Happy Mind. In this book, you’ll discover valuable insights that will allow you to create lasting happiness.
If you liked this post, here are some other articles you might love:
- 11 Ways to Sleep Better at Night: Simple Changes for Deeper, More Restful Sleep
- 3 Ways Great Sleep Boosts Your Productivity and How To Sleep Better Tonight
- Bedtime Routines for Better Sleep
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.