Happiness isn’t an end goal. It is a journey and a by-product of our own habits. And here are some happy habits I want to share that I believe will inevitably help you be happier in life.
No matter, how much we may blame the outer circumstances in our life for our dissatisfaction and causes for our unhappiness, the truth is that happiness or unhappiness is the result of our own creation.
In a way, we are all creators in this world where we paint our own happiness or unhappiness. And we paint it with the brush of our own habits.
The Myth of Happiness
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When I was young I used to think, “I will be happy once I have this”,
“I will be happy once I have this amount of money”
“I will be happy once I get a job” and the list would keep going.
Society has taught us to think this way. And that is why happiness always seems like it’s the next stop and never in the here and now.
I grew up thinking that success creates happiness, but now I know that happiness creates success.
Now I find my friends and the general population all reaffirming what I once felt.
And it is the famous saying of all times, “I will work on my happiness once my life falls in place”,
Now I wish I could tell each one of them, “No, we must be happy first, and then slowly things will start falling into place.”
Because that is what happened to me.
I became a happy person first.
I worked on my happiness first, and put my life, my growth and my self-care in the centre of focus first, and it was only then that my life slowly started falling into place.
It was never the other way around. It can never be.
But I say don’t seek happiness if you want to be happy. Only seek good habits and happiness will come following you like a shadow.
Below I share 21 happy habits to lead a happier life
Happy habits to be happier in life
1. Nurture personal growth
A person who never thinks, “How can I be a better person?”, “How can I improve myself?”, “What can I do to nurture my personal growth in any way” can never be happy in life.
I always see that the people who are most dissatisfied and unhappy in life are those who have no intention in growing themselves as a person.
But the happiest people are always those who are working on themselves and bettering themselves in any little way possible.
That is why- happiness is not a matter of age or time. If you weren’t happy as a child, you can still be a happy adult now by working on yourself.
If you weren’t happy in your 20s or 30s, you can still be happy in your 40s and 50s. If you weren’t happy in your 40s and 50s, you can still be happy in your 60s or 70s.
There is always time to become a better version of ourselves, and that is why there is always time to be a happy person as long as you are alive.
All that matters to be happy is having the intention to grow as a person.
We are born as human beings, not by accident. We are born as human beings to polish ourselves till the end of time, and that is our greatest fortune.
2. Think about others
In this growing individualistic world, it is very hard to find people who genuinely care about another person’s happiness.
But even if you don’t find one, you can always become one. WE can always become one.
A life that only cares about oneself, is an unhappy life. We have to start going a little beyond only thinking of this body of ours, and start caring about others too.
“How can I help someone in any way?”
Sometimes it may be by simply listening. Sometimes it may be by simply calling to find out how he/she is doing.
Sometimes it may be by lifting a grocery bag and sometimes it may be by giving a genuine compliment or a word of encouragement.
When someone needs help, see it as an opportunity for you to practice kindness and compassion.
Even if we do everything for our personal growth, but never care to be helpful to others, never care to make others feel hopeful, then we will never enjoy happiness.
Real happiness starts the moment we start being thoughtful of others and widen our circle of compassion.
There are really so many ways we can make another person happy.
3. Set a routine
Life is but a collection of time spread across hours and minutes.
To be happy in life, start by being a little intentional with how you spend your time.
The best way is to start by setting a simple routine.
If you are a morning person and can wake up easily in the morning, then create a morning routine that allows you to work on yourself and have some intentional me-time
If it’s easier for you to stay up at night, then set a night routine for the same.
Keep making tweaks and keep a simple daily routine you can follow.
Here are my tips for creating a simple daily routine you can stick to.
Trust me, life will be much easier this way and you will notice how easily time can pass.
4. Move every day
Keep a little time for yourself to move every day even if it is just for 10 minutes.
We may think of 10 minutes are nothing and that it has no real effect, but think of how we go on for days just laying down in our bed and sitting in our offices, not even raising our arms above our heads.
You may think 10 minutes has no real benefit for our health and fitness, but those 10 minutes of dedication and showing up every day can be the start of your self-care.
Those 10 minutes can boost your mood if not anything and can make you feel so happy.
P.S Here is how I made myself love working out
5. Make time for hobbies
If all you do is work, and there’s nothing you do outside of work that recharges you and your soul, being happy is very hard.
Life is dull not because life is dull, but because you haven’t filled it up with things that light up your heart.
It is essential that we do things not related to work or status or fame or for any increment, but simply for our enjoyment and fun.
Hobbies make our life happy, and if right now you feel you don’t have any hobbies or you feel you haven’t found your hobby yet, you can always keep experimenting and find out.
Here are 60+ hobby ideas for inspiration to help you get started.
6. Consume mindfully
You are what you consume. This applies to not just what we consume for the body, but also what we consume for our mind.
If you want to be happy, bring awareness to what you are consuming both for your body and mind.
In this age, we are always consuming digitally, so the thing to be mindful of is what are you consuming.
This world has made it increasingly easy to be distracted as well as extremely easy to be focused and inspired and gain knowledge for free.
You can watch YouTube channels mindlessly all day and scroll through Instagram all day, or you can consume good podcasts, and learn something that would be helpful for you.
If you want to be happy consume good books, good podcasts, and good YouTube videos and keep learning.
It’s not to say to forsake entertainment but just maintain a healthy balance.
Currently, I am listening to the Marie Forleo Podcast and ‘The way out is in’.
7. Set boundaries
Boundaries are a way of respecting our heart’s intuition and you must never feel guilty for it if your heart called for it.
If a relationship is asking you to make forceful connections which you don’t really enjoy, listen to your heart, for it knows the way.
Notice who you complain about most, what you complain about most, or who you don’t really enjoy being around.
I recently came across the quote, “Accept that some relationships are worth the hard work and others might not be”.
Instead of letting yourself feel that way and asking yourself why you feel that way, recognise the need to set healthy boundaries.
8. Take care of your surrounding
If your surrounding is full of clutter and mess, then it will inevitably have an effect on your mood and life state too.
Declutter whatever you don’t need and keep your surroundings spacious.
Create sacred spaces and make a home that makes it easy for you to feel happy.
Start with one room or one space and let it fill you with ease whenever you are in the room.
9. Stop complaining
The biggest energy drainer and happiness drainer are our complaints.
Happiness really requires you to be intentional and aware. Without the two, happiness will always be far away.
For most people, complaining has become a way of life. And that way of life is of sadness, frustration, anger and disappointment.
Start being aware of your complaints, and whenever you find yourself complaining simply stop. You will find that it just comes automatically even when there was really no need for it.
Don’t let that dishearten you. Bringing awareness to our speech takes time and stopping our long-held habits take time.
But over time we will reach that stage in our life where we then start being grateful unconsciously and complain consciously.
That is the way to happiness.
10. Practice gratefulness
Gratitude is a game changer and it must be cultivated.
In a life without awareness and intention, society can easily manipulate us which feeds into doubt, complaints, hatred, sadness and anxiety because that is what the general population is feeling.
To start being happy, we must nurture the right emotions and feelings.
One way to start cultivating it is the practice of gratitude.
If your life right now is full of mess, lack and sadness, it is because you allowed lack and complaints to be your dominant state of feeling and being.
Make a radical shift and work on making gratitude your dominant state of being instead of lack and complaints.
At first, it may seem forceful, but it’s okay. Over time, it will come naturally to you.
I highly ask you to try these 100 gratitude journal prompts for 100 days. It will help you to be more intentional and practice gratefulness in your life.
11. Give compliments
Be a person who freely gives genuine compliments. If you loved someone’s YouTube channel, let them know.
If you love someone’s podcast, let them know.
If you love the way someone is working on their goals and habits, let them know.
If you love the way someone is leading their life, let them know.
It might be small for you, but it might be big for them and may give them the needed boost.
But you will always find that compliments and genuine compliments are such a thing that it not only makes the receiver happy but also the giver happy.
12. Don’t gossip
I see many people gossip not merely because they love gossiping but also because they don’t have anything else to talk about.
Some people really don’t have anything to talk about if they are not talking about what someone else is doing or not doing with his or her life.
If right now you are unhappy in life, then it’s time to reflect upon your bondings and your connections and what you talk all about when you are together.
If you find yourself only bonding over gossip, then that’s not true bonding.
And if you don’t have anything else to talk about other than someone else’s life, then you too need to reconsider how you are living your life, and then make a change.
Happiness is all about living and letting live.
13. Keep a journal
We all have stories inside us. And we get new stories every day with the range of incidents that happen and the range of emotions we feel every day.
Get into the habit of journaling and let your heart out. You will be amazed by how much of our heart heals simply by writing and sharing our vulnerabilities and our heart’s secret in our journals.
To help you get started, here are 21 journal prompts for 21 days
14. Smile more
A smile is not a result of happiness but can be a wonderful reason for happiness.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the zen Buddhist monk often talks about putting a half smile on our faces.
It’s amazing how a simple smile works wonders.
You can sit calmly in a meditative pose, and listen to meditation music for a few moments with a half smile planted on your face.
You can go out for your evening walk and walk mindfully with a half smile on your face.
Smile more. Give smiles to people and see how you start feeling happy.
15. Have good friends
Who are good friends?
Good friends are those with whom you bond over happiness for others’ success and not jealousy.
Good friends are those with whom you bond over appreciation, not gossip; with whom you bond over health, not sickness; gratitude, not complaints.
Good friends are those with whom you don’t even have to try. The connection just flows.
They help you in choosing light and are there for you in your good times and bad, even if they are far away.
They are supporters of your happiness, not supporters of gossip and complaints.
Good friends are those that bring lightness to your life and make your life easy.
You don’t need to have plenty of friends in order to be happy. Just a few genuine connections can also greatly support our happiness.
I’d say that even if you have only one such good friend, you’ve hit the good friend lottery!
Make such friends stay in your life forever.
16. Practice mindfulness
This year I’ve been mindful in a lot many things- like cooking, walking, doing household chores, drinking tea, and exercising etc, and I’ve felt deep joy even in these little mundane tasks.
Mindfulness makes everything deeply joyful.
And happiness is nothing, but joy that gets scattered throughout our daily activities.
You can scatter joy and happiness in your daily activities simply by being mindful.
17. Be a good listener
I feel I have improved a lot in this sphere of my life, especially this year.
The people with whom I would have avoided or felt difficulty earlier have become people who confide in me and with whom even I can confide in.
Earlier where my mind would be centred around giving advice, now simply listens.
I’ve come to know how much of a connection we can build simply by listening, acknowledging and learning other’s stories without judgement.
When you listen, you allow others space for them to open up to you and create trust and bond that wasn’t there in the first place.
You not only make the other person feel happy, but genuine listening also makes the listener happy.
18. Travel to new places
Every year make it a compulsion to travel to new places.
Don’t stay stuck in one place. See new people, new landscapes, and new cultures and make more memories.
The Earth is beautiful and it must be seen and enjoyed.
Don’t worry about money. First set the intention to travel and you will see it happening.
Put it on your vision board. Here is how to make a vision board that actually manifests.
Nothing can ever be achieved without putting an intention in the first place.
19. Have little self-discipline
No, you don’t need a lot of self-discipline, but you do need a little amount of it in order to be happy.
You need the self-discipline to work on yourself and your happiness. You need the self-discipline to start something. You need the self-discipline to stop something.
And there are actually easy ways to develop self-discipline.
20. Rest and downtime
Allow yourself to rest. The society we’re living in tells us that we need to work hard and keep grinding if we want to be successful and happy.
They make us feel guilty for resting, for not working, for not recharging ourselves.
But we’re human and we need rest and downtime if we are to do things we actually love.
Learn to do things slowly and gently. Then allow yourself to rest and have downtime.
Spend quality time with yourself and do things that recharge you.
21. Don’t hide your magic
Lastly, in order to be truly happy, I’d like to quote Yung Pueblo, “Do the Earth a favour. Don’t hide your magic”.
What special talents or gifts do you have? Don’t hide it.
Share it as an offering to the world.
If you keep it to yourself because you fear judgement, criticism and failure, you rob the Earth and its people of the gift only you can give.
Be bold in the pursuit of your heart’s calling.
If you feel scared, pursue it scared, but go after it.
If you don’t know what your heart’s calling is, ask yourself, “What can I imagine doing for the rest of my life?”
“How much pain can I bear for it?”
Whatever lights you up is your heart’s calling. Seek it, and forget about the results.
Though the results may come or not come, you do your part and see how it makes you happy.
Final thoughts on how to be happy
Happiness is really isn’t far away. It is in the here and now. It can be experienced in this very present moment and can be experienced every day.
Happiness isn’t a noun. It’s a verb. And these were the habits to be happy.
We might think happiness is happiness, but happiness really comes in various forms and has different names.
- Joy is happiness
- Love is happiness
- Appreciation is happiness
- Sharing is happiness
- Mindfulness is happiness
- Gratitude is happiness
Give it different names and make your own ingredients of happiness.