Happiness is defined in various ways for different people, from researchers and psychologists to individuals seeking more contentment in life. According to most people, finding happiness means achieving positivity and joy, which often includes feeling a sense of gratitude and content.
While many people have little or no difficulty in defining what makes them happy, they often discover that retaining happiness can be challenging, especially when there’s a lot of stress, anxiety, and negative factors to deal with in life.
Most people report being happy when they feel confident, satisfied with life, and surrounded by support and love. Their degree of happiness is measured based on the quality of their feelings at any given time.
In other words, if someone claims to feel great, they are considered to be happy or content, at least at the moment. For most people, joy and a sense of well-being and purpose are considered attributes that describe happiness and contribute positively to our mental health.
Learning how to find happiness is not always easy due to many factors that can be emotional and challenging. There are some essential ways to improve personal happiness that will benefit you significantly. Taking these steps will improve things for the future, whether you feel unhappy often or struggle to cope with stress and obstacles at home or on the job.
Keys to Finding Happiness in Life:
1. Develop Friendships and Relationships with People Who Make You Happy
It’s not easy to deal with a manager or co-worker who is chronically stressed, frustrated, or who might not communicate in the most friendly manner.
Fortunately, most workplaces and communities are great places to meet and develop connections with different types of people, including individuals who make you smile.
Stick with spending time with people who lean towards the positive side of life and focus on good things rather than people that are constantly focusing on the negative. These are the people who make good friends and can lift your mood.
Socializing with positive-minded people can help you develop the same positive mindset, which allows you to foster a greater sense of confidence and contentment.
It is important to understand that not every relationship or group of friends is healthy, even if there’s an initial sense of happiness.
It’s important to recognize when people are toxic or detrimental to your mental health. This will cause anxiousness, and a lack of confidence, especially if they make you feel responsible for their happiness and well-being.
Always evaluate how people make you feel and recognize toxic behavior as soon as possible. For example, some people may say hurtful things, even if they’re unprovoked. They may often be in a bad mood or show a lack of concern or development in their own personal goals.
While it’s common to feel unhappy sometimes, especially when circumstances are tough and could affect emotional responses, there is never an excuse to become abusive or use their misfortune as an excuse to project them onto others.
Tips on Surrounding Yourself with Happy, Well-intentioned People
When finding happiness, it is important to identify people and things that are good for your mental health, as well as keeping your distance from people and things that have the potential to damage your mental health.
In some cases, certain family members or friends may exhibit these negative traits, which means they could affect you in an equally negative way or have a worse impact on your mental health. If a comment is rude or abusive but unintentional, bring it to their attention, and don’t be afraid to confront a friend or colleague about their behavior.
Not all behavior is toxic, which is important to recognize. Some people become so consumed by a difficult situation that they do not think before they speak, as a result, they lash out at anyone nearby.
Personal struggles are valid and should be acknowledged, but they are not an excuse to take out frustration or become abusive to someone else as a result.
2. Think Forward and Visualize Success
Often people doubt their own abilities and efforts, this in turn, contributes to a sense of worthlessness and unhappiness. They often set their goals high, which is commendable, but blame themselves for even the slightest failure and feel disappointed.
Some individuals may avoid attempting any new projects or job prospects due to feeling inadequate. When this happens, it can be difficult to feel happy. Still, by visualizing success and focusing on what you really want, the fear of failure and what other people think will melt away as you embark on your journey to fulfill goals with a determination to achieve them.
Visualizing success is a powerful way to feel content. It’s also a great way to combat negative thinking patterns that often bombard us when we listen to that critical inner voice.
Instead, accept that the future is open to greater happiness, and don’t be afraid to imagine yourself achieving your dreams and goals. Many people have gone well beyond reaching their goals because they simply chose to dream about them first.
3. Embrace the Process of Change
Many articles mention the importance of accepting change and even embracing it, and for a good reason. Change is an inevitable part of life, and remaining stagnant or allowing yourself to remain in a rut will only cause you to feel unhappy and distraught.
The first step to accepting change is to acknowledge its importance. In some situations, change is painful, as it can mean the loss of a job, moving to a new place with unfamiliar people and surroundings, and other more challenging outcomes that may be hard to cope with initially.
Change doesn’t always feel good, even if it’s beneficial and could create a better, more fulfilling life in the long term. Sometimes, a negative situation can result in new opportunities for personal growth, a new relationship, and developing healthier habits, such as exercise and diet, that contribute to increased contentment.
When change is welcomed instead of feared, there is a deeper appreciation for what it can offer. It presents opportunities rather than feeling like you are taking a step backward.
Change is progress, and it will happen, whether you are prepared or not. Creating a contingency plan and preparing yourself for a new journey or direction mentally and emotionally can make the shift much easier and result in a greater level of satisfaction and happiness.
4. Expect Less, Enjoy More
When someone is in the pursuit of finding happiness, it’s not uncommon to measure a person’s happiness by external means. In other words, a person’s outward projection of success may not be everything that it seems, as they may not feel that sense of contentment authentically. Even though someone has a lot of possessions, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are happy.
We often have high expectations for our life, which can result in competitiveness and a sense that we will never be pleased or content unless we have more.
This vicious cycle continues as we continue to achieve more, which is positive but ultimately fails when there is no genuine happiness experienced.
Focus on the Small, Good Things
Often, we focus too much on what we think we need and as a result set our expectations too high. However, there is no guarantee that we will get what we want.
In the end, we feel disappointed and find less value in ourselves and life. When you expect less and instead appreciate the moment, you’ll find greater happiness in life.
Being happy comes from within, by practicing gratitude and achieving a sense of inner peace, whether everything in life is going well or not. It’s essential to acknowledge what’s good in life now, rather than how good it could be, if there is more. This is because when we fail to be grateful for what we do have, we set ourselves up for unhappiness when less is achieved then we expected.
External success doesn’t determine how happy a person is. This can only be experienced by learning to appreciate and cherish things in the present instead of postponing happiness for the future.
5. Compete with Yourself, Not Other People
One of the best tips for an enjoyable, content life is to avoid competing with other people. While a bit of healthy competition during a sports game or a battle of wits can be fun and great for team-building, it can quickly become stressful and difficult once the habit of comparing yourself to someone else is a constant fixture in life.
When you compete with yourself, there’s an acknowledgment of room for improvement, which leads to satisfaction with every milestone achieved. In addition to achieving happiness, competing with yourself improves confidence, self-love, and a sense of accomplishment.
When a person feels content, this sensation becomes one of the strongest motivators in life, aside from earning a higher salary and striving ahead of other people.
Cultivating happiness is one of the most important goals globally. Many people travel, earn lots of money, and search for greater happiness everywhere else, without realizing that it comes from within. When you are satisfied with personal achievement, and working towards realistic goals, is a wonderful way to experience joy and healthy emotions in the present.
Put Yourself First, and Create Your Own Happiness
It’s important to focus on and prioritize a commitment in a relationship, though it’s also just as essential, if not more so, to focus on the development of your own personal happiness. Showing attention to someone else’s needs is a wonderful way to express love.
Still, it can also result in feeling empty and can be mentally draining if it’s done in excess and is constantly expected by your partner. When your partner sets high expectations in regards to how they want to be treated or constantly catered to, with little thought to your emotions, the relationship can sometimes become manipulative. It works against your inner peace and happiness and can be detrimental to your own personal growth.
It is important to focus on personal development, and limit interaction with people who continue to consume your time. It’s essential to focus on supporting your own needs first so that you can be happy.
Ideally, people should appreciate any efforts you make to support them, and any lack of respect shouldn’t be tolerated.
6. Find Happiness in Doing the Things You Love
It’s easy to envy someone who has achieved a great feat in life, such as climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or traveling the world. The truth is that working a full-time job and having many commitments can make achieving those personal dreams difficult, though it’s not impossible.
Practice making time for trying something new, and follow your passion as much as you are able to, until an experience or goal can be adequately met. Instead of taking the same vacation every year, plan a trip to a new town or city, travel further away, or learn a new skill or hobby.
While it may be difficult to enjoy your personal passion every day, seize the opportunities to enjoy those experiences with a friend or family member and as a result, you will feel a sense of joy and emotional satisfaction. Listen to your inner self and learn more about what brings you happiness, then go for it.
7. Develop Self Love
The psychology of self-love and its connection to true happiness is powerful. Many people struggle to accept themselves and instead strive to be someone else.
Developing self-love offers a solid path to happiness in many ways, from improving your body image and mental health to strengthening relationships and family bonds. Feeling good about yourself also contributes to lower instances of anxiety, depression, and stress. It’s also one of the most important paths in finding happiness in life.
8. Accept Good Things
It’s not uncommon to focus solely on a negative outcome, or fear the worst, that it becomes increasingly more difficult to recognize and accept the good things in life as they happen.
It’s key to accept and appreciate even the smallest sensation of contentment and make a point of feeling happy about it instead of brushing it aside. With a little effort, it’s easy to see the positive side of things, even if they are temporary or related to one thing that may not seem significant.
Life doesn’t always offer the results we expect, but sometimes, there’s at least one thing worthy of gratitude that offers us a sense of relief or joy, which is essential to acknowledge. Good things don’t have to be perfect or exceed your standards, as long as they make you happy.
9. Search for Happiness Within
A lot of people view happiness as a destination or an achievement that requires many obstacles and overachieving to reach. They often make it into a task that’s hard to attain because they are not looking at where happiness originates from, which is within.
External goals may bring a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment, though deep emotions of gratitude and joy come from inside, which cannot be achieved from someone or somewhere else.
Everyone has a right to feel happy daily, whether this occurs by working on ourselves through self-improvement or by finding small moments of joy and pleasure in everything.
Sometimes a friend or maybe a family member may notice a skill or characteristic that’s positive about you, and they are drawn to you because of it. While it may take another person’s observation to recognize something positive, it’s even more important to find that sense of worth within on a personal level for greater contentment and peace in life.
10. Find a Point of Happiness in Simple Pleasures
When things get tough, finding something to laugh or joke about can seem difficult. But in these moments, it is important to look for something which will improve our mood and sense of well-being.
Reflect on the people, experiences, and things that make life fun and soothe your emotions. Don’t be afraid to laugh at silly jokes, remember a funny moment, and feel the joy that those emotions bring at that time. Positive memories have a soothing effect on the body and brain while allowing us to also achieve a state of happiness.
11. Try Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Happiness is a state of being, an immense feeling of contentment, free of stress and negativity. Mindfulness is a practice that allows the mind to be in the present and enjoy the moment, rather than fixating on the past or future.
For example, you could take a few minutes of mindful meditation on a beach or in a forest and focus on the relaxing sounds of waves, birds, or trees moving in the wind. Steady your breathing and enjoy the nature that surrounds you.
Mindfulness as a way to Find Happiness
Every person is responsible for their own happiness. Some people practice mindfulness during meditation, which helps achieve peace within the moment, and pushes the worries of the world out of your mind.
Research conducted on mindfulness and meditation is promising, as it brings about a sense of purpose and inner calm that is often missing in everyday life. With all the commitments, family, and work-related goals continuously demanding more from us, taking a break to appreciate the present and live for today is more important than ever.
12. Stop Worrying or Trying to Fix Everything
Nearly everyone worries about something, so this is completely normal and the truth is that most things are not as scary or serious as they may first appear. However, it’s best to focus on today without worrying about tomorrow or the future.
Not everything in life is certain, whether it involves personal health, mental well-being, or matters that are not within our control. While there isn’t always an easy solution in sight, excessively worrying about problems will only contribute to distress, mental anguish, and unhappiness within your life.
Living for today may seem difficult at first, especially when negative thoughts feel intrusive. These feelings may also contribute to a fear of displeasing someone because you worry about not being able to live up to their standard or goal for your life.
When this happens, worrying is completely pointless, and related issues will only grow into bigger problems. Instead, focus on how you feel inside, and work on pleasing yourself first before striving towards someone else’s goal or pleasing those around you. The only person you need to answer to is you, as it’s impossible to please everyone.
The first step to finding happiness and being happy is making it a daily practice to focus on what brings you joy, peace, and a sense of achievement. By working on looking within, you can greatly improve all aspects of your life, from strengthening a relationship and finding joy in small things to achieving a greater sense of authentic happiness today.