Be Happy With What You Have

Be Happy With What You Have – Our 7 Top Tips

While learning to be happy with what you have might feel impossible, it’s a skill you can develop over time. 

Happiness shouldn’t be conditional on external factors. If you want to be happy, you need to look inside yourself.

We all have different things and want different things in life. If you’re not happy with what you have, who’s to say you’ll be happy with more? 

True happiness comes from within, and we’re going to help you to unlock that.

Do You Need More to Be Happy?

The answer to this question is more complex than yes or no. All human beings need certain things to be happy, including food, water, and shelter. 

If our basic needs are unmet, being happy or focusing on happiness can be challenging. If we don’t have a stable home or know where our next meal is coming from, those concerns will completely occupy our thoughts.

If that is your situation, you need more to be happy. Your basic needs must be met before you can focus on self-fulfillment or happiness.

For those fortunate to have a stable life where your basic requirements are met, you don’t need more to be happy.

empty chair

It might not feel this way though. In today’s society, there is a constant need for more—more money, more consumption, more things. It’s easy to get caught up in this spiral of feeling like you need more to be happy.

Take a step back and ask yourself why you want more. Sometimes, you genuinely want something. Often, however, you want more because you feel like having more will finally make you happy.

This isn’t how happiness works. You can’t rely on material things or purchases for happiness. If you do this, you’ll get caught in an endless cycle of always wanting more.

The happiness you get from that new, trendy item likely won’t last. The joy you feel will be fleeting. Once you have the item you’ve been wanting, you might immediately desire the next thing to make you happier. 

The great news is that you can learn to be happy with what you have, right where you are, with exactly what you have. Happiness is within reach – but you might need to make significant changes.

Be Happy With What You Have

Luckily, there are many ways to be happy with what you have. If you stay focused on your well-being and practice these tips, you’ll start feeling happier in all aspects of your life. 

There is a lot of science behind happiness, and you can learn all about the brain’s happiness chemicals and how to hack them. A lot of the following tips are based on this science.

1. Focus On the Present, Not Your Entire Life

When you try to plan your whole life, you may find it impossible to find joy.

Take a step back and look at your current situation. What does your life look like in the present moment? Take time to notice and appreciate the little things that bring happiness to your day, whether it’s a beautiful sunset, a delicious meal, or a heartfelt conversation with a loved one.

man in white sitting with his legs crossed

Work on being fully engaged in whatever you’re doing without distraction or judgment. When you’re eating a meal, really savor the flavors and textures. When talking to a friend, give them your undivided attention and listen deeply. 

Don’t get caught up in trying to control your future. This can look like obsessing over a promotion, a new car, or a house. While goals are important, true happiness comes from savoring the journey rather than focusing solely on the destination.

When working towards a goal, try to find joy in the process. Celebrate your progress along the way and learn from your setbacks. Remember that personal growth and self-discovery are valuable in and of themselves, regardless of the outcome.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should never plan for the future or reflect on the past. But try to do so with a sense of perspective and balance. Recognize that the present moment is all we truly have, and strive to make the most of it. 

When you live in the present, you’ll find that life is rich and vibrant. You’ll notice beauty in the ordinary and find contentment in simple pleasures.

2. Feel Satisfied by Cultivating Gratitude

One of the best ways to be happy with what you have is to cultivate gratitude. Being thankful for what you have gives you a sense of perspective that can make you much happier.

Take the time to think about and appreciate everything that you have—from the positive relationships in your life to your possessions to your personal attributes. Make it a habit to recognize the small things that make up your life and say “thank you.”

Consider keeping a journal where you list everything you are grateful for. Each day, write down three to five things that you feel fortunate to have in your life. They can be as simple as a cozy bed to sleep in, a loyal pet, or a supportive friend. Writing down your reasons for being happy helps make them more concrete and gives you something to refer back to when you need a reminder.

If you want to do this digitally, you can use one of the best apps for happiness and always have your gratitude list with you. Another idea is to share your gratitude with others. Send a quick text or email to tell someone why you appreciate them. You’ll soon realize that you have a lot to be thankful for.

3. Let Go of the Need for Instant Gratification

You might have noticed that you try to find immediate solutions to your unhappiness. This is partly because of brain chemistry. 

Dopamine, the pleasure-seeking neurotransmitter, spikes when we get a shiny new thing to play with. Oh, yes—our brains work like toddlers’.

This spike is followed by a crash that makes us feel worse, resulting in more pleasure-seeking behavior. It becomes an addictive cycle that is hard to break.

Social media is designed around this constant need for more, which makes it hard to stop scrolling. Each post is a tiny dopamine hit, making us crave the next one.

Asian woman looking at her phone in the dark

We demand immediate solutions to our problems, which makes sense in our fast-paced world. But we can gain a lot of peace by slowing down and stopping the hunt for instant gratification.

Consciously choose to read a good book instead of staring at your phone or go outside for some time in nature. Engage in activities that bring lasting fulfillment rather than a fleeting high. Start a hobby like painting or gardening where you can immerse yourself in the process without expecting immediate results.

Resisting the temptation of instant gratification can be challenging, but doing so opens the door to a more meaningful and fulfilling life. By letting go of the constant need for immediate pleasure, you’ll create space to invest in your long-term well-being and discover a deeper sense of purpose and satisfaction.

4. Focus on Your Relationships

Meaningful connection is vital to happiness. Surround yourself with friends and family who uplift you, support you, and bring out the best in you.

It’s important to focus on cultivating deep and meaningful relationships. You want friends who ask how you are doing and mean it, not just superficially. 

Healthy relationships are built on mutual effort and care. Make a conscious effort to get to know the important people in your life on a deeper level. Ask thoughtful questions, listen attentively to their responses, and offer your support and understanding in return.

Maintaining strong connections doesn’t necessarily require grand gestures or expensive outings. There are countless ways to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Consider organizing a game night, hosting a potluck dinner, or simply meeting up for a heartfelt conversation over coffee. In situations where physical proximity is not possible, use technology to stay in touch through phone calls or video chats.

Nurturing your relationships should be a regular practice, not a sporadic effort. Set aside dedicated time to check in with your friends and family. Send a thoughtful gift or card in the mail or plan a special outing to create cherished, happy memories together. Investing in shared experiences strengthens your bond and cultivates a sense of belonging and happiness.

By prioritizing meaningful relationships and consistently nurturing them, you’ll enhance your overall well-being. Remember, the quality of your connections plays a significant role in your long-term happiness and life satisfaction.

two friends sitting by a waterfall

5. Avoid Comparison With Other People

Comparison truly is the thief of joy. 

When we constantly measure ourselves against others, it is very easy to feel inferior. We can feel like we need to spend more to buy happiness. But this isn’t the solution. It just feeds the need for external validation instead of looking honestly at our own lives.

Social media is designed to make us compare ourselves endlessly with others. But it is important to remember that social media is just a highlight reel of people’s lives. 

People don’t post their struggles, and their lives aren’t as perfect as they seem. It’s possible that what looks like someone else’s success is just luck or a cleverly staged photo.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own personal growth and progress. Celebrate your own achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Recognize that everyone has their own unique path in life and there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for happiness.

If you feel envious of someone else’s life, try practicing gratitude for what you have. Shift your perspective from scarcity to abundance. There are likely many things you may be overlooking in your own life for which to be thankful.

If you stop comparing yourself to others, you will more readily appreciate what you have and be more content with your own life.

6. Identify What Makes You Happy

While this article contains valuable tips, everyone is unique, and only some things will work for you. That is why it is important to be honest with yourself about what makes you happy.

Take some time for introspection and think about the activities, people, and experiences that bring you joy. Is it spending time in nature, engaging in a creative hobby, or having deep conversations with friends? List the things that make you feel truly fulfilled and alive.

Work out what makes you the happiest and spend more time doing that. Make a conscious effort to prioritize these things, even if it means saying no to other obligations or distractions.

It is much easier to be happy with what you have when you consciously choose activities or people that bring you joy. When you fill your life with things that genuinely make you happy, you’ll find that you need less external validation or material possessions to feel satisfied.

Journaling can help identify what brings you happiness. Record how you feel before and after doing an activity, and see how it impacts your mood. Notice any patterns or common themes in the things that consistently brighten your day. 

You might also want to use an accountability calendar to keep track of your progress in incorporating more joy-sparking activities into your life.

7. Make Space for Negative Emotions

It might seem counterintuitive to talk about feeling sad in an article about being happy. But life is complicated, and there will always be bad days.

woman with her head in her right hand

Your need for more can result from trying to escape bad feelings. But we are here to remind you there is nothing wrong with feeling bad.

To feel great, you need to let yourself experience all of your emotions rather than run away from them. Instead of trying to bury negative feelings, let them breathe! Allow yourself to fully feel and process your sadness, anger, or fear without judgment.

By paying attention to your feelings, you can learn from them and figure out what you actually need. Maybe your sadness is telling you that you need more connection with others, or your anger is highlighting an area of your life that needs to change.

If you’re struggling to bounce back from negative thoughts about yourself, try including some powerful self-love affirmations in your day. Remind yourself that you are worthy and deserving of happiness, even on the tough days. 

Remember that it’s normal to feel down sometimes – once you give yourself permission to process these emotions, things will begin to look up.

Final Thoughts

There will always be more money, nicer possessions, and bigger opportunities; learning to be happy with what you have is an important life-changing lesson. The sooner you master it, the happier you will be.

Focus on what you do have, build meaningful connections, practice gratitude, and resist the urge to compare yourself with others. Take time to identify and prioritize the things that genuinely bring you joy.

When you are honest with yourself, take action to make positive change, and stay connected with what matters most, you can discover true contentment and enjoy life with what you have. Remember that happiness is an inside job – it comes from within, not external circumstances or possessions.

Embrace the power within you to create your own happiness, and watch as your life transforms into a beautiful mosaic of joy, gratitude, and fulfillment.

smiling woman in a red checkered shirt and hat

For more tips and advice on cultivating happiness, check out the a little dose of happy blog!

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