How to Be Happy

How to Be Happy: Our Guide to Finding Happiness

The question of how to be happy is a complex one. 

Despite all of the world’s technological advances, happiness remains beyond the grasp of many people. Happiness is subjective, and not all people respond to the same things in the same way.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to finding happiness. However, certain things tend to make people happy.

So, if you see yourself struggling to find happiness, here’s some good news: happiness is within your reach!

arm stretched out to the sun

We’ve created this guide to offer some suggestions and insights into how to be happy. Read on! 

Should You Be Happy All the Time?

At first glance, it might seem like a strange question. The question has less to do with whether human beings need to be happy all the time and more to do with whether it’s possible to always be happy

It’s doubtful that you’ll always be happy, and that’s okay. It’s normal and healthy for you to experience a range of emotions. After all, you can’t fully appreciate the good in life without the bad. So, don’t feel discouraged if you struggle to stay positive.

Is Happiness a Habit?

A happy life leads to many health benefits and general life satisfaction.

happy couple sitting on the beach with their dogs

However, it isn’t as simple as applying some positive thinking to learn how to be happy. Just like physical health, mental health must be worked on daily.

Happiness is a habit. To be happy, you must do and experience things that make you happy and do these things regularly

If you struggle to find happiness, then you’ll have to work hard to engage in things that offer more joy. This can be challenging and may even feel impossible, but you must keep going anyway. Rest assured that the benefits of happiness are worth the effort!

How Can I Find What Makes Me Happier?

The answer to this question is different for everyone.

For some, mental health issues or an underlying mental illness can hamper happiness. In those cases, seeking proper psychiatric aid is recommended. For others, problems lie in self-esteem, negative thinking, or a lack of social connections.

You must actively seek things that can improve your quality of life. From there, you’ll be much better able to find your own happiness. 

Ready to learn how to be happy? We’ve gathered our top ideas on the matter below. Hopefully, this will help you on your journey to a happier life.

How to Be Happy: Ideas to Get You Started

1. Find and Maintain Meaningful Relationships

Human happiness is deeply connected to the relationships we form and maintain throughout our lives. Many people who struggle to find happiness also feel lonely or isolated. The two aren’t always connected, but loneliness and isolation can hurt your happiness. 

While it’s easier said than done, the solution is straightforward: expand your list of social connections and spend time with them.

group of friends laughing

If you find making new friends difficult, you might need to boost your self-confidence. You might also want to know a bit more about how to make friends as an introvert with social anxiety.

The best way to expand your social network is to find people who share your interests. This could mean finding a local Dungeons & Dragons group, attending fan meetups, or joining the university tennis team.

Whatever your interest, there’s a community of like-minded people who are just as passionate as you are. Increased connections with good people won’t just make you feel less lonely. You might even find new interests through these connections, which can lead to greater happiness! 

As you spend time with more people, you’ll cultivate strong relationships and expand your support network. These relationships are key to a happy life because they provide you with love, appreciation, and a sense of belonging.

2. Keep an Eye on Your Own Well-Being

While expanding your circle of friends can improve your overall happiness, you must also prioritize your well-being.

man sleeping with his arm around his pillow

Ignoring your physical and mental health can lead to disastrous consequences for your happiness and your ability to pursue other meaningful goals. Failure to address your needs will only make it harder to be happy in the long run. 

Here are some things that you can do regularly to improve your well-being:

  • Implement a sleep routine that ensures you get enough sleep. 
  • Practice deep breathing techniques to alleviate stress.
  • Make sure to engage in regular exercise and physical activity.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family to stay socially active.
  • Spend time with positive people who won’t drag you down.

These are just a few things you can do to improve your well-being. Caring for yourself will help you pursue happiness more effectively.

3. Surround Yourself With Positive Influences

If you’re trying to understand how to be happy, consider the environment around you. No, we don’t mean the weather (although research suggests it can affect your mood). 

Take a moment to survey who you surround yourself with and their role in your life. Also, think about what you tend to do with your time and how these activities make you feel. This process isn’t easy or very much fun, but it can prove an important exercise for improving your life.

If you’re surrounded by people you know are bad influences or make bad judgments, ask yourself how that affects you. If you spend all day playing video games, ask yourself if you’ve done everything you needed to beforehand.

Having friends who occasionally make poor decisions or play video games is fine. Just make sure you’re honest with yourself about whether these influences distract you or lead you astray.

three women discussing a paper

Consider if your activities cause you excess anger or stress. If they do, disconnect often to avoid developing antisocial behaviors.

Moreover, it might be time to reassess some of your relationships if they constantly surround you with negativity. Friendships and family relationships are essential, but it might be time to distance yourself if they constantly bring you down.

The key is to be honest with yourself and make an effort to surround yourself with things that make you feel good.

4. Reward Yourself for Small Wins

One key to happiness is acknowledging your small wins. For those who struggle with feelings of stagnation, remember that everything you do has value and impact, regardless of scale. 

If you’re spending time cleaning and organizing your living space, acknowledge that right now—that’s an achievement!

A big reason that people struggle to find happiness is that they set their goals and expectations too high. When struggling to feel happy, you won’t be in the best headspace to accomplish major tasks. 

That doesn’t mean you can afford to do nothing, but it does mean you need to temper your expectations. Take things slow and feel proud of any progress you make each day.

5. Form Good Habits

Make sure you’re developing good habits in your daily life. Start by taking a long, hard look at your daily habits. Are they helping or hindering you? Forming positive habits requires constant attention and dedication for most people and isn’t easy. 

The benefits of forming good habits are well worth the effort. If your life and relationships are built on healthy habits, you’ll find that happiness comes more easily and naturally.

person filing taxes

Here are some good habits to strive for:

  • Practice gratitude: Each day, take a few moments to give thanks for the positives in your life.
  • Save and spend money wisely: Spending money wisely is vital to financial well-being. Save money and make smart purchases so you don’t feel stressed about debt or lack of funds. 
  • Exercise regularly: You’re more likely to be emotionally and mentally healthy when you’re physically healthy.
  • Take breaks: Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day so you have time to relax and regroup.
  • Make time for things you enjoy, such as reading, playing sports, walking in nature, or anything else that brings you joy.

6. Contextualize Negative Thoughts

Many people say you should ignore negative thoughts and think positively, but this doesn’t address the problem. 

While you shouldn’t act on the negative emotions and thoughts you experience, you shouldn’t ignore them. Ignoring them also ignores the feelings and events that are creating them in the first place.

Instead, take the time to understand and contextualize these thoughts. Identifying where they come from is crucial in determining how to prevent them from being intrusive.

woman in orange sweater sitting and thinking

This is an important exercise. Understanding what makes you sad can help you figure out how to be happy.

There are a few key things to remember when it comes to contextualizing your negative thoughts:

  • Don’t ruminate or dwell on them.
  • Don’t try to suppress them.
  • Try to understand where they come from.
  • Use positive reframing.
  • Focus on the present moment.

Rumination, or obsessing over negative thoughts, can be particularly damaging. If you find yourself stuck in a loop of negative thinking, try to break the cycle by engaging in a distracting activity or practicing mindfulness.

When you contextualize your negative thoughts and avoid rumination, you’ll be better positioned to deal with them. You can start addressing their root causes by understanding where they come from. And by using positive reframing, you can start changing how you think about them.

You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to the challenges life throws your way. A key to happiness is learning how to be resilient and not letting negativity get the better of you.

7. Step Back From Social Media

We’re willing to bet you’ve already heard this from people before, but it is true – social media can be a huge downer. Studies have shown that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they will be unhappy.

The reason for this is multifold. First, social media gives us a distorted view of other people’s lives. We see only the highlight reel—the vacations, the new car, the birthday party—and not the mundane reality that makes up most of our lives. Without seeing the full picture, this can lead to feelings of envy and insecurity.

Second, social media is a breeding ground for negativity. From political arguments to mean-spirited comments, it’s easy to get dragged down by all the negative energy.

social media apps on mobile phone

Additionally, platforms like Instagram and YouTube can suck up massive amounts of time and focus from your day. By opening up an endless source of entertainment, you can easily fall down a rabbit hole of mindless content consumption. 

This can create a distraction that prevents you from doing things that would actually make you happy in the long run.

Instead of scrolling through TikTok, put on some music and do something productive for your mental well-being. This sense of productivity can give you a feeling of control and accomplishment – two critical ingredients for lasting happiness.

8. Understand and Expand Your Comfort Zone

While most of our advice involves changing habits and making different choices, it’s important to do all this in moderation. 

Don’t try changing everything at once, or you’ll quickly burn out and feel like the changes aren’t making a difference. Make sure you know your limits and understand the boundaries of your comfort zone.

Extending those boundaries is worth the effort, but do so at your own pace. These kinds of changes don’t happen overnight. 

Don’t pressure yourself into making mistakes or failing to address issues properly. Take small steps and build up your comfort zone over time. There is no rush—your small changes will lead to large differences in the long run.

smiling woman holding an umbrella at night

9. Schedule Time for Positive Thoughts

While it’s important to understand your bad thoughts, make time to also understand your good thoughts. 

When you have a positive experience and feel good, try hard to remember that feeling. When you’re in a bad headspace, remember the good times and hold onto those.

A happy person doesn’t only experience positive feelings or good days, even if it looks like it from the outside. If someone appears never to get rattled, they might be pretending to be happy

It’s impossible to escape bad days or negative feelings forever, but you can build coping mechanisms to lessen their impact. 

Recognizing that positive experiences are more valuable than negative ones is an effective method for calming one’s mind.

Here’s our suggestion: start journaling! Every day, spend time writing about your day’s positive aspects. Include what made you smile, what you’re grateful for, or when you felt proud of yourself.

man journaling

Jotting down happy memories will remind you of good times and help train your brain to focus on the positive. 

Also, consider creating positive affirmations to repeat throughout the day. These could be anything from “I am capable and strong” to “I choose happiness today.” Reinforcing these positive thoughts will help keep your mind in a happy state.

Final Thoughts

We hope some of these tips and suggestions help you find the happiness you deserve

Teaching yourself how to be happy can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort.

We believe that happiness is a habit. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. So start small and work your way up. Remember to celebrate the little victories along the way!

If you found these tips helpful but need help getting started on your happiness journey, consider using an app for happiness. The Do Happy App is an excellent option if you’re looking to promote mindfulness, kindness, and happiness in your life!

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