How to Find What Makes You Happy in Life | 5 Helpful Tips

You might be wondering how to find what makes you happy in life. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place.

We all strive to find happiness in life but too often feel like it’s just out of reach. We get so caught up in our daily routines and stresses that we lose sight of what truly brings us joy.

But living a happy, fulfilling life is possible – it just may require taking a step back to reevaluate what really matters to you.

This blog post will share five practical tips for discovering what makes you happy.

Why Should You Try and Find What Makes You Happy?

True joy is a state of being, a sense of satisfaction from within.

When you find what makes you happy in life, you can harness that to create more happiness for yourself.

Happiness is subjective – we all experience it in different ways. Our perception of what makes us happy also changes throughout our lives. This means the journey to find what makes you happy is continuous rather than a one-off mission.

The Importance of Finding What Makes You Happy

Discovering what brings you joy is crucial for various reasons, as happiness profoundly impacts many aspects of life.

Let’s delve into some well-established benefits of leading a happier life.

woman jumping with her arms and legs spread out at the edge of a path overlooking a mountain range

It Creates a Positive Feedback Loop

Happiness begets more positivity, which in turn fosters further happiness. This virtuous cycle significantly enhances your daily life, contributing to greater optimism

Actively pursuing things that make you happy opens the door to more positive experiences, reinforcing this beneficial cycle.

It Improves Mental Health

Finding what makes you happy pays invaluable dividends to your mental well-being.

When you determine which people, activities, and environments lift your mood, you can incorporate more of those elements into your life. 

Making room for more happiness also boosts emotional stability and resilience.

All of this, in combination, floods your mind with positive emotions like joy, gratitude, and peace – powerful antidotes to negative states like anxiety, sadness, and stress. 

It Boosts Physical Health

The mind-body connection plays a critical role in your physical well-being.

Happiness has been shown to lower levels of stress hormones in the body, promoting better physical health. 

It’s also linked to a stronger immune system, vital for maintaining good health and preventing illness.

It Increases Life Satisfaction

Happiness and life satisfaction are closely intertwined.

Happy individuals tend to experience more fulfilling and supportive relationships with family and friends and enjoy life more.

Happiness also boosts motivation, propelling them to set and achieve personal goals. This, in turn, feeds into greater self-esteem and confidence, perpetuating a cycle of satisfaction and happiness.

happy elderly couple smiling while holding a bouquet of pink Gerbera daisies

Let’s tackle the question of how to find what makes you happy.

How to Find What Makes You Happy

If you want to know how to find what makes you happy in life, read on! 

In addition to these tips, you should read these helpful happiness hacks

1. Focus On Your Own Happiness

If you’re looking to lead a fulfilling life, you need to realize that you’re in charge of your happiness and unhappiness. 

You need to stop relying on others for happiness

You, and you alone, are responsible for finding your happiness. You cannot expect others to find it for you. Nor should you make others happy at the expense of your well-being. 

You have to focus on yourself and your inner voice before you can focus on others! When you’re happy and healthy, you can give your best to your relationships, and your relationships with others will improve.

Practical Applications

Be honest! Have you been hesitant to pursue something recently? Could it be because you’re not doing it for yourself? 

For example, have you pursued the career path your parents chose for you? Are you upholding an image that your partner demands of you? 

man holding a coffee mug standing in front of a window looking out

It is natural to want to please others in our lives. However, do not do so thinking that their happiness equals yours. It does not. 

Encourage your loved ones to reach for their dreams but also focus on your own. We are all unique and want different things out of life. Spend time thinking about what you want from yours.

2. Help Others Without Expectations

Helping others can be a key to discovering your own happiness. 

While it’s important not to lose yourself in the service of others, contributing positively to your community can be incredibly fulfilling. Practicing kindness can bring a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.

Volunteering for causes you’re passionate about is a great start. Whether donating time and effort or assisting with fundraisers to raise money, supporting a cause close to your heart can be highly rewarding. It contributes to your sense of purpose and connects you with like-minded individuals. These connections can open doors to new experiences and interests, potentially leading to more happiness in your life.

Importantly, helping others shouldn’t be about seeking approval or friendship but rather the genuine desire to make a difference. 

Contributing selflessly activates your brain’s reward centers, reducing stress and enhancing your mood. Knowing that you’ve positively impacted someone’s life is an incredible mood booster and can contribute significantly to your overall level of happiness. 

Practical Applications

group of smiling volunteers with their hands together making a pact

Think about what you can do to be the reason someone smiles today.

Simple things like sharing a smile, offering a helping hand, spending money on others in thoughtful ways, or supporting a local charity can uplift others and, in turn, boost your mood.

These actions contribute to the well-being of others and nurture a sense of community and connection, essential elements in a happy life.

When you experience the joy of giving, you may find that the happiness you create for others echoes back into your own life. 

This cycle of positivity can enhance your sense of purpose and belonging and deepen your understanding of what brings you true happiness.

3. Live in the Here and Now

Do you pin your hopes for happiness on some future event that’s out of your reach? Well, you’re not alone. This is called ‘destination addiction.’

Do you think you will be happy once you lose weight, move to a new city, or make more money?

While setting goals is a great idea and definitely has benefits, there’s a flip side to the coin. You should feel motivated but not like you’ll only be happy once you’ve achieved these goals. 

You do yourself a great disservice by focusing on a distant event instead of the here and now. 

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t have goals. Small wins are not to be underestimated!

The setting and attainment of goals is a healthy part of your development. But to be happy, you need to be fully present in the moment.

Practical Applications

Learn to distinguish between short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. These are all important, but avoid getting so caught up wishing for a brighter future that you neglect the present. 

Setting short-term goals is crucial as they offer immediate milestones and a sense of accomplishment, keeping you motivated and engaged daily.

These smaller objectives are not just steps towards larger goals but opportunities for self-discovery and joy. 

Each achievement provides insights into what brings you happiness and satisfaction, helping you fine-tune your path to a happy life. They ensure that you’re not just living for future happiness but actively experiencing and creating it now.

Integrating self-care practices into your daily routine is a powerful way to live in the present and discover happiness. 

Activities like mindfulness, exercise, pursuing hobbies, and ensuring adequate rest are essential forms of self-care. They improve your physical and mental well-being and help you connect with the present moment, allowing you to savor the joys of everyday life.

smiling woman standing outside

4. Keep a Happiness Journal

It’s always easier to remember things if you write them down. Why not start a happiness journal? You don’t need anything fancy – just pick up the first notebook you see! 

Keep this journal with you and journal daily. When something makes you happy, jot it down. If you would prefer to use an app, consider the Do Happy App!

After a week or two of doing this, patterns may emerge. What tends to crop up more frequently? 

Analyze your journal entries, and think about everything that makes you happy. Figure that out, and you will understand what you need more of in your life.

These journals can help you when you’re feeling down. If you don’t feel like doing anything, try doing something you consistently wrote about in your journal. This is sure to perk you up!

Practical Applications

When you review your happiness journal, consider what you’ve written. Why have you included each entry? Consider why each entry made you happy. 

For example, you may have noted that you enjoyed spending time with friends. Was it the company you enjoyed? Was the environment pleasing? 

If you wrote that you were happy on vacation, was it because you liked the place? Was it because you escaped the hustle and bustle of life at home?

woman with her arms raised standing on top of a trail near an ocean

Explore the ‘why’ behind the ‘what,’ and you will have more clarity about your unconscious desires. 

Do you secretly strive for more peace in your home or work environment? Do you need to be closer to nature? You’ll discover much about yourself by reflecting on your own happiness journal entries.

5. Determine What Doesn’t Make You Happy

It might be hard to list what makes you happy. Sometimes, listing what doesn’t make you happy can be much easier. 

If you struggle to put your sources of joy into words, do the opposite. Write down the things that you know make you unhappy. 

Is there anything you do regularly that makes you distinctly unhappy? Think about your daily activities, work, or relationships. 

It might be your job, your residence, or a particular relationship. Do you get upset when you have to host people after a long day at work? Perhaps you feel that you don’t have enough alone time! 

Whatever it is, write it down and think about why these things make you feel the way they do.

Practical Applications

As with the happiness entries, pop on your thinking hat.

Analyze why your entries make you unhappy, identifying if they trigger feelings of helplessness, frustration, or anger. 

To turn this around, understand the root causes. Is it unmet needs or unresolved issues? Consider small steps for change, like altering your perspective or daily routine.

Set realistic goals for these changes and track your progress. Embrace each small victory and be patient with setbacks. 

As you address the sources of your unhappiness, you’ll find it easier to shift your time and energy to things that make you happy.

two people smiling while looking at each other

Final Thoughts

Happiness starts with you. It might seem like you need to make certain people happy or meet a particular goal before you can be happy. This is simply not true! 

It’s important to embrace the here and now. After all, if you’re not happy with what you have now, who’s to say you’ll be happy with more? 

True happiness is about forming daily habits that allow you to find peace and joy. It can take a bit of work, but it’s attainable. You can start your journey to find happiness at any point!

If you were looking for how to find what makes you happy, we hope this has helped.

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