By Dr. Mercola
Many people spend their lives waiting to be happy. You may think, “if
only I had more money,” or “could lose weight,” or you fill in the blank,
then I would be happy.
Well here’s a secret: you can be happy right now. It’s not always easy,
but you can choose to be happy, and in the vast majority of circumstances
there’s no one who can stop you except for yourself.
The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from wealth, perfect looks or even a
perfect relationship. Happiness comes from within. This is why, if you
truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself, first.
22 Positive Habits of Happy People
What’s the secret to being happy? You can learn how to do it, just as you
can learn any other skill. Those who are happy tend to follow a certain
set of habits that create peace in their lives; if you learn to apply
these habits in your own life, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy too.
The featured article compiled 22 such behaviors that you can use to
enhance your life and your happiness:1
1. Let go of grudges
Forgiving and forgetting is necessary for your own happiness, as holding a
grudge means you’re also holding onto resentment, anger, hurt and other
negative emotions that are standing in the way of your own happiness.
Letting go of a grudge frees you from negativity and allows more space for
positive emotions to fill in.
2. Treat everyone with kindness
Kindness is not only contagious, it’s also proven to make you happier.
When you’re kind to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and
neurotransmitters like serotonin and you’re able to build strong
relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around.
3. Regard your problems as challenges
Change your internal dialogue so that anytime you have a “problem” you
view it as a challenge or a new opportunity to change your life for the
better. Eliminate the word “problem” from your mind entirely.
4. Express gratitude for what you have
People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with
stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their
goals. The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep
a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what
you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods,
greater optimism and even better physical health.
5. Dream big
Go ahead and dream big, as you’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals.
Rather than limiting yourself, when you dream big you’re opening your mind
to a more optimistic, positive state where you have the power to achieve
virtually anything you desire.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
If the issue you’re mad about will be irrelevant a year, a month, a week
or even a day from now, why sweat it? Happy people know how to let life’s
daily irritations roll off their back.
7. Speak well of others
It may be tempting to gather around the office water cooler to get and
give the daily gossip, but talking negatively about others is like taking
a bath in negative emotions; your body soaks them up. Instead, make it a
point to only say positive, nice words about other people, and you’ll help
foster more positive thinking in your own life as well.
8. Avoid making excuses
It’s easy to blame others for your life’s failures, but doing so means
you’re unlikely to rise past them. Happy people take responsibility for
their mistakes and missteps, then use the failure as an opportunity to
change for the better.
9. Live in the present
Allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now,
and take time to really be in the present moment. Avoid replaying past
negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor
what’s going on in your life now.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning
Getting up at the same time every day (preferably an early time) is
deceptively simple. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythm so
you’ll have an easier time waking and likely feel more energized. Plus,
the habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful
people, as it enhances your productivity and focus.
11. Don’t compare yourself to others
Your life is unique, so don’t measure your own worth by comparing yourself
to those around you. Even regarding yourself as better than your peers is
detrimental to your happiness, as you’re fostering judgmental feelings and
an unhealthy sense of superiority. Measure your own success based on your
progress alone, not that of others.
12. Surround yourself with positive people
The saying “misery loves company” is entirely true. That’s why you need to
choose friends who are optimistic and happy themselves, as you will be
surrounded with positive energy.
13. Realize that you don’t need others’ approval
It’s important to follow your own dreams and desires without letting
naysayers stand in your way. It’s fine to seek others’ opinions, but happy
people stay true to their own hearts and don’t get bogged down with the
need for outside approval.
14. Take time to listen
Listening helps you soak in the wisdom of others and allows you to quiet
your own mind at the same time. Intense listening can help you feel
content while helping you gain different perspectives.
15. Nurture social relationships
Positive social relationships are a key to happiness, so be sure you make
time to visit with friends, family and your significant other.
Meditation helps you keep your mind focused, calms your nerves and
supports inner peace. Research shows it can even lead to physical changes
in your brain that make you happier.
17. Eat well
What you eat directly impacts your mood and energy levels in both the
short and long term. Whereas eating right can prime your body and brain to
be in a focused, happy state, eating processed junk foods will leave you
sluggish and prone to chronic disease. My free nutrition plan is an
excellent tool to help you choose the best foods for both physical and
Exercise boosts levels of health-promoting brain chemicals like serotonin,
dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of
stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Rather than viewing
exercise as a medical tool to lose weight, prevent disease, and live
longer – all benefits that occur in the future – try viewing exercise as a
daily tool to immediately enhance your frame of mind, reduce stress and
19. Live minimally
Clutter has a way of sucking the energy right out of you and replacing it
with feelings of chaos. Clutter is an often-unrecognized source of stress
that prompts feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction and even guilt,
so give your home and office a clutter makeover, purging it of the excess
papers, files, knick knacks and other “stuff” that not only takes up space
in your physical environment, but also in your mind.
20. Be honest
Every time you lie, your stress levels are likely to increase and your
self-esteem will crumble just a little bit more. Plus, if others find out
you’re a liar it will damage your personal and professional relationships.
Telling the truth, on the other hand, boosts your mental health and allows
others to build trust in you.
21. Establish personal control
Avoid letting other people dictate the way you live. Instead, establish
personal control in your life that allows you to fulfill your own goals
and dreams, as well as a great sense of personal self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed
Everything in your life is not going to be perfect, and that’s perfectly
all right. Happy people learn to accept injustices and setbacks in their
life that they cannot change, and instead put their energy on changing
what they can control for the better.