Do you ever come across people who are always upbeat and no matter what life throws at them? While people can be genetically disposed toward happiness, it’s more likely that these people have simply discovered more of the things that make you happy in life and utilize them to their advantage.
The good news is that you can increase your own happiness quotient by doing these 14 things that make people happy.
1. Start With a Good Dose of Gratitude
Being consciously aware of what you’re thankful for can actually change your level of happiness.
When you wake up each morning, spend time recalling all the things for which you feel grateful. Before you go to bed, you can keep a gratitude journal. Write down 3 to 5 things that you felt grateful for that day and why. Use all five senses to imagine these things vividly in order to help you brain latch on to all that goodness.
One study found that, among mindfulness, belief in personal control, and gratitude, “happiness among students was primarily predicted by gratitude”.
2. Make Sure You’re Giving Back
Do you give 10% of your income to your favorite charity or organization? Instead of spending money on yourself, you’ll feel happier giving to others.
There’s something about giving that allows you to receive more in return besides just the act of giving to help others. When you give, you’re sending a message to the Universe that you know everything’s going to be alright.
According to a study published in 2010, “people experienced happier moods when they gave more money away—but only if they had a choice about how much to give”
By giving, you’ll be taken care of, too. You see it from those with very little to those who have millions: you have to give to get, and by doing that, your happiness increases.
3. Laugh Every Day
Do you spend time each day laughing? Do you purposefully find happy things to laugh about?
When you laugh, you release happy hormones called oxytocin and endorphins. These are hormones that uplifts us as we share experiences with others. Even just making yourself smile will put you in a better place.
It is thought that the fact that laughter releases these hormones in order to promote social bonding, so try getting together with friends for a good dose of laughter, as well as increased social connection. These are things that make you happy.
4. Foster Good Relationships With Family and Friends
Happy people don’t spend large amounts of time alone. By spending time with people you like and love, you forge supportive relationships that help people feel better during times of stress.
You also bond with others through common experiences, such as life’s ups and downs. They become your support network and help bring more of the things that make people happy.
People who don’t spend as much time with family or friends are more prone to loneliness and depression.
5. Do What You Love
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do what you love, and the money will follow?” Doing things that you love to do–and even better, getting paid for it–are good ways to boost your levels of happiness.
When work feels like play, you’re more likely to enjoy other aspects of your life more, too.
6. Volunteer Your Time
When you give your time or talent, your focus shifts from your life to that of others.
This can help you realize that your own problems may not be that bad. You invariably forge new relationships and experience an uplift in your spirit.
Furthermore, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and keep you active during downtime in your life. It will also increase self-confidence as you begin to feel better about yourself and your place in the world.
7. Get Enough Exercise
Among the things that make you happy, few are as well researched as exercise. When you take time out for exercise, you’re doing your body good in more ways than one.
First, you’re doing what it was designed to do: physical exertion. Humans were made to move around, and the body works best when it does what it was meant to do.
Furthermore, as you exercise, you release a ton of feel-good hormones. These hormones can help increase happiness levels, as well as lower stress.
One study found that “Exercisers were more satisfied with their life and happier than non-exercisers at all ages”. And the good news is that it takes as little as 30 minutes to gain the amazing benefits of exercise.
8. Take Time to Meditate
Sitting down, lighting a candle and doing some deep breathing for 10 minutes is all it takes to relax your mind and body.
In doing so, you get in touch with your inner-self, and invariably, you’ll get to know your values and priorities a little better. That’s definitely a booster on the happiness scale and will lead you toward more of the things that make you happy.
9. Deal With Clutter
Are you overrun with books and papers piled everywhere? Too much mail sitting on the table? Why not tackle a small task each day for a month in an effort to de-clutter your life?
When you’re not running around looking for items you can’t find, and when everything has its place, you’ll automatically be less stressed and in a better mental state.
That’s a great place to be on Monday morning when you’re trying to get out the door and you already know where the lunchboxes are, and the bills you have to mail.
10. Get Enough Rest
Among the things that make people happy, sleep is one of the easiest and most natural. Ever notice how cranky you are in the afternoon when you’ve only had 5 or 6 hours of sleep? Many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation, which can lead to higher levels of stress and edginess.
Research has shown that simply getting enough sleep “improves memory, increases people’s ability to concentrate, strengthens the immune system and decreases people’s risk of being killed in accidents”.
After a good night of sleep, you can tackle your daily tasks in a more calm, alert way. It’s so much better than experiencing that awful sluggish feeling in that oh-so-important meeting with your boss. Your body will thank you, too.
11. Eat Healthier Foods
You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Healthy, nutritious foods not only make your body feel good, but they can improve your mental health as well.
If you spend your time eating package after package of boxed noodles, canned dinners, or fast food, your body is going to let you know by gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and quite possibly having a host of health problems. How can you look and feel your best if the foods you eat are not good for you?
By eating better, you’re not only taking care of yourself, but you’ll also feel more vibrant and energetic. You’ll literally be healthier from the inside out.
12. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
This is definitely easier said than done, but if you can condition your mind to focus on the good that you are doing and the good things in your life, you’re not going to be tempted to focus on how others are doing.
Research on the effects of social media use has found that upward comparisons on social media are associated with lower self-esteem.