10 Habits To Be Happy

10 Habits To Be Happy

Happiness comes from within. While life events certainly affect our mood, research shows that around 40% of our capacity for joy lies within our power to change. Practicing simple, positive habits daily can help boost your overall happiness and life satisfaction.

This article outlines ten science-backed habits that have been proven to lift mood, perspective, and enjoyment of life. By establishing these habits, you can take control of your happiness and create a more positive, fulfilling life.

1. Express Gratitude

Actively appreciating what you’re grateful for has a powerful effect on happiness. You can shift your mindset by taking just a few minutes each day to reflect on things like good health, loved ones, achievements, pleasant experiences, or simple comforts.

Try starting a gratitude journal where you jot down 3-5 things you’re grateful for daily. Give thanks before meals. Send thank you notes or texts to loved ones. Looking out for the little joys and privileges we enjoy but often take for granted can make a big difference in how content we feel.

2. Get Moving

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and hormones that boost mood naturally. Regular physical activity also helps reduce stress and anxiety levels. Striving for 150 minutes per week of moderate activity like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling can be enough to lift your spirits.

Find forms of exercise you genuinely enjoy, like joining a sports team or taking a dance class so it feels less like a chore. Even simple activities like taking the stairs or parking farther away can help you accumulate more daily movement. The key is to get your body active in ways that feel good consistently.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Being present and mindful helps us appreciate each moment instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Try setting aside 10 minutes daily for simple meditation using an app like Calm. Focus on taking deep, rhythmic breaths and observing your thoughts without judgment.

Practicing mindfulness during everyday tasks also boosts happiness. For example, when you eat a meal, focus your senses on the flavors and textures. When you walk somewhere, notice smells and sounds around you. By fully immersing yourself in the present, you learn to be more content with what you have.

4. Invest in Social Connection

Meaningful social connections and shared experiences are enormous contributors to happiness. Prioritize spending quality time with important people through shared activities, trips, phone calls, and video chats.

Schedule regular virtual catch-ups with long-distance friends and family. Join a book club. Have weekly movie nights or game nights with friends. Sharing meaningful connections and joyful experiences with loved ones will fill your bucket like nothing else.

5. Learn and Grow

Continuous learning through reading books, taking classes, or listening to podcasts gives you a sense of progress and keeps your mind engaged.

Sign up for an online course that sparks your interest. Join a book club. Learn to cook a new cuisine. Set aside time to dive into a topic you’ve wanted to learn about – prioritize continuous learning. Keeping your brain active in new ways prevents stagnation and gives you a sense of moving forward.

6. Be Kind

Helping others through random acts of kindness has been shown to benefit mood and happiness. Small actions like holding the door for someone, sending cards to loved ones, or buying a coffee for the person behind you in line can boost your feel-good chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.

Look for opportunities to brighten someone else’s day with a compliment, thoughtful gift, or helping hand. Sign up to volunteer in your community. Kindness towards others is contagious – it shifts perspectives and often comes back around when you most need it.

7. Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sufficient sleep has significant detrimental effects on mood. Make getting at least 7-9 hours a night a priority for both physical and mental health. A consistent bedtime and wake time helps regulate your circadian rhythm for better sleep quality.

Avoid screens an hour before bed and limit caffeine late in the day. Create an environment optimized for sleep –  dark and quiet. Investing in quality sleep ensures you wake up each morning rested and ready to take on the day.

8. Declutter and Organize

Clutter around your home or workspace can cause underlying stress and anxiety. Set aside weekly time to declutter – sort through items, clear out what you no longer need, and donate unused goods. Organize closets and drawers so everything has a designated place.

Minimal, tidy surroundings help create a peaceful environment that lifts your mood. Decluttering also frees up mental space so you can focus energy on happier things rather than constantly picking up. Keep surfaces clear and create homes for your belongings.

9. Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time immersed in natural environments like mountains, forests, parks, and beaches has scientifically proven mood-boosting benefits. Exposure to green space counters stress, improves concentration and makes people happier.

Take a 15-minute walk outside daily during a lunch break or before dinner. Exercise outdoors when possible. Choose outdoor seating at restaurants. Connecting with nature regularly provides a mental break and inspires a sense of awe that uplifts your perspective.

10. Focus on the Positives

How we perceive situations has a significant impact on our reality. Intentionally focusing on positive aspects counterbalances our brains’ tendency to spot negatives. Appreciating the good around you increases feelings of gratitude.

Start a positivity journal where you jot down great things that happen each day – a stranger’s smile, a delicious meal, a good workout. Share positive news with loved ones. Look for the bright side in difficult situations. Reframing your mindset gradually shifts your outlook to be more optimistic over time.

You can steadily increase happiness and life satisfaction by picking 1-2 habits at a time to integrate into your daily routine. With commitment and consistency, these positive habits create compounding effects that expand your capacity for joy, gratitude, and fulfillment.

Case Study: Sarah’s Story

Sarah felt stuck in an unhappy rut of work stress, limited social interaction, and unhealthy habits. She decided to commit to slowly establishing more happiness-boosting habits over the next year.

Sarah started by keeping a daily gratitude journal. She set a goal to express gratitude to someone each day. She joined a recreational soccer league to be more active and meet new people.

Over time Sarah added more habits like regular meditation, decluttering her home, taking a 10-minute walk outdoors daily, signing up for an online baking class, and focusing her thoughts on positive aspects of her job.

After a year of steadily integrating the habits, Sarah found her mood and outlook on life transformed. She was more optimistic, active, connected, and appreciative of each day. Simple joys like a good cup of coffee or chat with a friend now lifted her spirit rather than going unnoticed.

The habits became automatic over time. Sarah’s case demonstrates that small, consistent effort invested in your happiness pays off exponentially to uplift your life. Happiness is indeed a choice, and making it takes commitment. But the rewards are well worth it.

Implementing even a few science-backed habits can gradually increase happiness, positivity, and life satisfaction. Focus on integrating 1-2 new habits weekly until they stick. With regular practice, you’ll naturally become more grateful, engaged, and purposeful in all aspects of your life.