How to Be a Happier Person
Happiness can be many things for many people: for some, happiness is riding roller coasters while for others, happiness is holding their newborn baby. While happiness varies from person to person, many factors can contribute to an overall happy life and feeling like a happy person. Both paying attention to your attitude and making changes in your day-to-day can help you experience a joyful, happy filled life.
Adjusting Your Attitude
Think positively.It’s impossible to have a challenge-free life, but your attitude makes all the difference with how you respond to life’s challenges. Positive thinking means how you approach difficulties with a positive outlook. It doesn’t mean you avoid or push away unpleasant experiences, but that you see the best in situations.
- Thinking positively means reminding yourself that negative events are temporary and opportunities to learn and grow. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects, look for ways to learn from each situation. For example, don’t think negatively when you walk to work and it always rains. Use this experience to learn: it may be time to invest in an umbrella and some rainboots.
- One way to practice positive thinking is to pay attention to your inner dialog.Instead of thinking, “I’m going to be terrible at this” replace the thought with, “I am bravely trying something new and I can't control the outcome.”
Express gratitude regularly.Learning to appreciate the big and the little things in life can have a profound impact on your life. Get in the habit of saying “thank you” often. Some people write in a daily gratitude journal, draw gratitude pictures, or take photos of what they are grateful for each day. Giving gratitude doesn’t just make you feel good, it can positively influence your physical and psychological health and boost your self-esteem.
- When you feel a negative thought coming on, notice it, and then replace it with something you are grateful for. You may be surprised how quickly your mood can positively change!
Be present.Life can feel hectic and it’s easy to get caught up in the to-do’s, planning ahead, and what’s next. The truth is, your body is always in the moment but your mind can be in the past, present or future. If you feel disconnected from yourself or others, practice directing your thoughts and attention to the present moment. Use your senses to bring you back, one by one: tune in to the sounds you hear, even the things you tend to tune out. Use your eyes and look around. Notice any smells. It’s not important to label what you experience, just experience it.
- Connect with your breath. Breathing with awareness can help bring you back to your body.
- Listen to your mind. Allow your mind to run with all the thoughts it wants to experience without engaging or responding to the thoughts.When thoughts come up, acknowledge them without judging them. For instance, say, “I’m thinking about the busy day I have ahead.” There’s no need to analyze or judge the thought, just acknowledge it.
Manage stress daily.While you can’t stop the bills or halt the work or school deadlines, you can learn to manage your reaction to daily stressors in a healthy way. By practicing stress management every day, you can address stress daily instead of letting it build up.You may not realize it, but you probably deal with stress in many ways: people choose smoking, drinking or zoning out with the tv, video games, or computer as ways to cope, although they are not recommended or particularly healthy.Instead, do things that help your mind and body relax.
- Practice regular restorative yoga, meditation, and relaxation.
- Use daily progressive muscle relaxation. Find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, and relax your body. Relax and breathe deeply. Starting with your right fist, tense the muscles, then relax. Then tense your right forearm and then your upper arm, tensing then relaxing. Move through your body: your right arm, then left arm, face, neck, back, chest, hips, and legs and feet. By the end, your muscles should not feel tense.
Practice contentment.It’s easy to get caught up in consumerism; believing that next thing (car, house, purse, shoes, video game) will make you happy. People that are wealthy and have an excess of money do not report higher levels of happiness.Make sure your monetary basic needs are met, and much of the excess beyond fulfilling your basic needs will eventually become meaningless to your life. Feel content with what you have and learn to not be in want for things you do not have.
- Instead of spending your money on things, opt to spend money on experiences.Go to festivals, participate in workshops that interest you, and travel. The memories you have of a Machu Picchu vacation will far outweigh memories of you playing video games.
- If there’s something you desperately want to have, think about how it will affect your life in five years, and if it will still be important.
Avoid living in the past.Maybe something happened that you regret, or you wonder if you could have done something differently. Don’t allow yourself to enter the non-existent time warp. Ruminating on past events can lead to a cycle of negative thoughts, depression and anxiety.Instead, use the situation to problem solve any future problems and reflect on how you can respond differently. There is no changing the past, but you can change the future.
- Identify the fear that motivates your rumination. Maybe you’re afraid you came off as unintelligent or aloof, or that people perceived you as lacking social skills. Spend some time journaling what fears motivate you living in the past.
- Let go of what’s out of your own control. Ask yourself what you can change (if anything). If you can’t change anything, let it go. If you can change things, determine what can be changed and how you will handle it.
- When reflecting in the past, don’t just rely on negative self-evaluations. Also remember what you have done well and when you have responded positively.
Influencing Your Actions
Surround yourself with positive people.One major factor affecting your happiness is who surrounds your life. You may have to be around someone you don't like, whether it is at school or work. But don’t let them get you down. Having good friends allows you to experience a sense of belonging and support. Having positive and supportive friends in your life is a major part of emotional health and happiness.
- If there are people in your life that are constantly negative or complain endlessly, consider letting them go. Don’t allow other people’s negative attitudes to affect your happiness.
Forgive.You may feel justified in holding onto resentments against people that deeply hurt you. It’s important to realize that holding onto resentment doesn’t harm the other person, it only creates deeper hurt inside yourself. Forgiveness helps in healing, but it’s not just about you or just about the other person. You forgive because eventually you realize it’s the best response to a situation.
- Forgiveness doesn’t mean excusing someone’s behavior or pretending the situation didn’t happen. Forgiveness is a way to set yourself and the other person free from holding onto pain and hurt.
- Address your inner pain and what triggered the deep hurt you experience.Did the offense trigger feelings of abandonment, trauma, or unpleasant memories from the past? Journal your feelings and discover the deeper hurt that this person triggered.
- You can silently forgive someone in your heart without engaging in a formal conversation. This is especially important when the offending person is no longer in your life or has passed on.
Engage in your hobbies regularly.Do things that make you smile and that you enjoy. Hobbies help you cope with stress, can provide a social circle, and make you and your life more interesting.Go ice skating. Sew or create woodworking. Take a walk in the park! Whatever it is, have fun with your hobbies and activities.
- Not sure what your hobbies are? Follow your interests. You have the opportunity to explore many things that you may enjoy. Try going for a hike or taking a soap-making class. Try different sports, both team and individual sports. Explore your interests and find the hobbies you most enjoy.
Meditate.Meditation is associated with many positive influences for daily life including reducing stress, lowering anxiety and increasing compassion.While meditation is traditionally thought of as quietly sitting and clearing your mind, it can take many forms, such as running, hiking, drawing.
- Some people choose to meditate on certain words (such as “compassion” or “forgiveness”) and sit quietly reflecting on the words.
- Others practice breathing meditations that focus on consciously inhaling and exhaling. Sitting meditations are often done by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and relaxing your body and breath.
- One meditation that increases positive feelings for self and others is called the Loving-kindness meditation. Loving-kindness meditations direct well-wishes or desires to yourself and then to others. You begin by thinking of 3-4 phrases you wish to bring into your life, such as “May I be healthy, may I experience joy daily, and may I experience and practice compassion.” Say it to yourself first, then direct it to someone you love. Then, send it to someone you feel neutral about (a grocery clerk, someone sitting next to you in traffic). Then, send the meditation to someone you actively dislike. Finally, direct the meditation to all beings universally (“May all beings be healthy, may all beings experience joy daily, and may all beings experience and practice compassion.”).
Exercise.Making exercise a part of your regular routine can help you feel good in both your body and your mind. Exercise is linked to better overall health, self-esteem, sleep, and happiness. Exercise is beneficial for both your body and your mind, and can even help you sleep better.
- It is recommended that adults spend 150 minutes per week engaging in a variety of physical activities.This can include walking the dog, biking to work, jumping on a trampoline and playing outside with your kids.
Infuse your life with happiness.Fill your life with positive influences. Listen to upbeat, happy songs, sing, dance, and laugh. Or see a show, call a friend, read a book, or even put a little color into your life by painting or drawing. Create positivity all around yourself.
- Know the things that will lift your spirits. Maybe you enjoy watching videos of pandas using a slide, or enjoy watching cat videos. Do these things to help boost your mood and get you smiling.
QuestionI just feel so bored with life and I can never seem to be stress free and genuinely happy. What can I do?
M.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingM.A, Clinical Mental Health CounselingExpert AnswerWithout knowing you or your situation it is difficult to say. I suggest making an appointment with a counselor to discuss what you’ve been going through.Thanks!
QuestionI am always thinking negative thoughts - what can I do for that?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAlways focus on the good in things and take some time of your day to list the things you're grateful for. Avoid focusing on negative things.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I stop being rude and enjoy being around people more after going through a hard time?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't dwell on the hard times you've been through, and surround yourself with positive people who will support you and understand that you are going through a tough time.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I'm the negative person who no one wants to hang around with? What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWork on curbing your negativity and being more positive. Be mindful of how much you complain, criticize, or argue with others, and try to minimize those things. See How to Be Positive.Thanks!
QuestionMy girlfriend broke up with me. We never had a huge fight or anything, it just ended. I feel like I left a lot of things unsaid, so that she could stay friends with my sister. How do I become happy now?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you want to know why she broke up with you to get some closure, ask her, or if there's something you really must say, say it. If you have something negative to say about her, however, you should probably just let it go in the interest of maintaining friendly feelings all around. You'll feel better regardless once some time has passed.Thanks!
QuestionI never seem to be genuinely happy. I feel so bored with life. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry doing things you like to do - for example, drawing or sports.Thanks!
QuestionCan a person learn to be happier?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. You should always try to find new things that will always make you happy, e.g., joining activities that you are interested in, trying to be more social with others.Thanks!
- Avoid people who make your life miserable and sad and hang around people who brighten your day.
- Do something to make you feel food every single day. Even if it is something as simple as writing in a journal or painting your toenails.
- Adopt a pet! If you are able to be responsible for another being, a pet can be a wonderful addition to your family, and will surely provide you with plenty of smiles and laughs.
Sources and Citations
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