People sometimes see happiness as a level to be unlocked, and as a constant state that can be achieved. Unfortunately, there are many things in life that are beyond our control – heartbreak, tragedy, and disappointment come uninvited at times. How is it that some people always seem to manage to stay truly happy most of the time?
Here are seven habits they all share.
They are proactively and consciously thankful. Expressing genuine gratitude toward others, whether it is a partner, a colleague, or a stranger, makes the relationship stronger and more intimate. Focusing on what you have makes you realize how much you have achieved and have to be thankful for, even if you are striving to achieve even bigger things. Being consciously and actively thankful puts you in a positive state of mind, which helps you notice the positive in everything that happens around you.
One great routine to try is to maintain a gratitude journal. Every night, for 5 minutes before bed, open the journal and jot down all that you are grateful for that happened that day. It will put you in a state of inner peace that will also help you prepare yourself for more restful sleep.
They make new relationships, and work hard to make the ones they already have substantial and meaningful. Not everyone needs hundreds of friendships and other relationships to feel happy and fulfilled. For most people, having a few strong friendships sustained over many years and some kind of family life go a long way. More important than the sheer number of relationships, is the strength of those relationships and the openness of the people in them. The more people in a relationship see, interact, and share their feelings with one another, the better.
They get enough sleep. The actual number of hours may vary from person to person, but those who are happy get the sleep their body needs. Richard Branson is perfectly happy sleeping four to five hours a day and waking up in time to watch the sunrise, while others (myself included) need at least eight hours to feel rejuvenated. Sleep quality is very important too – some of the most useful tips I have found include making sure your body gets enough selenium (a banana a day), getting a good air purifier for the bedroom and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
They understand life through spirituality. Regardless of what religion you believe in, spirituality contributes to happiness. Several studies substantiate the claim that people with some sense of the greater, the spiritual, are generally happier than those who are not. Spiritual people typically find themselves having another strong pillar of support they can turn to in times of adversity– their faith.
Having some ways to reason and understand the big questions, unknowns and challenges in life can be very comforting and help give life meaning. They are also more likely to be compassionate and charitable, both traits that can be fulfilling and contribute to happiness.
They exercise. Anyone with an active job or pastime will tell you about how much better they feel moving around, using their body to exercise almost every day. Consistency is key, but so is having reasonable expectations. If you don’t run, don’t expect to become a marathoner overnight. But, you can set some concrete goals to achieve on your way.
Start small, with just a light exercise, even if just at home. Do it everyday, if possible. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain. These make you feel good and compel you to keep up your habit. Also, exercise does wonders for image issues, even if you’re not instantly shedding the pounds.
Beyond working out at the gym, here are a few other creative exercise options for those who need more inspiration: barefoot running, Tai Chi, and trampolining.
They care about others. The more you empathize with others the better you will feel about yourself and your impact on others. People who volunteer and reach out to others less fortunate extoll the benefits of helping others. While making a genuine difference in the lives of others, you also enrich yourself and your understanding of the power of simple human interactions, and the power of kindness.
They don’t settle. Living the life you want means setting goals for yourself and achieving them. This is also a key component of happiness. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself now to yourself several years ago. Have you made progress on your personal goals?
By competing against only yourself you get consistent fulfillment as you make greater progress towards your goals. The people who are truly happy feel a sense of purpose. They wake up everyday excited, because they know each day will move them closer towards their goals.
Have you seen other habits in truly happy people you would like to share? Please, leave us a note below.