Health & Wellness Articles

51 Things Happy People Do Differently

How to Become a Happier Person


11. Know that good things will also happen—-and that even good things affect our lives less in the long run than we think they will.

12. Know happiness isn't based on social status, a job or even health. These things account for only 10% in people's differences in happiness, experts say.

13. Do things for themselves, not just for others. "Happiness does not consist in things themselves but in the relish we have of them; and a man has attained it when he enjoys what he loves and desires himself, and not what other people think lovely and desirable." —La Rochefoucauld

14. Understand that when things go really, really wrong, people often thrive. They suffer, yes, but they react, take action, and move on.

15. See misfortune not as something they deserve due to a past transgression, but as just another part of life. A crisis becomes an opportunity for growth or significant change.

16. Know that focusing on extrinsic factors like money and success often leads to anxiety and depression, not happiness.

17. Don't sit back and wait for happiness to happen. "The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." —Benjamin Franklin

18. Are grateful. A University of Pennsylvania professor taught a single happiness-enhancing strategy to a group of severely depressed people: Log on to a website and write down three good things that happened to them that day, no matter how simple or trivial they seemed. Within 15 days, depression levels went from severe to mildly/moderately depressed, and 94% experienced relief.

19. Say nice things about other people. They limit gossip, avoid name calling and understand that words can wound as deeply as a sword.

20. Laugh—even at themselves—and they find humor in most situations, when appropriate.

21. Don't worry about what other people think. They do their best to cultivate self-confidence.

22. Know that happiness isn't commensurate with one's income. Studies have found that those earning tens of millions of dollars are only slightly happier than those who are in the working class.

23. Understand that no other person will increase their happiness. Married people are only slightly happier than single people, according to one study.

24. Believe in themselves, which can increase life satisfaction by about 40%.

25. Watch less TV. Tuning in has been linked to an increased desire for material possessions, and every hour you watch leads to a lower level of contentment.

26. Know what happiness is not. According to Buddhist philosophy, happiness is not dependent on an object or events, which eventually go away and replace a happy feeling with a sad one. It depends on a state of mind that feels those transitory emotions but also understands that change is life's only certainty.

27. Can differentiate between pleasure and happiness. In his book "The Art of Happiness," His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains the difference between happiness and pleasure, which are easily confused: "True happiness relates more to the mind and heart. Happiness that depends on physical pleasure is unstable; one day it's there, the next day it may not be."

28. Question their intentions when faced with a dilemma. They ask themselves, "Will this bring me pleasure, or will it bring me happiness?"

29. Spend time with family and friends whenever possible.

30. Understand karma not to be punishment for one wrong decision. If they choose to believe in it, they understand it to be the sum of your actions and not the universe seeking revenge.

31. Are as optimistic as possible, while still being realistic.

32. Cultivate a sense of purpose, whether through religion or spirituality, a hobby family, or a career that satisfies them.

33. Live in the present, not dwelling too much on the past or worrying about the future.

34. Appreciate what they have and don't worry about what is lacking.

35. Don't compare themselves to others, and they accept that they are unique.
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 21! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.