It seems to be simple. You’re either happy or you’re not, and you can’t change it. But it’s not just that: you can make yourself happy. All you need is just a little effort and to practice some good habits.
The Huffington Post recently published a list of 21 positive habits almost every happy person displays. It caused an enormous public reaction, collecting more than 250 thousand likes on Facebook in two days. Bright Side thought we’d share their article for you. So here are the 21 positive habits that all happy people know:
- They surround themselves with happy people
Joy is contagious. Researchers who studied the ’spreading happiness’ phenomenon over 20 years found out that those surrounded by happy people are ’likely to be happy in the future’. A good reason to separate yourself from sad friends and find happy ones.
- They smile
Even if you don’t feel joy, think about something good and smile. It should help. Think positive, too! If you smile while thinking bad thoughts, it won’t help.
- They develop an ability to recover
Psychologists say that an ability to recover is the opposite of depression, not happiness. Happy people know how to recover from the shock of bad events. It’s kind of a weapon against some of the inevitable miseries that happen in our lives. As a Japanese proverb says: ’Fall seven times, get up eight.’
- They try to be happy
Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds: attempts to be happy improve your inner emotional state of mind.
- They pay attention to good events
It’s important to celebrate your achievements at the end of a long and difficult day. But happy people pay attention to the little successes as well. When we take the time to notice the little things, we get a bigger emotional kick which helps us to feel better during the day.
- They appreciate simple pleasures
Eat ice-cream while sitting in a park, pet a dog, feel something, look out for a rainbow. Happy people really appreciate things like this, which don’t cost anything to anyone and appear on their own. Finding happiness in little things and being thankful for all you have is directly related to a sense of joy in your heart.
- They devote part of their time to giving
Even though the day consists of 24 hours, positive people spend a part of this time doing good for others’ sakes, which brings the good back into their lives. Volunteer work or just doing random good deeds has a positive impact on both your mental and physical health. People that do good and suffer from depression are quite rare. Psychologists talk of something called the ’rush to help’, and they even compare it the positive emotional feeling some people get from drugs, because good deeds is a trigger for the development of dopamine (but in this case it comes without any of the terrible negative side effects!)
- They lose sense of time
When you’re bound up in something extremely difficult, inspiring and meaningful, you feel something that may be called a ’flow.’ Happy people subconsciously seek a thing to do that’ll make demands on their talents and skills, which will become a challenge, will motivate them, and have clear objectives. Being carried away by this ’flow’ brings them a feeling of success.
- They prefer deep conversations to meaningless conversation
There’s nothing bad in engaging in a bit of small talk, but having a long talk on serious topics is a great way to feel cheerful and alive. It brings more pleasure than a simple ’blah-blah’. One of the top five regrets of dying people is ’I wish I had more courage to talk about how I feel’. A sentimental thing, more so than chatting about the weather, can fill our hearts with joy and meaning.
- They spend money on others
Money can buy happiness. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it can happen only when you spend it both on yourself and on other people. Giving is always better than receiving.
- They can listen
When you listen, you open your mind to new knowledge and experiences. When you talk, you block it from entering. By listening to people you’re showing respect for them. People cannot remain indifferent to this, and you evoke positive feelings in them which make you yourself feel a little bit happier. An ability to listen is a skill that strengthens relationships.
- They keep in touch
It’s simple and fast to write an SMS, call or post something on a social network. But to fly halfway across the country to see a dear friend is much more interesting and fun. Every person needs a sense of belonging to other people, and that demands communication with friends. Not online. Social networks don’t let us physically be with a person, and that’s extremely important to be happy.
- They see the bright side in everything
Optimism has a positive impact on your health: it means you’ll experience less stress, which means fewer heart diseases, and have better pain tolerance. If you choose to look intentionally for the good in everything happening around you, you choose health and happiness. Seligman gave one of the best characterisations of optimists and pessimists in one of his books: ’The main characteristic of pessimists is that they believe that bad things last forever, ruin everything they achieve, and it’s all their fault. Optimists, though, who struggle against the exact same difficulties we all encounter in this the world, think of bad luck in the opposite way. They believe defeats to be temporary, and they’re certainly not their own fault: it’s down to circumstances, bad luck, or other people. They’re not disturbed by failure. Surrounded by troubles, they consider them to be a challenge and just try harder’.
- They appreciate good music
There’s a power in music. Choosing the right music is an important factor in being happy. A song, being either happy or sad, can influence our view of life. There was some research carried out where the participants were asked to decide whether people were happy or not judging only by their photo. In most cases their answers were dictated by the mood of the music which the person being tested was listening to at that very moment. That means you need to listen to cheerful music more to feel good.
- They disconnect
Technology, the news, and information won’t magically disappear if you step away from your laptop/PC for a while, or if you put your iPad aside, or turn off your smartphone, but it’s worth the short while you’re away. Digital detoxification lets your brain reload and relax.
- They’re in touch with their spiritual side
An important part of all beliefs is the expression of gratitude, sympathy and compassion. They ask the ’big questions’ that fills life with context and meaning. Research in 2009 showed that children who believed they had an aim and superior purpose were happier than their peers living without it. But it’s not only about religion — it’s about any spiritual practice, the ’sacred rituals’ of our life. Meditation, prayer, or just a small amount of time every day given over to thinking — it doesn’t matter. Daily, weekly, monthly…whenever. The point is to have an anchor which regulates your life, makes you more spiritually enriched and gives you timeout in this eternal race.
- They do physical exercise
Physical activity fills our body with endorphins. Endorphins make people happy. Due to chemical reactions in the brain, exercise relieves the symptoms of depression, anxiety and frustration. Plus, exercise gives us the opportunity to appreciate our body and love it, and it’s extremely important to be in a good mood. By-the-bye, even if a person doesn’t lose weight or reaches success through exercising, he/she still loves himself/herself more.
- They go for a walk
Nature is source of life for the soul. Even a twenty-minute walk in the fresh air improves our general state of mind. When we feel tired, we drink a cup of coffee, but it’s better to go for a walk and take energy from nature.
- They have a lie-in
’Waking up on the wrong side of bed’ isn’t a little thing. Waking up having had the right amount of sleep is one of the ways you can avoid a bad mood during the day. Doctors advise not to jump immediately out of bed and run, but to start waking up slowly, enjoying the comfort of your blankets and pillows.
- They laugh
You’ve heard about it hundreds of times: laughter is the best medicine. It provokes the production of hormones in your brain, which help you feel happier and reduce sensitivity to pain and stress. Try to laugh as often as possible. The brain reacts to laughter in the same way that the body reacts to regular physical exercise.
- They take wide steps
This is not a metaphor. Happy people have a more free and relaxed pace, and their steps are wider. This begins a chain reaction in the brain. The wider our steps, the happier we are — no matter how weird and absurd it sounds. Just try small shuffling steps, staring at the ground. Feel happy? Of course not!
Adapted from: Huffington Post