How to Be Happy: 25 Habits to Add to Your Routine

We’re certainly happier when we learn how to cope with obstacles. When you’re faced with a problem, think about what got you through something similar in the past. Would it work here? What else can you try?

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How to Be Happy with Your Life

This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.

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Life moves quickly, and sometimes, when negative things pile up, it can be easy to lose sight of the things that make you and your life a success. There are several ways that you can enhance your happiness with your life. You can alter your focus, improve your attitude, and enhance your social life to move towards a greater sense of satisfaction with your life.

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  • The best way to think about self-criticism is as an opportunity to improve, rather than a chance to point out all the things you don’t like about yourself. Find specific, changeable things about yourself that you can work on rather than blaming everything on universal or unchangeable traits. Rather than saying things like "I’m just not that smart," tell yourself "I stayed up too late watching TV rather than studying. I can do better next time." This can help motivate yourself to improve rather than focus on failure. [5] X Trustworthy Source Greater Good Magazine Journal published by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, which uses scientific research to promote happier living Go to source

1. Smile

That doesn’t mean you have to go around with a fake smile plastered on your face all the time. But the next time you find yourself feeling low, crack a smile and see what happens. Or try starting each morning by smiling at yourself in the mirror.

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and symptoms of depression while boosting self-esteem and happiness.

Even a small amount of physical activity can make a difference. You don’t have to train for a triathlon or scale a cliff — unless that’s what makes you happy, of course.

Remind yourself of any fun activities you once enjoyed, but that have fallen by the wayside. Or activities you always wanted to try, such as golf, bowling, or dancing.

Be grateful

Simply being grateful can give your mood a big boost, among other benefits. For example, a recent two-part study found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.

Start each day by acknowledging one thing you’re grateful for. You can do this while you’re brushing your teeth or just waiting for that snoozed alarm to go off.

As you go about your day, try to keep an eye out for pleasant things in your life. They can be big things, such as knowing that someone loves you or getting a well-deserved promotion.

But they can also be little things, such as a co-worker who offered you a cup of coffee or the neighbor who waved to you. Maybe even just the warmth of the sun on your skin.

How to be happy? Have the right perspective

8 – Don’t compare yourself to others.
Multiple studies show that social media causes unhappiness. Why? Because you’re comparing your real life to everyone else’s highlight reel.

9 – Help other people
I’ve always believed that helping others makes us happier, and now I’ve got scientific proof (By the way, even helping people at work makes you happier, according to this University of Wisconsin Madison study). Instead of focusing on your own problems, you’re helping someone else and empowering yourself in the process.

10 – Volunteer
Along the lines of helping others, volunteering allows you to put your problems in perspective. When you’re volunteering in a soup kitchen or hospital your work problems or piles of dirty laundry seem a lot smaller. Sometimes even small doses of volunteering can have a positive impact for weeks or months. (Click here for a study on the benefits of volunteering on happiness)

Scientific studies demonstrate that being in the moment – even for short periods of time — is one of the best ways to be happy. I find it difficult. I’ll be working and thinking about other things or doing something else while work thoughts pop into my head. But, I’m almost always in the moment when I’m volunteering. My mind is clear, and I’m relaxed.

11 – Spend money on others
A study by Harvard Business School and University of British Columbia professors found that once you’ve pulled yourself out of poverty, spending money on other people gives you more joy than spending money on yourself. They found that even minimal amounts make a difference. Try buying small gifts for friends and the people you love. (This fall under the category of how to be happy and how to make other people happy.)

12 – Give people the benefit of the doubt
This is another suggestion that’s easier said than done, but still worth trying…Instead of getting frustrated with someone, try having compassion.

Build meaningful connections.

Did you know we enjoy just about everything more when we do it with others? This is why one of the best things you can do for your happiness is to build meaningful relationships and social connections. To strengthen these relationships, practice kindness and gratitude towards the people you care about.

The "hedonic treadmill" refers to the tendency for us to return to our original happiness level over time. To boost your baseline-level happiness, you can try changing your physiology through nutrition and exercise. To maintain your happiness, you have to get out of your comfort zone and keep adding variety to your happiness plan.