There was an old children’s song that defines happiness in many ways. Most of the definitions given there were about finding pleasure and satisfaction in the simple things you love indulging in. The song might be very juvenile but it somehow nailed one thing – happiness can be found in the simplest and most common things you do. In other words, they are habits that you practice on a regular basis.
Here are ten of them which you can start adopting in your life right now if you truly want to live a happy and rich life.
1. Foster Close Connections
People, not money, brings you happiness and that has a lot of common sense and scientific evidence. Happiness is contagious and for it to affect you, the source should be alive. People and even animals can affect you but money is inanimate. Sure we need money but no matter how much money you have and spend on yourself, it cannot be a friend you can talk, drink, eat, cry, and laugh with.
However, you also have to be careful of the kind of people you surround yourself with. Surrounding yourself with negative people can add to your stress levels but positive people can improve you mentally, physically, emotionally, and even financially.
2. Don’t Depend On The Externals
The people who made the most impact in history are those who were not moved by the externals. The hardships and challenges they faced did not hamper their happiness nor did it stop them from achieving success. It did not stop them from making a difference in the lives of those around them.
Some of the most common examples include Nelson Mandela who had a critical role in ending apartheid in South Africa, Hellen Keller who became the first blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree, and J.K. Rowling who overcame poverty and rejection to become the world’s bestselling author.
3. Be Productive, Not Busy
There is a big difference between being productive and busy. Productive people focus on doing a single task while busy people multitask. Productive people are very strategic about what or who to commit to while busy people commit to everything. You can steal these powerful habits as I did to engineer your ideal productive day.
A lot of research has already proven how multitasking is not only bad for our productivity but for our brain as well. When the brain becomes overwhelmed with a lot of things, it gets more stressed. A steady flow of stress hormones puts your health at risk. It can cause you loss of sleep, headaches, back pains, and depression.
4. Be Grateful
A lot of research has consistently shown that gratefulness greatly affects happiness. Being grateful has made people have a more positive outlook in life, improve their health, and build strong relationships.
Experts suggest that gratefulness can be drawn and expressed in many ways. You can be thankful for the past for all the happy memories and positive experiences you had. You can also show gratefulness about the present moment by not taking for granted the good things you have at the moment. You can also be thankful about the future by maintaining the positive and hopeful attitude.
5. Welcome the Discomfort
A research has found out that the very thing that caused people a lot of stress and discomfort at a certain point in their lives also became the source of great happiness later on in their lives. When people begin to recall how they were able to beat those daunting odds, their hearts were filled with gratitude and happiness as well as a sense of accomplishment.
6. Invest on Experiences Not Things
Experience is much better than possessions. Possessions fade and get old but the memories of those experiences stay with you. Which do you remember most – the expensive bag you bought or your backpacking trip with your friends around India? Whether you’ll admit it or not, you smile every time you remember that camping under the stars with your friends than the 63-inch HDTV you bought last year. But the biggest benefit of experience is the learning you gain from your interactions with different people and cultures. No expensive gadget can ever replicate the knowledge you gained from your experiences.
7. Go For Your Dreams
Pablo Picasso has this to say about going after your dreams: “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
A lot of people often find having lots of regrets at the end of their road. If only I’ve done this or done that – it’s a tirade of ifs and wishes but nothing can be done because the opportunity is lost already. More so, people who are filled with regret in their lives are also unhappy. Write down things that excite you and make your bucket list. If you need inspiration, here are my 100 things to do before you die.
On the other hand, those who risk pursuing their dreams are the happiest. They might feel discomfort and also worry about the uncertainties but they are all part of being alive. There’s just a certain enthusiasm and motivation one feels when they pursue their dreams. So go ahead, risk, pursue that passion, and be alive.
8. Be Generous
It’s true that money cannot buy happiness but being generous of your time, money, and effort can make you happier. A study on the benefits of altruism said that it is part of a healthy psychological reward system. Not only does generosity make us happier but it also makes us more committed to our jobs. Another research showed that helping others makes us live much longer and improves our mental health.
9. Don’t Beat Yourself
There’s no such thing as perfection. We can only be excellent at what we do but never perfect because humans are flawed, always. Therefore, there is no reason why you should beat yourself every time you fail or something does not go your way. If you do this, you’ll live a miserable life not being able to see the beauty in the imperfections and failures.
The most successful people in the world were once failures: Honda founder Soichiro Honda was a jobless engineer which gave him an idea to make his own opportunity by building scooters at home and the rest is history.
Happy people know how to rest and replenish. Have you recalled feeling refreshed after even just a day of not doing anything? Have you also experienced waking up on the wrong side of the bed feeling grouchy? These are the effects of having enough or lacking in rest and sleep. Lots of research have shown that having enough sleep gives you a more positive outlook on life while the lack of it yields the opposite effect. So make sure to give yourself at least one day off each week and 7 hours of sleep every night. You’ll be happier and more productive.
Happiness is not something unattainable or expensive. But rather, it’s the things we intentionally do from day to day. Furthermore, there’s no excuse for not doing them. So go ahead, pursue your dream, rest for awhile, develop meaningful relationships, give, be thankful, and expand your experiences. And happiness becomes you.
Tomas Laurinavicius is a traveling lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger from Lithuania. He writes about habits, lifestyle design, and entrepreneurship on his blog and weekly lifestyle design newsletter. Tomas is currently traveling the world with a mission to empower 1 million people to change lifestyle for good.