After reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I became more interested with what makes people happier. Everyone wants to be happier, but not many people know where to look, and that’s okay. What I have found in my research is that the road to happiness is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The beautiful creativity, the endless possibilities, and being able to analyze what works and what doesn’t are just a few of the things that makes life amazing.
This being said, let’s look at what habits most happier people possess that anyone can use in their own lives:
1. Most happier people challenge themselves in a fun way.
If you find yourself incurious about life, it is time to reevaluate. When you challenge yourself and become curious once again, it will immediately spark interest in your life’s passions, and in return will make you happier. When you begin doing this, no it may not always be easy, but easy usually doesn’t equate to doing what’s important. In fact, very few times will it be easy to do what’s important.
Ask any leader if their journey was easy, and I can almost guarantee that there were bumps along the way. But when you find these leaders, also ask them about the mistakes they made along the way. Actually, ask anyone who has been successful about the mistakes they’ve made along the way. I’m sure they will have many stories to share with you.
Most happy and successful people allow themselves to make mistakes, instead of being hard on themselves. Learn to make attempts and have fun along the way. When you challenge yourself while allowing yourself to try and try again, you will find yourself a much happier person.
2. Most happier people exercise and get outside.
Exercise is scientifically proven to increase happiness due to releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Because of this, people who are more physically active report greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less physically active. Exercise can make you less stressed out, energize you, and boost confidence. Exercise also helps me when I am feeling anxious.
Some studies even show that 20 minutes of exercise is all you need. David Conroy, professor of kinesiology said, “You don’t have to be the fittest person who is exercising every day to receive the feel-good benefits of exercise. It’s a matter of taking it one day at a time, of trying to get your activity in, and then there’s this feel-good reward afterwards.”
3. Most happier people spend time focusing on other people.
When we do things for others, we feel better about our own lives and are able to see the difference we are making in the lives of others. I think a huge reason in this is that we are able to take the focus off of our own problems, and help others through our lives instead. Conversation and companionship in relationships contribute to more happiness. When we know that people truly care about us, we become happier. Research has found that the characteristics of people who are happy and show the fewest signs of depression are those who have “strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.”
We can also spend more time with people in a more organized way that is found in volunteering our time and service. In a recent review of 40 studies done over the last 20 years, researchers found that one activity was far more important than the rest for boosting psychological health: volunteering. This activity, the researchers reported, had been found in many volunteers to be linked with a reduced risk of depression, a higher amount of overall satisfaction, and even a reduced risk of death from of a physical illness as a consequence of mental distress. (via Business Insider)
4. Most happier people put themselves in less stressful situations.
People who are happier tend to commute shorter distances to work, avoid comparing themselves to other people, keep their schedules open, and are able to remain present rather than thinking about the next thing they have to do. In other words, they find ways to lessen or eliminate unnecessary stresses. We have talked before about wearing busyness as a badge of honor, but it is when we stop doing this that life opens itself up to us and stress lessens.
Think of how much better life would be if you were able to eliminate some of the stress you experience. You would be ecstatic if you could do this, right? But, sometimes this can be easier said than done. If you are having trouble thinking of ways that you can begin reducing stress in your life, here are 10 ways you can begin right now:
- Reframe problems.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Work to change your worldview lens.
- Forgive the people you need to forgive.
- Sleep more.
- Laugh every single day.
- Learn to say “I’m sorry” more often and move on.
- Procrastinate less.
- Keep a journal.
- Have a creative outlet.