7 things happy people always do (but never talk about)


Why are some people more happy than others? It looks like they’ve found what they love to do and have a consistent sense of peace and happiness.

They see positive opportunities when most people see closed doors. They handle failures and setbacks with grace and confidently continue moving in their desired direction.

Don’t worry if you think this doesn’t sound like you.

The good news is, you can be one of those people. Those characteristics are largely learned.

I know this from personal experience. I’ve seen people go through hardships and depression and yet turn their life around purely through their actions and attitude.

Being happy is possible, no matter how dark your days are.

Contrary to popular belief, being happy really doesn’t have much to do with “positive thinking”. It’s about cultivating a realistic attitude that embraces life as it is.

Finding lasting happiness is a lot like physical fitness. You have to work your muscles daily if you want to see results over time. So, if you’re looking for a nudge to get the ball rolling, here are 7 habits of authentically happy people.

1) They have at least 5 close relationships

Did you know that the longest Harvard study ever on happiness found that healthy relationships were the most consistent predictor of a happy person? Having a few close relationships has also been found to help us live a longer, higher quality life. True friends really are worth their weight in gold.

But why five relationships?

This has been found to be an acceptable average from a variety of studies. According to the book Finding Flow:

“National surveys find that when someone claims to have 5 or more friends with whom they can discuss important problems, they are 60 percent more likely to say that they are ‘very happy’.”

However keep in mind that the actual number doesn’t necessarily matter that much, it is the effort you put into your relationships that matters.

2) They don’t tie your happiness to external events

A variety of research says that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite fickle. For example, if you tie your self-esteem to getting that job promotion, you’ll experience a small boost when you get it, but it won’t last long.

Tying your happiness to external events can also lead to behaviour which avoids failure. The key may be to think of yourself less as this C.W Lewis quote says to avoid the trap of tying your self-worth to external signals.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.W. Lewis

3) They exercise

It’s been proven over and over. Exercise will make you feel better if you stick with it. Body image improves as a result of exercise and eventually you’ll begin to experience that “exercise high” thanks to the release of endorphins. It doesn’t matter which physical activity you do, just as long as you do something.

4) They become good at something

Happy people generally have something that they’re “good at”. A skill they’ve honed over the years. People report that even though it may have been tough to improve their skills at something, they are satisfied with themselves when they look back.

The rewards of becoming great at something far outweigh the short-term discomfort.

5) They spend more money on experiences

According to a fair amount of research, experiential purchases tend to make us happier than spending money on material goods. This could be because experiences are something you’ll remember forever, they’re social and they’re unique. Nobody in the world will have the same exact experience you had.

6) They don’t ignore negative emotions

Yes, it’s common for most of us to resist emotions like sadness. But the truth you need sadness if you’re going to have happiness. And resisting these emotions will only turn into something more ugly down the road. Perhaps master Buddhist Pema Chödrön says it best:

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

7) They are busy, but not rushed

Research shows that if you constantly feel rushed, then you’ll feel miserable. On the other hand, studies suggest that have nothing to do can also takes its toll.

The best is when you’re living a productive life but at a comfortable pace. Meaning: You should be expanding your comfort zone, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. The best advice here is to say no to things that you’re not excited about, and yes to things that you can say “hell yeah!” to.

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22 Things Happy People Do Differently


Story at-a-glance

  • Happy people tend to follow a certain set of habits that sets them apart from their sad and stressed out peers. By implementing them in your own life, you can become a happy person, too.
  • “Happy” habits include letting go of grudges, expressing gratitude, treating others with kindness and regarding your problems as challenges
  • Living in the present, waking up at the same time each morning, eating right and exercising are other “secrets” that happy people tend to embrace

Many people spend their lives waiting to be happy.  You may think, “if only I had more money,” or “could lose weight,” or you fill in the blank, then I would be happy.

Well here’s a secret: you can be happy right now. It’s not always easy, but you can choose to be happy, and in the vast majority of circumstances there’s no one who can stop you except for yourself.

The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from wealth, perfect looks or even a perfect relationship. Happiness comes from within. This is why, if you truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself, first.

22 Positive Habits of Happy People

What’s the secret to being happy? You can learn how to do it, just as you can learn any other skill. Those who are happy tend to follow a certain set of habits that create peace in their lives; if you learn to apply these habits in your own life, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy too.

The featured article compiled 22 such behaviors that you can use to enhance your life and your happiness:1

1. Let go of grudges

Forgiving and forgetting is necessary for your own happiness, as holding a grudge means you’re also holding onto resentment, anger, hurt and other negative emotions that are standing in the way of your own happiness. Letting go of a grudge frees you from negativity and allows more space for positive emotions to fill in.

2. Treat everyone with kindness

Kindness is not only contagious, it’s also proven to make you happier. When you’re kind to others, your brain produces feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin and you’re able to build strong relationships with others, fostering positive feelings all around.

3. Regard your problems as challenges

Change your internal dialogue so that anytime you have a “problem” you view it as a challenge or a new opportunity to change your life for the better. Eliminate the word “problem” from your mind entirely.

4. Express gratitude for what you have

People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. The best way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. Doing so has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism and even better physical health.

5. Dream big

Go ahead and dream big, as you’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals. Rather than limiting yourself, when you dream big you’re opening your mind to a more optimistic, positive state where you have the power to achieve virtually anything you desire.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff

If the issue you’re mad about will be irrelevant a year, a month, a week or even a day from now, why sweat it? Happy people know how to let life’s daily irritations roll off their back.

7. Speak well of others

It may be tempting to gather around the office water cooler to get and give the daily gossip, but talking negatively about others is like taking a bath in negative emotions; your body soaks them up. Instead, make it a point to only say positive, nice words about other people, and you’ll help foster more positive thinking in your own life as well.

8. Avoid making excuses

It’s easy to blame others for your life’s failures, but doing so means you’re unlikely to rise past them. Happy people take responsibility for their mistakes and missteps, then use the failure as an opportunity to change for the better.

9. Live in the present

Allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take time to really be in the present moment. Avoid replaying past negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor what’s going on in your life now.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning

Getting up at the same time every day (preferably an early time) is deceptively simple. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you’ll have an easier time waking and likely feel more energized. Plus, the habit of rising early every day is one shared by many successful people, as it enhances your productivity and focus.

11. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your life is unique, so don’t measure your own worth by comparing yourself to those around you. Even regarding yourself as better than your peers is detrimental to your happiness, as you’re fostering judgmental feelings and an unhealthy sense of superiority. Measure your own success based on your progress alone, not that of others.

12. Surround yourself with positive people

The saying “misery loves company” is entirely true. That’s why you need to choose friends who are optimistic and happy themselves, as you will be surrounded with positive energy.

13. Realize that you don’t need others’ approval

It’s important to follow your own dreams and desires without letting naysayers stand in your way. It’s fine to seek others’ opinions, but happy people stay true to their own hearts and don’t get bogged down with the need for outside approval.

14. Take time to listen

Listening helps you soak in the wisdom of others and allows you to quiet your own mind at the same time. Intense listening can help you feel content while helping you gain different perspectives.

15. Nurture social relationships

Positive social relationships are a key to happiness, so be sure you make time to visit with friends, family and your significant other.

16. Meditate

Meditation helps you keep your mind focused, calms your nerves and supports inner peace. Research shows it can even lead to physical changes in your brain that make you happier.

17. Eat well

What you eat directly impacts your mood and energy levels in both the short and long term. Whereas eating right can prime your body and brain to be in a focused, happy state, eating processed junk foods will leave you sluggish and prone to chronic disease. My free nutrition plan is an excellent tool to help you choose the best foods for both physical and emotional wellness.

18. Exercise

Exercise boosts levels of health-promoting brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress and also relieve some symptoms of depression. Rather than viewing exercise as a medical tool to lose weight, prevent disease, and live longer – all benefits that occur in the future – try viewing exercise as a daily tool to immediately enhance your frame of mind, reduce stress and feel happier.

19. Live minimally

Clutter has a way of sucking the energy right out of you and replacing it with feelings of chaos. Clutter is an often-unrecognized source of stress that prompts feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction and even guilt, so give your home and office a clutter makeover, purging it of the excess papers, files, knick knacks and other “stuff” that not only takes up space in your physical environment, but also in your mind.

20. Be honest

Every time you lie, your stress levels are likely to increase and your self-esteem will crumble just a little bit more. Plus, if others find out you’re a liar it will damage your personal and professional relationships. Telling the truth, on the other hand, boosts your mental health and allows others to build trust in you.

21. Establish personal control

Avoid letting other people dictate the way you live. Instead, establish personal control in your life that allows you to fulfill your own goals and dreams, as well as a great sense of personal self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed

Everything in your life is not going to be perfect, and that’s perfectly all right. Happy people learn to accept injustices and setbacks in their life that they cannot change, and instead put their energy on changing what they can control for the better.

A Healthy Lifestyle Naturally Enhances Happiness

You may have noticed that some of the habits of happy people are one in the same with those that are essential for leading a healthy lifestyle – exercising and eating right, for example. Once you adopt a happiness mindset, and even before you do, embracing healthy habits will help keep your mood elevated naturally even in the midst of stress. Happy people tend to be healthy people, and vice versa, so in addition to healthy food and exercise, the following lifestyle strategies can also help to support emotional wellness:

  • Proper sleep: Sleep deprivation is linked to psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and bipolar depression, while getting the right amount of sleep has been linked to positive personality characteristics such as optimism and greater self-esteem, as well as a greater ability to solve difficult problems.2
  • Animal-based omega-3 fats: Low concentrations of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are known to increase your risk for mood swings and mood disorders. Those suffering from depression have been found to have lower levels of omega-3 in their blood, compared to non-depressed individuals. Krill oil is my preferred source of omega-3 fats.
  • Regular sun exposure: This is essential for vitamin D production, low levels of which are linked to depression. But even beyond vitamin D, regular safe sun exposure is known to enhance mood and energy through the release of endorphins.
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): If difficult life circumstances and the negative emotions they create are making happiness hard to come by, try EFT, which is a form of do-it-yourself psychological acupressure. This simple technique can help clear your body and mind of negative emotions so you can implement positive goals and habits more easily in your life.

5 Things Happy People Do Before Getting Out of Bed Every Morning


You just woke up and are ready to get out of your bed and start your day. Why not bring some mindfulness into life from the moment you get lucid?

These five things you can do before getting out of bed are so simple and easy to add to your daily routine yet so effective that it begs the question – why we weren’t doing them before? You’ll soon discover that they will create a sense of mindfulness, elevate your state of mind and put you in the right space to be happy and successful at whatever you set out to do.

waking up happy

1. Express gratitude

Every new day leads to a new way to say “thank you” for being alive. Everything we experience and are capable of experiencing on this blue marble in this universal arena is something to be grateful for. Contemplate the fact that something rather than nothing exists and that within that something we exist and experience such an amazing reality. There is always something to be grateful for, we simply need to look around us and within us. Through continued gratitude we cannot help but feel an explosive volcanic eruption of bliss to be so fortunate as to have what we have.

Don’t get hung up on what you don’t have, because that will lead you to disappointment and suffering. Our life situation may never be ideal in our eyes but at any point on our life paths we can stop and be mindful of what we appreciate about our lives. Feeling like it’s difficult to find something to be grateful for? You can always get down to the basics… “Thank you for this breath that gives me life”. Say it or feel it, it doesn’t matter how you express gratitude, as long as the conscious intention is there.

2. Set your intentions for the day

Treat your thoughts as if they were spells of magic, replicating in the real world from the garden of your mind. Our thoughts are what shape the reality we personally experience. If we intend for something to happen, either to our state of mind or our life situation, we usually make it happen. If we want to be happy, we do what we know has brought us happiness before or what we feel will make us happy. If we want to get out of a physically or emotionally toxic environment, we initiate plans to move or relocate somewhere else. Without that initial energy to move things towards a new direction, our situation won’t be moved towards a change.

Most of us have to get up for work on a regular basis which leads to going through the motions of getting out of bed, getting ready and going to work. Before we do any of that we can affirm, either in the form of saying aloud or writing down, what we intend for the day or wish to get done. This could be something specific like set the intention to go grocery shopping, or something more broad, such as intending to not say anything hurtful to anyone we interact with that day.

3. Take five long deep breaths in & out

Breathing is what keeps us alive. If we stopped breathing, our hearts would stop beating and we wouldn’t live to see a new day. Breath is incredibly powerful and can take us into transcendental states of consciousness where we become masters of our inner fire. All too often we baseline to shallow breathing which may sustain our lives but will not optimize them. Get up to the next level. Breathe in and breathe out deeply for as long as is comfortable… s l o w l y. You should feel your stress and tension melt away like butter on a hot day. If you want to enhance your breathing, get some essential oils like eucalyptus to keep beside your bed and take deep whiffs. Start your day off feeling refreshed.

4. Smile for no reason — just flex the muscle

Smiling is one of the best free life hacks we have. You know how difficult it is to stay angry or not feel better when smiling. All that serotonin and all those endorphins flooding your brain chemically cure melancholia. The pronoia sets in and you get off to a great start for the new day. Smiling has been shown to reduce stress, reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system which is all the more reason to do it after leaving Dreamland. Smile and get elevated.

5. Forgive yourself for yesterday’s mistakes

Can anybody say they lead a “perfect” life? Hardly. We all make mistakes… actions or reactions we come to later regret because we feel it would have been better if we didn’t do them. Forgiveness benefits you more than anyone else. Through forgiveness we stop holding on to the cause of our suffering and let it go. Acknowledge that you made a mistake and while you can’t change the past, you can create a new present.

Everything is in a constant state of change… it’s the only constant in existence. We change all the time whether we realize it or not. We are not the same person we were yesterday, a year ago, or a decade ago. We shouldn’t forevermore hold something against ourselves since that will only create more suffering. We have all suffered enough for one reason or another. Let’s not add any unnecessary suffering to our lives. Look at your shadows, acknowledge their transient nature and let them go.