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How to Be Happy: 8 Ways to Be Happier Today

Oct 23, 2022

I frequently get asked this question: “Why are you so happy?” People have told me countless times that I'm vibrant, lively, enthusiastic – the list goes on! I've spent years living my life with the intention of enjoying it; of prioritizing love, compassion, community, and most importantly, MYSELF. These are my simple ways to be happier.

Most people don't know that it took decades to form this mindset. The truth is, I haven't always been this way.

In the past, I was terrified of people judging me. I constantly felt like I wasn't good enough, that my talents, personality, and skills meant nothing. I always sacrificed my own comfort and happiness to please others, thinking it would bring me joy. Surprise! It never did.

I used to wonder why some people seem happier than others, or why it comes easier for some to have a positive mindset. As we go through life, we all have positive and negative experiences, so why do we react so differently to that input?

As best-selling author Steve Maraboli once said, "Happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living." True happiness is not a temporary feeling that comes and goes, but rather something that guides our thoughts and our reactions to what happens in our lives. Many of our choices are automatic. This is how our brains work – and thank god for that – because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to function! But, it’s in our power to make conscious choices to ensure happiness is a state of mind in our everyday lives.

Here are 8 Ways to Be Happier Today:

1) Realize Happiness Does Not Come From Circumstances

The most important thing to realize about happiness is that it isn't the outcome of current circumstances. In fact, it's the opposite: happiness is a choice. Is this easier on some days than others? Absolutely. But if you get caught in the trap of thinking your circumstances need to change before you can be happy, you’ll never get there.

2) Focus On The Good

When you feel down, it's easy to focus on the negative. Though this is natural, it makes you feel hopeless and your situation may seem worse than it is, causing you to not take action. Shifting perspective is key – the good always outweighs the bad. If you purposely prioritize positivity, you’ll notice a huge change in how you view your current circumstances and eventually, life. There are good things in your life right now: you are alive, you are fed, you are healthy, you have family and friends, and you have opportunities each day to pursue meaningful work. Maybe not all of those are true for you right now, but certainly, some of them are, which means there is good in your life that you can focus on.

When you put emphasis on everything going RIGHT for you, it puts most negative things into perspective and makes them much easier to handle. The truth is, happiness is about perspective and if you’re looking for reasons to be happy, you’ll probably find them. Happy people focus on positive thoughts.

3) Stop Comparing

Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. No matter how you choose to define happiness—short-term or long-term—comparison will rob you of it. It doesn't matter what you're comparing whether it be finances, relationships, appearance, talents, or lifestyle, there's rarely a positive outcome!

Some people insist they compare themselves to measure their own progression, but that’s a very flawed way of thinking. The only way to accurately measure how far you've come is to compare your current self to your past self, not an entirely different person! When you compare yourself to others, you totally ignore everyone’s unique situation, opportunities, and countless differences.

It's best to be mindful of this and use it to stop looking at others and instead shift focus to yourself. Be grateful for what you have, appreciate who you are, work hard every day to live your best life, and stop comparing yourself to others.

4) Practice Gratitude

In the world of positive psychology, there are only a few recurring things that emerge every time happiness is studied. Among those themes, you find gratitude.

Practicing gratitude may seem small, but it’s one of the best habits to build. The benefits it gives are unbelievable. Not only does gratitude make you more aware of the good, but people who practice gratitude report fewer physical symptoms of illness, more optimism, greater goal attainment, and decreased anxiety/depression among other health benefits. Forming this habit does take a while, but there’s guidance on practicing gratitude everywhere! Here’s an article with some basic guidelines to get you started!

5) Prioritize Confidence

To be truly happy and live a life of joy, you need to know your authentic self and begin to live in alignment with that person. Knowing what's important to you and knowing how to achieve those things comes with self-understanding and confidence.

Having confidence is what will drive you to achieve. If you want a different lifestyle you need to be confident in your abilities and that you can make the needed changes. Put simply, self-confidence helps you believe you can achieve!

Confidence also boosts your self-esteem, giving you a better opinion of yourself. As you know, liking yourself is a simple step to take to truly experience deep happiness. Personally, my self-love journey taught me that I don't need other people’s opinions, approval, or help all the time. It made me more self-reliant, independent, and resourceful. This power helped me grow my own business and community to share what I've learned! 

6) Choose Healthy Relationships

Humans are social animals– it’s in our nature! We’ve built elaborate communities and ways of communicating and staying connected for a reason: it makes us happy.

Hundreds of studies have now shown that close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. Those ties protect people from life’s difficulties, help delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.

You don't get to control every aspect of your relationships (you didn’t choose your family, for example). However, you CAN control those you surround yourself with. Friends should be people who genuinely care about you. The people you devote your time to should be people who support you wholeheartedly and who push you to become more educated, happy, and healthy. They want to see you grow and become the best version of yourself possible. On the other hand, bad friends will bring you down because it makes them feel insecure when they see you thrive. Who wants that? Attracting people worth your time isn't hard either– see my other post on how to do it!

7) Practicing Consistency

Consistent habits, no matter how small, create a sense of satisfaction and stability that can help you greatly on your happiness journey. Even the act of setting a goal to be consistent with is fulfilling and puts you in a good mood.

What you focus on making a habit is crucial; it’s key to prioritize nurturing healthy habits. Really think about it– what do you want to be consistent with? Do you need to be consistent about your exercise habits? Do you want a higher quality of work? Do you want to build your relationships to be better?

Knowing what you want to focus on can be half the battle! Once you have that done, come up with smaller steps to reach it. For example, if you want to become more physically fit, you might set the goal to exercise for 3 days per week or sign up for a class!

Keep in mind that consistency is gradual and takes time–don't beat yourself up for not making huge changes right away. Baby steps always and you'll see change sooner than you think.

8) Reserving Time For Self-Care

Even though it's underrated, self-care is sustainable, simple, and proven to give every aspect of your life a boost. Knowing how to practice self-care is a crucial life skill, one you can't pass up!

If you're anything like me, you might feel like you just don't have the time for it. The truth is, self-care is easier than you think. It's not always expensive trips or an hour-long routine; it can be as simple as picking up your favorite book. Whether you practice self-care through exercise, creating something, or doing a facemask, you’re likely to feel amazing after!

Remember – by being your best self with these 8 ways to be happier, you’re able to share those beautiful feelings with those around you!

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