5 Habits to Help You Live a Happy Life

We all want to be happy. And we all have different definitions of happiness. To you, it might be meeting an old friend, learning to love yourself, or living a healthier lifestyle. The pursuit of happiness is endlessly riddled with struggles and obstacles. For some reason, bad things are often more noticeable or memorable than the good parts of the day. That’s a sign that you need to break the cycle of bad habits and adopt new ones. So, how to live a happy life? We present below five important life-changing habits that are worth working for. But first, let’s understand what happiness really is.

What Is Happiness?

People often confuse pleasure with happiness. Pleasure is a temporary source of happiness but is not synonymous with it. For example, though you might feel happy devouring your favorite meal or cuddling with your significant other, those are moments of pleasure. And pleasure fades more speedily than happiness. You can chase these kinds of experiences, but eventually, it comes to the point where they no longer spark joy. That’s often when you get bored of a certain pleasure activity.

Woman with curly hair laughing while standing outside in a park knowing how to live a happy life.
You Also Have To Understand That Happiness Is A Journey, not a destination (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Happiness, however, is a feeling of contentment, often when your life aligns with the fulfillment of your needs. Everyone has different needs. Extroverts need to socialize more often and introverts need solitude to function. So, if you’re wondering how to live a happy life, you should begin by listing your needs. In order to be happy, you also have to understand that happiness is a journey, not a destination. It comes and goes and is influenced by two key factors: meaning and pleasure.

Meaning and pleasure both contribute to happiness, but neither have lasting effects. For instance, getting rich and having money can affect happiness to some extent. But the adage “money doesn’t buy happiness” is scientifically proven: People with higher incomes are not always happy. This means they are unsatisfied with their lives’ current state despite having plenty of pleasurable moments and opportunities. Therefore, rich people too sometimes wonder how to live a happy life. 

Likewise, striving toward meaning rarely gives more happiness than the stress and anxiety it produces. You probably already know this if you’ve tried to achieve a certain goal and, due to the challenges you had to go through, lost much of your energy. Therefore, meaning and happiness are not synonymous either.

Be the Best Version of Yourself

There are several ways to achieve true happiness, and one of them is adopting good habits. Habits can make or break you. Here are five that will help you be the best version of yourself and, consequently, live a happier life:

  1. Self-reflection. Taking time out to understand yourself is the best way to walk the road toward happiness. You can self-reflect by journaling your thoughts and feelings regularly. You’ll be surprised at how many bad habits you’ll discover that you never noticed before, such as negative self-talk or excessive complaining. Self-reflection enables you to recognize toxic patterns and overcome them. 
  2. Practice gratitude. Once you begin practicing self-reflection, you’ll realize how often you count the negatives in your life. Switch it up and start listing all the good things instead. There are many apps available that can help you practice gratitude and learn how to live a happy life. A simple positive thought, for example, or a small moment of gratefulness for the little things in life can transform your day. It will also give you a good understanding of the influence of both abundance and scarcity mindsets.
  3. Take care of your mental and physical health. Your health is your greatest asset. Ruin it and you ruin everything. A healthy body houses a healthy mind, and a healthy mind keeps your body healthy. They’re closely connected. And both affect your happiness. 
  4. Socialize. Sometimes the best way to cool off after a rough week is to spend some time with your friends. Staying in touch with your friends and family will help you overcome loneliness, be happier, and find out some really interesting and wholesome stories about the people closest to you.
  5. Do not depend on external factors. The worst thing you can do to yourself is expecting other people to make you happy. They can’t, not always. It’s in your control. Only you can truly understand what makes you happy, and you should only depend on yourself to achieve happiness. Learn to enjoy your own company, and maybe give yourself gifts every once in a while.
How to Be Happy Every Day: It Will Change the World | Jacqueline Way | TEDxStanleyPark – TEDx Talks

If you are looking for additional inspirational ways to introduce more happiness into your daily life, here is a fifteen-minute Ted Talk that you should definitely watch:

Pro-Tips to Be Healthy and Happy

If you’re a perfectionist, you know that habits are not formed overnight. You will fail several times. You will have relapses, and you’ll even go a few days without practicing the habit you promised you would cultivate. And that’s okay. Part of learning how to live a happy life is understanding that the ups come with downs. If something goes wrong, don’t let yourself spiral into self-hatred and tension; learn some stress-reduction techniques instead. Some days, your willpower will go through the roof; other days it won’t even show up. You have to learn to be okay with both states.

Group portrait of smiling diverse multiracial young businesspeople posing together in office.
Don’t Expect The Road To Happiness To Be A Straight One (Image Source: Shutterstock)

You might also struggle with getting older. Aging is scary. You might feel like you’re losing time with each failure, or that you’ve wasted your life and will never be truly happy. But the truth is, the older you get, the happier you become. You have time, and failure is not going to keep you from happiness. In fact, it might actually lead you toward happiness. Once you fall, the only way left is up and out. So, if you understand that failure is not such a bad thing, you can be the best version of yourself while also having an entire graveyard of failures.

As long as the habits you choose are reasonable and achievable, you can be happier. Having healthy expectations can aid you in understanding how to live a happy life. Don’t expect the road to happiness to be a straight one. Pick one habit to start with and stick to it, rather than attempting to master all of them at once. Start slow and steady. Tell your friends to help you by increasing accountability. Set rewards! Celebrate your achievements and consistency by treating yourself to your favorite meal or a trip to your favorite store. And know that it might take two months for you to properly internalize the habit; big changes don’t happen overnight, after all, and require a lot of consistency and effort before they stick.

Conclusion: How to Live a Happy Life?

Happiness is a feeling that combines many positive emotions, but contentment is the one that stands out. When you feel satisfied with your life’s current state, you are happy.

So, how to live a happy life? It’s this simple: Adopt good habits, such as maintaining social connections, practicing gratitude, and self-reflection. The process might not be easy, but it will be worth it. Don’t compare yourself to unrealistic standards and embrace failure, move forward, and stay consistent. You’ll feel happier before you know it.