Happiness looks different for each person. It could be being happy with who you are, having a solid group of friends willing to accept you, or having the ability to fulfill your wildest desires.
A happier, more fulfilled existence is achievable regardless of how you define true happiness. You can get there by making a few adjustments to your daily routine.
If you’ve ever wondered how to be happy with yourself, realize that habits and how you look at life play an essential role. No one can always be happy, but they can try and learn to be.
Below are some scientifically proven ways to be happy in life. Remember that everyone’s happiness and way of being happy are a bit different. With time and effort, you will discover which method works for you.
21 Scientifically proven ways to be happier
1. Get off the hedonic treadmill
The ‘hedonic treadmill’ refers to our tendency to return to our level of happiness over time. You can try to change your physiology through nutrition and exercise to increase your base-level happiness. To maintain your happiness, you must step out of your comfort zone and keep adding variety to your happiness plan.
2. Increase your confidence
Another great way to become a happier person is to increase your self-confidence. People with low self-confidence have less time to make meaningful changes in their lives because they think they will fail.
It is for this reason that it is essential to look at yourself in a positive light. By showing yourself that you can do many things, your confidence will increase, and you will be happier!
3. Learn to see yourself in a positive light
To make it easier to pursue happiness, you must identify which skills you have that you associate most closely with happiness. Being positive is one of the best skills you can work on to become a happier person.
To develop this vital skill, try to improve your self-view. Some ways to do this include pointing out the positives, seeing yourself in a positive light, and focusing on your strengths.
4. Maintain a work-life balance
If you’re tired and exhausted all the time, it’s hard to expend the energy you need to pursue happiness. To put happiness first in life, investing time and energy in the task is essential! Try to maintain a balance between work and home life to achieve reasonable goals that lead to good.
5. Create a growth mindset toward happiness
Another great way to become happier is to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is a way of thinking about things that lead to self-improvement. We tell ourselves that happiness is possible by creating a growth mindset for happiness.
This is extremely important because if we are not sure we can be happy, we are less likely to behave in this way with the vitality required.
6. Build positive memories
With enough effort and practice, different brain areas can be strengthened! Suppose we find that we are already good at remembering all the negative aspects of our lives. In that case, we can quickly shift gears and work on improving the parts of our brains that are important for internalizing the positive things in life! Our mood naturally improves when we easily remember the good things in life.
7. Look at everything positively
Some people struggle to overcome negative thoughts because it overwhelms them.
A study conducted at the University of Madrid found that writing down your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then destroying them effectively clears those thoughts from your mind. They recommend burning, tearing, or throwing the form in the trash!
Physically getting rid of them helps reduce their harmful effects. Psychologists recommend doing this often.
Every event in our life can be viewed in a positive or negative light. If you want to be happier, look for the positive side of everything that happens in your life.
Sometimes it’s hard, but if we put a positive spin on everything that happens, we’ll most likely be in a better mood! This is an advanced skill. You’ll find that as you improve on this skill, you’ll be better able to handle stressful situations.
8. Social media hiatus
Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but it can also be a negative drain that puts us in a less-than-stellar mood.
Taking a break from our social media accounts is a good idea from time to time. By regularly taking breaks and disconnecting, you’ll likely find that your mood starts to improve, and you end up feeling less stressed.
9. Invest in your happiness
Being mindful of how we spend our money is a great way to ensure happiness. Target your spending to improve your life in a way that makes you happy. Prefer spending your money on things like vacations or gifts for others. Limit your spending on things that don’t bring joy to your life.
10. Be kind to others
One of the best ways to feel good about ourselves is to be kind to others. Try to do something good for someone else every day. Show empathy and respect.
Communicate pleasantly when interacting with others throughout the day. By working on your communication and trying to improve the mood of those around you, you will likely start to be happier!
11. Break your negative mindset
It can be hard to face this fact, but we are unhappy in many cases because of how we think about things in general. We end up disappointed by focusing on negative things, like how someone mistreated us or how things didn’t turn out the way we wanted.
These negative thought processes keep us unhappy and make it difficult for us to move toward a happier existence. The next time you find yourself in a negative feedback loop, stop for a second and shift your focus to something more positive.
12. Think about what makes you unhappy
It’s tough to act on the goal of improving your mood if you can’t identify what’s making you unhappy or how you might be feeling in general. To pursue this goal, determine how you think and what feelings make you think.
13. Define your values and act accordingly
Once you take a good, hard look at yourself and learn what you value in life, you’ll likely find that you always know what you need to do to be happy. If you want to improve your outlook on life and become a happy person, then determine what you value most so that something obvious is not missing.
14. Focus on the good things in life
Life is not always easy. Sometimes it cannot be easy! Focusing on the good things makes it easier for us to move past adverse events, and as a result, we become more resilient and robust. When you notice something good happening, seize the moment joyfully and as much as possible to achieve true happiness.
15. Taking advantage of your imagination
This little tidbit is something that few people know, but our minds are not very good at choosing what is real and imaginary in our daily lives. Try to imagine something that makes you happy to improve your mood from this fact. You will probably notice a noticeable improvement in your spirit!
16. Exercise your mind
The world is not always rainbows and unicorns. Indeed, sometimes we seek refuge from the harsh realities of our daily lives. If we better remember the positive and negative situations that happened in our life, we can be better encouraged. When we are more involved in our daily lives, it is easier to focus on the positive aspects, no matter how small. The result is happiness.
17. Define what happiness means to you
Everyone has a different definition of what happiness means to them. By defining a custom definition of a term, it will be easier to search for it! Take some time to think about what happiness means to you. To better work on improving your mood, identify what it looks like in your mind, what it means, and how it feels.
18. Get out of the rut
It can be easy to fall into the trap of doing the same things repeatedly. What can you do to become a happier person if you continue to engage in negative habits? Push yourself to try new things. Do something different every day!
19. Speak for yourself
If you’re always letting others talk about you, you’re not happy right now. It is essential to speak up and be a bastion for yourself.
When we speak up and express our thoughts and feelings, we gain more control over our ability to be happy. Learning how to describe yourself can help you overcome interpersonal challenges that can make you unhappy.
20. Find purpose in life
It is common for people to want to make an impact on the world around them. To do this most effectively, try to determine what effect you want to have. By finding your purpose in life, you will gain the sense to move towards that purpose. If you thrive, you will most likely achieve happiness.
We all want to feel like we’re making some positive impact in this world, but sometimes we’re unsure of what kind of impact we want. Explore what exactly gives you a sense of purpose and how you want to achieve that purpose to share your life more meaning.
21. Stay in touch with others
Almost everything is more enjoyable when we share our experiences with others. One of the most effective things you can do to improve your happiness and outlook on life is to create meaningful relationships and connections with the people around you.
How to stop fearing unhappiness
Pain, sadness, anger, fear, guilt, and disappointment are not to be feared. It would help if you were not afraid of negative emotions. They must be processed, accepted, understood, and transformed into a better feeling.
You don’t have to fight your emotions. This 4-step process will help you move from negative emotions to positive emotions more quickly:
Step 1: Hear how you feel
Don’t try to hide your feelings. In my experience, clients who do this face what they are hiding. It is what holds them back the most.
The difficulty is when you don’t have someone to help you achieve this, allowing you to hide from what you feel.
Step 2: Understand how you feel
Understanding how you feel can help you understand why you think the way you do. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Was there a reason?
- Aggravating factor?
- An emotional vampire?
- An action?
I have a client I started working with last year who said she dreads February.
“It’s going too fast!” they lamented, adding: “January is so long, and then February flies by, and you’re depressed that the year has gone so fast and you still have so much to do!”
When we worked together, they realized how ridiculous this idea was.
If you have the chance to live 70 years, it will be January 70 that you will hate – 2170 days of your life will be spent in misery. About 8.5% of your life will be sad just because of the name of one month – and that’s before adding February.
She realized that a month had helped her create an emotion when nothing had happened and helped this client evaluate her feelings.
Step 3: Acceptance
Acceptance is a big part of finding and achieving happiness. It leaves room to move on to the next thing.
Step 4: Removal
You see a process happen before you make it quicker to decide to leave it. Negative feelings are not permanent, and you can return them to happiness. There is no such thing as a destructive emotion; it’s just that when you hang on to it, you get bad results.
Pain is part of happiness at the opposite end of the scale. Think of all the emotions that are considered negative or destructive and ask yourself:
“Can one exist without the other?”
Last thoughts on ways to be happier
Finally, one last thing. Science also suggests that some people are “born happier.” Indeed, we all enter this world with different temperaments and often maintain a particular state of happiness throughout our lives.
Researcher Sonya Lyubomirski suggests in her book The How of Happiness that only 40 percent of our happiness is under our control (recent life events and biological set points predetermine the remaining 60 percent).
So, if accurate, this research means that only half of happiness levels can be controlled at any given time. If you can incorporate more than these 21 steps into your daily life, you should be able to increase your happiness level over time.
Seeking out positive vibes, taking specific actions, and fostering quality relationships all help: but these habits take consistent work to be successful and help you find happiness.