How To Be Genuinely Happy In 15 Easy Steps

How To Be Genuinely Happy In 15 Easy Steps ©iStock/Wundervisuals

It’s the elusive quality that we’re all looking for, but are never exactly sure how to find. Everyone has their own definition of happiness, and everyone measures their happiness levels differently, but there are some specific actions and attitudes that, no matter what exactly we’re seeking, will help all of us in our quest to become truly, genuinely happy.

  1. Always live in the present. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses and pressure of the future looming in front of you, and to constantly be planning for the future instead of fully appreciating what you have now. If you want to be genuinely happy, always take the time to look around you and appreciate what you have, at this very instant. Take a deep breath, do yoga, say a prayer, go for a jog, hug a friend, or do one little thing each day to make sure that you really are taking some time to live in the moment.
  2. Never compare yourself directly to another person. You may think you have a good sense of what the other person has, but in reality you have no idea what they’re going through or what their own personal struggles are. To compare yourself to someone else is comparing apples and oranges. You both have different paths in life, and it’s important to embrace the fact that everyone is on their own unique and personal journey. Stop comparing yourself to others. 
  3. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about your life. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity. Stay away from the people who bring you down or who feed into your complaining about the negative aspects of your life. Instead, choose friends who encourage you to share your accomplishments, help you work through your problems instead of just commiserating with them, and remind you to count your blessings even when you’re feeling like nothing is going your way.
  4. Actively practice being grateful. Always say thank you to people who help you out, and make sure they know that you really do mean it. Also, at the end of each day, go through your day and identify things that happened throughout the day that you’re thankful for. By actively seeking opportunities to show gratitude, you’ll become more aware of the good things that fate has thrown your way and develop a more positive outlook on life.
  5. Remember to treat yourself sometimes. You’re worth it. A little pick-me-up can go a long way, sometimes. You don’t always need an “excuse” to get a massage, take a trip, take a vacation day, or buy yourself something new.
  6. Remind yourself that no matter how little you feel like you have, you always have something to give to others. Maybe you don’t have a lot of money to spare, but you don’t need to be rich to be charitable. You have other options: donate your time or donate your talent. Find a way to volunteer and help others in your community. Not only will it start a circle of good karma, but often the positive feelings you get from being generous are enough a reward on their own.
  7. Always tell the truth. Happy people know that if they want to be comfortable with themselves, they need to present an honest an open version of themselves. Lying or exaggerating in order to make yourself look better will keep you in the mindset that what other people think is more important than what you think, and that never works out well.
  8. Stay far, far away from gossip. Gossip is completely contradictory to a happy, healthy lifestyle. It hurts your life and it hurts your career. Not only does it bring you down to a base level where you get pleasure from bringing others down, but it also forces you to worry that people are also judging you when you’re not around. If you refuse to indulge in gossip, you’ll find that people respect you more and you’ll feel better about yourself.
  9. Find something meaningful in life. It can be religious in nature,  but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Maybe it’s praying, maybe it’s taking care of animals, or maybe it’s working with the homeless. Whatever it is, it should remind you that life is more than just a day-to-day slog but a spiritual journey.
  10. Always practice hospitality. There’s something special about opening your home to friends and family. In a world where so many of our get-togethers take place in restaurants, coffee shops, or other public locations, sharing your home is like sharing a piece of yourself. It’s more personal, and those who visit will feel like they know you better and will open up more, leading to stronger friendships.
  11. Spend your money on experiences instead of physical possessions. By buying experiences, you’ll create memories that will give you warm, positive feelings whenever you reflect on them. Those benefits will last a lifetime.
  12. Give hugs generously. Not only does it create closer friendships, but it literally gives you an emotional high. Humans are made to be physical, and our brains are programmed to release feel-good chemicals when we touch. Trying fewer handshakes and more hugs will be enough to enhance your mood.
  13. Never give up on your passions. As we get older, somehow our hobbies seem to fall by the wayside as we get busier and busier. Where we used to fill our time with activities and extracurriculars we were passionate about, now it’s all too easy to come home from work and just veg out in front of the television. Resist that temptation. Carve out some time for yourself to do what you love; binge-watching Netflix doesn’t count!
  14. Know that the only person you have to answer to is yourself. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you make others happy and you’re miserable. Do what will leave you feeling good about yourself, and forget about what others think.
  15. Remember that it’s OK to feel down sometimes. Just because you’re genuinely happy in general doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to feel sad sometimes. It’s important to be in tune with your feelings. Just make sure to look at the big picture on days when you’re feeling down. On the whole, life is good. You’re good. There’s always something to smile about.
Jessica Levy is a freelance blogger and content writer. She’s also a politics junkie, a fledgling foodie, and a frequent traveler. She has lived in Morocco, Israel, India, and Barbados, and never wants to be cold again. Follow her on Twitter!