June 23, 2021

How to be Happy (The Definitive Guide)

By Katelyn Redfoot

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You may have heard somewhere before that happiness is a journey, not a destination. What looks like happiness for one person may look entirely different for someone else, which is why there are so many ideas and guidelines to follow for how to be happy in life and how to be happy with yourself in general.

No matter which you choose, incorporating the following elements into your daily routine and mindset will prove to be well worth the effort. When it comes to happiness, you get out what you put in, so use the following guide on how to be happy to discover what works for you and make it a lifelong practice!

How to be happy in life

Focus on the good

Gratitude is not just something that should come around once a year on the holidays. While it’s terrific to take any opportunity to bring to mind things you are thankful for, consistent practice of gratitude is key to living a life of contentment. So, if you want to know how to be happy in life, make gratitude a habit.

Establish a routine where each morning or night, you write down three things you are grateful for. Or each time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, replace that thought with three thankful thoughts instead. The more you practice, the more this attitude of gratitude will become second-nature to you, and the more things you will attract to be thankful for.

Meditate

Meditation is not only a powerful tool for reducing stress, but it teaches us to live in the present moment. When we live in the present, we are less worried over past and future events, which causes feelings like anxiety, and even depression.

Meditation alone is practically a guide for how to be happy in life because when we are truly present, we feel more joy and notice how things affect us. Meditation is a great place to start on your journey to happiness because through it, you will learn about yourself, along with what makes you happy and what might be in your best interest to let go of.

Meditation practice brings you closer to yourself to realize your thoughts while also recognizing that you are not your thoughts. Five to ten minutes a day is all you need to notice a significant difference in your mental state and perspective.

Journal

A journal is a safe place for you to release your thoughts and feelings. The act of writing things down on paper feels as if you are letting them go from your mind in the process. You can choose to write freely or gather some ideas for journal prompts online. There are a million places to start when it comes to journaling, but if you want to know how to be happy in life, one journal is all you need to start.

Live Holistically

How to be happy in life does not just boil down to one thing. For instance, you may be incredibly content and successful in your career but leave zero time for the gym or friends. You are achieving occupational wellness, but you miss out on the physical and social elements, lacking fulfilling relationships, connections, and a healthy life that makes you feel good.

If there is one thing you take away from this guide and that sticks with you about how to be happy in life, remember it’s about being well-rounded. Each part of life offers unique experiences and lessons, so if you are the type of person who worries that you’re not good enough at any one thing, you just might be onto something.

Let Loose

Nobody ever said you had to be outwardly energetic or outgoing to have a little fun. These types of people are not the only ones who know how to be happy in life. And who is to say they truly are anyway?

What matters is that you embrace something that makes you smile daily, whether it is something as seemingly insignificant as a commute to work filled with singing to your favorite tunes or going out and dancing in a crowd of people.

Maybe letting loose to you looks like a canvas and a paintbrush, and free-flowing strokes. Whatever it is, there are certain things that deep down, you know, make you feel complete, so choose to fill your day with as many of those things as reasonably possible.

Face your fears

Fears and mistakes are like a numbers game: the more you experience, the higher your chance of success and happiness will be. You cannot grow as a person nor go very far in life if you do not open yourself up to the fact that you might fail. Accept the risk when you know that it will be worth it. You get to determine what both of those are, which means you have the power to choose how to be happy in life.

There is no pressure to do anything crazy, but you do not want to wake up years from now living with regret because you could not overcome a moment of judgment or embarrassment.

How to be happy with yourself

Exercise

Exercise means feeling good about ourselves, not just in how we look but in our ability to move our bodies and experience life. Making exercise a regular part of your daily or weekly routine is critical when it comes to how to be happy with yourself. Exercise relieves us from stress, releases chemicals in the brain such as adrenaline and endorphins and contributes to our overall well-being.

You know that euphoric feeling you get leaving the gym after a super-challenging workout as if you could handle anything that comes your way? That is happiness.

Know your values

Saying that you know your values is a lot like saying that you know who you are. And to understand how to be happy with yourself, it is essential to know who you are at your core. It may take some time to develop, but try to pay close attention to the values that seem to guide you and what you know you don’t believe in.

Write them down if it helps. The idea is to have a set of core principles to follow to keep you focused and grounded. Sometimes we lose our way or forget our purpose in life, so it helps us to fully understand what we believe is right to allow us to find some perspective when we need it.

Forgive yourself

If you want to know how to be happy with yourself, forgive yourself for your past mistakes. You are your biggest critic, and sometimes you carry guilt when all has been forgiven, except that you have not forgiven yourself. Your anxiety comes from things that have already happened and somehow wondering how you can, or could have, changed them. It is time to free yourself from that moment in time and move forward with lessons learned and self-respect.

Admit Your Feelings

Feelings can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if they are uncomfortable or unpleasant. But, admitting how you feel is essential to your wellbeing and your long-term happiness. If your mood has been low, there is no need to hide this from the people that care about you. Admitting that you are feeling down or depressed takes courage, and it is the first step towards getting back to feeling happier. There are many different treatments for depression that can help you, and there is no shame in seeking help when you need it. Admitting how you feel and taking action to address it will help you reclaim your happiness.

Lower your expectations

Having grandiose expectations in life is a surefire way to let yourself down. This is not to say you should not have goals in life but remember that nobody is perfect. If you always place expectations of perfection on yourself, you will always let yourself down. Finding acceptance of this means knowing how to be happy with yourself.

Trusting that you will inevitably fail sometimes does not mean you do not love yourself; it means that you have decided not to set yourself up to end up in a place of disappointment or self-loathing.

Love your body

Practicing how to be happy with yourself means practicing loving your body, and not just in the way you think we mean. Society has molded your mind about what to consider beautiful or attractive from a very young age, and much of that is incredibly difficult to erase and redevelop.

Yet, if you shift your perspective and think more about your body in terms of mobility and all of the things it allows you to do every day, you will feel much less critical and much happier. Learn to celebrate your body not by rewarding yourself with a meal or drink because you’ve done a week of consistent workouts, but rather let your workouts be your celebration.

Find gratitude for your body for getting you through a beautiful and rewarding hike or the marathon you’ve been training for. Think less about how much you weigh and more about how you have arms and fingers, which allow you to paint or cook. Your body is not just a physique, as you are much more than your body.

Embrace self-care

You cannot pour from an empty glass, so it is time to refill. However, self-care is not just about an ability to continually serve and take care of others; it is discovering how to be happy with yourself. Take some time for yourself each day, whether a hot shower, a walk outside, or read a book. Self-care does not have to be some extravagant day at the spa.

You do not need to spend countless hours or dollars as long as you recharge a little bit every day. Cherishing these moments speaks volumes as to whether or not you cherish yourself.

If you are the type of person who puts a great deal of energy into others and less into yourself, this one may take some practice. Just as people who love themselves take care of themselves, it works both ways; the practice of self-care leads to self-love as well.


Katelyn Redfoot

Katelyn Redfoot is an independent content writer based in North Carolina who offers ghostwriting, copywriting, blogging, and social media services. As a health and wellness advocate, she loves learning from and helping clients across the world share creative, relatable, and helpful content. Her goal is soon to take her writing on the road, traveling in a van with her fiance, Jason, and their dogs, Max and Summit.

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