Updated: May 2, 2020
Some people just seem have it together a lot more than others and they seem truly happy and content within themselves. I want to tell you that this is not by chance and it doesn't necessarily just come naturally to them but it does mean that they are most likely putting in the work to be that way. Before I share with you the habits these people implement to be that way, I want to establish the fact that 'happiness' is an emotional state.
Disclaimer: Happiness is not a destination that you arrive at one day and then forever remain; Amen.
Genuinely happy people know that they will not be happy of every moment of everyday. What I am trying to say is that happiness is something which will naturally come and go, as will many other emotions, this is normal and will not change. But if we want to live a genuinely happy life, then you can start by employing some of the following habits.
#1 They know their strengths & accept their weaknesses
These people are self-aware. They are introspective and will spend time getting to know themselves, understanding what their strengths are; using these to enhance themselves and their lives. They are not shy of recognising their weaknesses or flaws and they and they don't mind asking for help or support when it's needed.
We all have areas in our lives which we are stronger in and it's great to put energy into these areas but don't shy away from the areas of weakness. Lean in and work on improving those areas without having to strive for perfection.
#2 They are open-minded and curious
Being open-minded to new ideas and concepts is key to feeling happy because it means we can get excited over learning new things. We live within ever-changing spaces and we are often not in control of what is happening around us. That's why it is so important to remain open, flexible and willing to listen and learn. There is constantly new information and content being created - never lose your curiosity or stop being a student of life as this will earn you respect and wisdom.
Don't take 'the norm' for granted but rather look at things with a questioning mind, considering your options and finding a path that works for you even if it's against the ordinary way of doing things.
#3 They understand the importance self-care
Having self-care rituals are an important part of these people's lives. They know that time for themselves needs to be a priority and they are not afraid to schedule this time in as part of their daily and weekly routines. They realise that self-care is really just taking time to look after yourself and not making excuses for not having enough time. They can recognise when their self-care is falling behind due to stress or other challenges and they will make sure they start putting more energy towards that when they need to.
They are aware that getting enough healthy food, sleep and exercise is essential for their moods and that these things should be important parts of their everyday life. Eating enough and nourishing your body with healthy food is essential to maintain good energy levels and nutritional value. Sleep is a pivotal part of rest and needs to be prioritized for emotional stability as well as intellectual functioning and much more. We all know the benefits of exercise but what we don't always realize is that it doesn't have to take up an hour or more everyday. Simply walking around the block or stretching your body out can have amazing benefits.
#4 They practice optimism
These people are fully aware of the fact that not everyday will be a happy one but they know that even on the difficult days, there will be better ones to come. They don't see things in black and white; as either 'good' or 'bad' experiences but they rather ask themselves, "what can I learn from this experience?". They choose to find the positive in a challenging situation, not because they are afraid of confronting the difficult stuff but because they understand that facing it with a positive, optimistic attitude will give them (and others around them) strength.
They are also not afraid to be silly and laugh at themselves from time to time. They can find humour in their mistakes and awkward moments because they know that it just makes them human!
#5 They have a routine
They know that their time and energy is valuable and therefore it needs to be directed in the right places. They have morning and evening rituals to help them with time management and optimizing their time. When times get busy they know that they have certain priorities that they will attend to first and they make sure to take time to rest within their routine.
Rest is sometimes regarded as a sign of weakness and we often expect ourselves to be 'doing' constantly without needing time out. Often you'll find people who are trying to succeed working all day without taking breaks.
Research shows that people who do take breaks are more productive in their work and those who take breaks with others, even more so. Your friends, family and loved ones form part of your very important support system. Spending time with these people should be high on your priority list.
#6 They spend time alone
The reason they spend time alone and don't mind doing it, is because it gives them time to think and reflect. They are not afraid of introspection or having time where they don't have anything planned. They feel okay doing things alone and at the same time they do not need to be doing something at all times because they aren't afraid of being alone with their thoughts. They even cherish alone time with their thoughts as it gives them time to understand themselves and their emotions more deeply. Even if they are incredibly social, extroverted people they still don't mind when time alone is granted because it's regarded as 'me-time' not 'I'm all alone time'.
#7 They notice the little things
They practice gratitude in their daily lives by noticing the little things. They acknowledge a random person's smile as they walk past them on the street and they let that warm feeling in their chest sink in and glow. They express when they feel thankful and joyful to others around them and when people compliment them, they say 'thank you!'. They regularly think about the blessings they have in their lives and they practice giving thanks for those things.
They know that there is a lot of negativity out there and they are aware of the suffering in the world but they also know that they are not in control of changing everything. Instead they ask themselves: "what is within my power to change?", "How can I respond to this?".
#8 They hold themselves accountable
This is an important one. Genuinely happy people know that they are the ones in control of their thoughts, words and actions and they hold themselves accountable for these. They do not place blame on others for their own behaviors because they can see that they always have a choice as to how they respond to other people and other situations outside of their control.
They always have goals and aspirations that they are working towards and they celebrate small achievements daily. They know that reaching these goals is a process and so they put plans in place to achieve those goals, holding themselves accountable each step of the way, without beating themselves up if things don't go exactly according to plan. It's important to keep the bigger picture in mind and know that you are on the right path even if things don't go exactly according to plan.
#9 They step outside of their comfort zone
They are sometimes afraid to do this but they lean into their discomfort and do it anyway because they know the growth that occurs within when they step outside of their comfort zones. This doesn't mean that it's easy for them or that it doesn't take immense courage but it does mean that they are willing to try new things and they are okay with failing.
Failing is part of being human and it's something we cannot avoid unless we never try new things or only try things that we are certain we can achieve. By not putting ourselves in the vulnerable space of potentially failing at something, we will never grow. Failing is normal and it's not fun or enjoyable but there is always a valuable lesson to be learnt along the way and these people find that lesson, pick themselves up and move forward.
#10 They have passions and make time for them
These people spend time figuring out what they enjoy doing and with who. Once they understand their passions they make sure to spend time on these things, whether it's part of their career, a hobby or simply spending time with loved ones. They have a passion for life and they realise that there are always new things to see and new things to learn and this excites them!
#11 They are part of a community
They know the importance of social connection even if they are introverted. They spend time with like-minded people and they have a support system they can reach out to when times are tough. They understand the value of community and they seek out others who they can learn from; receive support and give support.
#12 They give themselves permission
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they give themselves PERMISSION to be happy. We all come with emotional baggage and demons but sometimes it can be easier to hold onto those things and allow them to become part of our identity. Genuinely happy people give themselves permission to let go of their demons and live freely by pursuing happiness openly and with vulnerability, understanding that there will be challenges to come and times of suffering but that there will also be incredible new experiences to come and times of immense joy too.