12 Things Happy People Do Differently

12 Things Happy People Do Differently

One of the coolest things I found early on is that studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. Here are a dozen things that any of us -- at any age or stage of life -- can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives [2].

  1. Express     gratitude. -- When you appreciate what you     have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So     basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your     life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that's without having     to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We're gonna have a hard time     ever being happy if we aren't thankful for what we already have.
  2. Cultivate     optimism. -- Winners have the ability to manufacture their     own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the     chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She     knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from     life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with     endless opportunities, especially in trying times [3].
  3. Avoid     over-thinking and social comparison. -- Comparing yourself to someone     else can be poisonous. If we're somehow "better" than the person     that we're comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of     superiority. Our ego inflates -- KABOOM -- our inner Kanye West comes out!     If we're "worse" than the person that we're comparing ourselves     to, we usually discredit the hard work that we've done and dismiss all the     progress that we've made. What I've found is that the majority of the time     this type of social comparison doesn't stem from a healthy place. If you     feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an     earlier version of yourself.
  4. Practice     acts of kindness. -- Performing an act of kindness     releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance     that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more     blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good     inside. What's even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will     you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How     extraordinary is that? A side note is that the job of most     anti-depressants is to release more serotonin. Move over Pfizer, kindness     is kicking ass and taking names.
  5. Nurture     social relationships. -- The happiest people on the planet are the ones     who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that     people's mortality rates are DOUBLED when they're lonely? WHOA!     There's a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of     good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected     and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
  6. Develop     strategies for coping. -- How you respond to the "craptastic"     moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens -- it's     inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with     creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward     the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed,     on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
  7. Learn to     forgive. -- Harboring feelings of hatred is     horrible for your well-being. You see, your mind doesn't know     the difference between past and present emotion. When you "hate"     someone, and you're continuously thinking about it, those negative     emotions are toxic for your well-being. You put yourself in a state of     suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
  8. Increase     flow experiences. -- Flow is a state in which it feels like time     stands still. It's when you're so focused on what you're doing that you     become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You're not     hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You're just completely engaged in the     activity that you're doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for     your focus.
  9. Savor     life's joys. -- Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down     to enjoy the joy. It's easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent     movement to forget to embrace life's enjoyable experiences. When we     neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It's the simple     things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully     experience them.
  10. Commit to     your goals. -- Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing     something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things     start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get     somewhere. When you're fully committed to doing something, you have no     choice but to do that thing. Counter-intuitively, having no option --     where you can't change your mind -- subconsciously makes humans happier     because they know part of their purpose.
  11. Practice     spirituality. -- When we practice spirituality or religion, we     recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we     are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of     all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some     of the most accomplished people I know feel that they're here doing work     they're "called to do."
  12. Take care     of your body. -- Taking care of your body is crucial to being the     happiest person you can be. If you don't have your physical energy in good     shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your     feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively     affected [4]. Did you know that studies     conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent     exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not     only that, but here's the double whammy... Six months later, the people     who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had     a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

So there you have it. No new flashy car or leather jacket needed -- just simple, scientifically-grounded wisdom for long-term happiness. These are all things you can start implementing today -- with or without a career change -- so I hope you pick one thing and commit to rocking it.