If you want to know how to be happy, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at what happy people know and do.
They must be onto something if they're happy!
If you know what they know, and you apply it, you'll follow in their footsteps and leap into your own happy place.
To get started, here are 15 things happy people know and live by, and ways you can start using this today to make a real difference…
1. Happy People Know You've Gotta Grow to Live
Happy people know that truly living to the fullest creates satisfaction, which gives rise to happiness. They also know that in order to truly live to the fullest, you have to be growing. No growth = stagnation.
You are living in a Universe that is based on expansion.
Growth is the nature of life and it is the nature of YOU.
However, as human beings we have free will. We can choose to INTERRUPT that natural growth cycle and instead walk sleepily through our lives without active participation to expand ourselves.
Or, as is very common, we might know full well that we are designed to grow but we choose to dig our heels in and do nothing. That might be because of fear or limiting beliefs that we caught up in.
To truly be happy means to grow. To grow spiritually, physically, psychologically and emotionally. To grow in your skills, knowledge and understanding, in your health and wellbeing, relationships, career and finances. To grow in all areas.
Happy people know this. They actively grow themselves and their life experience. They seek to expand. They know that if they don't, the result is stagnation.
As this famous line says…'Get busy living or get busy dying' - Shawshank RedemptionClick To Tweet
ACTION – Name 1 area you need to or want to grow further in. Then name 1 thing you can do right now to kick start that growth. Don't hesitate! As soon as you take action (even one tiny step forward), you're already in growth mode.
2. Happy People Know Resisting the Facts of the Present Moment is Futile, so They ACCEPT What Is
Happy people are well aware that if they resist whatever is happening around them, they're going to end up unhappy pretty quickly!
They know this because like all of us, they've been there and done that. And they woke up to the truth that in order to be happy, one has to deal with the fact that sometimes s**t happens and that's life.
Whenever you don't like something that's happening, you've got two choices – resist or accept.
If you resist, you are guaranteed to suffer.
If you accept, you have a pathway to peace, and it's possible to find happiness from there.
You don't have to be happy ABOUT the awful thing that's happening. But you have to accept it is what it is. Being upset isn't going to change anything, other than cause you pain. So once you accept the facts, you make peace with life in that moment, then you can move on.
As Eckhart Tolle says, in all his beautiful wisdom (I adore his teachings!)…
“Always say ‘yes' to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes' to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” – Eckhart Tolle
ACTION – Notice where you are resisting the facts of life right now. What is happening to you, in you, around you, or to someone else, that you are upset about? See if you can change your perspective from “this shouldn't be happening”, to “this is already happening and I can't change it, so I accept this in order to have peace”.
3. Happy People Know it's Critical to Make Peace with the Past & Let Go
Happiness is found in the NOW moment. It is impinged upon when our minds wander into the past to replay what didn't work, tortuously rehashing things that can never be changed.
And while it's true that the past can't be changed, the great news is that the past can be RECONCILED through a mental and emotional shift which supports you to let go.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools for releasing the past. Forgiving yourself, forgiving others, forgiving life.
And, VERY important, please remember that forgiveness does NOT mean you endorse what happened or absolve anyone of responsibility. Nor does it mean that by forgiving you're saying that what happened was okay. Forgiveness is none of these things.
Forgiveness is merely a mechanism to be free, within yourself. It is a choice you make which says, “I choose no more pain. No more suffering. I release it all and leave the past behind me, so I can live fully and freely now”.
ACTION – Name something that you're holding onto from the past. Commit to yourself right now that you'll go through a letting go process using forgiveness, to release this so you can move on.
4. Happy People Know that Life is Filled with Immense Possibilities All the Time
One thing that I LOVE most about life is that there are so many possibilities. Each new morning is a clean slate on which new things can be painted.
You can create new possibilities of your own choosing. And life also has a beautiful way of unfolding new openings for change, signs to guide you forward, and blossoming of inspirations, ideas and possibilities to expand your life.
Even if those possibilities aren't all realized, just knowing those possibilities are available is so exciting! This alone creates a sense of happiness, through an enthusiasm for life and all the goodness that lays ahead!
Happy people have typically come to see the limitless nature of reality this way, by clearing away their limiting beliefs. As a result there arises a genuine connection to how powerful they really are, and an appreciation for the vast extent of what is on offer in this life.
ACTION – Notice if you're stopping yourself from believing in possibilities. Do you have limiting beliefs that hold you back? By identifying those mindset blocks you are then able to begin training your mind into a new paradigm. You can start a daily ritual of focusing instead on positive and expansive beliefs.
5. Happy People Know to Deal Gracefully with the Mundane Parts of Life
You might look at happy people and think they're happy because their lives are filled with fun, interest, excitement, passion or adventure. You might be right.
But one thing to remember is that EVERYONE has to deal with the un-fun, the uninteresting, the unexciting, the boring and passionless. There are certain mundane aspects of life that we all face.
Happy people go through dealing with the same old monotony of daily life, just like everyone else. However, instead of letting that drag them down, they've figured out how to deal with it gracefully.
It's an easy trap to fall into, where you complain about the boring things you have to do in life, wishing your life was like one of those movies filled with sparks and action all the time.
The moment we get frustrated with the reality of daily life, the ins and outs, the chores and repetitive things that have to be taken care of, is the moment we lose our happiness.
You can't be frustrated and happy at the same time. You can't resist the mundane parts of life and be happy. You can't complain and wish for something else, and be happy.
So you have to choose in each mundane, boring task – to be resistant or to be happy.
The way you retain happiness in those moments is to be present, and appreciative. While washing the dishes, or folding your clothes, or sweeping the floor, or washing the car, you be 100% in that moment and appreciate what is happening. In doing so, you are graceful in that task, and happiness is yours.
ACTION – Pick one thing you know you dislike doing as part of daily life, that you think is mundane and boring. Next time you do it, bring a vitality and aliveness to that task by being fully present. Use all your senses to be really engaged in the activity, and seek to make that experience peaceful and filled with gratitude. E.g “I'm washing these dishes. How lucky am I to have dishes to wash, and how delicious was that food I just ate off these dishes” or “I love the smell of this fresh washing that I'm folding and I love these clothes I have”.
6. Happy People Know They Are SO Much More Than Just Their Mind & Body – They're Soulful
As long as you think that there is nothing more to you and your life than the body you're in and the noise between your two ears, there is a limit on how happy you can be.
You may well have happiness, but it might yo-yo up and down in reaction to what's going on around you.
There are multiple reasons that being all about mind and body, and nothing about soul/spirit, holds you back from optimal, sustainable happiness…
- It's not true that we're mind and body alone, and so anyone who is living with that perspective will always feels like something isn't quite right, like something's missing.
- We're holistic beings, Mind Body Soul, and as long as one part of us is omitted from being cared for and expressed, we feel off balance and less than fulfilled.
- Without a sense of one's own soul, life feels empty and finite.
For most people there comes a point when they realize that while the body is essential (obviously because it's the vehicle that carries us through life), it will eventually whither and die.
And they realize that the mind comes up with all sorts of noise and opinions and beliefs, and none of it really matters…
Most of the things that are craved in life, like inner peace, love and happiness, are found not in or through the mind, but by transcending the mind.
Happy people are often those who have come to a point in their life where soulfulness is a big priority. They've inquired about the mystery of who they really are, and their place in this vast Universe. And they've come home to the truth that they're SO much more than just a mind and body. They know there is something timeless and spiritual about their inherent nature. It doesn't mean they understand the mystery of life, but they APPRECIATE and enjoy that mystery.
ACTION – Consider how much time, energy and attention you give to each aspect of yourself, in terms of Mind Body Soul, and whether there is balance or imbalance. Consider ways you could bring more soulful practises and expression into your life.
7. Happy People Know that Gratitude is Powerful
Ultimately life is just one big feeling experience. All we ever want is to feel good.
Happy people know how to turn on their happiness in quick and easy ways.
They've learnt that being happy is NOT about circumstances, and it's not about getting what you want. They know it's not about everything going smoothly.
Instead they know that at the end of the day happiness is a state of being that has nothing to do with what's going on outside of you, and everything to do with your inner world and what you choose to FOCUS on.
And happy people know that hands-down the FASTEST way into that inner state of happiness is the practise of gratitude.
They give thanks on a daily basis, and enjoy the immediate positive vibes it generates.
ACTION – Each morning and/or night give thanks for 3 things in your life. These don't have to be big things. It can be as simple as gratitude that you're feeling warm and cozy in your bed. Or gratitude for the hug you had with your friend that day. Or gratitude that the sun was out and it felt nice on your skin.
8. Happy People Know Mistakes Are OK, Because They Make You Wiser & Stronger
If you think mistakes are wrong and shouldn't happen, you're in for a rough ride on this life journey.
No one is perfect. Perfection is an illusion.
We're all very imperfectly, beautifully human, and we all make mistakes.
Happy people know this, and they're able to be happy even when making mistakes. That's because they don't make mistakes MEAN something negative about who they are or their life.
Whereas one person might think mistakes are shameful and embarrassing, or that mistakes mean they're not good enough, another person (who has mastered the art of happiness) knows the truth. They know that…
- Mistakes are great for learning how to grow and expand
- Mistakes make us wiser and stronger
- Mistakes are opportunities for breakthrough to our next level of performance and capability
- Mistakes deepen our character
- Mistakes make us less judgmental of other people's mistakes, as we've been there and done that ourselves, so we have more compassion
- Mistakes are part of life's classroom – a mechanism for our Mind Body Soul education and evolution on this journey.
ACTION – Hone a new attitude about mistakes. Train yourself through regular positive self-talk to see mistakes differently. Create a perspective shift right now, and own mistakes as a colorful and valuable part of your life experience!
9. Happy People Know that Other People's Negativity & BS Has Nothing to Do with Them
Happiness is fleeting when you are attached to what other people say and do. That's because other people are around you constantly and they're doing and saying crazy stuff sometimes!
You can't control other people, and they'll sometimes be negative. They might be caught up in fear, frustration, anger or stress about things in their life generally and you have to listen to it. Or other times they might be negative about you, to you, firing their issues directly your way.
If you take on board other people's negativity, you won't be happy. The two don't go together.
You might be wondering how to avoid taking someone's bad energy on, when they're treating you badly or saying awful things. You have to remember one very important point…
What comes out of someone, is what is within them in that moment. If they're firing negativity at you, it is NOT about you. They're caught up in a storm inside themselves, and it is projecting out at you.
Happy people know this and they have learned how to detach. When they see or hear someone around them being negative, about anything, they can observe and know “this has nothing to do with me”.
It's not always easy, but it makes a massive difference to your level of happiness when you can remind yourself of this often.
ACTION – Next time you notice negativity around you, repeat, “What they are doing and saying is not about me. This is their stuff. I don't need to take it on board.”
10. Happy People Know that Fear is to Be Felt but Not Obeyed
It's much more realistic to be fear conquering, than fearless.
That's because fear is VERY normal, and in some situations quite healthy.
Fear is designed to keep you safe. It's a primitive instinct.
Unfortunately, so many people aren't happy in life because their minds have become fearful of things that simply aren't real threats and often aren't even happening! That fear keeps them stuck and small, not living life to the fullest.
For example, when thinking about creating change, you might feel fear and then do nothing because you think you're not brave enough. You might stop yourself from acting until you feel fearless – working diligently on creating a fearless mindset before doing anything. You might be waiting a long time!
Fear is normal when you go outside your familiar comfort zone. Happy people know this, and they accept fear as part of the normal human spectrum of emotions. They take fear as a sign that it's time to act, because in many cases fear it just an invitation to grow.
ACTION – Notice where your fear is strongest AND where it directly stops you from taking action to improve your life. We might be fearful of lots of things, but some of those things are unimportant. You want to consider where fear and intuition/passion co-exist. Often what you most want to do/change/experience in your life, is also where fear will show up. Focus there. Invest time and energy to understand your fear in that space, and begin edging forward with small steps.
11. Happy People Know Not to Buy Into Negative Thoughts They Have
If you buy into all the thoughts in your head, you will not be particularly happy.
Our minds come up with thousands of thoughts every day, rapid fire thinking, thinking, thinking.
Some of those thoughts are neutral and meaningless. They have very little “feeling charge” – meaning they don't cause you problems.
Other thoughts however are like your mind trying to run riot on you, creating negative ideas and fearful scenarios. Left unchecked, your mind can create you A LOT of problems. In fact, one might argue, the mind can make more problems than you'd encounter in external life itself.
Happy people know this. They observe their own thoughts, and they cultivate a detachment. They can smile at the madness of their mind, and realize that this is just what the mind does.
We don't have to follow all our thoughts, getting caught up in the negativity. And the more we detach, the less powerful those thoughts become.
Soon, through practice, we have more mastery over our minds and more peace as a result.
Meditation is a great tool that happy people use to support detachment from thoughts.
ACTION – Begin to watch your own thoughts. You can observe them as they move in and out of your mind, like noisy little things on a conveyor belt that never stops. Just watch them. And practice saying to yourself, “That thought is not true and it is not who I am”. You'll begin to build a detachment, that serves your peace and happiness. And – if you're not meditating regularly, you might begin a daily 5 minute meditation ritual.
12. Happy People Know How to Choose the Best Possible Perspective in Any Given Situation
We always have a choice about about how we interpret any situation, and the perspective we lock onto.
If we're dealing with something challenging, for example, our minds might immediately react with a negative thought about what's happening. That reaction will obliterate any happiness.
Happy people know this! They understand that you always have the power to CHOOSE your perspective about difficult situations, and that the choice you make will dictate how you feel.
Therefore if you want to know how to be happy, start choosing perspectives that work FOR you, not against you.
ACTION – Whenever faced with a difficult situation – pause, breathe and then ask yourself, “What is the best possible perspective that I could take right now, that would help me retain peace?” Remember that you're not looking for a happy perspective, as some situations simply aren't happy! But you can always find a peaceful perspective, and that peace will allow happiness to return in a natural way in due course.
13. Happy People Know that Taking Care of their Body is Key, Because Body/Mind/Emotions are Connected
I won't say that happiness is dependent on your body health and wellbeing. As happiness is a choice, a state of being, and can be created based on perspective. Plus, there will be people who are in ill health, or people with no care or interest in their physical wellbeing, that do have happiness. Perhaps not completely, nor sustainably, but some happiness nonetheless.
However, being consciously aware of your body, and caring about your health and wellbeing, makes a big difference to your happiness. The more you take care of your body, the easier it is to be happy.
The body, mind and emotional system are intricately linked together. There is no separation. If your mind and emotions are in an imbalanced state, your physical body can react to that. If your physical body is not cared for and gets out of balance, it can impact your mental and emotional wellbeing.
So if you're interested in how to be happy, be very interested in your body and health. Simple considerations like your food (ensuring you're getting the nutrition you need to thrive) and keeping active will help your overall emotional state.
ACTION – Look at one small adjustment you could make right now that would elevate your physical health/wellbeing. Often there are really simple changes that can be made which have a valuable flow on effect to how you feel. For example, drinking more water to ensure you're hydrated, or getting enough sleep, or eating more fresh food from nature.
14. – Happy People Know that Their Self-Worth is Not Linked to What They Do or What They Own
To me this is one of the most important keys for how to be happy.
Too many beautiful humans are running around in daily life trying to do things to “succeed”, without realizing that their drivers for doing so are actually quite negative.
- We feel not good enough, so we do things to make ourselves feel more enough.
- We feel insignificant, so we do things to make ourselves feel more successful and important.
- We feel unworthy or incomplete, so we do things to make ourselves feel worthy and complete.
- We feel a void, so we try to do things or get things to fill ourselves up.
And happy people are those who have realized this vital truth…
Nothing you do or get will ever validate you, because you were already valid in the first place.
There is nothing external to be done or achieved or received that will fix or fill an inside issue/void. The only solution to those inner limitations is inner healing. And that inner healing is key for how to be happy.
ACTION – Make peace with yourself and come home to the truth of who you are, and know that you were born whole, complete, enough, worthy, deserving, valid and amazing. When you know this, you're no longer driven by subconscious patterns that say otherwise, which drive you hard to do and get things to make yourself feel better. Instead, from knowing the truth, you feel content, peaceful and happy already. Then all the things you do in the world are just fun experiences in and of themselves, without pressure for them to be anything else.
15. Happy People Know that Everyone is the Same, We Were Born the Same & We All Die the Same
You're not inferior to anyone else. You're not superior to anyone else.
Whenever you feel inferior, your ego is playing with you – trapping you in a victim mindset that says you're small and weak.
Whenever you feel superior, your ego is controlling you – creating an illusion that feels like happiness but which will eventually create your own pain and suffering.
The facts are…
Everyone is exactly the same. We're all made of the same stuff. We were all born, we all live, we all die. There is no person more worthy or less worthy, more valuable or less valuable.
Happy people know this, and have stopped caring about what other people are doing or what they have. They're no longer running on the fruitless and exhausting treadmill of trying to “become someone”. They no longer measure themselves as above or below other people, or societal norms. And, they no longer weaken themselves as a result. They simply BE.
And in that state of being, happiness resides.
ACTION – Notice the situations and relationships in your life where you do feel inferior to someone or superior. Practice bringing awareness to those moments when you catch yourself in that mindset, and instead repeat, “We are all the same. We are all equal.”
I hope you enjoyed this article! If you did be sure to subscribe to The Daily Positive to join our community for more actionable inspiration for a better life and a better world.
And… please do leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.
Best wishes, Bernadette