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What does it mean to be happy? The reality is that no one is constantly happy all the time. We all have our ups and downs, but the difference is that happy people don’t let problems and circumstances consume them or keep them down for more than a moment.
The good news is, the path to happiness is not a secret privilege only known to the rich, the powerful, or beautiful people of the world – happiness is for everyone!
People who are happy aren’t always born that way. It’s not because they have perfect lives or because things always go their way, but because of the way they stay positive and take life in stride.
Here is a list of common traits and characteristics of happy people to help you get started!
happy person traits & habits
Certain people are naturally very happy and others have to work harder for it. If you look at the happiest people in the world, you’ll start to notice common characteristics most happy people share, regardless of gender, age, culture, etc.
When you adopt these happy habits and behaviors yourself, you can increase happiness in your own life.
1. They form strong bonds with others
Interestingly, romantic relationships aren’t a guarantee of happiness at all!
How do we know this? If they were, people wouldn’t ask themselves how to be satisfied in unhappy marriages.
What people need to be happy isn’t romantic relationships at all but strong and meaningful connections to others who value and accept them for who they are.
2. They surround themselves with positive people
Here comes a quick secret to becoming a happier person: we become similar to those with whom we spend the most time.
That means that if you spend time with negative people or complainers they can drag you down, too. On the other hand, if we choose to associate with positive people, we will become more positive ourselves.
3. They do good deeds for others
Giving from the heart works wonders for happiness. Good deeds not only increase joy but improve connections, too.
4. They live a balanced life
A happy person knows that a happy life is a balanced life! It is a well-known truth that too much of a good thing can be harmful.
Maintaining equilibrium between the most critical areas of one’s life is crucial to physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
5. They make space for what truly matters
Some people consider themselves “too busy” for happiness.
They postpone it for later, not realizing that they will never be happy unless they prioritize it. If this sounds like you, make time in your schedule to create more space for what matters most to you!
6. They know how to comfort themselves in hard times
Contrary to what skeptics might say, happy people aren’t naïve optimists who never experienced hardships. Instead, they’ve developed healthy coping mechanisms at some point in their lives, tools that help them survive challenging times.
A happy person will prioritize self-care, and if there isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel, they will light their own candle.
7. They aren’t afraid to deal with their baggage
Life doesn’t always give us things to smile about; sometimes, it gives us sour lemons, and on those days, we aren’t really in the mood for lemonade.
But a happy person doesn’t let their present or past circumstance bring them down for long. They focus on emotional healing instead.
And they’re right! Pursuing happiness will be much easier once you clear your past traumas, forgive, and let go!
8. They know how to manage stress
We live in a fast-paced society that considers stress normal.
While low levels of it might be motivating and improve our performance, long-term anxiety is generally harmful to our bodies. If persistent, it can erode our mental health and make us physically ill.
A happy person knows that they need to manage stress to keep happiness levels constant. You can decompress by journaling, taking walks in the park, or soaking in a hot bath – experiment and see what works best for you!
9. They have boundaries
Failing to be assertive quickly causes one to fall into a downward spiral. It starts with losing some free afternoons and ends with needing to compromise what matters most.
A happy person has firm boundaries and isn’t afraid to say “no.” They steer clear of toxic people and don’t run themselves thin trying to please everybody. Your happiness level will increase if you learn from their example.
10. They follow their intuition
Have you ever had a gut feeling that warned you about a situation or person that turned out to be true?
Everyone has an inner voice that tries to guide them through life, although we often lose touch with it as we grow up and try to “fit in” and “be sensible”.
When you listen too much to other people’s definition of success and follow their advice, it can detract from your own happiness. A happy person knows that to live a truly satisfying life, they must answer their intuition’s call.
11. They focus on the present moment
Yet another reason why people fail to experience happiness in the present moment is their constant preoccupation with the past (and future). A happy person knows that both are intangible.
The past can’t be changed or relived, and the future doesn’t even exist.
Two-thirds of your burdens will disappear once you realize that the present moment is the only tangible one. You will focus on the now, stop to smell the roses, and appreciate the simple joys of life – which will make you happier!
12. They don’t chase money
Sure, money is a necessity – everyone needs it to survive! But there are people who have very little and still count among the happiest in the world.
Money can offer security and peace of mind, which helps make you happier, but studies have shown that after $75,000 there is no significant increase in happiness levels. That means happiness isn’t just about simply having more money – which is good!
13. They release the need to control everything
The wheel of fortune keeps spinning: sometimes, you are on top of the world, and sometimes, you hit rock bottom.
Happy people know that they can’t control life at all times, so they make peace with the hardships. Rather than get upset with things, they choose to trust that the sun will shine again and keep moving forward towards their dreams and vision for the future.
BE INSPIRED: 8 Powerful Vision Board Examples to Copy RIGHT NOW!
14. They don’t let news depress them
The world is more connected than ever, which can be good or bad.
We get news, commercials, and entertainment directly fed to our cell phones whenever and wherever we please, which can lead to overload and even depression.
A happy person doesn’t spend time dwelling on problems that are outside of their control. Instead, they adopt a proactive attitude and let hardships motivate them to do more good for the world.
15. They practice mindfulness
A happy person tries to live in the present moment and give gratitude.
It doesn’t matter whether you follow some particular religion or practice intentional living. As long as you’re developing spiritually, your well-being will improve.
16. They realize that their happiness shouldn’t depend on external factors
If your happiness depends on external factors, then that’s a perfect recipe for disaster. A happy person knows that and bases their happiness on things they can control themselves:
- their thoughts
- their beliefs
- and their actions
Learn from them.
Rather than thinking to yourself: “I will be happy if I win the race,” try to think: “I will be happy if I do my best.” In this way, you will feel satisfied no matter the outcome.
17. They don’t let materialism rule their life
Someone who can enjoy the little things is far happier than those who can’t.
Unfortunately, many people often get it wrong and believe that the fastest route to happiness is having more than they presently do. As a result, they create financial pressure on themselves and feel unnecessarily stressed.
Minimalists know that materialism isn’t conducive to long-term and sustainable happiness. Likewise, in Buddhist teachings, the more one craves, the more likely one will suffer.
Even the ancient yoga principle of aparigraha teaches to avoid taking more than one needs!
So, if you want to be a happy person, switch your focus from “always wanting more” to “having just enough” and cultivate gratitude!
READ MORE: 20 Reasons You Are Enough In This Moment
18. They prioritize personal development
Happy people never stop improving themselves!
The human mind craves challenges. Successfully solving problems activated the reward center in the brain, releasing good chemicals.
So don’t be afraid to set personal goals for yourself and work towards becoming a better and happier you.
FIND OUT MORE: Download the #1 SMART Goals Template [PDF]
19. They view their job as a calling
Work is a huge part of one’s life, and as such, it should be enjoyable.
A happy person might change jobs or monetize their greatest passion for finding professional fulfillment. However, most will cultivate a positive attitude towards their career.
It’s okay to be ambitious as long those ambitions resonate with your core values and beliefs. Don’t compete with others and don’t base your happiness on someone else’s definition of success.
20. They listen to music
Music is therapeutic.
A survey conducted by AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons) showed that those survey participants who listened to music scored better than others on the well-being test and reported less depression and anxiety.
The survey concluded that there was a correlation between listening to music, good cognitive function, and happiness.
With this said, it’s time to put on your favorite playlist!
21. They nourish their body in the right way
Remember, healthy body, healthy mind! Eat a variety of healthy foods, stay hydrated, and limit your caffeine intake, sugars, and saturated fats.
22. They exercise regularly and spend time outside
Studies have consistently shown that physical activities can improve one’s happiness levels. The key is being consistent and sticking to a balanced routine.
23. They live in Clutter-free places
If you feel good outside yet dread going home, clutter could be responsible for your bad mood.
The good news is that most people who declutter report long-term positive changes in their happiness levels and more life satisfaction.
24. They love getting creative
Happy brain, happy life?
Engaging in creative activities stimulates the right hemisphere and can cause you to enter the state of flow. This state is a lot like meditation: it stems from deep focus and is very relaxing. If you feel drawn to creative projects, it may be time to unleash your inner artist!
25. They are naturally curious (don’t worry, it can be learned)
One more trait of happy-go-lucky people is their natural curiosity.
They aren’t afraid to explore and be spontaneous. They try new things, are open-minded, and are non-judgmental. Adopt this attitude, and you can discover new and unique experiences that will make you more cheerful!
26. They feel comfortable in their skin
A happy person knows that healthy self-esteem is crucial to one’s well-being.
Sometimes, making peace with who you are may feel like a feat because of societal pressure. However, if you embrace it and make “be yourself” your motto, your happiness levels will dramatically increase.
27. They avoid perfectionism
Happy people remember that perfection is an unattainable standard. They don’t fret about it; instead, they do what they can and hope for the best.
Don’t let your fears about being imperfect stop you from getting out there and achieving!
28. They look to the future with optimism
Happiness doesn’t equal freedom from hardships. Happy people can stay hopeful during hard times because they can see positives even in the direst circumstances or situations.
If you are hoping for a more carefree life, you need to trust that the sun will come out even after the darkest of storms. This spiritual lesson isn’t easy; it’s one of the hardest that you’ll need to learn. But, it’s crucial to help you stay strong in the face of adversity.
29. They have a great sense of humor
Typing “happiness” into the search box of a stock photo gallery will return several photos portraying people that laugh. Happiness is strongly associated with smiles and laughter.
Science tells us that laughing frequently can boost endorphins, the chemical in our bodies that helps us feel happy. So find out what tickles your funny bone and do more of that!
30. They share their happiness with others
Joy is the happy person’s treasure to share with the world, so try to find ways to share the joy and brighten up someone else’s day.
Final thoughts on how to be a happy person
As you can see, being a happy person isn’t about having everything or being free from hardships. Instead, it’s about cultivating the right mindset and habits.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to happiness.
Figure out what would make you happy, and do more of that! Start making changes now, and you’ll see the results! You might be just a few choices or changes away from a happier life.
Here are more ideas to help you find personal growth and happiness:
- 20 Signs You Might Be a Sentimental Person – Good or Bad?
- Less is More: 21 Reasons to Make it Your Life Mantra
- 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Be Happier