How To Be Happy: 20 Ways To Be Happier Today

A woman looking happy and relaxed by herself.

4. Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness mediation works by bringing your awareness and attention to the present moment. It’s about being nonjudgmental and accepting how you are feeling. Practicing mindfulness means being present, aware and curious. Accepting what we are going through decreases stress and helps us see situations for what they are. Through mindfulness, we can find peace and affirmation in ourselves.

You may think of artists as being moody and depressed, but studies show that engaging in creative activities on a regular basis actually makes you happier. Those who spend time using their imagination and being creative have more enthusiasm and are more likely to have feelings of long-term happiness and well-being. Such creative activities can include writing, painting, drawing and musical performance.

How To Be Happy: 20 Ways To Be Happier Today

As I explain in my new book, The Lemonade Life, the practice of gratitude is one of the most important strategies for how to be happy. Gratitude is focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t. Gratitude is about celebrating your life and being thankful for the joy you experience. Gratitude is associated with positivity, increased well-being and improved health.

The practice of gratitude can be expressed in many ways. The secret of how to be happy can start with a gratitude journal. With a gratitude journal, you can spend 10-15 minutes each day writing the things for which you are thankful. It can be your family and friends, the experience you enjoyed earlier that day, or anything else that makes you feel grounded. When we express thankfulness for the joys in life, we increase happiness. Make sure to take time to reflect on your writings to experience the full joy and experience of gratitude.

You are worth celebrating. You don’t have to wait for birthdays or holidays to celebrate. Build your self-confidence by recognizing and embracing your greatness. Congratulate yourself for your achievements – even the small ones. Use small wins to generate momentum. You will find it’s one of the smartest ways to be happy.

It’s human nature to focus on your weaknesses, but as I explain in The Lemonade Life, focus your time and energy on your strengths. No one is perfect. Spending time trying to build up every weakness will only lead to frustration. It’s an impossible task to be good at everything. Instead, focus on your core strengths and direct them toward seizing opportunities. This is one of the most effective ways for how to be happy. You will feel more accomplished, more balanced and less frustrated.

It’s easy to see the bad and the downside. Instead, focus on the positive. Look for the silver linings, which are the good things in life. The best books on happiness recommend cultivating positive thoughts: the more you look for the good things, the less stress and negative thinking you can experience.

Work can be demanding. Life can be demanding. In the race to “get it done,” it can be easier to rush. However, there’s always time to do it with kindness. Treat people respectfully. Empathy at home, at work and in life is essential to understand others and understand the human condition.

If you want to know how to be happy, meditation is a good place to start. Spend 10-30 minutes each morning meditating and you’ll notice an improvement in well-being and a healthier life perspective. Meditation relaxes you and helps you connect with the mind, body and spirit. You can incorporate gratitude in your meditation, listen to soft music or think positive thoughts. Meditation is also associated with lower stress.

Exercise releases endorphins, which can help create a state of euphoria. Research shows that a 15-minute jog can help reduce depression. Spending time exercising –particularly in nature – can not only improve heart health, but also mental health, happiness and well-being.

Roadblocks are obstacles that stand between where you are today and where you want to be. A negative environment and negative people are two examples of roadblocks that limit your potential. The first step to more happiness is to identify the roadblocks in your life. The second step is to find paths around, over and through the roadblocks in your life. You may not be able to eliminate every roadblock, but you can work to minimize the threat.

We also know what it means to have good values. To find happiness, list your values on a piece of paper. Visualizing is a good start, but it will help solidify your set of values when you record them. A core set of values is a great way for how to be happy because it reminds you of the principles and ideals to which you subscribe.

Why are you here? How do you create impact? When you know your life purpose, you will know how to be happy because you have a life worth living because you understand why you do what you do. You have direction. You have grounding. You have something you are working toward or someone you are working to inspire.

Many people want to know how to be happy alone. While being happy alone is important, you will increase happiness through valuable social connections. The more we interact with people, understand people and help others, the more well-being we experience in our lives. We are all connected, and life is about helping others and giving to others. You will not only boost their happiness, but also your own.

Everyone knows the blame game. It’s them, not you. Right? Wrong. Accountability starts with you. Want to know how to be happy? Take responsibility. When you own your successes and mistakes, you will lift a burden in your life and enjoy more happiness and freedom.

Spend time understanding why you’re experiencing a certain feeling. When you can properly assess what makes you happy or sad, and understand the why behind that particular feeling, you will have more clarity for how to be happy. You will be more in control of your feelings and emotions and be on a clearer path toward self-understanding.

Finding Balance

Many people pursue goals that they expect will make them happy, but happiness isn’t always the end result. We all know people who have put everything they have into their careers—at the expense of their personal lives—only to wonder why they’re successful and still unhappy.

It’s also all too common for people to be surrounded by a beautiful home, expensive cars, designer clothes (and sometimes mounds of debt) and still have less personal satisfaction with life than they had without all the “stuff.” So how can you know which goals will garner personal happiness and which won’t?

In order to make yourself happy, you need to find balance. A good job and financial stability can be important for happiness, but you must also balance those things with other factors that promote happiness including your health, your relationships, and other meaningful pursuits.

As you set your goals, remember all of the areas of life that are important to you. Map out a detailed description of how you would like your whole life to look, or set goals and develop healthy habits for a different area of your life each month.

Daily Happiness Habits

While it is important to pursue long-term solutions to promote your happiness, there are also small things you can do that can make you happier in the present moment. Some of these include:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Research suggests that feeling a greater sense of gratitude may also promote more feelings of happiness. In one study, participants wrote a daily gratitude list for 14 days and later showed higher levels of positive feeling, greater subjective happiness, and an increase life satisfaction.
  • Go for a walk. Research has shown that walking can be a great way to boost mood. Exercise itself can have a positive impact on mood and mental well-being, but you can maximize the impact by going for a stroll outdoors if possible. Physical movement, spending time in nature, and getting some exposure to sunlight can all be great ways to boost your feelings of happiness in the present moment.
  • Seek wonder. Studies have found that people who experience a sense of awe tend to have lower stress and greater feelings of satisfaction. You can increase your chances of having awe-inspiring peak experiences by staying curious about the world around you. Work on learning new things, pay attention to your environment, and focus on living in the moment.

If you are struggling to find happiness and coping with feelings of low mood, consider talking to your doctor or mental health professional. Feelings of unhappiness may be a symptom of depression. Talking to a professional can help you get the treatment you need to feel better, which may involve psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.