May 11, 2023
Happiness. It’s the term thrown around more often than any other term when people are asked what they are looking for in life. A loving partner, a fun high-paying job and endless world travel are also amongst some of the most common answers, however all of these are preference-based means to the one ultimate end, which is happiness.
Being so sought-after, I have been doing some research into the topic and as a result created a list of common traits that seem to be found in happy people -and I’m talking about the genuinely happy people, and not just those who appear to be so on the surface.
What has been interesting as well is that the quest for happiness does not change as we age but the focus on what makes us happy does. Perhaps this is because we constantly move the target or that we simply don’t know how to be in the now.
Whatever the reason, one of the many things I have learnt in life is that whilst we never ‘ask’ for what life gives us, we do always have a choice as to how we respond and when we are able to respond not react to what is, we find we also find we have less of a need to ‘manage’ how we feel. It is here we start to find the ‘nirvana’ of peace in a way that does not avoid or dismiss the uncomfortable bits but equally knows that our mindset is incredibly powerful and also free. So when we tap into our emotions in a way that empowers us we accept it all but we become less likely to be overcome with it all.
Go to our website and find our top tips on what makes happy people and also a questionnaire we have put together to test just happy you are right now:
By compiling this list I’m not suggesting that these are the only keys to happiness, I’m simply shedding light on some common characteristics I’ve come to find.
1. Love Themselves For Who They Are
On the surface this may sound incredibly egotistical, but by it I simply mean that they are truly comfortable in their own shoes. They accept and embrace themselves physically, they maintain their true character traits regardless of whether or not they receive approval and they work to make the best of the human experience they are living -rather than wallow in what others would define as weaknesses or shortcomings.
2. See Relationships As An Extension To, Rather Than The Basis Of The Human Experience
Relationships, whether friendly, familial or romantic, are certainly one of the greatest parts of the human experience. However, far too many of us let their presence or absence, and even more so the value we attribute to them dictate our overall happiness in life. I’ve found that genuinely happy people tend to find complete contentment within themselves, and see all relationships as the awesome extension to their self-content. It’s often when we are not looking for others to fill a particular void, or to make us feel a certain way, that most of the truest and most-valuable relationships are formed.
3. Embrace Change
Life is a constant lesson and happy people tend to be well-aware of that. Not only are they always open to change, but they truly listen to suggestions, respect and consider all opinions and take criticism constructively rather than offensively.
4. Celebrate Rather Than Compare Themselves To The Accomplishments Of Others
Jealousy is a killer, and as Gary Allan once said, “You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” We are all capable of accomplishing anything in this life and are the only ones that are going to find the drive within ourselves to do it. Rather than observe and compare to those who have accomplished, the truly happy tend to celebrate it and use it as motivation to accomplish things within their own lives.
5. Never Dwell In Being A Victim
We’ve all been the so-called ‘victim’ to several things in life. Whether it be an unexpected break-up, getting fired from a job, or even something as serious as the recipient of domestic abuse. Truly happy people tend to be those who choose not to dwell in it. They choose to let the victimization strengthen them, rather than wear it as a badge of weakness or as the thing that makes them consistently worthy of receiving sympathy. That does not mean these people brain wash themselves because on the contrary they feel it all ! They simply choose not to let what happens define them.
6. They Live In The Present
As fun as reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can be, nothing will ever be done in anything but the present and happy people tend to realize that. Not only do they realize it, but they tend to use it as motivation to make the most of it. In addition to being motivating, presence can also come in handy for truly appreciating those moments of relaxation, allowing yourself to be truly in them, rather than projecting future concerns into them.
7. Trust That Everything Happens For A Reason
This can very easily be paired with the choice to not be a victim, but happy people tend to trust the process and existence of everything in their life. They know that nothing is ever too big to handle and choose to embrace what life is currently throwing at them rather than cowering at the sight of it.
8. They Don’t Let Money Dictate Their Lives
Nobody is denying that in this world right now we all need money to exist, and as a result many of us spend the bulk of our lives doing things that help us earn it. What I’ve found to differentiate happy people is that they don’t let money be the ultimate dictator in their life. They still make sensible choices within their means, but they never let money: A) prevent them from pursuing a so-called “risky” passion, B) be the factor that is blamed for why their life is so miserable, C) complain about how little they have. There are creative ways to do everything in this world, and seeing money as only being possible to make in the standard ways is the most crippling thing to that creativity.
9. Look Within For Solutions
One of the most powerful realizations a genuinely happy person will often operate based on is “change starts within.” The empowerment that comes as a result of not only realizing this but even more so in using it as the backbone to everything in life can be quite remarkable. There are thousands of books, mantras, techniques and practices out there that can all help us to find solutions to so many things in life, but they all require one thing to truly be serviceable: the consciousness to support them.
All humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation — over-learning from the dangerous or hurtful situations we encounter through life (bullying, trauma, betrayal) helps us avoid them in the future and react quickly in a crisis.
But that means you have to work a little harder to train your brain to conquer negative thoughts. Here’s how:
Don’t try to stop negative thoughts. Telling yourself “I have to stop thinking about this,” only makes you think about it more. Instead, own your worries. When you are in a negative cycle, acknowledge it. “I’m worrying about money.” “I’m obsessing about problems at work.”
Treat yourself like a friend. When you are feeling negative about yourself, ask yourself what advice would you give a friend who was down on herself. Now try to apply that advice to you.
Challenge your negative thoughts. Socratic questioning is the process of challenging and changing irrational thoughts. Studies show that this method can reduce depression symptoms. The goal is to get you from a negative mindset (“I’m a failure.”) to a more positive one (“I’ve had a lot of success in my career. This is just one setback that doesn’t reflect on me. I can learn from it and be better.”) Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself to challenge negative thinking.
First, write down your negative thought, such as “I’m having problems at work and am questioning my abilities.”
The bottom line: Negative thinking happens to all of us, but if we recognize it and challenge that thinking, we are taking a big step toward a happier life.
Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.
Rewrite Your Story
Writing about oneself and personal experiences — and then rewriting your story — can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness. (We already know that expressive writing can improve mood disorder and help reduce symptoms for cancer patients among other health benefits.)
Some research suggests that writing in a personal journal for 15 minutes a day can lead to a boost in overall happiness and well-being, in part because it allows us to express our emotions, be mindful of our circumstances and resolve inner conflicts. Or you can take the next step and focus on one particular challenge you face, and write and rewrite that story.
We all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it right. By writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of our personal well-being. The process is similar to Socratic questioning (referenced above). Here’s a writing exercise:
Numerous studies show that writing and rewriting your story can move you out of your negative mindset and into a more positive view of life. “The idea here is getting people to come to terms with who they are, where they want to go,” said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at the University of Texas who has pioneered much of the research on expressive writing. “I think of expressive writing as a life course correction.”
When people get up and move, even a little, they tend to be happier than when they are still. A study that tracked movement and moods of cellphone users found that people reported the most happiness if they had been moving in the past 15 minutes than when they had been sitting or lying down. Most of the time it wasn’t rigorous activity but just gentle walking that left them in a good mood. Of course, we don’t know if moving makes you happy or if happy people just move more, but we do know that more activity goes hand-in-hand with better health and greater happiness.
Optimism is part genetic, part learned. Even if you were born into a family of gloomy Guses, you can still find your inner ray of sunshine. Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of a dire situation. After a job loss, for instance, many people may feel defeated and think, “I’ll never recover from this.” An optimist would acknowledge the challenge in a more hopeful way, saying, “This is going to be difficult, but it’s a chance to rethink my life goals and find work that truly makes me happy.”
And thinking positive thoughts and surrounding yourself with positive people really does help. Optimism, like pessimism, can be infectious. So make a point to hang out with optimistic people.
SO HOW HAPPY ARE YOU TODAY ?
Often people measure happiness against external things like your job career, money etc however to be really happy it has to come from within. The reason for this is that if you can be happy for no reason then you will find so much more of your life will work effortlessly. True happiness is not bought or found it is from inside you and this comes after accepting yourself warts and all.
There is no time limit to being happy but the quicker you find it the quicker you can really start enjoying life. Try our quick quiz to see how happy you are for no reason:
As you answer these questions, think about how they apply to you in general.
Rate each statement on a scale of 1 to 5:
1 = Not at all true
2 = Slightly True
3 = Moderately True
4 = Mostly True
5 = Absolutely True
I often feel happy and satisfied for no particular reason.
1 2 3 4 5
I live in the moment.
1 2 3 4 5
I feel alive, vital and energetic.
1 2 3 4 5
Life is a great adventure for me.
1 2 3 4 5
I don’t let bad situations keep me down.
1 2 3 4 5
I am enthusiastic about the things I do.
1 2 3 4 5
I look for the gift or the lesson in everything that happens.
1 2 3 4 5
I am able to let go and forgive
1 2 3 4 5
I like myself
1 2 3 4 5
I look for the good in others
1 2 3 4 5
I change the things I can and accept the things I can’t change.
1 2 3 4 5
I surround myself with people who make me feel good about myself
1 2 3 4 5
I don’t blame others or complain.
1 2 3 4 5
I feel a general sense of gratitude.
1 2 3 4 5
I feel inspired by a sense of purpose in my life.
1 2 3 4 5
If your score is 80 – 100: To a great degree, you are Happy for No Reason.
If your score is 60 – 79: You have a good measure of being Happy for No Reason.
If your score is 40 – 59: You have glimpses of being Happy for No Reason.
If your score is under 40: You have little experience of being Happy for No Reason.
Whatever your score you can find peace and happiness in your life – be open to it and you will be amazed at how quickly it starts happening