How to be happy: A wellness guide that makes you think about life.

Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

Regardless of what the situation is, some people choose to be happy and others find it difficult to pursue it.

Happiness is a wonderful thing. It comes in so many different forms, such as when we receive a pay rise at work, when we finally find a parking space after circling for 30 minutes, or even when our friends invite us over for dinner and drinks.

And according to science, it’s not only good for the soul; being happy has been proven to have numerous health benefits.

So How to be happy? If you are wondering what steps you should take to get there, I’ve come up with a simple guide that will help you live the life you’ve dreamed of.

Related Resource: A complete guide to calm down anxiety and relax your mind all the time.

What is happiness?

Happiness is an emotional state that we all strive to achieve, but what exactly is it? According to the “musical model”, happiness is a positive emotion that accompanies upward progress toward your goals.

You feel happy when you are working hard and making progress. A great feeling of satisfaction comes from achieving something you’ve been working for.

People often confuse happiness with pleasure or excitement, which are two different things.

Pleasure is the enjoyment of sensory or sensual delights, like eating a delicious meal.

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Excitement is an exhilarating emotion often caused by novelty or risk-taking and can be equally enjoyable in the moment.

Sometimes they are part of happiness, but they don’t last long-term because they aren’t sustainable feelings that come from accomplishment.

Happiness can best be described as meaningful pleasure; it’s lasting because it’s experienced within a larger context that gives life meaning: your overarching life narrative, your relationships with other people, and your purpose in the world.

Why is happiness important?

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s not necessary for all people to be happy, but it is definitely important for you to be. Happiness is your birthright as a human being and whether you’re just starting out in life or are well underway, it’s never too late to be happier.

Why is happiness important? Because when you’re happy, everything around you improves; even if the world doesn’t change, your perception changes and that makes a huge difference!

Being happy can help you live longer. Studies show that people who are happy are less likely to develop heart disease or other chronic health problems than those who are unhappy. If we’ve yet to convince you please read on.

Is happiness a choice?

Is happiness a choice? It’s a question that has been around for as long as humans have existed, and one that still occupies the minds of philosophers, scientists, and thinkers all over the world.

According to Dr. Nansook Park and Dr. Christopher Peterson at the University of Michigan, happiness is indeed a choice — and now they know why.

In 2003, the two psychologists conducted a study on the role that genetics plays in your level of happiness. They surveyed nearly 1,000 people between the ages of 21 and 79 and asked them about their life satisfaction.

According to their research subjects’ answers, it was clear that some people are naturally happier than others; however, these differences were due not only to each individual’s genetic makeup but also to his or her personal choices and actions.

How to be happy?

In order to learn how to be happy, it is essential that one first understands what happiness is. As noted by the acclaimed philosopher, Aristotle, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life.”

Upon further investigation, however, it becomes apparent that many people have different ideas about what happiness means. 

To some, it may mean being in love or having everything they want in life. To others, it might mean having a lot of money or power. Still, others may believe that happiness can be achieved through finding their purpose in life or helping others find theirs.

What these divergent perspectives on happiness share in common are the theme of self-actualization: becoming the person you were meant to be and living your best possible life.

In this sense, then we might assert that being happy can also be described as being at peace with yourself and your place in the world because you are fulfilling your true potential as a human being.

There are some practical and simple ways to be happy in life.

  • Take responsibility for your own happiness.
  • Be true to yourself and be honest about who you are.
  • Keep learning, challenge yourself and grow as an individual.
  • Be grateful for what you have in life – feeling grateful is one of the keys to happiness.
  • Embrace change – instead of running away from it, look at change as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
  • Find what gives you meaning and purpose in life – know what makes you happy, feel passionate about it and make sure that it is a part of your life on a daily basis (whatever that may be).
  • Practice compassion toward others (and toward yourself) and lead with kindness – we often feel happier when we think about others but not so much when we focus only on ourselves so try to think about others more often than just yourself!

15 Ways to be happy

1. Forgive yourself – Use past mistakes to strengthen you

When you forgive yourself, it helps to use past mistakes to strengthen you. Past mistakes can be used in your favor. If you made a mistake, learn from it and stop doing what makes you unhappy.

If you are depressed, try not to beat yourself up about it. Depression is not caused by laziness or lack of willpower. It’s a strong feeling that prevents people from functioning properly, and it’s a natural human emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their life. 

Everyone has moments where they feel hopeless or sad, but there are ways in which we can cope with depression and become happier again.

Embrace the feeling of being depressed as it will make them easier to deal with. 

The reason why so many people are depressed is that they think that only certain people get depressed and that it’s shameful for someone like them (i.e., smart/pretty/successful) to have such an upsetting problem like depression in their lives – which isn’t true at all!

Forgiving yourself is a powerful thing. In order to be happy, you need to accept the things you’ve done and help them make you stronger. Here are some steps:

  • Take a look at your past mistakes and decide which ones are holding you back.
  • Write down how the mistake has affected your life and the way you feel about it.
  • Think about how that mistake has helped shape who you are today.
  • The next time something upsetting happens, think of what lesson it could hold for you in the future.

2. Do not try to change people who are not interested

If you are constantly trying to change people who are not interested in getting better or changing, you will get more and more frustrated. 

Do not take on a challenging project if you know that it is hopeless. If someone else (like your boss) is making you work on an impossible project, try to remove yourself from the situation somehow. 

But do not continue working on a hopeless task because you feel sorry for the other person. It will only make both of you miserable.

You can ask the person very bluntly if they want to improve or change their situation in any way. If they say no, then trying to drag them towards progress will be a lost cause and it will only frustrate everybody involved – especially yourself. 

For example, if your best friend likes drinking alcohol every single day and he or she does not care about their health or about any negative consequences that may arise from alcohol abuse.

Let them drink until they die of liver failure – but do not try to convince them otherwise because it is a waste of time and energy. 

Your best friend must want to stop drinking before anything can be done about it!

  • When we focus on other people’s faults or weaknesses, it is very easy to lose self-control and become angry.
  • No matter how much you try to change them, there will always be something that upsets you.
  • Whenever you feel tempted to criticize someone else, take a moment to analyze the situation and ask yourself:

“Will criticizing this person help? Or will it only make things worse?”

If we really want our words to make a positive difference in other people’s lives, then maybe it is time to start trying a new approach.

Try being more positive and encouraging with your words. If we can do this as often as possible, then we are sure to see many more smiles around us.

3. Spend a lot of time with loved one value it

You can spend a lot of time with your loved ones, communicate with them, and try to understand them.

It can be the best way to strengthen your relationship. Also, you can be supportive of your loved ones when they are having a bad day or through difficult times. This is where you should value it.

You should also focus on the good things in your life and be kind to others. You should connect with your spiritual side by joining a church or learning more about Buddhism. 

It will help you relieve stress and feel like you have purpose in life. You should do things that make you happy, like playing sports or reading books about philosophy or religion

4. Exercise daily it is proven mood booster

Exercise is a proven mood booster. It also helps you sleep better (which is a mood booster, too). It’s also been shown to help people deal with depression and anxiety. 

You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from it—you can start slowly, doing something as simple as walking outside or dancing in your living room. If you haven’t exercised in a while, talk with your doctor about how to start a program.

If you enjoy the outdoors, do some gardening or walk with friends.

If you prefer indoor exercises such as yoga or Pilates, join a class where other people are doing it—the social aspect will help your mood and motivate you to keep at it.

5. Practice gratitude and generosity every single day

Practicing gratitude and generosity is an essential step in learning to be happy. Although it may seem counterintuitive at first, thinking about what you do have and giving generously to others is a wonderful way to increase your own happiness.

When we recognize that we have things that other people don’t — a job, a car, nice clothes or shoes — we realize how fortunate we are.

We can also appreciate the time that we spend with our loved ones. That time is precious and something that was once taken for granted can now be recognized as a gift.

You might also feel more inclined toward generosity when you recognize the good in yourself: helping others by volunteering your time or sharing your skills will make you happier than buying more things for yourself will. 

When you give of yourself in this way, whether it be through money, food donations or even just listening to someone who needs help, you are practicing kindness- both toward others but also toward yourself.

When you listen to your inner voice telling you to reach out and help someone else in some small way every single day, everyone benefits!

6. Try to take action: Procrastination can cause anxiety and stress

Procrastination is a common habit that can stress us all out. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently cited causes of stress. 

Because procrastination often involves tasks or activities that are really important and need to be addressed or are meaningful and enjoyable—but which we keep putting off anyway.

There is almost always a sense of guilt involved, particularly when the things left undone call our own competence into question.

It doesn’t need to be this way! We can all learn how to overcome procrastination, and gain control over our lives.

7. Accept yourself

The next step is to accept yourself. You’re a unique and wonderful person who deserves to be happy, and what you think of yourself is much more important than other people’s perceptions of you. 

The only way to feel truly fulfilled and content with who you are is by accepting yourself for who you are and not for how others want you to be. We all have flaws; we all make mistakes! 

You can’t change the past, so the best thing you can do is accept your experiences as part of your development, learn from them, and move on.

If there are certain things about yourself that really bother or upset you, it’s okay to work on improving those things; but don’t change yourself just because people tell you to do so or because they make fun of you.

When it comes down to it, happiness comes from within. If you go through life trying hard to please everyone else without learning how to love yourself first, then happiness will never come easy

8. Cultivate a nonjudgmental attitude

It is indeed a very hard thing to do, but if you want to be happy, then you have to learn how to forgive. Why?

Because forgiveness will help you understand that holding on to grudges and negative feelings will only hurt you. It’s not worth the energy. Life is too short for these things anyway.

Try learning about Buddhism (especially about the teachings of Buddha).

This way, you can learn how to accept yourself and others more rather than have prejudices against them or judge people for their beliefs and actions. 

Meditation also helps in letting go of your negative emotions, like anger, hatred, and prejudice.

In fact, meditating regularly can help you practice acceptance of others better since it teaches us not to attach ourselves to their thoughts and feelings which we cannot control anyway.

9. Smile more often

First, it’s a universal language. Even if you don’t speak the same language as the person you are smiling at, they will smile back at you and you will both feel good.

Second, it makes you look good.

Everyone loves a good smile! When people see your smile, they automatically know that you are approachable and friendly. People think of your smile as an invitation to talk with you and get to know more about you.

Third, it helps brighten up the day of those around you.

You should always be happy because when other people see that you are happy, they also become happy themselves.

Research shows that smiling can actually reduce stress in yourself and others; so don’t forget to flash those pearly whites once in a while.

10. Go get some sun

Exposure to sunlight is good for your health. Sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which strengthens bones and boosts your immune system. It also can lift spirits and reduce depression.

When it comes to getting a better night’s sleep, sunlight also plays an important role. Your body relies on light and darkness to regulate the internal clock that tells you when it’s time to wake up and go to sleep. 

When you spend too much time indoors, the brain doesn’t receive enough light stimulation from the environment in order to trigger alertness during the day, or melatonin production at night.

Sunlight has another important benefit for sleep: It helps reinforce healthy circadian rhythms (your body’s 24-hour cycle). 

In other words, spending time in the sun each day will help keep your hormones balanced so that you feel tired at night and awake during the day—instead of vice versa!

So how much sun exposure is enough? The answer depends on several factors such as skin type, where you live, the season of the year, and time of day (the periods before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. are ideal), but 5-10 minutes a few times a week should be sufficient

11. Disconnect and spend time in nature to reflect on yourself

You should disconnect from the noise and spend some time in nature. Look around and appreciate the beauty of nature, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. Reflect on yourself, your life, and everything you are grateful for. 

Think about your goals, dreams, and plans. Think about what you are doing right and what you need to improve on.

Taking some time to think about how far you have come in life, looking at where you want to go next, thinking about which direction you want to take your life in next, and spending time out in nature will help reconnect with yourself.

It will remind me of that person who was born free-spirited. So full of hope for the future before society took that away from them.

12. Do what makes you happy

No matter how unrealistic your dreams may seem to some, do not let that stop you.

Do not let other people’s opinions of you influence the person they want you to be and distract you from who you want to be.  The opinions of others should not dictate the life you live, so long as it is a good life.

Be confident in your abilities and put them to use no matter what others might say. Do not let fear of failure or fear of success stop you from achieving things that make you happy. Do what makes you happy.

While this may seem like an obvious step, many people overlook their own happiness in favor of others’. 

Do not be afraid to go after your dreams; do not let other people’s opinions of you distract you; do not let fear of failure stop you, and do not let a fear of success stop you either. Knowing that your actions reflect who you are is key to feeling happy. 

Once you get into a routine, it will feel unnatural if something comes along to shake it up, but change is typically for the best

13. Learn to be quiet and make peace with yourself.

You can’t expect to find happiness if you don’t know who you are, what you want, and what makes you happy.

Take time each day to get to know yourself better by looking deep inside your soul and asking some tough questions:

What do I really want out of life? 

What am I doing that doesn’t make me happy? 

What do I wish I was doing more of? 

Meditation is great for this. It isn’t as intimidating as it may sound—it simply means making a concerted effort to focus on the present moment while silencing the constant chatter in your mind.

There are many different types of meditation, so try a few until you find one that works for you (or check out an app). These moments of self-reflection will help bring clarity into your life.

14. Maintain a healthy diet

It is also critical to maintaining a healthy diet. Here are some tips:

1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in these foods help fight depression and anxiety, boost the immune system, improve overall health, and make you feel better about yourself.

2. Aim for a healthy breakfast that includes fruits or vegetables. If you don’t have time to prepare your morning meal, grab an apple or orange for an on-the-go treat that will provide many health benefits.

Studies show that eating breakfast can improve mood and cognitive function by helping you start your day off right with the nutrients your body needs to function properly.

3. Eat a healthy snack between meals if you get hungry before lunchtime or dinnertime—it gives your body the fuel it needs, but doesn’t make you feel full like a big meal would do at those times of day!

If possible, avoid eating fast food or junk food because they are high in fat which can cause weight gain; instead, try eating more fruits and vegetables which will provide vitamins A & C along with fiber. 

It may seem like an inconvenience now but once people realize how much better their lives become when they stop eating these things – it won’t seem like such an ordeal anymore! We all want what’s best for our bodies so let’s give them just that!

15. Balance is the key

Balance is the key to success. So is happiness. Be mindful of maintaining equilibrium through all aspects of your life: work, family, relationships, health, and recreation.

If you overindulge in one area—like your job—it’s difficult to be successful or happy in other areas like relationships and personal health.

By focusing on achieving balance in your life, you’ll reap the rewards of being more effective and efficient in business; less stressed out; and more compassionate towards yourself and others.

How to be happy as per psychology?

There is no particular way to be happy as per psychology, It is all about changing your outlook on life. You want your mind to be constantly thinking in a positive direction and not always looking at the negatives in life. 

There are many things in this world that are out of our control, so instead of dwelling on those things and wallowing in self-pity we need to change our thinking and focus on what we can do instead of what we cannot do. 

This type of thinking will help you deal with life’s daily challenges that we all have to face each day.

  • It is easy to be happy if we know how to do it.
  • We consciously activate 4 happiness hormones: endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. This is what makes us feel good and happy.
  • Endorphins make you feel good after a workout – like a runner’s high that many of us experience when running.
  • Dopamine gives you a sense of achievement when you have achieved something or succeeded at something you’ve been working towards for a long time.
  • Serotonin boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem along with making you feel important and valued. When we get attention from others, for example, praise from our boss or teacher we release serotonin in our brains.
  • Oxytocin makes us warm and fuzzy on the inside; this hormone helps create trust between people in relationships such as friendships, romantic relationships etc.

4 Happy Hormones and ways to activate them to be happy

Dopamine  – The reward chemical

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine helps us feel motivated to complete tasks, motivates us to learn new things, and gives us a sense of pleasure when we accomplish goals. 

Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. 

Dopamine deficiency can cause a host of symptoms, from fatigue to cognitive problems. Thankfully, there are dopamine-releasing foods that can help you feel more alert and focused.

Dopamine is naturally produced in some foods — especially those containing protein. 

Foods high in tyrosine (an amino acid) are turned into dopamine by your body. You’ll find tyrosine in many protein-rich foods, including fish, poultry, eggs, avocados, almonds, bananas, milk, and yogurt. 

Phenylalanine is an amino acid found naturally in breast milk — this explains why nursing infants often appear so focused! You’ll also find phenylalanine in most dairy products as well as soy beans and soy products such as tofu or edamame (soybeans).

Dopamine deficiency can lead to a lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behavior cognitive issues and memory loss.

Common symptoms of low dopamine include depression and addiction; other deficiencies include Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. 

Low dopamine activity can be caused by chronic stress or hypertension that damages neurons in the areas responsible for producing dopamine in the brain. Luckily there are foods that will help you release more natural levels of this vital chemical!

Oxytocin – The love hormone

Oxytocin is a neurohormone produced in the hypothalamus, where it is stored and released into the blood by the posterior pituitary gland. Oxytocin is secreted when you experience feelings of love, empathy, and compassion. It promotes social attachment, trust between individuals, mother-child bonding and more.

If you’re wondering how to increase oxytocin levels naturally, here are some ways:

  • Encourage touch through hugging, cuddling or massage (a great way to do this with your partner if you’re spending more time at home).
  • Give compliments or express gratitude for someone’s help or support.
  • Spend time with loved ones instead of limiting yourself to virtual interactions only.
  • Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy meals full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

While it’s possible that too much oxytocin can produce undesirable side effects such as anxiety and stress responses in certain people who have an adverse reaction to high amounts of this hormone, the overwhelming benefits make oxytocin a powerful tool for mood elevation during times of stress or isolation.

Serotonin – The mood stabilizer

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, social behavior, sleep, and appetite. It’s known as the happy chemical: it creates feelings of well-being and happiness.

Serotonin is produced from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) by your body and is found in your brain and intestines. Tryptophan is found in foods like pork, beef, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds and eggs.

You can increase serotonin levels if you exercise more often; sunlight also boosts levels

It’s released with the help of the B vitamin folate (vitamin B9) as well as vitamin B12. Carbohydrates can also play a role by increasing insulin levels to move tryptophan into the brain.

Serotonin leads to feelings of happiness and contentment while simultaneously reducing anxiety and agitation. There are many ways you can increase your levels naturally depending on your situation.

Try eating more carbs! Simple carbs like white bread will induce a spike in serotonin when consumed quickly followed by a crash that results in intense cravings for more carbs.

Going for complex carbs like whole grains will stabilize blood sugar and allow for a more sustainable serotonin release that keeps you full longer and eliminates those intense cravings for sweets and junk food!

Endorphin – The pain killer

Endorphin is known as the “happiness hormone”. Released during exercise, pain, sex, stress, and other fun things, endorphins act as natural painkillers that alleviate discomfort and make you feel good.

But how does this magic molecule work its wonders?

First of all, endorphin production starts in the pituitary gland (which also controls growth) and then makes its way to the frontal cortex of your brain.

It can be released into the bloodstream by your nervous system to release blocked energy and help you feel euphoric.

You might have heard it called the “runner’s high” but it isn’t just for runners.

You can get a dose of endorphins from a number of other activities: taking a cold shower or bath (not as unbearable as it sounds), laughing until your sides hurt, listening to music that moves you, playing with an animal or even hugging someone close to you. 

It’s possible to increase your daily intake of endorphins–just by doing more things that make you happy!

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Naveen Bommakanti

Naveen is Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry.

Naveen’s expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in thoughtcatalog, themindsjournal, elephantjournal, power of positivity, medium, substack and marc and angel to name a few.

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