Your Best Behavior: 15 Habits for Happiness

Happiness and your habits are very personal. What happiness looks like for you is your choice, but there are some steps you can take that may be helpful for you to boost joy and feel more content. By trying to choose happiness, you may be able to strengthen your outlook, energy, productivity, and physical and mental health.

If you are experiencing a mental health concern, please reach out. Advice and help from license mental health professionals are available at BetterHelp.

Habits for Happiness

15 Habits for Happiness

Studies show that thoughts and behaviors are significant factors in achieving happiness. By learning how to regularly engage in more positive thoughts and behaviors, you may be able to increase and maintain your happiness. Try these tips to make happiness a habit:

  1. Regularly practice gratitude. Gratitude—feeling thankful for even the smallest things in life—can help us feel more positive and strengthen a sense of well-being and hope. You can try being specific about what you’re grateful for by naming it or writing it down. Keeping a gratitude journal can be helpful and rewarding.
  2. Practice acts of kindness towards others. Giving someone else a compliment or offering them help can be a win-win. You can make someone else feel good and, at the same time, boost your own positive feelings.
  3. Recognize when you’re unhappy or stressed and then work on coping. You might brainstorm ways to resolve what’s bothering you and then take action. If it’s something you can’t control, you can practice acceptance and then try to move forward by doing something that will help you feel better, like talking to someone, taking a walk, or listening to music.
  4. Let go of grudges. Being upset with someone else can cause negative feelings that can linger. By getting go of grudges—either by reconciling or by moving on and detaching from the relationship—you can make more room for happiness.
  5. Eat a nutritious diet. What you eat can affect your feelings of well-being. Try to eat complex carbohydrates, like whole grains and beans, to avoid the “sugar crash”, including low mood and fatigue, that can come with eating simple carbs. Eating enough protein can help you with concentration and energy.
  6. Get enough sleep. Healthy sleep patterns can help with emotional regulation.
  7. Take a break from social media if you feel stressed or anxious during or after using it. Limiting social media use may ease stress.
  8. Connect with others. Social interactions and positive relationships can offer a sense of support and limit feelings of isolation.
  9. Declutter. A sense of calm can come from cutting the clutter and feeling at peace in a clean space.
  10. Focus on your strengths. Identifying and building on your strengths can be less frustrating and more productive than worrying about weaknesses.
  11. Believe in your power to make changes. Try to have confidence in your ability to make positive changes, including those that will make you happier.
  12. Live in the moment. Focus on the good that is happening in the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
  13. Identify what makes you happy. Pay attention to when you feel happy. Once you’re aware of what actually makes you feel happy (as opposed to what you imagine or dream will make you happy), you’ll have powerful knowledge to create your own happiness.
  14. Identify and interrupt negative thinking. Try to recognize when you’re in a negative thought cycle and then try to break the cycle by challenging your negative thoughts. Consider whether you’re overgeneralizing your negative thought or whether you’re keeping it in perspective and being realistic about it.
  15. Find a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose can come from relationships and from doing what you value, what energizes you, and what makes you proud of yourself.
    Research shows that the happiest people are grateful for what they have, have strong relationships, are optimistic, and have a sense of purpose. By taking proactive steps, even small ones, you can cultivate your own happiness habits.

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