“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Llama XIV
Truly happy people are out there, and we all know a few.
I have a friend who is so happy she doesn’t walk into a room—she skips. She’s 45 years old.
What is it about those of us who just exude good vibes and smiles despite our common puzzles and problems in life? How do we manage to maintain our happiness underneath the stresses of juggling our families, jobs, and personal stuff? Underneath the disappointments and challenges we all face?
Experts like to tell us that happiness is a consciously made choice. We can choose to live in the moment, look for silver linings, let our stresses go, and simply let life be. But what is the secret to actively making this choice?
For some of us, it’s natural. For others, it requires mindful work. So, what are the 10 things happy people do?
We express ourselves. We are not afraid of speaking up, and we do it respectfully. We are not worried about losing friends, or ruffling feathers, or making sure everyone else agrees. We say what we mean, and we mean what we say. Happy people have conviction. We have no problem sharing ideas, opinions, or tidbits of wisdom gleaned from our life, but we are careful not to push any of it onto anyone. We laugh (and cry!) often. We are grateful, and we express our gratitude as often as possible. We release our emotions into the world, and it keeps us healthy.
We like to try new things. Or, at least we don’t let our hesitations prevent us from trying. We cultivate a curious spirit, and we’re not afraid of looking or feeling “silly” in our quest to find new fun things to do and feel in life. New things wake us up, and make us feel alive! We do not shy away from meeting new people or discovering new places. In other words, traveling outside comfort zones is more exciting than stressful. It is a blessing instead of a chore.
We are true to our word. Happy people keep promises and rarely cancel plans. We do what we say we’re going to do. Also, if you tell us a secret, and you make us promise not to tell, we will keep that secret come hell or high water as long as it’s not hurting you. We are loyal to the core and our word is everything.
We exercise. And we don’t make excuses. We get our life juices flowing as much as possible. Exercise is something we don’t skip. Doing physical things outside (and inside too, of course) changes our body chemistry and makes our mind feel good. When we feel good by way of regular exercise, we gain more energy to be rational and yes, happy, throughout our day.
We believe in miracles and magic. We are open to vast and wondrous possibility in all things. “What if?” is a question we like to ask. What if there is more out there? What if we did it this way? What if I tried that? Having an open mind opens the door to paths less traveled. We remain open to the unusual, and that can be a great source of unexpected delight.
We let love in. We work at love, we accept it when it’s offered, and subsequently, we are not dissatisfied in our relationships. We strive to be the givers, to be compassionate, and we compromise quickly. Love works when it’s selflessly given. If we feed, water, and walk the humans we love the same way we do our pets, our given love boomerangs back to us without manipulation. We see love for what it is, a glorious and miraculously divine thing that is important to honor.
We prioritize self-care. We feed, water, and walk ourselves too! Self-care is simply self-love and respect for our lives, and it’s one of the most important ways we can preserve our own happiness. We watch what we eat, we refrain from smoking and taking drugs, and we partake in alcoholic libations moderately. We live and we have fun, but we don’t overdo it.
We say no. If it’s something that will not make us happy or fulfill our spirit in any way, we say no, and it’s easy for us to do it. In plain and simple terms, we’re not afraid of being left out. We’re not overly worried about disappointing friends, and while we strive to stay connected and plugged into our social network of events and happenings, we also know that disconnecting and unplugging is one of the ways we remain happy and not over-charged. Being over-charged leads to the kind of stress that prevents our happiness.
We sleep. We don’t stay up past our bedtimes doing nothing. We don’t putz around the house. We sleep. We stick to a sleep routine because sleep makes us better people the next day. We don’t push ourselves and play catch up. We simply sleep, because it’s what our happy bodies and minds need.
We don’t mind being alone. For happy people, being alone isn’t lonely. Being by ourselves, lost in our private thoughts and ambitions is a blessing when we have enough sustained friendship and human connection in our lives. As a runner, I feel this way. Sometimes I’m out on the road by myself for lengthy periods of time, and yet being alone doesn’t bother me because it’s my thinking time. It’s my time to just be with me. Going mindfully inward is part of what makes me happy. It helps me absorb and process all of the socializing and togetherness I have with my friends and family.
If you are seeking happiness, why not try to incorporate some of these things into your day?
After all, happy is what happy does!
Author: Kimberly Valzania
Image: K. Kendall/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina