Popular fiction would have use believe happiness is a reward we get for achieving our goals in life. That it’s a light at the end of the tunnel. That it comes later.
Popular fiction is wrong.
Happiness is actually a foundation, not a result, of a good life. Rather than the result of any major accomplishment, happiness is the product of a lot of little habits that you follow, day in and day out. Here are 20 of the habits that some of the happiest people in the world use to live a good life.
Wish someone the best. At least once a day, look at a random stranger and think to yourself “I hope they’re happy.” Better yet, do this to two strangers, several times a day.
Sleep in a completely dark room. Remove all sources of light. Cover the windows with blackout curtains. Wear a sleep mask.
Go walking. Take a walk in the sun for at least 20 minutes, twice a day.
Drink more water. A lot more. Most people suffer from low energy and brain fog due to chronic dehydration. Have a glass of water roughly every two hours.
Eat more slowly. Take the time to savor each bite. Finish your meal in thirds, pausing a few minutes between each third. Be mindful of everything you eat. If you’re with others, spend more time talking with them during the meal.
Keep in touch. Once a week, call or write a message to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time.
Meditate for two minutes a day. Sit in a comfortable chair, lean back and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing for two minutes. That’s it.
Count your blessings. Every day, take a minute to think about all the ways in which you’ve been lucky in life.
Surround yourself with other happy people. Happiness is contagious. So is misery.
Goof off once in a while. Sing a silly song. Play a game. Allow yourself to stop being serious for a few minutes.
Cultivate resilience. Internalize the belief that failure is not the end, and adversity is an opportunity to grow stronger.
Try to be happy. According to two recent studies, simply making an effort to feel happier can be surprisingly effective.
Look for the good in others. You can almost always find a reason to like someone, or dislike them ― which one you look for is up to you.
Volunteer. No matter how busy you are, find some way to help others.
Deepen your conversations. It’s perfectly fine to start with small talk, but when you talk to people, try to move deeper and discuss the things that each of you feel truly passionate about.
Listen. Focus entirely on what the other person is saying to you. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Don’t change the subject. Don’t interrupt them in a misguided attempt to “actively listen.” Just listen.
Visit people in person. Facebook will only take you so far ― meet up and have en evening out with your friends.
Listen to music. There’s no right or wrong kind ― just listen to music you enjoy.
Exercise. Walking is a good start, but it’s not enough. Exercise hard enough to tire yourself out several times a week.
Stand up straight. Miserable people have a certain look to them. So do happy, confident people. Stand and walk like someone who feels on top of the world.
That’s a lot of habits to follow, so work on just two or three at a time. If you want to learn how to build good habit and make them stick ― or break bad habits ― read The Habit Change Cheat Sheet to learn the five best techniques for changing a habit. Click here to get The Habit Change Cheat Sheet now.