If you want to know how to make yourself happy, check in with your day-to-day habits, patterns, preferences, activities, and choices. The slightest shift in another direction, one good-feeling thought, and a single moment of heightened awareness carries the potential to carry you into more joyous territory. Don’t discount the “little” things.
“I do not exist to impress the world. I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy.” – Richard Bach
Overall, I’d say I’m a pretty peaceful and positive person, and it’s not because I’ve always been that way. I don’t always do a superb job now, either, but I do my best and then I do my best to forgive whatever I did that wasn’t aligned with my best self.
Sometimes I throw a self-pity party, or just feel crippled by overwhelm and sadness, but I’ve grown more adept at lifting myself out of that place.
This is a master key to growing more adept at living a life that makes you happy: embracing progress over perfection.
Prioritizing the comeback with each setback is one example of opting for a better-feeling thought and staying with this awareness until another better-feeling thought becomes available to you. In other words, strengthen your preference for progress, and things shift, heartaches lighten, space is made.
I’ve come to understand that happiness is intentional, a human choice to embrace the divinity in ordinary life. By no means am I saying any “choice” is an easy one, just a conscious one. A choice isn’t always available to us depending on our state of consciousness, and therefore I believe it can be extremely challenging to “choose happiness;” I believe the potential is there, however.
There is hope, and this is my message.Happiness depends on the conscious preferences you energize every day, not once in a while. Click To Tweet
This positive to-do list is a snapshot of the things I try to do every day to intentionally make myself a happier human, and a soul more in touch with its truth. If you’d like to cultivate more happy habits, I invite you to pick one or two things on this list to focus on. Do your best, and forgive the rest.
Write these suggestions/cues down and put them on your fridge, keep them in your pocket, set reminders on your phone, or have a buddy to practice with—find what works for you and, most importantly, be patient with yourself along the way.
Please keep in mind that this list is a guide based on what works for me, and it’s meant to be flexible. Some days are easier than others. Some days challenge us more in one area, and we may have to focus on one “to-do” more than another.
Keep your head up, because the destination can only be accessed through the journey.
How to Make Yourself Happy: 17 “Little” Things I Practice Every Day
1. Let go of what I cannot control… because when I can’t change what’s happening to me, I must learn to change what’s happening inside me. Sometimes, surrendering is the most empowering thing I can do.
2. Be authentic, not perfect… because perfection is a trap that hinders my happiness and stifles my creativity. Authenticity is much more powerful than originality, and passion doesn’t require me to be perfect.
3. Loosen my grip on what isn’t serving my sense of peace and joy in the journey… instead of holding on to what’s energizing the pain, hardening the suffering.
4. Appreciate what I have… for I don’t need “more” to live a full life; I need “depth.” Plus, my gratitude now is responded to in kind by the universe, and I’m given more to be grateful for.
5. Appreciate who I am in this moment…. and trust that I’m exactly where I need to be on this journey, and I’m getting closer to who I really am and can be. The sincere trust in life is medicine for the human spirit.
6. Take conscious deep breaths… as often as possible. I remind myself to stop, be still, and inhale the moment whenever I feel stress creeping in. It connects me to the peace in the present, which happens to be the only place I can change my thoughts.
7. Honor my intuition… instead of ignoring and suppressing what feels right. My gut is a guide, and so are the emotions that I’m experiencing; nothing is on accident. Denying the wellspring of wisdom within isn’t harmonious with happiness, and would just cause any issues to come out sideways in the future. Sometimes this means saying “no” to what doesn’t feel like a big “yes” in my heart.When you contemplate all the ways love could make a difference, there's no shortage of joy. Click To Tweet
8. Treat myself like a best friend… rather than saying bad things about myself, to myself and others. Self-loathing has never worked for me before, so I try self-love instead. Love always seems to work much better.
9. Have a meaningful conversation… and really listen to what the other person has to say. I love engaging in a real, good, deep conversation that makes me think and contemplate and wonder, without reservation and defensiveness. There is perhaps nothing sweeter than when beautiful minds connect, with equal parts respect and compassion.
10. Look for the good and praise it… instead of pointing out what’s wrong with everyone and everything. If what I really want is to be happy, then I must consciously be on the lookout for evidence that supports that desire. What we energize in the mind, life responds to in kind—with evidence of the belief taking shape.
11. Write down my blessings… either in my gratitude journal or my one-sentence happiness journal; if I can’t or don’t want to do either of those, I focus intently on one or two ideas that infuse me with a grateful energy. Writing down what’s good in my life is an instant mood booster because it confirms that being alive is a gift.Find the good and praise it. – Alex Haley Click To Tweet
12. Be good to others… especially when it’s easy not to be. When I’ve forgotten, I remind myself that there’s a light in everyone, and I do my best to treat them as if that’s all I see. Compassion is an action, and it’s one that goes full circle.
13. Play music I love… and let the power of a good song uplift my mood. Music benefits our mental, emotional, and physical being in so many ways, and it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t experienced the strong, strangely profound connection music can make.
14. Focus on my strengths… instead of ruminating on my weaknesses. I know what my signature strengths are and I try to engage them every day in little ways, in all areas of my life.
15. Practice yoga… because it calms me down, releases pent-up tension, clears my mind, brings good energy into my aura, and I simply love my mat.As long as we're here, we might as well play. — Ram Dass & Paul Gorman Click To Tweet
16. Find something to smile about… every day, without exception. I can repeat positive affirmations in the morning, find good quotes that speak to me, ready funny jokes, watch a fun video, or talk to someone who brightens my day. If I have to force a smile at myself in the mirror, I’ll do my best to do it, because it usually leads to a shift.
17. Make someone else smile… and I, too, will be rewarded with a happy heart. Helping others brings more meaning, love, compassion, and joy to life. Every day, I try to share a positive thought with someone, send someone a nice text, offer support, or pay a compliment. The kind acts we engage don’t need to be profound, they just need to be.
- Which of these things do you do (or would you like to start doing) on a pretty consistent basis?
- Do you have your own ideas on how to make yourself happy; what has worked for you in the past, and what works for you right now?
Please share your thoughts, lessons in bringing joy to everyday life, daily habits/patterns/preferences that support your happiness, and any helpful or hopeful stories with me in the comments.
Share these suggestions with a kindred spirit on the human journey of figuring out how to live life on earth to the fullest.
Hold in your mind a specific thought that feels good, and play with variations of how good it feels to think another thought like it.