If you have ever battled depression – deep depression – you know that happiness is not to be taken for granted. It’s a feeling that comes and goes, and when it goes, it leaves a void that is hard to fill. Depression makes you question what happiness is and whether it is something that you could ever experience again. But even when you do experience happiness, you know it’s not permanent, and you must work to hold on to it.
People who have ever struggled with depression understand the importance of maintaining happiness once they have it. They analyze every aspect of their good days, thinking about what they did, what they ate, where they went, and who they were with. They study the conversations that rejuvenated them and those that seemed to zap the life right out of them. They do all these things like they are completing a research project, trying to replicate the things that brought them joy during those good days.
Many of us spend a considerable chunk of our lives on a happiness journey. We search for happiness thinking we’ll find it in relationships, in our kids, in our careers, in our life experiences, in our social media connections, in status, even in our homes and in our material possessions. But true happiness is so much bigger than our latest conquest or accomplishment. It’s a deep sense of ease and comfort, joy that isn’t fueled by external motivators.
Understanding happiness is an ongoing journey, and happy and successful people maintain 16 habits that perhaps we should all consider. These habits will help us develop a better understanding of ourselves and guide us on our quest for happiness.
1. They Have a Positive Outlook
People who have a positive outlook view the world as full of possibility and opportunity. They approach life with an inherent attitude of seeing the glass half full. Cultivating positivity is then linked to happiness.
2. They Know Themselves
Happy people have spent a considerable amount of time getting to know themselves. They know what makes them upset, and they know what brings them happiness. They know what they like and what they dislike. Happy people, and successful people, are in tune with themselves.
3. They Rest
Rest is an undervalued superpower that enables us to heal and recover, yet many of us fill our lives with so many obligations that rest becomes illusive. Even when we lie down to rest, our minds are racing with the commitments we have for the following day or the things we were unable to accomplish earlier in the day, leading to restless nights and an inability to get deep sleep. Happy people and successful people value rest as much as they do productivity.
4. They Are Content
Being content solves a multitude of problems. It can help you save money by ceasing from continually wanting the next best thing. Happy people are present. They do not live in search of the next big thing. They celebrate what they have and take pleasure in the here and now.
5. They Embrace Self-Compassion
Happy people have learned the difference between guilt, shame, and blame. They understand that the key to their happiness is being gentle and compassionate with themselves. When they make mistakes, they respond with compassion and grace.
6. They Silence Their Inner Judge
Judgmental people judge themselves first and others second, leading to a counterproductive and incompatible approach to happiness. To be happy, we must silence our inner critic, give it a name, and gently ask it to have a seat.
7. They Feel Their Emotions
Being present in our physical bodies means experiencing the range of emotions that come with the human experience. Happy and successful people allow themselves to experience and feel emotions. They give name to their emotions and, most importantly, do not judge themselves for feeling unpleasant emotions.
8. They Realize Their Chief Competitor Is Themselves
Happy and successful people are narrowly focused on their own growth and development. Rather than focusing on others’ accomplishments, they focus on what they want and lean into that desire, inspired by their peers, but holding themselves to their own standards.
9. They Care About Their Mental Health
Mental health is as important as physical health, and happy and successful people know and understand this. They actively care for their mental well-being by attending therapy or counseling, ridding themselves of toxic situations, examining harmful thought patterns, and working to develop a healthier worldview.
10. They Care About Their Physical Health
Happy and successful people understand that they have one body and one life to live. They care for their physical health by making and keeping dental, doctor, and mental health appointments. They aim for an ideal body for them, focusing on developing one that is healthy and strong.
11. They Find Joy in the Simple Things
Experiences and possessions can bring joy, but happy and successful people find joy in the simple things. They take pleasure in the small moments in life and find satisfaction in the beauty of the world around them.
12. They Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is like taking a daily multivitamin for our mental health. Happy and successful people are grateful for what they have and express it regularly. By practicing gratitude, they develop a positive and appreciative mindset, leading to greater happiness and life satisfaction.
13. They Surround Themselves With Positive People
Surrounding yourself with positive people makes you more positive. Happy and successful people understand this and avoid toxic individuals who sap them of their positivity and happiness. By surrounding themselves with other positive individuals, they cultivate mutual support, motivation, and encouragement.
14. They Don’t Take Things Personally
Happy and successful people don’t take things personally. They understand that people’s reactions and comments are a reflection of them, not themselves. They don’t let others’ negativity bring them down or allow it to affect their happiness.
15. They Set Realistic Expectations
Happy and successful people set realistic expectations for themselves and their lives. They understand that life is not perfect nor is it an easy journey. By setting realistic expectations, they avoid disappointment, stress, and anxiety, leading to greater happiness.
16. They Pursue Their Passions
Passion is a key ingredient in our sense of fulfillment and happiness. Happy and successful people pursue their passions relentlessly, embracing the challenges and setbacks that come with it. They commit time, effort, and resources to bringing their passions to life.
In conclusion, happiness is something that we must actively work for and maintain. It’s not something that we find or achieve, but rather a journey that we undertake. By cultivating positivity, self-awareness, self-compassion, and developing realistic expectations, we can work towards greater happiness, leading to a more fulfilled and satisfying life.