22 Things Happy People Do Differently

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Attitude, Happiness


This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

Photo by Rosie Hardy

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.
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Here’s the link to the blog where I found this information: 22 Things Happy People Do Differently.

  1. L’ha ribloggato su Just another holdere ha commentato:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  2. [...] Here’s a theory about 22 things happy people do differently [...]

  3. We need more of this positive energy in the world! Words to live by!

  4. [...] Here are 22 things happy people do differently. [...]

  5. robbiesemple says:

    Thanks Chiara – easy read and excellent advice!

  6. Paul says:

    Thanks, very inspiring! I took the liberty of translating it into Dutch for my pupils, and I added a line: share. Sharing makes us realise we can do without so much, it helps build social relationships and simply makes you happy…

  7. Ginny says:

    I think that people are mostly happy or sad due to the choices they have made and are making in their lives……..cause……and effect. When you hear people talk about how something is always somebody else’s fault….If you really think about it…it is usually a result of choice/choices they have made.

  8. sher masor says:

    Some of this wisdom is very similar to what the 12 steps in Alanon teaches.

  9. [...] {22 Things Happy People do Differently // Successify}  [...]

  10. Will says:

    I think only Americans need to be reminded this kind of things. Everything in this list is pretty much obvious.

  11. curtd59 says:

    1) Unfortunately, pervasive happiness comes in large part from biological predisposition due to the different productivity of inherited cerebral chemistry. These problems are exacerbated by lack of exercise, diet, low level allergic reaction, and minor illnesses that are often difficult if not impossible to detect until late in life. Thankfully prescription chemistry, exercise, and diet generally fix it for the average person.

    2) Remember that until we mature fully, from the time we start adulthood, in males, lots of possible avenues for positive emotional stimulation are being shut off, and in females, lots of possible avenues for stimulation are being exaggerated. Both by different biochemistry. These changes place extraordinary challenges on the moods as we search for ways to maintain stable pleasurable inputs amidst ether decreasing avenues for getting then, or increasing sensitivity to negatives. The only known way to combate it is actually exercise and socialization. But the school system’s emphasis on keeping people of similar age together instead of mixing agens with majority of adults, makes it very difficult for both teens and twenties.

    3) Eat clean. Get hard exercise just a few times a week. (Yes, two our sessions of very physical sex that makes you sweat do count a little bit). If you get bored with exercise it just isn’t hard enough in a short enough period. And get drugs if you need to. As a side effect, a good deal of them actually make you smarter – albiet slowly. And that’s always good for everyone.


    Really good. I’d criticize them if it weren’t for “THINK BIG”. It is amazing that if you want something and will make one million little decisions in favor of it over ten years, how likely it is to happen.

    The rest are good and not just silly inspirational nonsense, but principles to be observed.

    unfortunately humans are also designed to sit quietly and watch the horizon for movement and this makes us calm. This is the same reason that watching fires is interesting to us. It is very easy to let this biological feedback loop get out of hand. If it does, it is very hard to correct it without chemical assistance.


  12. Jay says:

    For many, change equals fear. But if an unhappy person wants to be happy certain things must change. These are simple suggestions that may work for some, but maybe not all people. Might want to start with something easy. People that are offended easily seem to be fearful of something. Perhaps smiling in the mirror is a great way to start.

  13. mjcolon says:

    I have to work on some, but, overral, I think I’m doing great!

  14. Thanks for giving others your excellent list! I think we all need to write our own 22 ideas on happiness. Happiness has a lot to do with what we create in our lives and how we think. When we let the world tell us how to live our life and what is important, happiness then is outside of ourselves…use it or lose it.

  15. Amanda T. says:

    Reblogged this on .

  16. merlin_ch says:

    Much of these can be perceived by thinking (over a period or few :-) ; had thought of likeliness of 2/3 or 3/4 of them. FWIW. Have done moderately well on them; “work to do” certainly, but light years from where I used to be. Curtd55 above is prescient. The essence here is the 22 items.

  17. The Yum List says:

    Great article! Very good reminders. I’d like to add one more to the list… I think happy people accept that they make mistakes and then get back on the horse and ride it again. They don’t give up. Personal forgiveness combined with an “I can do better next time” attitude…

  18. Art says:

    I would like to add a few to the list:

    1) Be pleasant and polite to everyone you encounter by always saying “please” and “thank you”, and look into their eyes and smile when speaking to them.


  19. Art says:

    2) Find that things in life for which you have a passion, and then pursue them with enthusiasm and the best of your ability.

  20. I agree with this, mainly because my 93 year old grandfather, one of the most contented people I know, has lived a simple life, growing his own vegetables, and helping others whenever he could. On the subject of smiling in the mirror – I had a friend who 10 years ago told me that her life was a mess, her relationship with her husband was estranged, her job was a dead end. She said that every day she looked at herself in the mirror and told herself outright that she was beautiful and worthwhile and successful. Nobody else is going to believe it if I don’t believe it myself, she said. Three years later, when she had found a better job but her marriage was still a strain, she came to me with a proposal. She was worried about the people in her mother’s village, who, unlike her mother, had no-one to care for them and help them when they were ill. She asked for my help to write down her ideas and formulate them into a proposal, which we sent around our network. The first person to donate was my grandfather. Within two years she had built 5 small rooms for elderly people without homes, had 27 ‘jaja’s’ under her care for food and medical treatment, a pastor who liaised for her in the village and a city doctor who volunteered once a month. She was known as the ‘happiness lady’ both in her village and among our friends. But this wasn’t enough. She confided in me that her dream was to have a school in the village as currently the children had to walk 10 km to get to school and many did not go. The school has been growing slowly for four years, one class at a time, and she, with other colleagues regularly go during holidays to train the teachers and provide resources. Last year she finally found the courage to leave her husband, who only served the purpose of dragging her down, and critiquing her choices. This year she finally achieved a fully built 7 classroom primary school and has left her stable, reasonably paid job, to go to the village and run the school full time. She told me, she has never been happier. Dream big, and keep taking those small steps towards what is important to you. Be happy, people!

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