Truly happy people are just like everyone else. They experience the entire range of emotions, including anger and sadness.
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But the difference is, happy people experience emotions in the moment while unhappy people often linger in misery long after the source of their dissatisfaction is gone. Following the examples of happy people can help you become happier too.
1. Laugh and Smile – and Mean It
Have you ever noticed that happy people always see to have smiles on their faces? This is not because they are plastic Pollyannas with no real feelings. It is because they seek the good, the positive or the optimistic in every possible circumstance.
Appreciate the humor associated with the human condition – without being malicious or mean.
2. Reach Out to Friends and Loved Ones
Research consistently shows that people with strong social connections tend to be happier than people who are isolated. Spend face-to-face time with friends and loved ones as much as possible.
Phone chats or instant messaging are fine if your BFF lives far away. But given the choice between LOLing and actually sharing a laugh with a friend over dinner, step away from the computer and meet up for lunch.
3. Go the Extra Mile for Friends and Family
If your sister needs help with her new baby, do more than send diapers; show up to serve babysitting duty. If your partner is having a rough time at work, provide a real shoulder to lean on.
Happy people know that being there when they are needed provides as much fulfillment to themselves as to the people they are helping.
4. Indulge a Little Bit
Although happy people are no strangers to discipline, they realize that rigid self-denial is a tailor made prescription for unhappiness. They practice self-care in the form of periodic pleasurable indulgences.
A square of really good chocolate, tickets to see their favorite musicians or just a hot bath after a long day are regular occasions in a happy person’s life. It’s all about treating yourself!
5. Embrace Novelty and Challenge
In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character was doomed to live the same day over and over again.
Happy people never fall into such a trap. They challenge themselves by taking up different sports or learning new languages. And when life throws challenges in their path, they make the necessary adjustments to maintain their stride.
6. Reject Negativity
In the Winnie the Pooh books, Eeyore is always bemoaning something or other. While characters like Eeyore are cute in children’s books, negative people can be a serious emotional drain in real life.
Happy people don’t allow Debbie (or Dougie) Downers to sap their energy, and neither should you. This doesn’t mean abandoning a friend who is in real pain, but it might mean guiding him or her to seek professional help if necessary.
7. Pay It Forward
The movie Pay It Forward promoted the idea of repaying acts of kindness not to the person who performed the act – but to someone entirely different. Happy people consider each day to be an opportunity to perform random acts of kindness. It’s not done with the expectation of repayment, but in the hopes of spreading the spirit of charity.
8. Express Themselves Authentically
Happy people are honest with themselves and with everyone they encounter. This doesn’t mean that they express every thought that comes into their heads, or that they feel entitled to belittle others. It does mean that they express themselves genuinely and honestly, even if what they are saying isn’t what someone else wants to hear.
9. Explore Spirituality
Many happy people believe in a higher power, but it is possible to cultivate a rich spiritual life even without deep religious convictions.
Meditation can help people get in touch with their inner beings. Pursuing a yoga practice or even taking relaxing evening strolls allows people to slow down and consider what is truly important to them.
10. Seek Creative Outlets
Creative pursuits provide a means of relaxation and personal expression. Many people have the mistaken belief that creativity is limited to artistic pursuits such as music, writing or art. However, crafts like embroidery or crochet also allow for creative expression. Even building furniture or tinkering with old cars are awesome creative outlets.
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