Have you ever noticed that some people are just always happy, no matter what?
What differentiates happy people from unhappy people? It’s not just situational. In fact, according to Dan Gilbert, paraplegics and winners of the lottery were equally happy a year after their respective incident. Furthermore, we can even synthesize our own happiness!
Happy people aren’t the way they are because some magical fairy tapped them on the head and granted them eternal satisfaction. It’s because they are holding the keys to happiness…and you, too, can find them as well. In fact, you don’t even have to find them. Here they are, according to various experts and life coaches.
The Secrets Of Happy People
1. They take care of their body.
Here’s one that won’t come as much of a surprise: happy people treat their body like the temple it is.
“When you commit to caring for yourself, you are not only giving a gift to yourself but to those who love you. It allows you to present your best self and be more engaged and happy in your day to day activities,” says Live Happy science editor Paula Felps. “And oftentimes, the fitness will follow, because you’ll be happier, more eager to get out and interact in social/physical activities, and more concerned about caring for your body.”
2. Happy people care about their body from head to toe.
This doesn’t mean just noticing your belly fat, or trying to tone your butt. People who are happy treat their entire body as something that needs to be nourished.
“When you start at the top (your head) and work your way down, it gives you a new focus,” said Felps. “Fitness isn’t always about the size of your waist or how big your biceps are—it’s also about how you see yourself, how you think and how you feel about yourself. Often, it’s not really our eating habits or lack of exercise that do the most damage, it’s our inability to care for ourselves from the inside out.”
3. They really treat themselves every now and then.
It’s important to eat healthily, but sometimes, you’ve gotta learn a few lessons from Parks and Rec and “treat yo self!”
According to relationship expert and author April Masini, having some really high-quality, life-changing food is a must. “I’m not talking about eating enough. I’m talking about people who have great food and drink, enjoy their lives more,” says Masini. “Did you ever hear anyone rave about having filled up? No. But how about that truffle pizza or the flourless chocolate torte, or the ceviche with fresh fish? It’s hard not to retell and relive those food experiences without gusto.”
4. They use visualizations.
“Sit quietly for a few minutes taking long deep breaths; 21 is the perfect number,” says McGrail. “Then visualize, picture, or imagine yourself in a situation in which you are joyful—maybe doing a favorite activity, or being with special someone, or taking a trip. Stay with the scene until you feel that wonderful energy of delight. You have just sent a powerful, emotional vibration throughout your entire mind and body; just hold onto it and enjoy ‘the buzz.’”
5. They smile…
Here’s one you may have noticed: happy people tend to smile! But not just that—they smile as much as they can. “Smile as much and as often as you possibly can,” says McGrail. You’ll actually start to feel better, even if you just force a smile.
6. …and they laugh.
Laughing is ultra good for you, and we know it’s a lot of fun—but did you know forcing a laugh can actually make you happy? “[Happy people] laugh,” said Masini. People who have good laughs are less depressed than those who never find comedy in anything.”
7. They have sex…and lots of it.
Happy people tangle up the sheets…and they do it well. “Adults who have intimate relationships and express their feelings sexually are happier than those who don’t,” said Masini.
If you need a bit of help in that department, check out our guide here.
8. They don’t make any excuses for themselves.
How often have you heard an unhappy person blame the world around them? No—because they know that they’re responsible for their own happiness, according to relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle.
“Happy people bet on themselves, said Carle. “No whining or crying for someone else to rescue them. No complaining about why something bad had to happen to them. No blaming others for their own ‘bad luck.’”
9. They believe they can do anything.
Happiness and confidence go hand in hand, and happy people know that they can go out there and achieve whatever they wish. “Happy people don’t hold back from exercising and enjoying their power,” said Carle. “They know that when they unlock that key, the universe is theirs!”
10. They ask for what they need and believe they deserve to get it.
If having true happiness means being confident, it also means you aren’t afraid to ask for what you deserve, according to Carle.
“Happy people decide whether they want to be a will-be or a wanna-be,” said Carle. “Wanna-bes are always searching, while will-bes are confident enough to ask for what they need because they believe they deserve to get it. Guess which of the two is the happier?”
11. They strive for the heart-pumping experiences.
You know that amazing feeling when you’re going after what you love? That feeling is much more constant in those of happy people—because they seek it. “Happy people…seek aliveness—that blood pumping feeling that makes life worth living,” says our Inspiyr motivational expert Dr. Carol Morgan. “Unhappy people don’t even think that exists.”
12. They tend to themselves first.
It’s essential to take care of your own needs if you want to live a happy life, according to Inspiyr expert and psychologist Jonathan Alpert, author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life In 28 Days. “Happy people do what they want and aren’t swayed by social pressure,” said Alpert. “They put their needs first and make sure that they’re met. A slight bit of selfishness can go a long way towards happiness.”
Related: 5 Ways To Embrace Self-Love
Another way to put this: giving from the overflow, not from the core, according to Carle. “When we over-function for others, we under-function for ourselves,” said Carle. “Happy people know to give from the basic core of what they need to sustain their own life. They know that before they can give life to someone else, they’ve got to grab a life of their own.”
13. They’ve learned to like being alone.
If you’re happy with yourself, you like hanging out with yourself…seems pretty straight-forward. But it can be difficult for some people to enjoy alone-time.
“Before happy people step out of their comfort zones, they know how to enjoy and optimize themselves in the most important relationship they have: the one with themselves,” said Carle. “They schedule time alone, whether they are in love with someone or just looking.”
14. They channel love, joy, and peace—not fear, anger, or sadness.
Whether you believe it or not, you can pick and choose what emotions you’d like to resonate with you—and happy people live and breathe love. “Truly happy people are programmed differently than happy ones,” said Alexander Loyd, Ph.D., author of Beyond Willpower: From Stress to Success in 40 Days. “The human hard drive virus’s (fear/stress programming) that others have, truly happy people do not have. Their programming is for love/joy/peace. Because of this, they think, feel, believe, and act not focused on an end result, but in the present.”
15. Happy people know what makes them happy…and they do it regularly.
You know that one thing that boosts your mood, no matter what? Maybe it’s going for a run or cooking a delicious meal. Well, happy people learn what activities make them happy, and they make them a regular part of their lives…no matter what.
“It’s perfectly natural for humans occasionally to experience a dip in mood and zest for living, but this can be managed and even overcome if we’ll just learn to take note of the small and habitual activities that regularly return us enthusiastically to ourselves and our lives with renewed enthusiasm,” said Phil Oliver, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of philosophy at Middle Tennessee State University.
Related: 6 Things All Happy People Do
“Different strokes for different folks, of course. In my case, a daily walk usually does the trick. Others find their delight in music or art or other reliably repeatable diversions. Each iteration is a kind of “moral holiday” that gives us temporary release from worry and propels us back to life.”
16. They appreciate people in their life.
Those who are truly satisfied with their life notice the people who make their lives better…and they thank them, regularly.
“Throughout the day, actively look to thank other people for their contributions,” said McGrail. “Thank the grocery checker or the bagger (or both) for a good job; thank a police officer for being out there for you; thank the paperboy; thank your waiter or waitress for their good service. It’ll make their day and yours.”
17. They support their passions…with balance.
It’s essential to think of your dreams as seeds—to tend to them, water them, and help them bloom. Neglect is not an option.
“Happy people know and support their passions in six areas: health, social, self-improvement, spiritual, financial, and family—regardless of who or what circumstances are in their life,” said Carle. “As long as these six areas are being nourished, their happiness continues.”
18. Happy people have their own values…and they stick to them.
Those who are truly happy with their lives are so content because they define their lives…not society. They create their own values and morals, and they never waver from them.
“Often, we are dictated by the mores or laws of the groups where we live, many of them appropriate and needed, but others often illogical and unnecessary,” said CEO and founder of Christie Communications Gillian Christie. “When you have observed the rules of the group and determined for yourself what is right and necessary—not just for yourself, but for your family, your friends, mankind, the animal and plant kingdom, the spiritual world—and live by those rules, you will find an elevated happiness.”
19. Happy people practice gratitude.
Here’s the ultimate question that will help you in your quest for happiness: why focus on what you don’t have when you can focus on what you do have?
“You will find beauty you missed yesterday, you will appreciate the beauty of a snowflake or the feel of a gentle spring breeze scented with the fresh blooms,” said Christie. “We don’t need more junk. We have so much to enjoy and feel gratitude [towards].”
20. They have open minds.
Matt Eventoff spends every day working with executives and professionals helping them to be more effective communicators, so he knows what makes people happy in the office, and it can certainly be applied to everyday life…such as the importance of an open mind.
“Happy executives do a number of things differently, in my experience, especially as it relates to communication,” said Eventoff. “Executives, even at the highest levels, who are constantly trying to learn and who are open to feedback always seem much happier than those who aren’t.”
21. Happy people embrace love in their lives.
An open mind goes hand-in-hand with an open heart. It takes a truly happy person to open themselves up to love, and it’s a catch-22—healthy love can make you happier.
“Love releases all kinds of endorphins and has an amazing ability to reset our entire body,” said Felps. “One of the greatest things it can do for us is lower our levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone, and it also boosts our immune system. We see a lot of studies showing that it improves cardiovascular health and happily married couples are shown to live longer. There’s even evidence that it increases our tolerance of pain. And Rutgers University did a study that showed love increases dopamine brain activity, leading to more energy, optimism and a greater sense of well-being.”
Felps stresses that happy people know that love isn’t just romantic. “Redefining love as something that we experience with many different people on many different levels – and not just in a romantic sense – removes that pressure that so many people feel to find ‘the one,’” says Felps. “It gives us the freedom to make various types of connections with a number of different people – and some of those connections may only last for moments – and find feelings of satisfaction and happiness.”
22. They don’t judge.
In his research on executives, Eventoff also found that those who are careful to withhold judgment from others are happier overall.
“Happy executives tend to listen to those who are communicating, and withhold judgement. They don’t jump to an immediate action,” said Eventoff. “… The executives who seem happiest are those who can focus on responding, rather than instantly reacting, to a communication.”
23. They are great listeners.
There seems to be a pattern with happy people—they focus less on their input and more on other people. “Rather than waiting for the opportunity to speak next, executives who are happier tend to truly listen,” said Eventoff. “It makes sense on both fronts that executives who focus on learning, on listening and on withholding judgement are happier, as it leads to less miscommunication.”
24. Happy people are positive people.
Here’s a reason why you need to stop looking at the glass as half empty: “Happy people are more positive and they look at crises as an opportunity to become better people rather than becoming victims,” said Inspiyr expert and board-certified psychiatrist Judith Orloff MD, author of The Ecstasy of Surrender. “They don’t beat themselves up constantly and try to be of service to others, which is a great source of happiness for them.”
The real secret is making positivity a way of life, according to Morgan. “Happy people have mastered their mind. They don’t ‘sleep walk’ through life and are consciously aware of their thoughts,” said Morgan. “Re-framing negative experiences into a positive ones just comes naturally to them; they don’t know any other way.”
25. They choose to be happy.
Ultimately, though it may not seem like it, happiness is a choice—and happy people have recognized this.
“Everything we think, do, say and feel is the product of choice,” said McGrail. “…Happy people consciously choose to be happy; rather than thinking about what’s not working in their life, they focus on what is working, even while they’re striving for more. Happiness must arise from within you; it does not come to you from the outside.”
The ultimate mistake unhappy people make is waiting for happiness to be granted to them, rather then chasing after it themselves. “So many of us inadvertently learn to seek and expect happiness from outside ourselves, usually through attaining things or through other people…That thinking is exactly backwards. Choose happiness, and you will find that the stuff and people you want in your life are much easier to attain.”
Sammy Nickalls is the former content manager of Inspiyr.com and is a freelance writer for various sites, including HelloGiggles, YourTango, Quickbooks, and TWLOHA. Follow her on Twitter @sammynickalls.
Photo by Shineswithoutend