50 Ways To Always Be Happy

You want to be a happy person.

So do I. And there's a good reason for it.

A growing body of research tells us happiness isn't just a lovely feeling — it's also quite good for you. It's been linked to a load of life benefits including a higher income, a stronger immune system, and even a boost in creativity.

Psychologists Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia conducted a study of more than 10,000 participants from 48 countries, and discovered that people all over the world rated happiness as more important than other highly desirable personal outcomes like meaning in life, becoming rich, and getting into heaven.

I guess the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they made the pursuit of happiness an inalienable right.

Happy people make for a stronger, healthier, more productive society. True happiness isn't just that burst of joy that comes with getting a promotion, getting engaged, or winning the lottery.

Sustained happiness involves contentment and peace of mind, the feelings you want in between those big bursts. We all have a happiness set point, a baseline degree of a happiness determined by genetics. But beyond that set point, a great deal of our happiness is in our control, according to happiness researcher and author Sonja Lyubomirsky.

In fact, 40% of our happiness is determined by our choices and habits.

However, there are many decisions that diminish our feelings of happiness and make it more difficult to move past our set point on the happiness scale.

Want to practice better behaviors?

Here's 50 ways to be happy always:

1. Dwell in the present 

Constantly reliving the pain of the past keeps you mired in negativity, guilt, anger, and sadness. Keep your mind focused on the present moment and all the good available to you right now.

man doing somersault on the beach how to be happy

2. Move around

Exercise and movement boost endorphins, provide energy and build self-esteem — all happiness-fostering outcomes. And of course, exercise contributes to good health which is the number one contributor to happiness.

3. Don't Isolate yourself

Happy people aren't alone. They enjoy time with family, friends, and work associates. They make a point of connecting and interacting with others. Isolation breeds loneliness and depression.

4. Don't focus on the negative

Whether you're happy or not, bad things will happen in life. But after a time of grief or frustration, happy people don't continue to focus on the negative. They consciously move past negative situations and thoughts and intentionally focus on the positive.

Related: 25 Of The Best Books On Happiness For A Better You

5. Get out debt

Money difficulties and the resulting anxiety and stress that go along with them poison feelings of happiness. It's hard to feel happy when you owe a lot of money. Happy people spend less than they make and pay off their debts.

6. Experiences above material things

Material things afford only a short burst of happiness, but this quickly fades. Experiences, however, provide a richer level of satisfaction that lingers through connections and memories.

7. Be forgiving

We all get angry or frustrated with other people, but staying angry and holding a grudge is like dropping a cold, wet blanket over our joy. As we dwell on our anger or how we've been wronged, we allow no room for happy feelings. Forgiveness and letting go of other's offenses is the only way to stay happy.

8. Stay grateful

Expressing gratitude is one of the top happiness-producing habits we can form. When you forget to be grateful for all that you have right now, you're denying yourself a well-spring of joyful feelings. Happy people make a point of counting their blessings.

9. Don't expect others to make them happy

So often we believe happiness comes from having others behave the way we want them to behave. We think they can make us happy by saying certain things, meeting all of our needs, or giving us what we want. But of course, other people can't make us happy and thinking they can only contributes to our unhappiness.

10. Continue growing and learning

When we stop expanding ourselves through personal growth and learning, we remain stuck in the status quo. We paralyze ourselves so we aren't able to experience new adventures, ideas, people, and self-awareness. This leads to stagnation and depression.

11. Serving others

Helping our family, friends, and even strangers we never see is a huge key to happiness. Service to others gives us a feeling of deeper purpose and meaning in life. It boosts our feelings of connection and self-esteem. When you avoid serving, you cut yourself off from a deep longing of the soul.

12. Prioritize being fit

Being overweight drags down your self-esteem and confidence. It makes you feel unattractive and unlovable. And of course, it's bad for your health, which is a huge contributor to happiness. A great exercise for health and fitness is rebounding.

13. Stay balanced

When your life is out-of-balance, you suffer because important parts of who you are and what you value aren't getting the attention they need or deserve. Your work, relationships, and lifestyle all need to work in harmony so you can feel whole and emotionally and mentally healthy.

14. Avoid gossip

Talking bad about other people is an insidious habit that is hurtful to others and to yourself. You demean and diminish yourself when you take pleasure in the pain, difficulties, or bad behavior of others. When you are happy and confident, you don't need to gossip.

15. Don't focus on physical flaws

We all have imperfect faces and bodies. Some people have more than others. Happy people do what they can to improve their appearance, but after that they let it go. If you focus on your physical flaws, you diminish your self-esteem and undermine the real person you are on the inside.

16.  Spend time in nature

If your time outside consists of walking from your house or office to your car, then you're limiting an important experience of contentment and joy. Truly happy people find an almost spiritual joy in time spent outside in beautiful, natural settings.

17. Reframe failure or mistakes

Failing is part of life. It is necessary for learning and success. We all feel bad about a mistake or failure, but happy people know how to learn from these events and then let them go.

18. Don't judge others

Being judgmental of others brings out negative and controlling feelings and thoughts. Judgment can make you feel angry, superior, and self-satisfied — but none of these emotions are compatible with happiness.

19. Aim high

People who are happy and content don't buy in to the old stories and limiting beliefs they may once have had about themselves. They are able to re-write their stories and come to love themselves as they are right now.

20. Live authentically

It's hard to be happy when you aren't living your truth, when you are trying to be someone else, or please others at the expense of your true self. Happy people give up people pleasing and embrace their authenticity.

Related: 9 Of The Best Self-Esteem Activities To Boost Happiness (For Kids And Adults)

21. Manage stress

Life can get busy and overwhelming, and sometimes we get addicted to the adrenaline-fueled lifestyle of busy schedules and full to-do lists. But this adrenaline addiction does a number on your health, peace of mind, and relationships — all of which are necessary for happiness.

22. Regular check-ups and well-care

When we're too afraid or too busy to go to the doctor, we're creating a subtle layer of stress and potentially harming our health. Taking care of our bodies is part of loving ourselves, and self-love is imperative for a happy life.

23. Put relationships before work

One of the top five regrets of the dying is not spending enough time with the people they care about. We are social creatures, wired to connect and interact with others. When you prioritize work above your loved ones, you're denying yourself and them of the joy of time together.

24. Practice smiling more

It has been proven that just the physical act of smiling, even when you don't feel happy, will boost the happiness chemicals in your brain. When you rarely smile, you're sending signals to your brain that you are unhappy.

woman laughing how to be happy

25. Laugh at yourself

When you take yourself too seriously and can't laugh at yourself, you appear and feel grouchy and unpleasant. The ability to laugh at yourself is attractive and authentic and makes you feel light and confident.

26. Make time for fun

People who are happy want to enjoy life. They want to have fun and share that fun with others. But you have to make time for fun. You have to prioritize it and give yourself permission to enjoy the fun.

27. Appreciate your spouse or partner

Your primary love relationship is the most important relationship of your life. If you don't take care of that relationship, you are bound to be unhappy. People with happy marriages are happier people in general.

28. Keep your space uncluttered

Your physical space is a reflection of your state of mind. Feeling cluttered and out-of-control diminishes your joy by adding stress, distractions, and overwhelm. You may want to check out my bestselling book 1o-Minute Declutter.

29. Avoid self-awareness and self-reflection

Those who seek to know themselves and work on self-improvement will experience happiness and contentment on a much deeper level. The self-aware life opens many new pathways to joy.

30. Don't forget to apologize

If you've hurt or offended someone and forget to apologize, it will feel like a thorn in your side until you remedy the situation. Your well-being is compromised until you say, “I'm sorry.”

31. Keep your personal boundaries

Letting others take advantage of you and cross your boundaries eventually shreds your self-esteem and peace of mind. As long as you tolerate these offenses, you'll feel unsettled and angry.

32. Find your life passion

A huge part of living a fulfilled and happy life is finding your calling — the thing you are meant to do. But if you don't seek it, you won't find it, and you'll forever feel restless and uninspired.

33. Practice integrity and values

When your actions don't match your values or integrity, you will have a range of negative emotions — from guilt and shame to anxiety and depression.

34. Stretch yourself and take risks

People often don't stretch or take risks because they don't like the discomfort of uncertainty. But happy people embrace new adventures and are curious. They have the confidence to step out of their comfort zones, knowing a big payoff is possible.

35. Don't leave issues unresolved

Unresolved issues eat at you like a bad rash. They stay in the back of your mind, niggling at you and creating anxiety. Facing these problems head-on shortens the time of discomfort and negative feelings.

36. Seek emotional intimacy

Emotional intimacy requires vulnerability and exposing yourself to possible pain. But the fullness of a close relationship lies within the depths of emotional intimacy. A relationship can't survive disconnection and emotional distance.

37. Stop complaining

Frequent complaining is a sign of inner turmoil and dissatisfaction with life. Verbalizing negative thoughts only gives more power to the thoughts and pushes you further from contentment.

38. Let go of negatives

When you allow negative people to remain in your life, you allow them to steal your joy and peace of mind. We hold on to these people out of obligation or guilt, two emotions that don't align with happiness.

39. Save money

Life presents us with surprises and opportunities, and you want to be prepared for both. You need to save money to be prepared so you can easily manage difficulties and seize positive options.

40. Limit consumption — food, alcohol, medications, etc.

Everything in moderation, right? When you over-eat, drink until intoxicated, take mind-altering drugs regularly, you can't fully experience your reality. Nor can you be fully available for the people you love. Plus over-consuming harms your health.

Related: 99 Ways To Enjoy A Ridiculously Happy Life

41. Maintain friendships

People move, we lose touch, life gets in the way of our valued friendships. The happiest people in the world are surrounded by friends. But you must nurture friendships to keep them alive.

42. Leave a miserable job

We spend nearly half of our waking hours on the job. If you're miserable at your job, you're miserable most of the time. Life is too short to give up so much daily enjoyment.

43. Don't allow sex to get boring

Let's face it — for most of us, sex is a big part of a happy life. Routine sex becomes mundane and leaves you feeling disenchanted. Exciting, fun, creative, adventurous sex reignites passion and intense joy. Don't let your sex life become boring.

44. Boost your self-confidence

We all have times when our confidence takes a hit, but happy people understand the skills of self-confidence and how to bolster it when they're feeling off. Confidence is a necessary component of a satisfying life.

45. Accept support or help

Even the most joyful people have difficult times when they need support. When you refuse help or don't ask for support when you need it, you delay healing and resolution, allowing negative emotions to fester longer than they need to.

46. Remain optimistic

Pessimism is a bad habit that smothers the possibility of happiness. Seeing the glass half empty, looking on the dark side of things keeps you mired in frustration and simmering anger. Happy people mindfully practice keeping a positive attitude.

47. Speak truthfully

We all have our particular truth — our beliefs and our ideas. And we should feel safe and free to express them in a kind and healthy way. When we fear speaking, we are being inauthentic. Our low confidence keeps us contained and weak.

48. Practice vulnerability

Those who have a big secret or major lie will never feel happy until they come clean. You may not be able to express your secret to your family or friends, but you can talk with a counselor or clergy person to help you decide how to proceed. An honest, open life is the foundation for happiness.

woman backpacking on the outdoors how to be happy

49. Life of adventure

Travel is one of those life experiences that should be prioritized over material things. It broadens our perspectives, exposes us to new cultures and people, and allows us to disconnect from our life responsibilities and stresses. If you don't travel, you limit your opportunities for fun and enjoyment.

50. Listening to intuition

Each of us has a built-in advisor and decision-maker. We just have to tune in. When combined with our intellect and judgment, intuition is a powerful resource that helps us make the best choices, develop positive habits, and disconnect from negative forces in our lives.

50 Ways To Always Be Happy Click To Tweet

Our intuition can often give us the answer to the question, “Will this make me happy?”

What do you need to change in your life to create more space for joy, contentment, and peace of mind? Please share this post on your favorite social platform.

photo credit: Lulu the Bold

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 35 comments
  • nancy

    That’s an awfully long list. Way too long and not necessary. Being happy is a choice. Nothing in your life has to be perfect in order for you to choose to be happy with who you are and where you are right now. It only takes your will. People with ordinary jobs, health issues, dept issues can choose to be happy today and focus on the positive and be grateful for what they have even if it’s not perfect. Some of the most happy people I know have also known great suffering. They appreciate the good because they have known and survived the opposite.

  • Glenn Morison

    Could you do me a favour and make one change? Change the wording in #12 so it makes the point without the arbitrary and poorly measured…. and forgive me, load carrying concept of being “overweight
    .” Concepts like “Health at Any Size” avoid the pitfalls of the prejudice against those look heavy even when they are very fit.

  • Ninianne

    Great list – I would like to add: (perhaps counter intuitively to some) that happier people accept they can’t be happy all the time. They accept that life includes periods of sadness and disappointment. There is enormous freedom in this. (Acknowledgements to Russ Harris and Jon Kabat Zinn)

  • Mark

    Very true all 50 of them

  • Ron Clendenin

    Thank you! I know this took some work to create this post. Great list on happy people and the habits they avoid.

  • naureen

    Great post! thanx

  • Nora Alsubeai

    true . 👏👏👏

  • 50 Habits Happy People Always Avoid by Barrie By Barrie Davenport – Cynthia Belmer

    […] This post is written by Barrie Davenport. You can visit her website here. […]

  • Tom

    Great post 😉

  • Ken [email protected]

    This is a great list of obstacles to our happiness, Barrie. So often, people work hard to develop those characteristics happy people share only to undermine their happiness by falling into traps that prevent them from enjoying the happiness they work so hard to get. This list is a great resource to help us navigate away from the potholes and brick walls of life.

    #9 especially stands out to me simply because I know so many people who wait for others to make them happy, expecting them to say the right thing that “makes” them happy or avoid saying the wrong thing that “makes” them miserable. The more people realize happiness (40% of it,as you point out) is in our control, that it comes from within us, not given to us from some external source, the happier people will become. And that, of course, is my mission.

  • Roshanda

    This is a great list….you can grab a golden nugget from ALL 50 of them!

  • Ariga

    These are true reflections of things which hold people back. I wish more people could get these 50 things to avoid them the world would be filled with happines.

  • Mel



      Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one!

  • Beto

    This list is a pretty good tool for identifying the nature of one’s “issues.”
    Speaking only for myself, I see about half a dozen of these items all stemming from a certain area and interwoven like a Gordian knot. The cost of cutting through them has kept me immobile but the cost of doing nothing grows and grows. I may be badly conflicted but at least I’m self aware. Thanks for helping me focus on the effects of certain issues on my emotional life.

  • deborah

    So many things to avoid! 🙂 Thank you Barrie! I think that to make a long story short: Follow your bliss and you’ll find peace! 🙂

    The aim here is to surround ourselves with people that makes us feel good and do things that make us feel alive 🙂

    Thank you for sharing!

  • 50 Habits Happy People Always Avoid | Boulder Psychotherapy Services by Keith Kurlander

    […] Read the entire article here:  50 Habits Happy People Always Avoid […]

  • Mélissa

    Thank you for all the tips!

  • The Coffee Break Daily Issue No. 24 - Self Help Café

    […] Happy People Avoid These 50 Habits […]

  • 10 Ways To Become A Happy Person

    […] Happy people are proactive in choosing ways to stretch themselves. […]

  • lynne

    Hi, great post. The list you mentioned are all so true indeed, if we focus on the negative side of life, we tend to attract negative vibes that will hold us back in moving forward , being happy and achieving our goals. I really love your post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Habit Creation: The 7 Deadly Sins

    […] Babauta has created many new habits that he has now sustained for years. He’s lost 70 lbs., become a vegetarian, written several […]

  • Self-Motivated: The Science Behind Achievement And Success

    […] we practice habits, the brain literally changes, and the main component of fostering this change is early, consistent […]

  • List Of Habits: 175 Good Habits For A Better You

    […] Spend five minutes mentally reliving a happy memory including as much detail as you can […]

  • How To Have A Happy Weekend

    […] Sounds too good to be true? Maybe. For most of us, we have demands from our various roles in life that cannot be ignored, even on the weekends.  It’s too easy to neglect opportunities for happiness amidst our competing commitments.  These missed chances occur because we forget—or may not be conscious of—what truly makes us happy. […]

  • Lynne

    These habits should be avoided! When you see yourself falling into the trap, quickly stand up, think positive and be happy.

  • Habits Of Happy People

    […] we observe genuinely happy people, we shall find that they do not just sit around being contented.  They make things happen.  They […]

  • How To Plan A Happy Weekend

    […] Sounds too good to be true? Maybe. For most of us, we have demands from our various roles in life that cannot be ignored, even on the weekends.  It’s too easy to neglect opportunities for happiness amidst our competing commitments.  These missed chances occur because we forget—or may not be conscious of—what truly makes us happy. […]

  • Create Your Morning Routine With A 10-Step Habit Stacking Plan

    […] some of those morning habits in your stack should be. There are certain habits that you’ll find successful people follow every morning to set them up for a productive day. There are others that are just important […]

  • roz

    great list but one thing is missing and that is worship. whenever i found myself in distress,grief or in a bad mood,my closeness to God saved me every time.so please add it to your list as it really works. unhappy people keep themselves far away of GOD which is very bad.

  • Happy People Avoid These 50 Habits

    […] By Barrie Davenport via liveboldandbloom.com […]

  • Health first By Deepshikha

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us. Happiness is everything. Everyone wants and needs to be happy in life to lead a good life. Your article is very helpful and it gave me a hope and strength to keep myself happy in life and fight with all the negative things i am going through.


  • Leave a Reply: