If you are wondering how to be happy, these suggestions might help. They won’t work every single day for every person, but they can lead to feeling happy. Note: happiness doesn’t fix sadness or grief but it can add relief. Healing takes time but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy happy times along the way.
I know we can’t always feel happy or make ourselves happy, but I also know that looking for happiness in everything but ourselves isn’t working.
How to be Happy
These are the 10 secrets to happiness. They aren’t the only 10, but it’s a really good start. You don’t have to do them all to be happy. Pick one and see what happens.
1. Complain too little and tip too much.
If you are in a bad mood and you know nothing will make you smile, go out to eat. Don’t complain about your food or the service (even though you’ll want to because you are in a bad mood) and leave a really big tip.
2. Put your face in the sunshine.
When you feel down, as if you can’t do anything, just put your face in the sunshine. Let it warm you. Then decide what to do next.
3. Walk and then walk some more.
From Elizabeth Gilbert reflecting on a 120 mile walk through France, “St. Augustine said, “Solvitur Ambulando”—which means, “It is solved by walking.” So many problems can be solved by walking. Going on a long walk is something like rewinding a grandfather clock by hand. Moving at a human pace for ten days has made me feel more human again. I feel as though I have been re-set — creatively, emotionally, and certainly physically.”
4. Talk to someone you love every day.
It doesn’t have to be a long conversation. Just get their voice all over your heart.
5. Pet a dog (or cat) or follow one on Instagram.
Spending time with animals makes me all soft and gooey on the inside. Even if I’m sad or mad, I have to be a little happy too when I look into their eyes. If there isn’t a furry friend nearby, my mood lifts even with a picture on Instagram.
6. Laugh until you cry.
Find something so funny, or so ridiculous, or so outrageous that the only response is to laugh until tears run down your face.
7. Drink water and then drink some more.
Sometimes when I’m really grouchy, I drink a glass of water and realize I was only dehydrated.
8. Sleep all night long.
Sleep makes everything better. The end.
9. Spend time alone.
I love connecting with other humans, but I need them all to go away for a little while every day too.
10. Spend time together.
Be around people you love, people who believe in you and people who love you in all of your glorious messiness. And then see #9.
I used to think happiness was at the mall, or in my paycheck, or maybe at the bottom of my to-do list. Then, I looked for happiness in the approval of others. I kept looking out. I thought you had to reach for happiness, or wait for it. Wait … until I deserved it, until I proved myself worthy of it.
Bonus secrets to happiness (I said there were more than 10!)
11. Learn something new.
12. Let go.
13. Be in awe of someone’s story; their bravery, creativity and audacity.
14. Be brave, creative and audacious.
15. Unfollow who and what does not serve your heart.
17. Forget things that don’t matter.
18. Shift your mood by shifting your body with these recommendations.
19. Share recipes and stories.
20. Own less.
21. Love more.
22. Compete less.
23. Collaborate more.
24. Rush less.
25. Linger longer.
As it turns out, happiness isn’t waiting for us, it’s within us. Happiness isn’t waiting for you to get your dream job, reach your magical (and totally arbitrary and unimportant) goal weight, find your true love, discover your purpose, or to buy something new, fancy, bigger or better. Happiness doesn’t need you to prove yourself.
Happiness isn’t out there. It’s in here (look down at your heart).
Happiness isn’t waiting, it’s within.