Being happy sounds so simple, yet it's something so many of us struggle with on some level. But the thing is, there are genuinely things happy people do every day that help keep them positive and optimistic. And on the flip side, there are definitely things the rest of us do that keep us relatively unhappy.
When it comes down to it, sometimes we're our own worst enemies in the happiness department. And if you think it's just you, it's not. According to a study featured on The Huffington Post, only one in three Americans say they're very happy. What's more, young people are more likely to say they're stressed than ever.
This means that stress and dissatisfaction are kind of an epidemic, and it leads me to wonder what specifically the few "very happy" people out there are doing differently than the rest of us. The question led me to hunt down insights and information from experts and specialists to try to figure out what, exactly, we can be doing to improve our overall happiness levels.
If you're also trying to improve your outlook and feel happier on a daily basis, here are 11 things that super happy people do every day.
1. They Limit Social Media
That's right. According to a study out of the University of Michigan, spending time on Facebook and other social media sites generally makes us feel less happy and more isolated. The researchers found that social media results in comparisons with other people, and since others generally only post about the good things that happen to them, our lives seem disproportionately less awesome. And even knowing this doesn't seem to help make us feel better! So consider limiting your time on social media each day — you just might notice a big difference.
2. They're In Control Of Their Money
According to psychologist Ryan T. Howell in a piece for Psychology Today, happy people are generally in control of their money. This doesn't mean that they're rich, or that they have tons to spend, it just means that they know where their money goes and have a solid sense of their budget. Feeling in control of something so important helps alleviate stress, which leaves more room for enjoyment.
3. They Choose Experiences Over Stuff
Howell also noted that happy people tend to choose to invest in experiences over material possessions. He noted that countless studies have shown that life experiences, like travel, or time spent with friends and loved ones, generate more lasting positive feelings than belongings.
4. They Practice Gratitude
In another piece for Psychology Today, stress and resilience expert Paula Davis-Laack noted that happy people generally consciously think about what they're grateful for every single day. This can be as extensive as writing it down in a journal, or as simple as just thinking about it in your head when you wake up or before bed.
5. They Take Care Of Themselves
Davis-Laack also noted that people who are happy tend to focus on their health, whether it be through eating nourishing foods or making sure they take the time to exercise. She also noted that this entails taking steps to manage your stress and mental health as well, which she said is equally important to our health.
6. They Don't Have To Be In Control
On TinyBuddha, psychologist Amy Johnson stressed the fact that sometimes we need to accept that we can't control everything, and realizing this is actually incredibly freeing. It helps us be less bothered by the actions of others, as well as less disappointed when something doesn't go the way we expected.
7. They Make Time For Themselves
This is my one and only personal tip on this list. I'm no expert, but I do know that I'm much, much happier when I'm not overextended. I used to think that if I wasn't always busy I was somehow doing something wrong, and I'd literally feel guilty if I had a lot of downtime. It took becoming way overstressed to realize there's no real victory in feeling miserable and anxious. So if you're feeling overstretched, absolutely don't feel bad about taking something off your plate.
8. They Read Something Positive
In a piece for MindBodyGreen, nutritionist and health coach Naomi Teeter said that happy people often read something positive and uplifting every day, whether it be a self-help book, a happy story, or something they find spiritually meaningful. This can be super helpful in an age when the internet can make us feel inundated with bad news and negativity.
9. They're Present
Teeter also said that happy people are generally present in a given moment. This means they're not scrolling through their phones at dinner, or checking work e-mails as they walk down the street.
10. They Listen To Music
A study featured on The Week found that music has the ability to affect our moods, and that listening to music from times when we were happy can actually make us feel happier. Pretty cool, right? So pump up those jams and prepare to feel better almost instantly.
11. They Sleep
According to a study out of Harvard, our sleep and our moods are incredibly connected; as in our moods suffer dramatically when we're sleep deprived. Do yourself the hugest favor and simply make sure you get a good night's sleep on a regular basis. Your body — and your mind — will thank you.
Happiness isn't necessarily easy to achieve, but there are definitely things we can be doing on a daily basis to make it less hard on ourselves. Try incorporating some or all of the above techniques into your daily routine — you just might find that you're happier!
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