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How to Be a Happier Person: 20 Joy-Filled Steps to Change Your Life

With the way the world is right now, we could all benefit from being a little bit happier once in a while. So, let’s learn how to be a happier person.

How to Be a Happier Person

Being happy is not something that you can force upon yourself. It is not something you can achieve overnight. Mastering how to be a happier person takes work, time, and patience.

Whether you struggle with minor depression, anxiety, stress, or just some rough days, there are ways to be a happier person. Now, if you have depression or other mental illnesses, these steps may not be enough for you and that is totally normal. Speaking with a licensed professional and receiving a treatment plan along with these lifestyle changes should help you.

Why do you want to learn how to be a happier person?

Now, we can all profit from having more happiness in our lives and in the world, but why do you want to learn how to be a happier person?

Are you stressed? Do you notice that the smallest inconveniences ruin your whole day? Do you let other’s bad moods affect you?

[Read: How to change your life for the better]

All of these things can be helped with mindfulness and changing the way you view things. As I said earlier, this is not an overnight difference. You will not wake up tomorrow with a smile on your face exuding the brightness and positivity of a rainbow.

In order to become a happier person, it takes practice and ritual. You need to relearn certain behaviors that may come naturally to you until more productive and positive ones take over.

The same goes for those wanting to be a happier person for more abstract reasons. Maybe you just feel like you’re in a rut. Perhaps you can’t describe why you aren’t as happy as you think you should be.

All of these reasons can be aided with these tips on becoming a happier person.

How to be a happier person

Get ready to do some deep-diving into your soul and your behaviors.

#1 Acknowledge what you’re thankful for. Whether you are religious or not, take a few minutes before bed to say thank you. Rather than praying or asking the universe for something, say thank you for what you have.

You can thank God, the universe, or yourself. List three to five things that you are thankful for each day. This can be anything from your family to your pet and your job. Outwardly acknowledging the things that make you happy reminds you of them. [Read: Authentic ways to express and show how grateful you are]

#2 Let go of small annoyances. This is something that interferes with almost everyone’s level of happiness. You could be having a great day, but then you get stuck in traffic because one truck doesn’t know how to make a left turn. Then, you let it affect your mood for the rest of the day.

You take that annoyance home with you. You may lose your patience with your kids or partner. And you may decide to order out instead of cooking for yourself because you feel you deserve it after dealing with that. Instead of letting that one small external thing ruin your mood for the entire day and even affect others, let it go.

In the moment you feel the anger building or that desire to curse or hit the horn or even roll your eyes, just breathe. Tell yourself that this is not worth the rest of your day’s happiness. [Read: 12 happiness hacks to find real happiness instantly]

#3 Look at the silver lining. We all have bad days. Things go wrong. That is just the way life goes. But, try to see the bright side. I know how cliche that sounds but stick with me. This works with small things and big.

For example, today my kitchen blinds broke. But, I have been wanting to replace them for years for aesthetic purposes. I never did because the ones I had were fine. So even though them breaking wasn’t great, it was a sign I can now get the new ones.

The same goes for bigger things. For example, last year the job I had ended abruptly. It was devastating and scary to not have assurance I would be able to pay my bills. But, a week later I was offered a better job that fit my experience and paid better. I would not have been able to accept it if I was still in the old position.

Actively thinking this way tricks your brain to automatically think of the good. [Read: How to be positive and find the silver lining]

#4 Accept what you cannot change. As much as we would all love to have control over everything, we don’t. We can’t control our boss’s mood swings or when we get a flat tire or when our best friend goes back to their ex.

So, instead of blaming others for our unhappiness, accept these things are out of our control and not let them affect us.

#5 Do small acts of good. Sending out happiness to others brings it back to us through the act and through the universe. Pay for the person behind you in line. Compliment your cashier’s hair. Generously tip your waitress that seemed overwhelmed.

#6 Do not compare yourself to others. This is something that affects us all especially in today’s digital culture where you see everyone’s highlight reel. It is easy to compare our entire lives to the best parts of others’, but it isn’t realistic.

Not only is that an unequal comparison, but it is also not beneficial at all. Everyone is at a different point in their lives. It has nothing to do with where you came from you, your age, or your job. We all take different paths and move at different paces. [Read: How to be comfortable with yourself and stop comparing your life]

#7 Put down your phone. You may think that scrolling through Instagram and Twitter is making you happy, but not only is it giving you neck wrinkles and achy eyes, but it is not healthy. Sure, it is great to connect with people all over the globe, but take time away from your phone every day.

Instead of reaching for your phone in a waiting room or the grocery line, observe your surroundings. Notice the baby in the cart in front of you smiling. If you want to know how to be a happier person, you need to realize that boredom is not the worst thing in the world, being pulled from reality into your phone is. [Read: The roadmap to live your life with intention]

#8 Share happy stories. We often come home from a long day and rant. We talk about the traffic or how our coworker came in late again. Instead of this, share good news. Talk about how Betty in Marketing is expecting a baby or how your mail carrier finally saved up for his dream vacation. Sharing good news shares happiness.

#9 Smile at strangers. The power of a smile is indescribable. A simple smile at a stranger you passed on the street or shared a waiting room with can make someone’s day. Smiling at someone gives them an invitation to smile back.

#10 Spend time with animals. It is scientifically proven that being around animals enhances your mood. Whether that means spending more time with your pets or volunteering at a shelter, being around animals naturally perks you up.

#11 Purge. Get rid of old stuff. Clean out the clutter. Organize. Having a productive weekend of cleaning may sound like a nightmare, but the relief and freshness you will feel when you’re done is amazing. [Read: 13 happy things you need for a perfectly happy life]

#12 Make something. Creating something gives you a boost of creativity and pride. So, build a piece of furniture, paint a picture, or even try a new recipe. Accomplishing something with your own hands brings you confidence in yourself that boosts your happiness.

#13 Spend time with people that make you happy. Want to be a happier person? Surround yourself with those who make you happy. It is that simple.

#14 Cut out friendships that do not make you happy. If you want to know how to be a happier person, remember that just as being around those that make you happy boosts your happiness being around pathologically negative people will bring you down. Spending time with people who constantly complain or gossip is not adding anything to your life. [Read: 17 bad friends you should unfriend from your life]

#15 Get outside. The sun, fresh air, greenery, all of this can make you happier. The abundance of oxygen found in nature clears your mind and breathing in fresh air lightens you.

#16 Exercise. Ugh, exercise. I know it is not for everyone, including me. But you don’t have to go hiking or running to get exercise. Rent bikes with friends and ride along the boardwalk. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Play a game of baseball or kickball with friends.

Getting exercise does not mean working out, but just having fun.

#17 Drink more water. I know you saw this coming, but it really does help. Drinking water helps flush out any build up in your body. It gets rid of toxins and cleans you out. It helps you feel more light and hydrated and, of course, healthier. [Read: 22 rules of life to never be unhappy again]

#18 Take care of old errands. Even if you feel like you should be happy but can’t quite get there it may be due to some tasks on your to-do list that you have been procrastinating for ages. Knowing these things are hanging over your happiness can weigh you down and make you feel like you can’t enjoy yourself.

And these tasks usually only take about 10 minutes. So hang that photo you bought six months ago, call your insurance company about that weird charge, sew the hole in your favorite pants you haven’t been able to wear in weeks. You will feel much better knowing that it is done.

#19 Try new things. As beneficial as routines can be, they can also set us into a rut of boredom. So branch out. Take a weekend trip somewhere new. Travel to the closest city for a night out. Try a new cuisine. Even something as small as bowling or mini-golf can shake you out of a rut. [Read: Should you settle for less when you can have more?]

#20 Have a raving session with friends. It is a common thing to get together with friends and rant. You vent about your partners, your jobs, or whatever else is bugging you. Temporarily, it can feel good to let out that frustration, but in the long run, it only adds to your unhappiness.

Instead of venting, make a plan to get together with friends and rave about what is going well in your lives. Cheer each other on. Support each other and congratulate each other. Boost your happiness, not your frustrations.

[Read: How to find happiness within yourself for a better tomorrow]

Learning how to be a happier person does not need to be hard work. By trying new things, thinking new ways, and having fun you can be a happier person.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...