Even though this post is called 9 Habits of Happy People, I will be the first to tell you that being happy all the time is not possible. In addition, being happy all the time is not a good idea either!
When we are happy the whole time, we won’t grow. We will be complacent and comfortable. Our comfort zones will stay the same size and we will become stunted human beings.
It is our unhappiness that defines who we are in a sense. When you are dissatisfied with what you have, you can take action to change that. You can grow, transform and up your game AND your personal expectations.
So maybe this post should actually be called the 9 Habits of Happy People Who Are Actually Resilient and Flexible and Just-Plain-Nice.
So, to clarify, when I’m talking about the habits of happy people, I mean people who bounce back from challenges, and who have an inner strength, despite their life circumstances.
Happiness is not about thinking positive
If you’ve read my post about habits to make you happier even if you are sad, you will know that I suffer from bouts of depression. I haven’t spoken about it much before, because I used to be ashamed of it.
A few years ago I fell into what I call the Positive Thinking Trap.
I had this idea that I must only think positive things in order to be successful and happy, or else I will attract negativity into my life amongst other things.
The long and the short of it is that I actually suppressed and denied any negative emotions (and feelings of depression and anxiety) I had, which EXPLODED when I couldn’t keep it down anymore.
I have since developed a *gentler* view of happiness habits and happy thoughts, which is a bit more well-rounded :).
9 Habits of Happy People
1. They have self-compassion
According to Kristin Neff, the more you practice being kind to yourself, the stronger you make the habit of self-compassion.
In a nutshell, when you have self-compassion you don’t suppress your feelings. Instead, when you are feeling pain, you embrace yourself with kindness. When you support yourself like this, it opens space for personal growth and transformation.
2. They have a flexible mindset
Flexible thinking means that you do not see the world in black and white.
Instead, you have the habit of looking at the world and your situations, in all the beautiful shades of grey that exist. A flexible mindset makes it easier for you to face and address the challenges that we experience every day as part of being alive.
3. They are resilient
Resilience is the term that is used to describe how we bounce back from setbacks or disappointment in our life. You can either let these challenges get you down, or you can roll with the punches.
4. They take accountability for their actions
Having a victim mindset leaves your powerless. You allow your entire fate to be in the hands of someone else – your partner, your boss or your government.
When you have the habit of accountability, you know that you are responsible for your own life, your feelings and your reactions to your life circumstances.
5. They practice self-care
The habit of self-care is so much more than just physical pampering. True self-care means that we are in the habit of taking care of our emotional needs.
We can easily make the well-intended mistake of putting others ahead of ourselves, but the truth is you need to be there for yourself
6. They are true to themselves
Instead of faking who they are in order to please or impress others, truly happy people have a habit of being true to who they are. This means that they love and accept all aspects of themselves.
7. They don’t sweat the small stuff
I’ve spoken about the habit of perfectionism before, which is just a pain.
Generally, happy people are not perfectionists. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care, it just means that they don’t waste time on details which are actually unimportant in the bigger scheme of things.
8. They care about others
When we act in helpful ways towards others, it activates the reward centers in our brains. That is why showing kindness and consideration makes us feel good about ourselves. This is also the case, even if we do it without the thought of getting something in return.
9. They have healthy boundaries
Healthy personal boundaries show others how they can treat us. Without these boundaries, people may take advantage of you or worse, abuse you. When our boundaries are not in place, we feel resentful towards the way others treat us.
The truth about happiness
When you base your happiness on external factors, like getting that promotion, a new car or go a hot date, you must know that this is a recipe for disaster. As soon as the shine wears off, you’ll start looking for something to make you happy.
Cultivating these 9 habits of happy people will instead help you build your inherent happiness muscles. And then it won’t matter what life throws at you, because these habits will pull you back out and let the sun shine on you again.