22 Things Happy People Do Differently

This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who Santa Monicachoose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

Have you found true happiness in your life? What makes you happy? Share, comment, and be happy with your beautiful life. 


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427 thoughts on “22 Things Happy People Do Differently

      • Some of these I am not happy about. Can I pick and choose those I wish to adopt? If I don’t select all, does that mean I won’t be totally happy? I’m willing to be 2/3’s happy and the other third I’ll keep in a tupperware container. Hope that works.


        • Marc Why don’t you just try it one for a while and see what happens – There are no set rules for life, no set paths. To be happy is a hard concept so I guess let go and go with what you feel will enlighten you rather then following what others say. I heard a really great teaching from a monk, which I feel can be used in life which is, – don’t accept what you are being taught, each teacher is different, some work for you some don’t. Don’t look at others ways and try to be like them – just observe and see what is right for you, because what is right for them may be wrong for you.


    • I really enjoyed reading this and would greatly appreciate any help you can give me as to help me with my blog which I just started a few months ago and I don’t really know how to do much here in wordpress. Please email me [email protected] and God bless you! Great job!


      • I apologize for the tardy reply. It’s wedding season and my clients are in full demand right now, lol. My company is poetictwist.com (custom stationery and favors), however I blog about any and everything. I highly recommend following blogs which inspire you and provide feedback on their post. This will increase your followers and some will reblog your posts. Hope this helps:)



    • That is one that I struggle with as well. When I read negative comments from readers, it sets off my entire day sometimes. I am “happy” with my writing, my life, and my choice of career yet I let those negative comments into my mind once and a while.

      How do others just let it go? How do they so easily dismiss it?

      I’m going to work on it 🙂


      • The issue here is not in the approval or disapproval – it is in the seeking. People can approve of us or disapprove and there is nothing inherently wrong with either. We can learn from either reaction. The problem is with seeking one over the other. Both are human interactions. In both cases people are giving you what they have to give. Accept both with gratitude because in either case, it is a gift.


      • When I get negative feedback, I ask myself, 1. what type of person is giving me the feedback, are they negative about most things.2. I am a very positive person who thinks everyone is entitled to their feelings and opinions. I don’t take it personally because I know I am a good person, confident in what I do. 3.For every 1 negative how many positives do you get? Dwell on all the positives and have confidence in yourself!


      • Very cool post. I think Lesley that the list isnt rigid, you dont have to have all of these. I also struggle with this one :(. Especially, if I worked really hard on a post, and I got far fewer views than I expected, I kind of get unmotivated :(… But, I feel like I am generally very happy anyways :).


  1. Surprisingly I’ve found the most happiness in my life since losing my job in the recession and not being able to find another one. I turned to writing about my travels to have a fun outlet and, although I miss the financial security of the corporate world, I won’t be returning! This article is excellent.


  2. After a reread you have some true gems in here. Definitely watch the company you keep. And, I’ve found that through exercise, your confidence is boosted to the umpteenth power. Anyway, Thanks for posting!


  3. Pingback: 22 Things Happy People Do Differently | Almost Awesome

  4. That’s a very helpful and amazing list! I realised that when I’m unhappy, I choose to be so… and I choose to remain as such. Don’t exactly know why, but it’s true that it is all in the mind, within… Happiness is a personal experience caused by inner factors.


  5. Well…it’s like you’re speaking to all of us! You’re list is a good one, and contrary to what I write about and photograph…I do try and follow many of your suggestions. It’s the following suggestions part I have trouble with. : ) Thanks for stopping by the Lens Lesley, thought I’d finally say hi and I do enjoy reading about your travels.


  6. This is a nice and inspiring guide to happiness. I find a few of them a bit challenging for me, especially the meditation and quieting my over active mind. My happiness motto is, “if you don’t like your life, then change it”.


    • Meditation is not for me either, but I’ve only heard positive experiences from those who do meditate. Overall, life is what you make it. I hope yours is filled with happiness and laughter 🙂


  7. Don’t forget the third type of person: the mentally ill. Happiness, or unhappiness. is not a choice for a great deal more people than what others think. And sometimes there just isn’t enough that this type of person can do to stay positive, much less function. Even with the Zoloft. Don’t read a book by its cover. You never know what is truly going on inside. Good blog post, but I felt that needed to be said.


    • I agree with this sentiment. Although happiness is a state of mind, it’s not something that can be attained equally by each individual, thus underscoring the “Life is not fair” item in the list. I can be uplifting, positive, and happy for others, but there’s little I can do if others do not want to be so for themselves.

      One truly doesn’t know what’s going on, and when his or her story is told, I can easily understand why some are miserable or unhappy — because an event or circumstance occurred to cause it. Each individual needs his or her time to react to any given stimilus, positive or negative.

      Although I disagree with a few items on the list, I do see its utility and value, but I have friends who are unhappy and I know why. Death of a loved one. Betrayal of a spouse. Loss of all personal possessions. Loved one’s contract of a terminable disease. Happiness is not an on-and-off switch, so to speak. I can’t tell someone to “Be Happy” and just expect them to follow suit. Nor would I like it if someone told me how I should feel about something.

      Just providing another perspective to consider to this very insightful list of recommendations. Thanks.


      • It’s been forever since I’ve had a Facebook account, but I still search for a “like” button on things. Damned Facebook ruined me. Anyway, if there were a “like” button on this, I’d press it.


      • If you are optimistic you will see possibilities in life. This I learned when I was left disabled during a routine surgery. I had to retire from teaching since I couldn’t walk very far without being in unbearable pain. Doctors told me, with my positive attitude and faith in God, makes my disability bearable. I lost income, friendships, activities but never lost my optimistic happy perspective (after cymbalta) and to this day I started a business, help people with depression and wrote a book “What to do before you say I Do” to help everyone get fresh ideas, and simple solutions to common relationship problems.
        I agree you can’t tell someone to be happy, but people gravitate to happy people because they give off a great energy that people just want to be around.
        That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it:)


    • Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I was trying to figure out how to make this comment but you did it beautifully. I am an innately happy person but I also have a condition called depression – whatever that means. To me it just means that I have to work a lot harder to maintain my natural level of happiness. I’m not really content with being “OK”. I do all the s… mentioned in this post just as a matter of survival. Well, except for the getting up at the same time. I find that it gets in the way of the previous rule, “Get absorbed in the present”. Also, I don’t give a s… about choosing friends wisely. I f…. love everyone… especially crazy people. If you wanna be my friend, I’m here for ya!


      • I am a fellow crazy-person lover. And I’m bipolar. Happiness comes in waves by f…..-up chemistry, not by choice. I hang on to that happiness every trip it makes my way. I hang on to it for life. Officially a follower of le freak show. Off we go …


        • Thanks for following me Kerry. My ex was bipolar. I get it now. Perhaps if I got it then we would still be together… maybe not. I do know I’m happier being single. We all have challenges (#3) and being single allows me to appreciate each person for their uniqueness and how they manage their unique challenge. It’s a journey no one wants to follow. I’m okay with that because it’s a journey filled with beautiful people.


          • Living with a bipolar person is so hard, but living with a bipolar person when you are also bipolar would be … interesting. I guess it depends on the situation. Part of me thinks it would be explosive, but the other part of me thinks it would work. The two people would understand each other like no one else could, and they would know what to do or how to react when one of them flips out. I don’t know …
            I started a blog a few months ago that emphasized my disorder: rants, journaling, creative writing, etc., but I closed the blog. I decided to put all my energy into creative writing, and the new blog really, really helps me cope. I don’t know why I copyrighted it. People don’t own words … words belong to everyone. Maybe my ego made me do it. Not that I have a reason to have an enhanced sense of ego about my blog, but I somehow felt I needed to claim my pain. That probably makes no sense. I’ll likely remove the copyright. I dunno.


      • Hi, Lesley. Sorry about my language. That’s just the way I talk. I will monitor my vulgarity in the future when commenting on you blog. I’m glad that you were able to keep the essence of my post without displaying the offensive words. xoxo


    • I didn’t where to put my reply on this post but as this person is saying just what i wanted to say then this looks like a good spot. I have suffered all my life with depression and if i could get a Dr to be honest with me i would say i have bi-polar too. Being happy is a constant struggle and it is not because i am particularly unhappy i am just nothing, but there are things that make me smile, especially my granddaughters and my children. Top daily living off with any and all of the following; an abusive husband, a religion that tells me divorce is wrong no matter what, a best friends death, my children being abused too, an accident which now means i am permanently disabled, a death of a child, losing a job, and soon to lose my home too, leaving not only me homeless (again) but also my daughter, living off benefits and living on bad food, not being able to go out because of the disability, worry about my elderly parents and the list goes on.
      There is little for me to be happy about. However has i sit in bed the sun is rising and i have peace. What you write about here is all true but sometimes there is a ‘if only!’ Don’t stop having your and sharing your adventures i am right there with you.


  8. Pingback: Being Happy | My Morning Routine

    • I thought about that one a lot today because I can think of at least two situations where I’m still holding a grudge. Should I just let it go even if I was wronged? Is it only hurting me? I don’t know but I know that it doesn’t make me feel good so maybe it’s the best advice of all.


      • If you are holding a grudge, first ask yourself what part you had in it. Second, write down what happened and why you feel that way, how you may or may not have been able to change it. Take your time and think about what you are writing. Third, read it out loud to yourself and say “its over I have to let it go and forgive yourself for your part or forgive the wrong doer. After you read it, burn it outside so the wind can take it, Release the grudge into the universe and free yourself. Give it a shot, it has worked for other people I know.
        Holding onto grudges takes away a lot of good energy. Let me know if you try it and how it worked. Thanks, great blog!


      • I have similar situations and I still hold a grudge too. My concern is that letting go would pave the way for the same to happen again. That said, none of the several grudges I hold are things that I dwell on every second of every day. Yeah, they occasionally make me feel bad but they’re also lessons learned I won’t forget.


  9. this is a great post. I believe I have much to work on – some more than others – but much;) i suppose that is why we are all a work in progress? Is it possible to find or know someone who ‘good’ at all 22 items? I am thinking I just broke #11. Honestly, all kidding and snarkey comments aside, these are wonderful ‘items’ to polish in our lives. I need some extra polish:)


  10. Such wonderful and true words on happiness – happiness something we choose everyday for ourselves and this is a great reminder of just that! Once you choose happiness the sky is the limit 🙂 that’s why I choose to live in Italy!


  11. I think not bearing grudges and refusing to cry over spilt milk is the key. Learn from the past, there is something good/something to be learned from EVERY experience however awful it may appear. Do not let any experience or moment be a waste.


    • This is how I’ve (kind of, not that I’ve perfected the skill) mostly taught myself to not hold onto grudges: rather than being perpetually mad at the other person, I step back and look at the situation clinically, thinking, “what can I learn from this? what can I do differently next time?” Sometimes the answer is nothing, but many times I could’ve changed something on my end.


  12. Love, love, love this! I’m currently trying to incorporate many of these things in my life. Many of these I do well, but there are others I know I need to improve on.


  13. Love your attitude and outlook on life. Learnt this on Sunday “We live our life on levels but we experience it in stages, chapters or seasons” the list affirms the lesson.


  14. Pingback: 22 Things Happy People Do! (or: 22 things I fail to do on a daily basis) | adventures on adventures

  15. 12. Choose friends wisely.
    Misery loves company indeed! This is especially true in your youth, where new friendships are formed in school and there are lots of different choices in who you hang out with.


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