What makes you happy? Is it a loving partner, a fun high-paying job, or endless world travel?
Most people spend their lives waiting to be happy. They think if they have more money or more cars or a perfect relationship, then they can be happy.
But the truth is that anyone can be happy right now. It’s not always easy, but you can choose to be happy because according to UCLA neuroscientist, Alex Korb, happiness starts with our thoughts. No one is stopping you to be happy but yourself.
“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
Happiness is by choice and those choices refer to how we think, act and react to the things we cannot control. Here are 11 common traits of happy people:
1. They buy experiences, not things
According to research, people who spent money on experiences rather than material things were happier. When they use their money to buy life experiences, they feel like the money was better spent. The study also shows that we cherish our memories and experiences far more than the things that we buy.
Although we feel a thrill when we purchase some things like a new phone, the excitement fades away over time but the joy and memories of experiences can last a lifetime.
2. They don’t look outside for what they need to find within
Happy people know that neither material things nor people are the keys to their happiness. Of course, they know that loving and supportive relationships are important. However, they never depend on people for their happiness because it is the source of disappointment.
3. They love themselves for who they are
Happy people are comfortable in their own bodies. They accept who they are – physically and emotionally. They maintain their true character traits even if they do not receive approval for them. Most of all, they make the best of what they have instead of wallowing in what others would define as weaknesses or shortcomings.
4. They are grateful
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
Gratitude is one habit of happy people.
When you make a habit out of expressing how thankful you are for everything you have in your life, these joyous experiences will continue to expand in your life.
5. Happy people embrace change
Happy people know that nothing is permanent in this life. They embrace change and they know that life’s happiness does not go on without interruptions. In fact, a life that is lived fully has times of great sadness. But they don’t rail against life’s injustice. Instead, they see the beauty and happiness after the loss.
Most of all, they refuse to let major setbacks define who they are. In times of despair, they deepen rather than weaken.
6. They know how to forgive
“I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.”
Happy people practice forgiveness because they want a peaceful spirit. When someone hurts you, it is normal to feel negative emotions like bitterness and grudge. But happy people don’t let themselves pay the price over and over again. It is because they know that focusing on the past will keep them from enjoying the wonders of today and the potential of tomorrow.
Furthermore, forgiveness also has health benefits according to research.
7. They are not jealous of other people’s success
“You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” – Gary Allan
According to a study, jealousy blinds people. Jealousy is a killer and happiness cannot exist where there is jealousy. The researcher of the study notes that:
“When an emotional stimulus appears, it draws attention to itself — and thus draws attention away from other things that come immediately afterwards,” Most said. “When attention is preoccupied in such a way, we tend to miss thing that appear right in front of our eyes.”
When we are jealous about what others have, we tend to forget our own success. Rather than observe and compare themselves to other people, the truly happy ones celebrate those successes. They then use them as an inspiration to accomplish more within their own lives.
8. They laugh a lot
Laughter is the best medicine
Happy people know that a good laugh heals a lot of hurts. They laugh often and are not afraid to laugh at themselves sometimes. Laughter makes a heavy situation manageable and less stressful. Not only that, laughter has a lot of benefits according to this article. It states that laughter can strengthen your immune system, boosts your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress.
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you can have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” – Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D
The best thing about laughter is that is contagious which means one funny, happy person in a group can create a roomful of happy people.
9. They focus on the solution
“Happy people focus on solutions. Unhappy people focus on problems.” – Chris Butler
Focusing on your problems means you are focusing on the negative things, which caused great stress. Happy people are considered great problem solvers not just because they can find a solution to anything. But, they also don’t see a need to focus on the problem as much as the solution for it.
When you believe and focus on the solution, life becomes easier. Life will present you with a lot of problems and more solutions. The question is where will you put your focus?
10. They are optimists
Positive thinking is one key to be happy because it turns negative thoughts into positive ones. When you see the glass half-full, rather than half-empty, will turn your life around in ways you’ve never imagined.
Happiness depends so much on our perspective of life. Given the characteristics above, how many do you have? Let us know in the comments below.