Happiness habits: 10 things joyful people always do

What makes a person happy? Is it just in their biology to be so upbeat? Or is it in the things they do in their everyday life?

If you believe in nurture vs nature, you’ll know that the things we do have a huge impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

Both physically and mentally, we can find ourselves living our best lives when we do more of the “right stuff”.

Why? Because it’s been scientifically proven that some habits lead to more happiness in life compared to others.

If you’ve discovered what habits make you happy, hold onto them and never stop doing them!

If you’re not sure what yours are or you want to learn more ways to find joy every day, check out these 10 happiness habits (i.e., things joyful people always do!).

1) They make time for what’s important to them

Whether it’s dancing on a Wednesday night or seeing their friends, happy people make time for the things that are important to them.

They don’t always skip the after-work drinks to spend time doing chores. Nor do they sacrifice their own hobbies to lend a hand to others all the time.

Even when times get hard and life gets busy, they still manage to do things that make life enjoyable for them.

Why? Because they are strong and disciplined, and they have their priorities right.

2) They have their own hobbies

Similar to the above, happy people have their own hobbies – that’s just a fact.

It’s important to have things you enjoy doing – especially if you’re in a relationship (to maintain your independence and create space for freshness – according to experts).

Studies have even found that having your own hobbies improves your wellbeing, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and boosts your overall mood.

3) They don’t hold onto anger for long

I think I speak for all of us when I say that no one likes to be angry. Anger is a healthy but also negative emotion.

It’s a necessary feeling to protect ourselves from danger. But being angry doesn’t feel good. It feels red, blinding, and raging – not calm, cool, and content.

Experts have found that holding onto anger for long periods increases stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression. It also makes you more pessimistic.

When you’re genuinely content with your life, you still get angry and feel anger often. But you don’t hold onto it.

Once you’ve felt it and processed it in a healthy way, you let it go and move on.  

4) They get enough sleep

When you’ve had the roughest night’s sleep of your life, barely sleeping a wink, how do you feel?

Fresh, happy and ready to start your day with a smile?

If you’re anything like me, you don’t!

You feel tired, groggy, and downright depressed.

When your body is running on empty, it’s difficult for your brain to keep you feeling upbeat and productive.

And, as many studies have proven again and again, getting enough sleep every night improves your physical and mental health.

5) They exercise regularly

It’s a well-known fact that exercising makes you feel good. If you’re an avid exerciser, you’ll know this because of how good you feel afterward.

Countless studies have proven that exercising releases endorphins in your body – a hormone that boosts your mood and makes you feel happy.

Ever heard of a runner’s high? That’s your endorphins coming out!

Happy people know just how good exercise makes them feel – and they always make time for it in their weekly routines.

6) They set healthy boundaries with friends/family/partners

incredible friend Happiness habits: 10 things joyful people always do

Imagine this:

You have a friend who has money trouble and keeps asking you for cash. Every week you lend them hundreds of dollars, leaving you with little leftover for yourself.

You have an overbearing mother who’s always calling you up to moan about things in your life. She doesn’t like your job or your partner (which she frequently tells you).

You’ve even left jobs and relationships in the past because of her persistent negativity – even though they made you happy.

You have a partner who you live with. You always have to cook them dinner, clean the apartment, make dinner reservations, do the grocery shopping, and drive them where they want to go – without ever getting lifts in return.

Because you’re so busy doing everything for your partner, you often cancel plans with friends or skip your me-time to do things for them.

How would all that make you feel? Exhausted? Like you’re looking after everyone but yourself?

That’s because you are. And it’s happening because you don’t have good boundaries with the people in your life.

People pleasing can harm your overall health, wellbeing, and self-esteem – according to experts.

But setting clear boundaries with people is healthy and necessary – and it’s something happy people always make sure they do, no matter the relation.

7) They look on the bright side of life

There’s a pretty famous drawing that went viral online a few years ago. It was a picture of a bus cruising along a cliffside.

On one side of the bus, there was an amazing view of the ocean, the sunlight, the wildlife, and people playing on the beach.

On the other side, all you could see out the window was the dark, dingy cliff edge – with no light, no ocean view, and no wildlife.

One person was sitting there smiling – looking out at the ocean side. The other person was riding on the opposite seat – staring gloomily at the dark cliff.

What the image meant was that some people choose to look on the brighter side, while others don’t.

People who are genuinely content with their lives make a habit out of sitting on the ocean side of the bus.

They prefer to enjoy what they have and make the most of every situation, rather than hone in on the negative.

8) They spend time in nature

Green spaces are good for the soul.

If you’ve been to a park or forest recently and wandered around – with the tree leaves rustling above your head and the sound of nature all around you – you probably thought it was a day well spent.

That’s because studies have found health and wellbeing benefits of getting outdoors. Being in nature makes you feel calm, joyful, and less anxious.

Even a few deep breaths of fresh air for 60 minutes every day can make you feel happier about your life.

9) They cut out toxic people

As one expert puts it: “Surrounding yourself with the right people changes everything” – and it couldn’t be more true.

Think about the last time you hung out with people you don’t like or didn’t get on with. Chances are, you didn’t return home in a good mood.

Why? Because the people we surround ourselves with have a major impact on our life, productivity, and overall mood – according to experts.

Toxic people can suck the life out of you. They can make you feel negative, unproductive, and down in the dumps.

And happy people don’t make a habit out of keeping bad company.

10) They compliment others regularly

You’d think receiving more compliments would lead you further down the path to happiness, but this isn’t the case.

While it’s true that compliments make you feel good and appreciated (leading to feelings of happiness and improved self-worth), there’s a benefit in giving compliments, too.

Modern research has found that there are mental benefits to offering genuine compliments to others.

When you compliment someone on something they’ve done for you, it can help you develop a more optimistic outlook and feel more appreciative about the people in your life – according to experts.  

Plus, you can give as many compliments as you like in a day.

It’s not something you have to rely on others for, which is why it’s a great habit to have if you want more happiness in your life.

Final thoughts

Happiness is somewhat hard to define. More often than not, you know when you don’t have it, rather than when you do.

Being happy feels different for everyone and there’s no real rulebook to finding happiness in your life.

However, there is a ton of science and research on the things that can boost our mood and improve the way we feel (both physically and mentally).

And these habits are exactly the things that studies have proven are beneficial for your mental wellbeing.

So if you’re not totally satisfied with your life, chances are, making a habit out of these things can make a big difference!

Amy Reed

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.