People who are genuinely happy usually display these 8 patterns of behavior

We all strive to be happy, right? 

Have you ever noticed that some people have cracked it? 

The interesting thing is: that genuinely happy people usually display certain patterns of behavior. But they’re nothing extraordinary, just a few simple habits they keep.

Today I’m sharing 8 patterns of behavior that genuinely happy people usually display. And the best part is, these are simple things that anyone can do.

Which ones will you try out? 

Let’s dive in. 

1) They see setbacks as learning opportunities

Nelson Mandela famously said, “I never lose, I win or I learn.” This is an incredible attitude to have as it’s not easy to take this approach when you’re down on your luck. But it’s one that many people who are genuinely happy in life, share. 

Psychologist Carol Dweck defines this behavior as having a growth mindset. Instead of being fixed or static, people with a growth mindset, use their experiences to grow and improve. 

In her 2006 book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology For Success’ she puts forth the idea that almost any human experience is influenced by our mindset towards it. 

And the best part of all? You can adopt a growth mindset and start reaping the benefits very quickly.  

2) They appreciate the small stuff

One thing genuinely happy people always do is appreciate the small stuff. It could be as simple as being grateful that a tough day is finally over. Or simply appreciating the warm and comforting hug of a loved one. 

The things that happy people usually appreciate and show gratitude for are things the rest of us might be guilty of overlooking because we’re too busy rushing around. 

Slowing down and showing some gratitude for the small things in life have incredible benefits. Research shows that gratitude improves mental well-being, relationships, and physical health. 

As Oprah puts it “Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more”.

What are you thankful for today? 

3) They’re kind to others 

Kindness is one of the most powerful and underrated behaviors there is. Not only does kindness spread joy and happiness to those you show it to. It has the same effect on you. 

A few years back, I noticed I’d developed a habit of doing random acts of kindness when I was feeling down.

If I was having a bad day, I’d pick up some cookies for my roommates on the way home from work. Or I’d buy my co-workers an unexpected coffee at lunch. It made them happy and I felt great too. 

I know this might sound selfish as it was benefitting me but that’s the thing about kindness, there are no losers. No amount of kindness is too much. Happy people know this and they spread joy and kindness to others regularly. 

What small act of kindness could you do to make someone’s day?

4) They spend time with people they love

We all want to spend time with our friends and family, right? But life is busy and before you know it a few weeks have slipped by and you haven’t spent any real quality time with the most important people in your life.

Sound familiar? 

Genuinely happy people don’t let this happen. They prioritize their loved ones and make sure to put time and energy into the relationships that matter most to them. And it pays off. 

People who score highest in happiness always have at least one dear friend, and believe it or not, people with close social ties tend to live longer as outlined by psychologist Richard Slatcher Ph.D. during an interview on the ‘Speaking Of Psychology’ Podcast.

The secret to happiness is surrounding yourself with loving and caring relationships. 

5) They give back and help others 

If someone possesses these 15 qualities theyre truly a kind soul 3 People who are genuinely happy usually display these 8 patterns of behavior

I experienced the power of helping others when I volunteered to collect money for cancer research on a busy street one Saturday morning in 2021.

I was simply helping my friend out, she’d asked me to come along as someone else dropped out last minute.

As it turned out: I got much more from the experience than I expected. I only spent a few hours doing charity work that day but I felt great for days afterwards. And I learned some life lessons. Since then I’ve continued to volunteer whenever I can. 

I learned firsthand that helping others helps you to be happier. And it’s not just me. Research finds helping others has the same effect on our brains that food and sex do. It’s linked to pleasure and happiness.

“Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.” as outlined by Time.

Happy people have figured this out so you’ll often see them giving a helping hand, getting involved in their community, or volunteering in their spare time. 

6) They exercise regularly

Do you exercise regularly? 

We all know how important it is but that doesn’t mean we do it. You cannot argue with the benefits of physical activity for every aspect of your life. 

“Research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.” as outlined by the NHS (UK Health Service).

I’ve started enjoying exercise more by thinking of it as good for my mental health, not just my body. I tell myself that even a short walk helps my mind, and it doesn’t have to be a long run to count.

Happy people always have some form of exercise in their weekly routine, it might seem small but it’s a big reason they’re as happy as they are. 

7) They look on the bright side

You know that phrase ‘Look on the bright side’? For genuinely happy people, it’s more than a phrase, it’s how they live their lives. 

If you look closely enough, there’s good and bad in almost every situation. People who are genuinely happy have this knack for always focusing on the good stuff. 

Being optimistic like this doesn’t mean they’re not aware of some of the bad things in life but they just focus their energy on the positives. 

Why not give it a try and see how it makes you feel? 

8) They forgive others 

Genuinely happy people forgive others. They let things go, they don’t hold grudges. 

I know: this one doesn’t sound easy. But think about it, who are you hurting by holding onto negative feelings about something that happened a long time ago? 

Nobody but yourself and happy people have figured this out. Life’s too short, they just let things go. 

I recently buried the hatchet with an old friend over a 10-year-long disagreement. We fell out over something silly at University. We went our separate ways and never spoke again.

I bumped into her recently and we agreed to let it go. I have to admit it felt good but it makes sense.  

“A recent study that shows forgiving others may lead to improved mental health and well-being.” 

Turns out forgiveness may just free up more space in your life for happiness.

The bottom line

Be honest, how many of these behaviors could you start doing if you wanted to? 

The truth is: being happy is less about hoping and praying for a happy life and more about making small choices everyday that add up to genuine happiness. 

If you want to be happy and you don’t know where to start, why not try out a few of these behaviors and see what happens? 

Cat Harper

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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