We all want to be happier — it’s the ultimate pursuit in life.
Some might think it’s very hard to find, but happiness is actually something you build. Consistently happy people tend to follow the same daily practices.
And if you do too, you’ll have the blueprint to your own happiness as well.
Here are the 10 daily habits of genuinely happy people.
1. They get quality sleep
I once talked to a psychologist who told me that he finds sleep is tied to practically every problem he has encountered in his career.
When people get better sleep, a lot of problems tend to become smaller.
And there’s a good reason for this. Studies show that getting regular quality sleep improves your attention, focus, and mood.
But even without the science to back this up, I’m sure you’ve experienced the effects of a night spent tossing and turning, or rudely awakened by your alarm clock just as you were getting comfortable (how dare it??).
Try to consistently get 8 hours of sleep at night. If you can’t manage on a few nights, see if you can steal away a half-hour for a quick nap in the afternoon.
2. They exercise
You may not want to hear this, but well, what your doctor, and mother, and annoying know-it-all neighbor say is true. Exercise is indeed very, very good for you — and this goes for your happiness too.
I know, the couch is so much more comfortable. I struggled with forming a habit of exercising for years — 6 years, in fact.
But when I read about the incredible benefits of exercise on happiness, my motivation changed from trying to get a knockout body to prioritizing my happiness.
And knowing this made the entire experience much more enjoyable. Over time, I started being more conscious of the amazing feeling that even a 20-minute cardio session gives me.
And now I’m even excited to go to the gym.
But the good news is, you don’t necessarily have to — you can move your body in many other ways instead. You could join a sports club, a dance class, or even walk places instead of driving.
The most important thing is you make it into a consistent habit. Your health and happiness will be sure to see a huge boost!
3. They practice gratitude
Another daily practice consistently happy people follow is practicing gratitude.
This has become a rather popular buzzword, but there’s a lot of compelling evidence backing it up.
People who write down three good things that go well and what caused them see a big increase in happiness.
And this isn’t just momentary — happiness keeps improving the longer you follow this practice.
What I love about this habit is that it’s so quick and simple to do, and it’s actually pleasant as well.
I choose to do it in the notes app on my phone, so that I always have my gratitude journal at hand. It functions like a positivity diary for me, and I can look back at all the amazing things that have happened to me over the last months and years.
Whether you choose to do it on paper or your phone, or even share it out loud with someone, just make it into a consistent habit.
4. They set and work towards their goals
People who are consistently happy tend to set goals, and take daily action to work towards them.
Setting goals helps give your daily life a sense of purpose. You have something to work towards that’s beyond simply going to work, eating food, and getting through the day.
Over time, as you see progress, you’ll get a great sense of satisfaction from feeling like your life is moving somewhere.
But you know what? You don’t even need to reach your goals to enjoy greater happiness.
This might actually be the best mindset. You shouldn’t place a condition on your happiness — “I’ll be happy when I lose 10 pounds” or “when I get my dream job” or “when I finish this course.”
I mean, achieving goals does bring you happiness, it just doesn’t last all that long.
So don’t focus too much on the finish line. Instead, enjoy having a meaningful direction to go in, and have fun on the way there.
5. They spend time doing what they love
As we’ve just said, setting goals is great and all — but don’t make your whole life about them.
Some people make the mistake of doing everything for the future. They spend their free time working hard so that one day they can get a promotion. Or studying so that one day they can master a skill. Or following a strict diet so that one day they can have their dream body.
Don’t get me wrong, these things are great. But when will this “one day” come?
You can’t live your whole life for the future, because it will never arrive. You’ll just keep pushing the goalposts to the next promotion, another skill, or an even better body.
When do you actually get to enjoy life?
The happiest people know that life is about striking a balance between working towards the future, and enjoying the present.
And they make sure they do things that could be considered a “waste of time” — the only benefit to them is that it makes them happy.
6. They hold onto their values
If you ask a consistently happy person what their values are, they’ll know exactly what to say.
Because the happiest people are the ones who have clearly defined their values, and they stick to them.
Values are what guides you throughout life. They make all your decisions easier, because they give you criteria to follow that make the right choice obvious.
If you ignore your values, or don’t know what they are, you’ll end up living your life in misalignment.
You’ll end up with a general sense of unease that you just can’t shake, because deep down you know that something is off.
Your values don’t have to be something lofty or grandiose. It can be as simple as “I value relationships with other people above all else.”
Or, they can be “virtues” that you want to live by, like “kindness and honesty.”
7. They build deep connections
Think about how empty your life would feel without your friends, family, or loved ones to share your experiences with, and you’ll quickly see why.
The happiest people aren’t necessarily all extroverts, or flitting from one social gathering to another.
But they definitely invest time and energy into building strong, fulfilling relationships with people that matter to them.
This means checking in regularly with your friends, being genuinely caring and supportive, and always giving them your full attention when you spend time together.
8. They give to others
Imagine you got an extra $50. What would you spend it on?
Maybe you’d get yourself a nice new shirt, or splurge on a good meal, or tuck it away in your savings account.
But consistently happy people would more likely spend it on someone else. It turns out, giving to others makes you much happier than giving to yourself.
Thankfully for your wallet, it doesn’t have to be a large amount — even small sums have the same effect.
In fact, you don’t have to spend money at all! You can also give a compliment, a smile, or a helping hand.
Or if you have time left over in the week, invest it in volunteering.
9. They let go of what they can’t control
Do you ever get the feeling that some people’s lives are just better?
Things just seem to go their way. Well, that’s not true — everyone experiences setbacks, unexpected change, and frustrations.
But genuinely happy people know a secret — there’s no use fighting against what you can’t change.
They learn to accept what they can’t control, and find ways to adapt to the circumstances they’re faced with.
They forgive past mistakes — both their own, and other people’s — and take the lessons learned into the future with them.
And they’re open to change, as it’s inevitable.
10. They enjoy the simple pleasures in life
As you can tell by now, happiness is not a pot of gold you find one day and live off of for the rest of your life.
It is built every day by small, consistent action steps.
And these action steps aren’t made of huge things like winning the lottery or meeting the love of your life.
It’s in finding the joy in the mundane, everyday events.
I went for a walk the other day, and I could have gone the entire walk worrying about a problem I’m working on at work, or focusing on the uncomfortable shoes I was breaking in.
But instead, I chose to notice the beautiful flowers by the road, the vivid color of the sky, and the fact that I was sharing the walk with someone I really cared about.
That’s how you build a happy life, day after day.
Happiness is something we could all use more of — and the world would certainly be a better place for it.
Now you know 10 daily practices you can follow to be consistently happy.
Know someone else who could benefit from these tips? Be sure to share it with them, and build the happiest community all around you.