Your natural state is to be happy, but if you add too much to it, you lose what’s already there.
They walk among us, usually with an ear to ear grin that spreads from the inside out. These people are like charming flowers, and we all want to breathe in their intoxicating scent.
Happy people are intoxicating, infectious and are considerably more pleasurable to be around than unhappy people.
Many things that we value in life are the result of accumulating stuff; experience, wealth, and education all come from adding more to what we have. By contrast, the act of being happy is often more about subtracting things that weigh us down, tie us to the past, or keep us engaged in unhealthy situations and relationships. But letting go is hard. We attach ourselves easily to behaviors and patterns that are comfortable because they are known, even if they limit us and our capacity to succeed and to be happy.
Happy people and unhappy people see the world through two completely opposing views. Let’s look at the ways happy people stay happy, while the unhappy remain miserable.
Happy People Don’t Do This
1. They don’t live in the past
The past is the past for a reason – it has already happened. There is no reason to linger there since it cannot be changed. Happy people tend to make peace with their past and focus on the future. They actively seek out different opportunities in order to make the most out of their lives.
Happy people have truly mastered living in the moment. Happy people realize that the present moment, all these moments, are in fact our lives.
2. Don’t worry about the future
It’s natural to want to know what’ll happen tomorrow, next month, or even five seconds from now. The world is a chaotic, dynamic environment, and it always will be. We don’t control nature or other people. Moreover, we don’t even fully control our own minds and bodies.
We secretly hope that, if we think about it enough, the future will actually turn out the way we expect it to. Of course, that rarely happens.
Happy people don’t perceive life’s inherent uncertainty as a threat, they see it as an opportunity.
In their minds, every day is a new chance for something good to happen – something they could never have expected. This is called optimism, and psychologists say one of its key enablers is your explanatory style.
3. They don’t fear change
Change can be frightening, it’s human nature to wrap ourselves in familiar surroundings. But if there’s one thing true about life, it’s that change is inevitable.
Shying away from change prevents growth and you end up fighting a losing battle, clinging to keep everything the same, which is impossible. Embrace change – learn, grow, have fun, get excited, live!
4. Don’t complain all the time
What you think about, you invite into to your life. When you complain all of the time, you voice your negative thoughts, which:
- Gets you used to and comfortable with complaining, so you do more of it.
- Gets your brain synapses and neurons to strengthen the connections in your brain that are tied to negativity and complaining.
Happy people don’t complain almost at all. Even if there are things they can complain about (and there always are), they are aware that complaining brings nothing good, so they just don’t do it – instead, they think positively.
5. Don’t seek revenge
There is no reason to actively seek revenge against another person. Leave that up to karma and just continue living your life accordingly. Instead of focusing on revenge, happy people try to make peace with the issue.
The only way to stop revenge is to give up and to accept it. Replace the evil feelings with opposite thinking. This is the only way; rise above it and let it be.
6. They don’t waste time doing things they dislike
While there are always going to be things we don’t like doing (laundry, taxes, etc.), happy people don’t waste time on activities that they don’t have to do and don’t enjoy.
Happy people don’t spend time watching TV shows they don’t love; they don’t attend events that make them feel anxious; they don’t stay in careers that don’t fill them with joy. One of the greatest secrets of happy people is that they know what they don’t enjoy, and they don’t waste time on it out of a sense of fear, inertia or obligation.
7. Don’t buy stuff to make them happy
Happy people don’t need to buy materialist goods to make them happy. They don’t have to do ‘retail therapy’ just to feel good. In a society that promotes buying stuff to feel good, happy people know better. Sure they treat themselves but for all the right reasons.
8. They don’t dwell on regrets
Unfortunately, we often sit for too long – far beyond the point of useful insight. We think we’re doing the world and ourselves a service by over-analyzing our missteps, but, actually, we’re blocking the path forward.
A regret is a bad experience that lies in the past until we walk back to it, pick it up, and carry it into the present.
Happy people take life one day, one mistake, one improvement at a time because that’s how you move forward without getting overwhelmed or letting your mistakes define you.
They know that they know quite little, that they’ll never grasp more than a fraction of the world’s knowledge, and that there’ll always be more to learn. Yet, like kids, they don’t let any of this deter them from moving forward.
9. Happy people don’t give up
“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”
– Steve Maraboli
Everyone has self-doubts, but happy people squash these doubts and keep going. They don’t blame anyone else for their successes or failures, they simply and silently keep trying. Figure out what you love and go for it.
Happy people don’t give up on their dreams and goals but what they do give up is their need to always be right, their limiting beliefs, their resistance to change and their excuses.
10. They don’t feel sorry for themselves
Feeling sorry for yourself is almost the same as complaining: It only makes you used and comfortable with the feeling. Which means that in the future you will likely feel even more sorry for yourself and create a vicious circle in which feeling sorry for yourself feels kind of good and comfortable, so you do more of it.
Try and force yourself out of feeling sorry for yourself if you want to truly be happy and unburdened.
11. Don’t seek validation from others
Happy people do not look to others to confirm their self-worth. They recognize their value on their own and don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. They do things for themselves that they believe will advance them in life. By not concerning themselves with the opinions of others, they can focus on personal growth.
12. They don’t strive for perfection
Perfectionism is the enemy of happiness, and happy people are well aware of this. Though they strive to do their best and aim high with their goals, they aren’t caught up in having ‘perfect’ lives or being the ‘perfect’ spouse, worker or parent.
They don’t try to compare their real lives to those ‘highlight reel’ images on Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes good enough is good enough.
13. They don’t focus on what they can’t control
Trying to control everything is a result of anxiety in your mind and body. Happy people have learned to let things go, they have a peaceful spaciousness in their minds that radiates right through them.
Can you change the situation? If so, then take the appropriate steps to make positive change. If you can’t change the situation, then take the appropriate steps to change the variables that you can.
Happy people always focus on what they can control, they keep positive and keep moving forward.
14. They don’t allow negativity
Happy people don’t allow negative people or circumstances to make them angry or get them upset. We’re not saying these emotions are not a natural pat of our existence but always being around negative people will drain you leaving you with circumstances you want to avoid.
Happy people make the time to be around people that contribute to their happiness.
15. Don’t value material possessions over experiences
Scientific research has shown that people who use their money to buy experiences such as travel, sporting activities and outings to the theater enjoy a greater, more prolonged sense of happiness than those who spend money on objects.
The happiest people seem to have figured this out; they value activities such as spending time with friends and family, traveling to new places and stepping outside of their comfort zones.
If you want to be happy, don’t get lost on a long journey to nowhere. The pot of gold is always with you. All you have to do is clean it. Scrape away the dust, and your natural happiness will shine.
- Stop worrying about the future.
- Stop regretting the past.
- Embrace changes.
- Stop complaining.
- Stop closing your mind.
Like the bird in the tree, when we get back to our true selves, we might find:
“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I’m singing.”
– William James