In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that recognized happiness as a “fundamental human goal.” This resolution has led to a movement of people from 160 countries recognizing that real progress is about increasing human happiness and not just increasing the economy.
At Joy Organics, we couldn’t agree more, which is why we’re overjoyed to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.
Often, happiness is something you create. Looking to bring a little more happiness into your own life?
Check out the following habits of the happiest people on earth.
10 Habits of Highly Happy People
1. They Practice Gratitude
Positive psychology research suggests that gratitude is strongly linked to greater happiness. Not only does practicing gratitude lead to more positive emotions (it’s pretty difficult to be negative when you’re thankful), but can also lead to better physical health and overall feelings of wellbeing.
Researchers from the University of Miami have been studying the scientific nature of gratitude for years in what’s known as the “Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness.” Some of the major discoveries they’ve found in looking at various studies on gratitude and happiness include:
- People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more, had fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the coming week than those who journaled about negative or neutral life events.
- Individuals who keep gratitude lists are more likely to make progress towards important personal goals.
- Gratitude intervention with young adults resulted in higher reported states of positive alertness, enthusiasm, energy, determination and attentiveness.
Being grateful simply makes you a happier person overall. And at Joy Organics, we believe there is always something to be grateful for.
2. They Get Adequate Exercise
Did you know that getting a little exercise can go a long way when it comes to increasing happiness? A 2018 review highlighted that getting just 10 minutes of exercise a day or working out as little as once a week can make us happier people overall. Part of it has to do with the fact that exercise (even in small amounts) releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that decreases anxiety and improves mood.
Not big on fitness? Start small. Take a brisk 10-minute walk around the block, try some gentle yoga, take a class at your local gym once a week, dance, volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter. Once you start, not only will you find your happiness starts to increase but that your body will even begin to crave physical activity.
3. They Do Good to Others
One of the biggest habits of happy people is that they give openly to others. Extending kindness to others not only generates happiness for someone else but also works like magic to increase your own levels of happiness.
One study found that spending money on others has a more positive impact than spending it on yourself. While money can’t buy happiness, buying things for others can increase your own happiness.
Doing good to others is possible even if you don’t have a dime to spare. Smile at others, compliment your cashier, write a thank-you note, volunteer at a local shelter or senior center, or bake cookies for your neighbor. There are plenty of ways to do good to others, which is basically the same as doing good to yourself.
4. They Surround Themselves With Positive People
It is really, really difficult to be happy when surrounded by negative people. Happiness increases when shared, but so does negativity. When you surround yourself with others who are genuinely enthusiastic and positive, it has a ripple effect, causing you to feel more inspired, creative and confident.
Remember, you have a choice of who you surround yourself with and who you give your energy to. If you’re hanging out with Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer all day, it’s going to be pretty much impossible to feel positive emotions. Embrace the positive peeps and put as much distance between yourself and the haters as possible. You’ll find your happiness begins to increase exponentially.
5. They Put in the Effort to Be Happy
Happy people don’t just wake up happy every morning. They’re human and experience the same emotions as everyone else. They simply put in the effort to be happy each and every day. Happy people understand that in order to remain happy, they must observe their emotional state and actively pursue a state of happiness.
We all know how easy it is to get sucked into the mundane details of life. Rather than focus on the monotony of every day, happy people put the effort into seeing past the routine structure and assess exactly what they need to do to not to get stuck in a negative mindset.
6. They Focus on Meaningful Interactions
Here is one habit of highly happy people that makes a huge difference. Focusing on meaningful interactions can be life-changing. Small talk is unavoidable, but it shouldn’t be the focus of your regular one-on-one conversations.
Happy people engage in meaningful conversations and engage with other people on a deeper level. They avoid gossip or speaking negatively about others, focusing instead on creating a deeper emotional connection and uplifting those they surround themselves with.
Make sure that when you do spend time with others that the interactions you have are meaningful. Engage in conversation that is uplifting, makes you think and puts the world in a different perspective than simple small talk.
7. They Focus on the Positive
Life is full of ups and downs for everyone. Happy people are not immune to bad things happening to them. They simply choose to focus on the positive. Rather than complain about the way things are or the way they think things should be, they choose to be thankful for what they have and what the situation they’re currently in is trying to teach them.
While it’s not possible to always remain positive (and there is something to be said about embracing negative emotions), focusing on the positive when the going gets rough will ultimately lead to increased levels of overall happiness.
This is also true for the opposite. Focusing on the negative will only lead to increased negativity. If you continue to expect the worst or focus on the worst, you’re just going to keep getting more of the same. Happy people focus on the positive, even when there doesn’t seem to be anything positive to focus on.
8. They Live in the Present Moment as Much as Possible
According to the Buddha, “the secret of health for both body and mind is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
This is something happy people understand. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. It’s happening now and all the tiny moments that make up your life will one day be gone. Doing your best to live in each moment as it passes can have a significant impact on the happiness you experience overall.
Want to be more happy? Do your best to enjoy each moment as it passes. Over time, these little moments are the times that add up to your entire life. One day these will be the memories you look back upon. Enjoy each moment and we can guarantee that you’ll enjoy life that much more.
9. They Meditate
Did you know that a regular meditation practice could literally rewire the structure of your brain? Starting each day with just 5-10 minutes of meditation can literally be life-changing. Research shows, for example, that a regular meditation practice actually shrinks the amygdala, the fight or flight area of the brain associated with anxiety, fear and stress. This leads to decreased stress and anxiety, which in turn leads to increased happiness.
Other brain regions meditation has a positive effect on include the left hippocampus (responsible for learning, memory and cognition), the temporal parietal junction (responsible for empathy, compassion and perspective), the posterior cingulate (associated with mind wandering and self-relevance) and an area of the brainstem known as the Pons (where many regulatory neurotransmitters are produced).
Looking to increase your level of happiness? Try starting out your day with 5-10 minutes of meditation instead of scrolling through social media. We’ve personally found a daily meditation practice has been an exponential aspect of increasing our own happiness.
10. They Embrace a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is the belief that you’re in control of your own ability and that you can learn and improve. While a fixed mindset embraces the idea that you are who you are and you cannot change, a growth mindset embraces the idea that you are in control of your destiny. A growth mindset adopts the concept that you can always improve.
According to Carol Dweck, world-renowned Stanford psychologist who has dedicated decades of research to better understanding achievement and success, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
At Joy Organics, we believe happiness is best when shared with others. We hope these common habits of highly happy people resonate with you and are something you can implement into your own life if you haven’t already. In celebration of National Happiness Day, we wish you all the joy in the world.