22 Things Happy People Do Differently

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

  • Absolutely true. Thanks for the reminder, guys!

  • So True. . . Thanks @Chiara For sharing this.

  • Barb Best

    Excellent… misery is a magnet for the miserable.

  • Erin

    Just come across this website and read the above; a perfect guide to life I’d say and advice I will take on board from this moment on. Very fulfilling and has left me with an urge for change. 🙂 Thankyou.

  • Jajabor

    Funny that #19 says ‘Live Minimally’ and there’s an ad for Louis Vuitton right after the article ends.

  • worth reading I learned many things, that sometimes I forgot and some situations that I need to handle in a right way. thanks for the share…:D

  • Whitewolf

    This is a great article. I just sent it to a bunch of my friends- so they can remind me if I fall off the ladder…. and they get to read it too. Because I love them <3

  • Rob Desbois

    The bit that says “Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves” should probably be the other way round – I know people, myself included, who get despondent when they have tried to meditate and can’t shut their mind up.
    The other way round shows the cause and effect: “People who know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves are happy people”.

    This book has really helped me recently: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html

  • robert sahay

    lmao jason treated your dumb@ss

  • barskii

    Thanks for letting the TRUTH come out where this article really came from, I went to a different site, and thanked them – I am now signed up on your site – barskii

  • This is VERY awesome and VERY true! I do practise a lot of these and need to keep working on the rest! Worth the read. But I want to say one thing about ‘choosing to be happy’ … yes, a lot of it is a choice, but when you suffer from depression you can not always, no matter how hard you try, will yourself to be happy. Sometimes you need meds and other means. I also am not sure about ‘Zoloft’ specifically, but my working out has NOT given me more energy or made me happier naturally. (I am happier because I am proud of myself and I like the way I look, but that is different than my exercise making me happier.) For me, there is no amount of exercise that would be able to take the place of my meds. I know this … I have suffered from this depression my whole life and I always will, there is NO cure. I have also gone in phases not needing meds, but they were few. Truthfully though, my depression is the reason I am such an optimistic, happy person. Because of having to work so hard at being positive, I have learned a lot about myself, life and ways to keep myself up. This is absolutely great advice in this article. I hope you not only read it, but definitely try to live these!!!!

  • Trish

    Thanks for putting this all together. Good points to ponder.

  • Autumn

    Robert, read #7 again!

  • HerQuirkyness

    Dear Ms Fucarino, I shared this article with my Speech Club Group here at the Hyundai/Kia Headquarters in Seoul Korea and one of the members was so impressed by it he shared it with his entire division; then his division manager liked it so much that he forwarded it to over 1200 people! Thanks again and good luck with your business!! I’m originally from Chicago and know there is a market for what your’re hoping to achieve!! Sincerely, Nicole

  • Kara

    This is one of the most pretentious things I’ve ever read. All these qualities are great, and if you’re able to do these things, more power to you. But to label it, “happy people do this…happy people do that…” who is happy all the time? And people who are sad don’t choose to be sad. It’s a state of mind based on circumstance, which no one has the right to judge. In some cases a serious illness. And by telling these people that something is wrong with them because they don’t try to see the best things in life all the time is cruel. Just because someone isn’t rays of sunshine all the time doesn’t mean they can’t be successful. And that one about successful people are early risers is just ridiculous. I know plenty of people who work at night and they are successful and content.

    “Happy people” think they’re better than everyone else. “Happy people” ignore reality and live in fantasy to remain happy. “Happy people” are a figment of the imagination. “Happy people” cry into their pillows at night when no one is watching. “Happy people” judge others who have been through horrible things and don’t come out shining on the other side. “Happy people” haven’t lived one day of real life. “Happy people” are fake.

    Do you see? Those are all general statements that aren’t true of all “happy people.” And that list above is also not true of all “happy people.” Others who don’t always see the good and live somewhat more in reality aren’t bad. In fact, I’d rather be with someone who isn’t afraid to feel angry, or sad, or any other “negative emotion.” We’re built to feel both. So FEEL. Don’t be smiling zombies for the rest of us to run screaming from.

  • MFTY

    Life was given to be lived abundantly. Being content with where we are and what we have is the key to happiness. Strive only to be more useful to others or to improve our skills; never waste time and money striving for material wealth or notoriety. You are who God created you to be and you can find your contentment in that.

  • I translated the article into spanish for the hispanic community. Now the can join the wisdom inside your words 😉 Thanks for writing your learnings and thoughs, Chiara and a big hug from Madrid | http://bit.ly/16jVIps

  • Its hard to know who owns this great Blog. British Gas? The prettygirl at the top of page? Or Chiara? Maybe the pretty girl is Chiara? If you are then you need to BRAND your name. However, I wish I had the kowledge to how to place everything in position with images and animation as this Blog. I have just recently purchased a Word Press but I can only add post and edit. I have business skills but website technolgy is new stuff to me. This Blog is great! Ifor Love. ifor247@yahoo.co.uk Take care Best Wishes.

  • Andrea

    I am pretty happy and I don’t know that i really agree with everything. Getting up at the same time every day stabilizes your circadian rhythms? How based in science is that fact? As well as dream big yet be content. Happiness looks different on every person. There is no formula for happiness other than to just try to look at things through a positive, optimistic light and that will filter into your daily life.

  • Terry L. Jarbo

    Thank you for the reminder – circumstances do not make us or break us it is our choices pertaining to those circumstances that make or break – thank you for identifying 22 such choices

  • David_G_Young

    When a blog writer uses the phrase “it has been scientifically proven that…”, the rest of the article should be taken with a pinch of salt.

  • Napalm Jeff

    Any scientific validation to this or is it just an opinion? I’ve looked into this and it seems people with average IQ tend to be happier than those with higher IQ. If you want to know more, look it up for yourselves but remember, the internet has so much information. Everything you want to know is there, but the time you spend searching for what you want is about 10%. The rest is for vetting the source.

  • Papaalhawaii

    Right on Chiara.

    I am happy and I do these things.

    I feel for Kara below but i don’t agree with her. Happy people aren’t better. But they do look at life differently and behave differently. I used to be unhappy and felt I was powerless to feel anything different. But I found people who helped me change. I like happy better.

  • Lisa, you spoke so openly & honestly. I wish you much joy & luck in your life conquering your depression. You are an inspiration. Stay HAPPY! 🙂

  • bluishgreenone

    Happiness is almost a prerequisite for some of these habits. When I’ve been miserable it seams like the only thing I can put energy into is getting angry at people, saying mean things, taking about how miserable I am and basically the opposite of all the things listed above. But when I’m happy it’s only natural to say nice things, view hardships as opportunities, quiet my mind and build positive relationships. The beginning paragraph says that happiness comes from inner peace. So I think that should really be the focus. These 22 habits naturally follow from that. Now, how to find inner peace?

  • 41progress41

    hmmmm….something tells me you’re not a very happy person. This was not an article on being successful…it was about being happy. I am not a “smiling zombie” or fake…and hardly live in fantasy….ha! But I am content and settled…and at ease…and confident…and yes, I do all the above listed…because that IS what happy people do.

  • Aerin4

    This is the first time I read it but I agree and have done most of it and I am the real beneficiary.. I do not let outside happenings dictate otherwise… too bad for her she chose to look at the bad side as ok.

  • Aerin4

    the ad comes with the publication not with the writer 🙂

  • Aerin4

    Lisa, when you find yourself without a choice, choose to be happy.

    Instead of meds- count your blessings- your life, your family, your friends, your job if you have one, your skills, your partner if you have one, and an lot more maybe….

    My mom used to tell us “Don’t look up, always look down… when you feel bad look at the other people who manage with less”

  • Aerin4

    I give myself a few seconds to think before I react specially when I am about to say mean things, and more often than not my better self will conquer and I am happy in the end because I saved myself from burning bridges… we get the maddest to people we love the most because only they are able to offend us deeply…If a person whom I hardly know say or do something against me, I will say to myself “They don’t know me and I don’t care; and if that somebody knows me and say or do something awe full, I will pause and ask myself if I did anything to offend that person for him/her to do such things..Sometime I have to apologize first.. it wont hurt to consider others first. I never exempt myself.. in the end I preserve relationships which are far valuable than money.

    Success is when you are happy with what you do, not the other way around.. life is a journey and the view along the way must be appreciated because almost always we can not turn back.

  • Aerin4

    Agree 🙂

  • europeans drive simpler cars??? opposite is true

  • So true @Jason LOL Our buddy Jajabor was trolling the mall before reading this. What sucks is it was a gold ad for me 🙂

  • rachelle

    I like knowing that I can do better. Thank you so much!

  • Emme

    Lisa, I am very impressed by the self knowledge you have developed because of the hardship you must live with. I wish you the very best and also much hope and many good things in life. You are an inspiration to me because I know your optimism comes from hard work. All the best Emme Bradford

  • Sirk

    I’m a happy person and I do almost all the above. I had to show this article to my husband who just finds the negative in everything and is frankly kind of a bummer to be around sometimes (he’s very kind and loving to me and our daughter though), and he does opposite of 70% on this list. I’d rather he be happy. It breaks my heart how he spins everything into a negative.

  • Fluvs

    I strongly disagree with Kara. You have control over your mind, over your feelings and your emotions.

  • Jonathan Moore


    Your right no one is happy all the time. In fact if we felt happy all the time then the feelings of joy and connectedness we can have wouldn’t be so special.

    Relative happiness can be measured and if you research Positive Psychology you will find the science behind it. You will also find that the activities listed in this article are, for the most part, verified by the psychological studies.

    I agree with you in the inaccuracy of the author’s opening statement. I don’t think there are two types of people. That is obviously an oversimplification. We are much more complicated then that.

    Also, I disagree that as the author says it is “quite simple”. In fact one could pick any of these activities and discover that for some if not most people it is not simple. Take “social comparison” for example. Each day we are bombarded by advertising that tells us we aren’t cool if we don’t have the latest gadget, social media that tells us we aren’t anybody if we don’t have 10000 followers and so forth and so on. Its very difficult for many if not most people not to feel “less than” when faced with this propaganda.

    I’m sure the author wanted to be edgy and a bit controversial. That is after all how you get people to comment on your posts. That doesn’t mean that we should disregard the whole of the article. Science has shown that we can improve our overall level of satisfaction in life by adopting some of these practices. I have done it and it works.


  • Jimmy Joe James

    1. Bullshit
    2. bullshit
    10. Bullshit
    17. Bullshit on the account of AAAMMMEEERRRRUUUUCCCAHH!! 18. Bullshit (for reason see #17)
    19. Not in P.R.
    20. Bullshit – House said “everybody lies”

  • HorseSister’s Clairese Yuhasz

    It’s articles such as these that make our world and the study of people so fascinating. There won’t be one person that completely sees the same of what someone else does in reading things such as this. Our life experiences color our perceptions. I was having a conversation about the “law of attraction” yesterday and how people swear by it, yet we know many of those suffering in our world right now did NOTHING to manifest or control their lives. It’s largely chaos, this journey we call life. How we react to what happens seems to be the answer to those who are “happier”. I’ve been around some people I consider pretty miserable that are happy with themselves and their world and lives are NO reflection at all on their demeanor. So as with most of what I am exposed to on my journey, I evaluate what was offered me and take what I think will work. I can always try anything anew. Then I am reminded sometimes we are the students, sometimes the teacher of the curriculum of our life.

  • Faiz Dadarkar

    I’m sorry about whatever is causing you this much angst. But truly – how many of the things in the list above do YOU do regularly? It’s a simple question and the only response here is a number.

    There are no quick fixes or magic formulas – but I believe each one of these ‘suggestions’ and intrinsically good to follow – just for what they are. Guidelines for good living and getting the most out of life itself.

  • Me

    Jesus, I must be really unhappy :/

  • Mr. Shark

    You are so right, Jonathan, most of the things on this list are not simple at all. It takes conscious work to get there, and despite having worked on it for a couple of years now, I know I’m not fully there yet. But when you start working towards putting these things into action in your life, you start to notice change.

    Happiness is – and it is a proven psychological fact – a choice for most parts. Life is never completely happy, no one is happy all the time (and who would want to be! Like you said, it would make contentment feel less special) but you are in control of how you view things and that dictates how happy you are. You can’t control what happens to you in life, but you can control how you react to it and how you view it – and that is where the key to happiness lies.

    And Kara, I know people who are seriously ill but still manage to be happy about the good things in their life. Just like I know people who are seriously ill and have succumbed to depression. What I’m trying to say is that happiness is always an option, even when you think it’s not, and this list is a very good starting place to getting there – to making yourself happier, more content, more confident.

    No one is telling you to join the zombie army, Kara. But don’t dismiss the list as pretentious before you give it a try. Lists like this have helped a lot of people start living a happier, more fulfilling life.

  • Mr. Shark

    I started my quest for inner peace about two years ago. It’s been a journey, and there’s still a way to go especially when things get rough, but no one ever said it was fast, or easy. However, following these steps (or similar ones as I didn’t read this specific article back when I started) has actually led me closer to inner peace. I am so much more serene than I was when I started, and it has come from following steps like this; learning to forgive, learning to live in the moment, learning to be kind and wish others well even when the old me would have felt they don’t deserve it, being content with what I have even when it’s not much… It’s these little things, these little shifts in your thinking that help you see the good in life and steer you towards happiness and, yes, inner piece.

    Good luck on your journey! Hope to see you there.

  • Mr. Shark

    Agreed, Faiz!

    And when you start following them, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the change right away – as with anything worthwhile in life, it takes work and it takes time for your life and especially your mind to start to change. But follow these guidelines regularly and keep at it, and you will see a shift for the better in your life.

  • Timystic

    THANK YOU! This is a great response to this HORRIFIC article. Can’t say it better. The amount of mental health stigma in this article is plain disgusting.

  • FeeFina

    This article made me miserable. Just kidding, thanks for the advice.

  • Scott K

    How did I know the first ignorant reply to this would be “well then you must not be very happy!”

  • Interesting article and comments. The one important factor missing is that each of these tips are outlined as an action to take, which in part, is true.

    If on the other hand, we view each of the tips as a “habit” to create in our life that are automatic, then when combined, there is an unexplained power and the manifestation of the combined habits is one that leads a person to greater well-being overall.

    As an example, if one practice tips #1 and learns how to forgive oneself, and creating a habit of forgiving oneself, the manifestation of doing so will be that of tip #2, “be kind (to oneself) thus making tip #2 easier to achieve.

    By practicing tip #2, expressing kindness, (learning/practicing on self first (the act of forgiving oneself)) it will manifest itself in tip #4 (being gratitude) making tip #4 easier to achieve.

    When the list of tips are viewed as learning and applying as building blocks, you will realize greater benefits when they developed in a series that support each other (stepping stones).

    When developing the above list of tips as habits in one’s life, I believe one would realize greater success when developed in a series of:

    Steps (tips): 1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 13, 20, 21, 22, 16, 14, 9, 8, 6, 5, 3, 12, 15, 17, 18, 19, 10

    The end results of developing these tips (steps) in this order will not ensure you will be a happy person, what will manifest is a power of control or safeguard of those things we encounter each day that tend to influence our perspective ability to see life as it is outside of the realm of “to bless or blame” cycle of the thinking process.

    Each person will experience a different degree of influence these habits create based on their specific needs and desires at any given moment in time, which changes each moment in time.

    Once again, I’m able to appreciate each viewpoint expressed as a reflection of my own, and I understand the power of each of these steps (tips) as an daily experience in my own life and that of 1000s whom have searched and developed a solid program of “positive thinking/processing habits.”

  • Been there and learned.

    Scott, if you will try doing more of the 22 more of the time, you will be happier.

  • asarra

    Look up ‘complementary schismogenesis in relationships’ – useful insight on how our own positivity can influence our partner to be more negative, and vice versa.

  • Janice

    Hey guys lets just love on Kara and send her some happiness through the cosmos.

  • Dilpreet Bhatia

    Thanks for sharing this!! Making me peaceful with myself at least!!

  • Inthecorner

    People, especially gurus & so called life coaches always think they know the answer to being happy. The fact is – being happy is different for everyone. There is no one size fits all solution. After all, If their therory works, why isnt everyone doing it?

    The truth is happiness is just a temporary feeling anyway, Then we get bombard by something negative. The truth is we live in a world of positive & negative. Telling people to ‘dont think negative’ is nearly unnatural. Thinking positive thoughts all day will not give you a happy life either. Happiness requires effort. You define what happiness means to you. Use your mind to create it, use your body to take you there.