How to Figure Out What Makes You Happy (+ 5 Ways to Be Happy)

‘Live more. Do more of what makes you happy.’ This is a mantra that all of us should live by. 

But, how do you live a happier life? How do you figure out what makes you happy?

Happiness is different for every person. Most of us have vague ideas about what makes us truly happy. Maybe we’re reasonably happy on a day-to-day basis but we’ve never really put much thought into where those feelings come from or what, specifically, is making us happy. 

Finding your happiness is not easy – it’s often a confusing and long process. Below, we list down 4 things that you can do that may help you figure out where your happiness is coming from. We also list down some tips that may help you live a happier life. 

How to Figure Out What Makes You Happy

Not entirely sure what makes you happy? Below, we list down 4 things that you can do that may help you figure out what makes you happy.

  1. Rate Your Days

A key factor to learning what makes you happy is to start looking for patterns. Take time each night to write about your day and how you feel about it – by doing so, you can start seeing the things that make you happy. 

Start by rating your day on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 is the best and 1 is the worst). Don’t think about it too hard – just think about how happy you were that day. Them, write down what you did that day. If you can, try to identify what made the day good or bad, happiness-wise. For instance, maybe you had a really good cup of Sante Barley and that made you happy. 

  1. Look at the Data

At the end of each week, look at the daily record you’ve made. Examine it and look at the days when you’re the happiest – what were you doing on those days? On the days when you were upset, what were you doing? See what patterns you notice on the happy and sad days – that way, you can figure out what makes you happy. 

  1. Meditate for Happiness 

Sit quietly with your eyes closed and practice deep breathing. Slowly breathe in and out. Keep practicing this breathing for several minutes, focusing solely on your breath moving in and out. 

Through meditation, you are forced to spend time with you – and only you. That means that you are left alone with your feelings and thoughts. As you confront those feelings and thoughts, you may start learning things about yourself, such as what makes you happiest and what upsets you. 

In addition to helping you find what makes you happy, meditation can lead you to greater happiness just by doing it. How? Meditation releases chemicals in your body that makes you happier, such as serotonin and endorphins.

  1. Think Back to Your Childhood

Still not quite sure what makes you happy? Think back to your childhood and remember what made you happy when you were a kid.

What made you happy before you were worried about what was ‘cool’? What did you like when you weren’t concerned about difficulty or expenses? What did you love before you were worried about societal expectations and about being ‘good enough’? 

If it made you happy back then, it’ll probably make you happy now. So, why don’t you give it a try and find out? 

5 Ways to Be Happy

Once you figure out what makes you happy, here are some ways to boost your happiness. 

  1. Strengthen Your Body

It can be difficult to make an actual change in your life and find how to feel happy if your body is telling you that it’s unhealthy. Your body and mind are one unit – what’s happening to one can influence the other. Whether you feel happy or upset, your physiology changes. When you’re feeling physically strong and healthy, your mind follows suit. 

To strengthen your body, maintain a sustainable and healthy diet that incorporates whole grains and the nutrients that you need for energy, while cutting out additives and sugar that make you feel sluggish and harm your overall health. You should also exercise at least five days a week. Finally, create a daily ritual to help make you strong – your daily ritual might be a morning jog through your neighborhood or a yoga session before you start your normal morning routine. 

  1. Find a Role Model

Finding a role model can give you a template for how to be a better person, as well as how to feel happy. Find someone who has overcome obstacles and achieved success, or think of someone you admire who’s very happy. What mindsets do they have that allow them to be happy? 

  1. Surround Yourself with Happy People 

If you hang around people who are consistently unhappy and only look at the negatives of life, chances are you will, too. So, choose to surround yourself with those who have a positive mindset instead, and see how much easier it is to find ways to feel happy. 

You need to surround yourself with people who do what you want to be doing. If you keep putting yourself out there, something positive will happy. If you want to know how to feel happy, surround yourself with others who share your passions or who can teach you something new. You should also work on making new and meaningful connections – the more people you connect with, the more likely you are to find how to feel happy. 

  1. Get Plenty of Sleep

We all know how hard it is to find ways to feel happy when we’re exhausted. Feeling happy is much easier when you’ve gotten enough rest and able to face the day with energy and optimism. If you have sleeping difficulties, or if you’re so overcommitted that you don’t take the time for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, you need to make some changes. Create healthy habits that help you power down in the evening and prepare your body and brain for sleep. Say no to commitments that prevent you from getting enough rest. 

  1. Practice Letting Go

One reason so many people struggle with happiness is the inability to let go. Whether you can’t let go of a past trauma or a grudge, holding on to negativity leads to unhappiness. Decide how you want to live your life and identify emotional patterns that are preventing you from letting go and being happy. Then, examine and change your habits to support letting go of a painful past and embracing a new, happier life. 

The Bottom Line

You can do more than just exist – you can live a fulfilled, happy life.

There are no ‘secret recipes’ when it comes to how to feel happy. It’s all about taking care of your body and mind, looking for role models, surrounding yourself with positive people, and learning to let go of past hurts. When you practice these principles, you’ll experience more fulfillment in every aspect of your life and have happy, meaningful experiences on a regular basis.

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