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Living a happier life is something we’re all searching for, right? The main goal of most humans on this planet is to just be happy.
And yet it’s something that feels difficult to achieve a lot of the time. If you fall into the trap of thinking “once I have x,y,z then I’ll be happy“, then you’ve probably seen time and time again that even once you have everything perfectly in place, you still aren’t happy.
That’s because buying things, losing weight, traveling every other week, or staying busy doesn’t guarantee happiness. All of these are more of a distraction than anything. It keeps your mind occupied for a little while, making you believe that this is the answer to your happiness.
At the beginning of your journey you may feel excited or eager to reach these goals. However, for a lot of people even when they reach their goals they don’t always feel that much happier. Even if they do, it seems to vanish quickly after the high is gone.
We as humans are taught to chase what seems important. Like success, money, being attractive, a large home, good job, etc. But these things are external factors that are only there to fit in with society. Society says all of these things are acceptable so it’s only natural for all of us to strive for them. But society and social status are not what makes you happy.
What does are actually the simplest things in your life. Things that don’t require much of anything. Like the smile on your child’s face, walking your dog, sitting out in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon reading a good book. All of these things fill up your cup in different ways.
Giving you the keys to sustainable happiness throughout your life.
So, if you’re chasing materialistic and external things, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying to work on the things that truly make you happy internally. And if you can’t think of anything at the moment, I’ve compiled a list of rules for living a happier life. And this happiness sticks with you… it doesn’t disappear as soon as the next new material item catches your interest.
Here are 25 Essential Rules for Living a Happier Life
- Live in the moment. Stop worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Appreciate what is happening right now.
- Give without expectation; a compliment, a smile, your full attention or an apology. Lend an ear when someone needs to talk. Forgive someone who has wronged you. There are many areas in which you can give without expectation.
- Redefine the word failure. Instead of thinking of it in terms of not succeeding, think of it as a challenge, a stepping stone. Reflect on it to see where things went wrong so you can adjust and keep going forward.
- Stop overthinking. Make a conscious effort to quiet your mind to all the negative things that can happen. Instead, focus on the positive outcome and go for it.
- Own your emotions and actions. Never place the blame for them on someone or something else.
- Replace the words “should” or “could” with the word “will”. I shouldwill stop smoking. I couldwill be happier.
- Stay focused on what you want. It’s the only way to reach your goals. When you notice you’re losing focus, reflect on your thoughts and emotions. Find the core reason for your distraction and deal with it so you can refocus and keep moving forward.
- Practice acceptance. Make peace with your past. Accept who and where you are now. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Set realistic goals.
- Allow your emotions to guide you, but not define you. It’s perfectly okay to feel emotions as they indicate you’ve experienced something that needs your attention. But don’t allow them to shape your life, to define or control you.
- Let go of your inner ‘control freak’ so you can experience all that life offers. The need to be in control is based on fear and the desire to feel safe. But you cannot control everything. In fact, the only thing you have full control of is yourself. For true happiness, sometimes you must let go of the reins and see where life takes you.
- Place more value on your experiences than on things. When you think about it, material possessions come and go. They may make you happy in the short-term but that’s about it. What you remember most about them is the experiences you had with them – in the buying, using and enjoying them.
- Celebrate even the smallest wins. Big wins are great, but a happy life is filled with lots of small wins too.
- Make each day worth living. Wake with mother nature and enjoy the sunrise. Practice reflection and deep breathing techniques. Rise with intent each day. Smile, laugh and share your joy.
- Surround yourself with those who bring out the best in you. Appreciate them. Express your gratitude for them being in your life. Share the love with others.
- Be happy with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t rely on others to make you happy. Know that you are enough.
- Stop talking and start listening. The more you listen to yourself, the better you understand your thoughts, feelings and actions. The more you listen when others are speaking, the deeper your connections will become.
- Practice gratitude every day. The more often you feel gratitude, the quicker it will become habit. The more gratitude you feel, the more positive emotions you will evoke.
- Start each day with the intent to be happy. Wake up each morning and tell yourself “Today is going to be a great day and I’m going to make the most of it.” Starting the day with a positive thought will set your subconscious to seek out more positive things all day.
- Don’t allow others to tell you what you should think or how you should feel. You are in control of your thoughts and feelings. Only you know what’s happening on the inside.
- Step out of your comfort zone. Open your mind to new possibilities.
- Stop thinking success will make you happy. The opposite is true. Happiness makes you successful.
- Follow your passion. Find what makes you feel passionate and do it. Do more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
- Find your true purpose. If your life feels like it’s off-track, it could be that you’re not following your true purpose. Spend some time getting to know yourself and your desires. Find that one thing that makes life worth living well.
- Practice forgiveness. When you refuse to forgive, you only hurt yourself. Rather than view forgiveness as something you do for the other person, do it for yourself. By forgiving, you open more room within yourself for love, kindness, beauty and happiness.
- Focus on the positive. Train yourself to speak and think in positive terms. Practice viewing the glass as half full rather than half empty. Every time you experience negative self-talk, turn that negative into a positive. When something bad happens, accept responsibility for your partin it but do not place full blame on yourself.
These are 25 Essential Rules for Living a Happier Life. Do you have more to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!