Habits make or break us. Bad habits can make us sick and unhappy while healthy habits can promote well-being and help us feel good about our life. We all generally know what is bad for our life and what is good, but what about the habits for our happiness – are there important habits that we should all be implementing in our life?
I do feel it is important to have a habit (or a few habits) that contribute to your overall happiness. I’m talking about the stuff that you do that ensures you feel a sense of joy and pleasure each day. But, what works for one person may not work for another.
Children Don’t Need Habits For Happiness – Right?
Following is an interesting talk about the habits of happiness and children. I think most of us believe that children are happy because they don’t have the issues that adults have, but according to Erin Michelle Threlfall, her class proved that this belief is not necessarily true.
However, after a year of studying happiness, the children who were not happy had adopted some habits for happiness that had improved their mood, relationships, and awareness.
In short, the following video is a good case for having Happiness 101 in the school! When children get the tools they need to cultivate happiness in their life, imagine what their life will look like when they are adults!
Don’t have time to watch the video? Here are some of my takeaways:
We implement habits for happiness later in life: One of the points she makes is that happiness comes from the way we live our lives – from our daily habits. Unfortunately, many of us don’t implement happiness habits into our life until we start to get really unhappy!
Habits For Happiness Should Be Taught To Kids: Habits that promote happiness should be a course in school. When kids are able to get some tools and awareness around habits for happiness, they are impacted positively – and the community is impacted positively. And I would say, too, that the world is impacted positively.
Not Every Habit Is Going To Work For Everyone: One of Erin’s students did not enjoy writing down what she was grateful for in her gratitude journal because she hated writing. So, Erin changed the rules and allowed kids to write, draw, or do whatever worked for them to make them happy.
Can Different Habits Result In The Same Level Of Happiness?
According to this article, there are 7 different habits of happy people: expressing yourself, cultivating kindness, exercising, finding your flow, looking for meaning, using strengths, and having a positive mindset. I absolutely think all of these things are important to happiness and well-being.
I think, though, that many people can find true happiness in their own unique habits. For instance, some people are in the habit of meeting their friend daily for coffee – and that makes them happy, while other people are in the habit of spending their free time alone as much as possible and only getting together with friends on weekends or every second weekend, and that makes them happy.
Can you really say one person is happier than the other? Not everyone needs the same level of relationship comfort or expression.
In short, I’m not sure if there is a “one size fits all” when it comes to habits for happiness.
8 People Share Their Habits For Happiness
I put the question out there: What do you consider to be the biggest habit that contributes to your overall happiness? I wanted to see if everyone would come back with similar answers or have their own habits.
Following are 8 of the answers I received.
1. Count Your Blessings
David Leonhardt says:
I wrote the book on this! Climb your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness. When I first published and was seeking out reviews and speaking engagements, I was asked which of the 9 habits is the most important.
“Count your blessings”
This one habit empowers everything else. The lack of this one habit inhibits everything else. That is because no matter what you have or what you do or who you love, you won’t get happiness from that unless you appreciate it.
It is an interesting fact that receiving a pay raise makes you happy. It’s new, it has not yet been internalized in your consciousness – you are not taking that extra $1,236 for granted. Not yet. A few months later, you have internalized it. It is no longer a raise; it is just part of your salary, and you take it for granted. It no longer brings you joy.
Same goes for a new car.
Same goes for new technology.
Same goes for simple things like paper clips, flush toilets, pillows, etc. We take them for granted, so they don’t bring us happiness. They make life easier. They make life comfortable. And they frustrate us if they go missing. But they don’t make us happier, because we take them for granted.
Same goes for people.
If we take them for granted, they don’t bring us happiness. I am not a relationship expert, but I suspect that is where so many marriages fail.
The solution is to count your blessings, every day, every hour, every minute. Say prayers of thanks. Visualize good things in your life and feel grateful for them.
Many people count their blessings when it comes to health and family, but try going beyond that. Every time you use something, try to imagine life without that item and with it. You’ll be amazed at how miraculously giddy you can get over a simple paper clip or a flush toilet (still mankind’s most welcome invention!)
2. Having Passion
Saverio Filippis says:
The number one habit that contributes to my overall happiness is my passion for what I do, and my ability to do it independently. Passion to me is a habit!
When it comes to analyzing data and compiling spreadsheets/financial statements for example; I love doing the research, the preparation of it all and putting the material together. This is a lengthy process that would not be possible without having developed my daily habit of being passionate and curious about finance, economics & business valuations… I know… BORING… lol. Maybe to others, but not to me.
3. Cultivating Positive Thoughts
Dmitry Goryunov says:
I always cultivate positive thoughts and emotions, that’s the fastest way to grow happiness.
4. Spending Time Alone
I get up at 4am so that I have 3 hours of silence with no radio or TV on – I need that silent time
5. Recognizing How Fleeting Unhappiness Can Be
Gary Dek says:
I believe the best habit for happiness is realizing that, whatever is making you unhappy at the moment, is only temporary. Whether it’s professional or personal rejection or failure, billions of people have experienced the same feelings before you and they all survived it. You too will overcome your feelings of unhappiness if you maintain good mental health and not let one aspect of your life overtake every other positive aspect of your existence.
6. Some Simple Rules Of Life
For happiness, I follow these simple rules of life:
1. Be yourself
2. Be original
3. Don’t get influenced easily
4. Don’t copy others
5. Do something good every day that makes you happy
6. Give time to yourself
7. Listen to your heart, inner self, conscious
8. Respect yourself, love yourself
9. Be selfless
7. Looking Within
Patricia Weber says:
Not looking for it outside myself but finding from within what makes ME happy. Looking outside usually a set up for disappointment for me. People change, plans change, weather changes, loved ones die. Really, how much is IN our control? The older I get it seems less and less. Looking inside myself translates to a morning routine, maybe what you are calling a habit, which gets richer over time.
8. Taking Time Out For Myself
I’m an introvert and I need to spend unstructured time in my own company to be happy or even just to be a human being that’s not too scary to be around. I let go of my biggest freelance writing client recently to make space for time to just hang out with myself.
My Biggest Habit For Happiness
My biggest habit for happiness is just like Tat’s – taking time every day to be alone. When I was younger, I used to be surrounded by people every second of the day. I lived with friends, worked in hospitals, and would party all night with other people. That didn’t make me happy. It made me tired and gave me no time to reflect on life!
Now, I take at least an hour a day (usually more) to be by myself, read, think, walk, meditate, or just stare at the ceiling. I value my quiet time, and taking it is definitely a habit for happiness that I will never give up.
But, I know that some of my friends would be very unhappy to be alone – even for a few hours. They are happiest when they are surrounded by loved ones 24/7.
We seem to be equally happy, but we have different happiness habits.
So, Are There Specific Habits For Happiness?
One main takeaway I took from all the answers is that everyone has different happiness habits. I do think that there are certain things that make up many happiness habits, like gratitude and having a positive attitude, but as far as specific habits – I don’t think that one size fits all.
I think that if a habit is pleasurable and has meaning for you, then that is a happiness habit to keep! Whether it is:
- Listening to music
- Acknowledging your truth at every moment
- Doing stuff that promotes a feeling of passion
- Taking care of your family
- Exercising by walking, running, swimming, or even having sex!
- Having a coffee each morning on your porch
- Engaging in adrenaline promoting activities
- A million other things you can do!
A happiness habit isn’t right or wrong because someone else says so – all that matters is how it affects you. Take the time to engage in your habits of happiness that bring you true pleasure, and let others take the time to engage in theirs.
Do you agree or disagree? What’s is your habit for happiness? Please share your insights or opinion in the comments below.