post written by: Marc Chernoff

The 7 Habits of Highly Happy People


Happiness

Highly happy people all share happy habits.  It’s as simple as that.  The happiest people I know share 7 very obvious habits.  If you’re looking to expand your general happiness you may consider adopting these habits in your own life.

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
-Abraham Lincoln

  1. Be a Part of Something You Believe In – This could be anything.  People may take an active role in their local city council, find refuge in religious faith, join a social club supporting causes they believe in, or find passion in their careers.  In each case the physiological outcome is the same.  They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in.  This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives.
  2. Share Time with Friends and Family – A happy life is a life shared with friends and family.  The stronger the personal relationships are and the higher the frequency of interaction, the happier a person will be.
  3. Reflect on the Good – Quite often people concentrate too much of their attention on negative outcomes and leave no time to positively reflect on their successes.  It’s natural for a person to want to correct undesirable circumstances and focus closely on doing so, but there must be a healthy balance in the allocation of personal awareness.  It is important to mindfully reflect on the good while striving diligently to correct the bad.  A continuous general awareness of your daily successes can have a noticeably positive affect on your overall emotional happiness.
  4. Exploit the Resources You DO Have Access To – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness.  How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy?  The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
  5. Create Happy Endings Whenever Possible – The power of endings is quite remarkable.  The end of any experience has a profound impact on a person’s overall perception of the experience as a whole.  Think about reading a fairly well written, thought provoking novel.  Now imagine the ending totally sucks.  Even if the story was captivating up until the ending, would you still be happy recommending the novel to a friend?  People always remember the ending.  If the ending is happy, the experience creates happiness.  Always tie loose ends, leave things on a good note, and create happy endings in your life whenever possible.
  6. Use Personal Strengths to Get Things Done – Everyone possesses unique personal strengths.  We all have different talents and skill sets.  Emotional happiness comes naturally to those who use their strengths to get things done.  The state of completion always creates a sense of achievement.  If this achievement is based exclusively on your own personal ability to get the job done, the physiological rewards are priceless.
  7. Savor the Natural Joy of Simple Pleasures – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best things in life are free.  They come in the form of simple pleasures and they appear right in front of you at various locations and arbitrary times.  They are governed by Mother Nature and situational circumstance and captured by mindful awareness.  It’s all about taking a moment to notice the orange and pink sunset reflecting off the pond water as you hold hands with someone you love.  Noticing these moments and taking part in them regularly will bring unpredictable bursts of happiness into your life.

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31 Comments

  • Savor the Natural Joy of Simple Pleasures : I call this “Noticing the Wild Strawberries in Life” Some times they are hidden and you might walk right past them, but if you slow down a bit and are aware of your surroundings, you can pluck one and enjoy its sweetness in spite of what is going on around you.

    Great points here. How sad to let life go by and not live it full out and enjoy the adventure!

  • ” The stronger the personal relationships are and the higher the frequency of interaction, the happier a person will be.”

    This might be true for extroverts, but not necessarily for introverts. Happiness for them, on this point, is reached by a sensible balance between socialising and time spent alone to recover energy.

  • @Laurie:

    “Noticing the Wild Strawberries in Life”

    Well stated! I really like that quote. ;-)

    @permaculture:
    You’ve made a very good point about introverts. There are certainly exceptions to every rule of thumb, but most published psychology research suggests that a person’s emotional happiness drastically increases while interacting with others.

  • I think introverts still enjoy socializing. They just like it in smaller groups with people they know well and usually in familiar places. We humans social beings but there is a wide range of what being social is.

  • I think pleasure is the best when it’s free. Maybe it’s a smile from an old lady in the grocery store or leaving a comment on a friend’s blog. Sometimes it’s just about making ourselves feel good, but most of the time happiness means giving back to others.

  • I like getting happy endings, not giving them…

  • Re:
    ” The stronger the personal relationships are and the higher the frequency of interaction, the happier a person will be.”

    I have always been proud and protective of my introverted nature also, so I don’t agree with the higher the frequency of interaction. Most days, I can only tolerate a certain frequency of interaction AND a certain strength of relationship before I have to recharge with alone time and introspection. However, I do agree that maintaining strong relationships within my inner circle is important for my overall happiness.

    Great ideas!

  • @Atown: As your mother I have to disagree with your above comment as I did catch you that one time…

  • @Tara:
    I can totally understand where you are coming from. Everyone needs a little alone time. ;-)

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  • Hi,

    Good post. I think all your ‘habits’ mentioned here are all very useful and sensible.

    I have a similar post here http://snipurl.com/2u9bs

    However I manage to trim the habits down to 1! Perhaps with your post and mine there are actually 8…

    All the best

    Steve

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  • Some of these “habits” don’t seem to work if you’ve squandered what little opportunity you’ve had to use them throughout your lifetime. How does a person become happy and use these habits if they no longer have relationships with people close to them, if they are too old to be a part of something they “really” believe in (you can’t just decide one day to have a real strong conviction toward something)? It seems these habits have an underlying condition of time and investment.

  • I think I am a happy person, but am unhappy quite often. I think that no matter how happy a person is they feel unhappy.
    My cure is to sit down, or go for a walk, or do something to relax. As I saw above, Appreciate those wild strawberries that litter our lives. It doesn’t need to be complicated, you know.

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  • Not that I’m totally impressed, but this article is more than I expected it to be. I found it on Digg with comments saying that the info here was quite decent. Thanks.

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  • great list. i think #1 is most important of all.

  • Good post. I think all your ‘habits’ mentioned here are all very useful and sensible.

  • Awesome job, thanks so much for putting it out there! Love your blog, and posts like this really illustrate why.

  • I consider my self to be very happy. And it is true, I prefer to put in my mind on what I like the most! :)

  • I think that reflecting on the good brings the most happiness in happy people.

  • Interesting play on words…replacing “Effective” with “Happy” from Stephen Covey’s book. I just listened to an episode of “The Business of Innovation”, and they speaker were discussing that happier employees were more productive. They were advocating that corporations focus more on developing happy teams and employees. Great post.

  • A tasty article that I hope inspires every reader to make the decision to “go happy”. I’d like to stress the adjunct to exploiting the resources each of us has-especially natural settings-and insist that due to out interconnectivity we should each find time for complete silence and solitude in a natural setting. This discipline shapes a heart and mind toward self-confidence, humility and peace. These are a root of happiness. Thanks for the opportunity to share on your work. keep feeding us good things :)

  • strongly agree specially with number 6, i believe its the key to happiness

  • I just loved this article! I totally agree with everything, I would only add another one: have a good relationship with God, that also brings happiness into my life. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  • Really enjoyed the article. I definitely agree with the last habit, enjoying pleasures of “simple things”. There are so many small things that many people overlook.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • I agree, finding happiness in small things leads to happy life.

  • I agree! The happiness habit is so important! I really connect with number six. Living in one’s strengths is a major source of life satisfaction.

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