It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what
you do that is the secret of happiness.
– James M. Barrie
You should never be too busy to smile, because creating happiness in your life does not take a lot of time. You just have to do a few things right.
1. Smile at perfect strangers.
Don’t wait for people to smile. Show them how.
Let your guard down. Talk to someone you don’t know straight from your heart. Compliment them. Don’t anticipate awkwardness. Just be you in that beautiful way only you know and give them the chance to smile and connect with you.
The more you smile at others, the more others will smile at you. And life’s a lot more pleasant when everyone around you is smiling. Read How To Win Friends and Influence People.
2. Pretend today is going to be great.
Do so, and it will be. Research shows that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences.
3. Reflect on what’s good.
Appreciate all the good things in your life, no matter how small. You already have some amazing things in your life, whether you realize it or not.
Most of us have incredible family members, friends, other loved ones who love us back. Learn to appreciate what a miracle that is. Most of us have good health, which is another miracle. Most of us have eyes, with which to enjoy the amazing miracles of sunsets and nature and beauty all around us. Most of us have ears, with which to enjoy music, one of the greatest miracles ever.
Be grateful for each of these things, and more! Take time every day, throughout the day, to thank life for all that it has given you, to thank others for what they give you, to be grateful.
4. 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 personal ability to get the job done, the psychological rewards are priceless. Read StrengthsFinder.
5. Use your imagination.
Yesterday I saw a kid in the grocery store having the time of his life with nothing more than a banana and his imagination. He was pretending the banana was a rocket ship, and he was flying it all over the store.
How is it that we are born knowing how to enjoy life, and yet after learning all of the wonderful things we adults learn, we somehow forget how to have fun? It’s almost like we get dumber in this regard as we get older.
The solution? Counteract the aging process with the full power of your imagination. You don’t have to pretend bananas are rocket ships – although that would be fun – but try to imagine something that makes you smile at least once a day.
6. Create something.
Creation is a process like none other. Putting to use your innovative faculties and constructing something with your own two hands will leave you with an indescribable sense of wholeness. There really is no substitute for it. The only caveat is that it must be related to something you actually care about. If you are creating financial plans for clients all day and you hate it, then that’s not going to work. But if you can find something you love, and create something related to it, it will make all the difference in your life.
If you haven’t created something in a while just for the sake of creating, try it. You will not be disappointed.
7. Help someone else for a couple minutes.
In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. And so on and so forth.
8. Share your lunch break with a close friend.
Get out of the office, away from your work and spend 30 to 40 minutes eating and socializing with someone you care about. You’ll find that your mind will naturally start to unwind and you’ll begin to feel a bit more like yourself again.
9. Get rid of one thing a day.
We have so much clutter surrounding us at any given moment (at the office, in our cars, in our homes) and we’ve become so accustomed to it that we no longer notice how it affects us. If you start cleaning up some of that external clutter, a lot of internal clutter will disappear as well.
Choose one needless item each and every day and get rid of it. It’s that simple. It might be difficult at first, so expect some resistance. But after some time you will begin to learn to let go of your packrat tendencies, and your mind will thank you for your efforts.
Meditation is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. The practice comes with a myriad of well-publicized health benefits including increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of happiness.
On a general level, meditation helps you slow down, accept the moment you are in and achieve a higher sense of presence. If you use meditation as a form of relaxation, it really doesn’t take long for you to start feeling the positive effects. Read Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation.
11. Avoid negativity and negative people.
Don’t belittle yourself and don’t put up with people who try to belittle you. You are as capable as you believe you are. There will always be obstacles, but if you think positive thoughts and seek solutions, you can accomplish what others say is impossible.
12. Enjoy the moment.
This moment is your life. Enjoy it.
Whatever you’re doing, regardless of the circumstances, pay attention and appreciate it. Reading, writing, talking with a co-worker, taking a shower, walking up stairs, eating, washing dishes, sweeping, etc. These small moments make up a huge portion of your life. They can be enjoyed if you open your eyes and ears, and pay attention to what you’re doing. Happiness is found with steady awareness.
This article was co-written by Marc and Fred Tracy. Fred Tracy runs a personal development website where he shares his insights and quirky stories. All of his information is distilled into articles with the sole purpose of teaching you, the reader, how to build character and achieve the life of your dreams.
Photo by: Meredith Farmer
Daniel Kiser says
Fantastic advice! Simple, practical and effective.
Fred Tracy says
Thanks for including some of my suggestions. 🙂
Thank you for these. I have just emigrated on my own and am going through a very tough and lonely time at the moment. These lists help me enjoy my life as I am living it and stop pining for home. Taking joy in the little things is so important.
Tim Webster says
I love reading this blog because it helps me confirm the habits I’ve developed for creating an awesome life.
With the exception of meditation (which I used to do regularly, but have fallen off the wagon) each item on this list is something that I feel pretty strongly about and do often.
About half of the items resonate so closely with me that I have written about them at length.
The most recent discovery for me relates to #6 – I recently started drawing again (something I haven’t done in more than a decade) and I realized how much I enjoy it.
Now, the only trouble is finding more TIME to draw! haha
Leisa Watkins says
I have been on a quest to de-junk and lighten up. I regularly got rid of 20 items a day. But some days I simply don’t have enough time to dispose of 20 things. So I am going to take your advice and get rid of simply one thing on those days. Thanks for the tip.
Mike Merchant says
I strongly agree with #7. If I can be of help to them, I try to help someone every day. Over the years I have found this practice to be extremely rewarding to me.
Ene okwori says
Your words always seem to open my eyes and give me more of an understanding about how to build myself up to be the person I know I can be. I will start implementing these tips into my daily routine. Thanks.
Sean | Colon Liver Cleanse says
If you expect the best, you won’t get the worst. If you expect the worst, you won’t get the best.
Another post filled with great tips to help keep some positive energy flowing, love it.
marc van der linden says
Great life tips, as always. I enjoyed this post very much.
Thanks for sharing!
Yuval Goren says
This is a really good list. I think the two most important habits for me are to spend time reflecting daily and to create a vision for your future. You need to appreciate and be grateful for everything you already have in your life, and then create an image of what else you want to have or experience. It is not about just having a dream, but have a vision that you will then turn into a goal and action plan. This is where you are also engaging in creating something, which can bring a lot of satisfaction.
And last, is to verify you always do something that is meaningful to you, something you care about, something that makes you feel fully alive.
Wanda Kalbach says
Very good advice. My 22 year-old daughter called me today to tell me about some challenges she is having. She needs some help keeping a positive outlook just now. I am e-mailing her a link to this page.
Thanks for the article and your perfect timing.
Great list. Important: smile at strangers and reflect on what’s good.
Getting out of your comfort zone always helps. Years ago when I started a new job my life coach “suggested” I go around each morning and introduce myself to 3 new people at work. I said “you’re crazy, don’t you know I’m shy?” He said, “it’s not about you!”
If I want to have close friends, and feel happy when people care about me, then at some point I have to put myself out there. Smiling at strangers is one way of being open to connection with others. And building meaningful relationships has definitely been an important contributor to my happiness.
Gratitude puts everything in perspective. Gratitude is an action and that includes taking care of things I care for; especially myself.
Donna Messerly-Brown says
Such solid and heartfelt advice. It’s so easy to get lost in office politics and once you cross the line, there is no turning back. If everyone were to focus more on personal development, the world would be a better place!
John Sherry says
In this modern helter-skelter full on world I guess we could all qualify as busy people Marc. Personally, I like the premise of taking time to not be busy. Have down time moments and clear points in the day to reflect and re-charge. You’re not that busy that you can’t afford a few minutes sanity.
Steve C. says
So simple and yet so hard to do all the time. Thanks for the reminders!
dilshara (jiivithe mal) says
I have become addicted to your lovely website. one of my friends recommended this lovely site to me, now everyday visit here to randomly read one of your posts. i feel extremely refreshed reading these optimistic thoughts.
Fan from Sri Lanka 🙂
Thanks so much, all. Working on next week’s post right now. Have a great weekend!
Tip #1 is so important. People want to feel accepted and so they become more friendly when we smile at them.
Thank you so much for the reminder, Marc 🙂
Mads Singers says
Helpful read indeed. Specially point no. 1 is my favorite. Thanks. 😉
13. Control your thoughts!
Cut out every negative thought and replace it with a positive one. The world around you changes according to your thoughts. I recommend The 30-Day No-Complaint Challenge. It’s a great way to learn to control your thoughts.
Johnny Ancich says
Don’t forget, getting rid of one thing per day can include negative people.
Diana Maltz, RN says
Smiling is great! I do it sometimes on the subway in NYC and I am surprised by how people don’t know what to do so they smile back..It is a nice moment!
Ann Maria says
Thank you for a brilliant website.
Barbara altman says
I really enjoyed this post! I have to work on getting rid of all the junk in my house. It is too cluttery. And the idea of smiling at one person a day (or more) is so charming! Creating something every day is also a charming idea.
-Barbara Altman, Author of Cry Depression, Celebrate Recovery
Enjoy all these suggestions! Will start working on these great advices. Thank you for the information and inspiring messages!!
I love #11. As much as it is my lucky number, this is also something I live by. Makes me happy that way. 🙂