Posted: 09 Jul 2013 06:02 AM PDT
By Leo Babauta
I’m not one who believes you can be happy all the time, but I have learned you can be happy much of the time.
And that’s not something that depends on how your day is going or how others treat you — it depends on what you do on a regular basis.
I remember being unhappy most days, at one point in my life. It wasn’t because I hated the people in my life — I had a lovely wife, great kids, other wonderful family members and friends. It was because I was unhappy with myself, and that caused growing debt problems, unhappiness with my job, health problems and more. I felt like I couldn’t change any of that.
Then one day I sat down and made a list.
I make a lot of lists — it’s one of my favorite habits — but this list seemed to have a magical power. It was a list of the things I was grateful for. Amazingly, there were a lot of things on the list, from things about my wife, kids, relatives, and friends, to things about my job, about nature around me, about my life.
This list was magical because I went from feeling a bit depressed about everything, and hopeless and helpless, to much happier. My mindset shifted from the things I didn’t like or didn’t have, to the things I was really happy I had. And I was in control.
Since then I’ve experimented with a number of habits and have found a couple things to be true:
And those might seem to be small realizations, but actually they’re huge.
The Habits That Make You Happy
So what habits make you happy? Try doing these on a daily basis, and see if you get the same results:
There are a number of other habits that also help: mindful eating, drinking tea, doing yoga, socializing with others. But these incorporate meditation (they’re more active forms of meditation), and exercise and helping others and gratitude (if you’re doing it right). So I wanted to list the most basic habits, and then you can expand to other areas.
How do you form these habits? One at a time, starting as small as possible, with some social accountability.
Set these habits in motion. You’ll notice yourself becoming more present, more grateful, more other-focused. The shift that results is nothing short of a miracle.
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