How to be happy

by Jake Smolarek
Soft toys with happy smile in a box


Being happy is the ultimate goal. We all want to know how to be happy everyday. You'd think it would be easy to achieve. Just do something that makes you happy. And yet, for so many people, it is so hard to achieve. Life often gets in the way of happiness. If you manage to achieve happiness or joy, it is often fleeting. So how to be truly happy?

Is true happiness even possible? What actually is happiness? And how do you achieve it? It's somewhat contradictory, but happiness is often hard work. Luckily, there are some things you can do to safeguard your own happiness and live a happy life.

What is happiness?

To truly feel happy, you should know what it really is to be happy. It's hard to define because it's an emotion. But generally, happiness is linked to feelings of joy, satisfaction, enthusiasm, positive thoughts, and feeling content and fulfilled.

It's also subjective. What gives you joy might not make someone else happy. What takes away your happiness might bring someone else joy. Happiness is personal.

This should make it easy to be happy every day. You need to find things that make you feel joy and fulfilment, and then you'll be happy, right? Not quite. The problem with happiness is that it is temporary. Happiness doesn't last. So, you have to keep trying to be happy. But if you do the same thing over and over again, it may not make you happy if it becomes repetitive.

Finding happiness means recognising and choosing happiness when you can and not allowing feelings of anxiety, despair, stress, or worry to dominate your life. Of course, happiness doesn't mean living without these feelings, but you can choose to be happy, so these negative emotions don't overpower you. Without these feelings, it can become hard to recognise happiness.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to act despite your fear. So, happiness is not a lack of sadness but the ability to choose to be happy despite sorrow.

Life satisfaction and happiness

One of the keys to happiness is to understand that it comes and goes in waves. Often achieving real, genuine happiness means managing your expectations. Real happiness can be found in living a full, contented life with enough challenges to rise above. This means that being happy relies on balance. Life is about being satisfied with what you have, looking forward to happiness in your future, and ensuring you recognise joy when you can.

Being satisfied with the life you have must be balanced with the desire for more, or you risk spending your life chasing happiness only never to achieve it. You must be happy with what you have but remain optimistic enough about your future potential to feel fulfilled, driven, and motivated. The balance between being happy with what you have and looking for ways to be happy in the future isn't easy.

Being happy is also a choice. You must choose happiness every day or risk losing it.

This makes happiness sound like a chore. You must try to be happy now, and be satisfied in the future, and do things that make you happy without overdoing it. It can feel exhausting and overwhelming if you spend your life chasing future happiness.

What stops us from being happy?

Trying to focus on your feelings and choosing to be happy isn't always easy. Especially when lots of things get in the way. For many people, work gets in the way of happiness. Work means long hours doing something we may not enjoy to earn enough money to spend our weekends being happy.

For others, toxic relations with family or friends can impede happiness. You may feel responsible for someone else's joy and put that over your own. For others, more serious problems such as money, health, or safety can make being happy every day challenging. There are a million reasons to be unhappy and unsatisfied with life.

However, the number one reason many of us aren't happy is that we don't choose to be happy. It's easy to get caught up in the little stressful things that make life hard. It's easy to lose track of what makes us happy and give our attention to problems. After all, it's only by facing our problems that we can solve them. This means we usually focus on the negative things in life and let the things that make us happy slip past.

How to become happy

A woman smiling with a baloon with smile

Julia Avamotive / Pexels

We all want to know how to be happier. Choosing to focus on things that make you happy every day is crucial for overall happiness. It isn't about the big stuff. It's about the little things. There are ways to be happier. Taking small steps every day to be happy and focus on what brings you joy will make you happier than waiting for that one big event. Stop waiting for the weekend to be happy. Stop waiting for summer, or retirement, or for when you get that big promotion. How to be happy in life is easy. . . if you know what to do.

Take a deep breath

Often stress and worry build up unintentionally. You may not notice that you are stressed, but your body does. You literally cannot be happy when your body is tight, tense, and focused on something else. Taken a deep breath. Take several deep breaths. Roll your shoulders and relax them. Unstick your tongue from the roof of your mouth and take a moment to stretch your body and breathe deeply.

This can help you reconnect with how you are actually feeling and get rid of unwanted tension. Try to think of something that pleases you. This method of relaxing and centring your body and mind has a significant impact on your overall happiness. Doing this just once a day for 30 seconds is enough to improve your happiness.

Get enough sleep

It's almost impossible to be happy when you are exhausted. Some things that make you happy might make you tired temporarily, but feeling run down constantly due to a lack of sleep is never a good thing. In fact, medical professionals say that a lack of sleep leads to depression and anxiety. If it continues for a while, it can lead to actual medical complications such as heart failure, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and more.

With a busy life, it can be hard to get the full eight-hour every night. But if you want to be happy in the long term, you should make sure you get eight hours at least a few nights a week and aim never to have less than six hours per night.

Move your body

Exercise is a great way to increase your happiness. It doesn't have to be an intense workout; just dancing around your living room, going for a walk, and playing with your dog is enough to get the endorphins flowing. When you move your body, your brain responds by releasing endorphins that make you feel good. These endorphins hang around long after you stop exercising, which is why a morning workout can make you feel good all day.

Feeling good in your body is the foundation for happiness. Moving and exercising regularly are critical to helping you understand your own body and how to use it and move it. This is the springboard from which you can complete any other tasks that make you feel good. If that wasn't enough of a reason to get moving, consider this; the endorphins released when you exercise also help with focus, energy levels, attentiveness, and motivation. Meaning if you exercise regularly, you'll actually find other tasks easier and be more motivated to succeed. Happiness in every aspect of your life is possible, and it starts with exercising!

Make someone else happy

Arguably one of the best ways to be happy is to make someone else happy. This is because humans are designed to work together. It's what separates us from animals; our ability to collaborate and communicate. This means that when you help another person, your brain sends you happy signals, and you get a rush of endorphins. Historically, this is evolutions' way to tell you to work with others. Nowadays, it's just a great way to feel good.

Studies show that helping someone you care about to be happy, particularly a friend, family member, or partner, is one of the greatest ways to bring joy to your own life. Another great way to feel happy is to do a selfless deed for someone in need. Bringing happiness and comfort to others makes you feel satisfied, fulfilled, and happy. And it benefits them!


Social media, although very engaging, can be a source of unhappiness for many people. Generally, social media can make people feel inadequate. Social media gives us a glimpse into the best parts of someone's life, leading to feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. Taking time away from social media stops comparisons and helps you connect with your own life.

Put your phone down and try to spend at least one day a month away from all technology. Read a book instead of watching TV, go for a walk, bake, knit, run, paint, carveā€¦ Technology can be overwhelming and distracting. Unplugging and taking a step back can help remove anxiety, clear your mind.


Often, happiness doesn't require you to change anything except your mindset. Happiness is subjective. So, taking a moment to think about your own happiness, what means you are happy, what doesn't, why you aren't happy, and how you can be happy can make a huge difference.

Whether you take a few minutes each day to think about it, keep a journal, or just make goals each year, make sure you know what makes you feel good. Something might have made you feel joy in the past, but does it still? For example, you were previously satisfied with your job, are you still? Did you use to love running? Has that changed?

Happiness changes as you age. Being contented now is not the same as how to stay happy. So evaluate your happiness and make changes if you need to.

Face your problems

Experts say that failing to meet your worries and not dealing with stresses can ruin your chances of happiness. If you are running away from a problem and not facing it, it's challenging to focus on the things that make you happy. Instead of being weighed down by stress, try facing it.

This might mean that you feel even more stressed or overwhelmed in the short term, but experts say that reducing stress is better for your long-term happiness than letting it drag on. You know what they say, if you are worried about something, you suffer twice! Face it head-on, and you'll only suffer once. You need to remove stress and problems to make room for joy and pleasure.

Be patient

Happiness comes with time. You have to learn to be content with what you have. Learn how to push yourself without overdoing it. Learn who and what makes you feel joy and learn how to destress and work through grief. Many people say that happiness comes with age, but they actually mean it comes with patience.

Learn to practice patience, and you're more likely to find happiness at a younger age. Happiness takes time, and being patient can help deal with unhappiness and find happiness. You might not be happy every day, but slowly, you can find happiness every day.


While accepting your current life and finding happiness in what you already have is important, planning for a happy future is equally important. If you have nothing to look forward to, no direction or aim in your life, you will quickly become stagnant and feel unhappy with your situation. Change and progression make people happy.

Create and write down a plan for your future. This can be everything from career goals or travel plans to visiting a friend and how often you buy yourself flowers. Having a plan for happiness can make achieving happiness much easier.

Choose your people

For many, happiness depends on others. But you should be careful who you choose to be a part of your happiness. Most experts agree that five is the perfect number of people to trust with your happiness. Not only will your closest friends help shape who you are, but they will also help you to be happy.

Spending time with people you love is key to feeling good, so making sure the people you spend time with are decent people who also want your happiness is very important. Close relationships can help you socially and emotionally as other help you develop your thoughts, work through a stressful situation and provide support.

Get help

As we've already said, how to be more happy on a daily basis isn't as easy as you think. Many people think it should be natural and come easily, so they are embarrassed to ask for help. Speaking with a therapist or a life coach can hugely increase your general happiness. You can get professional help and have honest feedback on how to improve your life and learn how to be happier.

Often it takes someone else's perspective to clarify why you aren't happy. A professional life coach can show you how to achieve happiness through your career, relationships, and personal life. A therapist may help identify stress points and how to let go of past trauma and move into a more positive state of mind.

Treat yourself

Life is short; happiness doesn't have to be a philosophical question or a theoretical frame of mind. Take pleasure in the little things. A new book, a nice meal out, invest in good bedding and go bowling. All the little everyday things that bring you happiness are as important as the big things.

Take a few minutes to reward yourself after a tough day. Appreciate giving yourself little rewards to stay motivated and focused. Regularly indulging in little moments of happiness can provide a significant boost to your overall happiness.

How to be happy always

Being happy is actually more work than people think. It sometimes doesn't come naturally, and sometimes we let one bad moment ruin an entire day. Ruining your own happiness is easy to do. The good news is that happiness is yours to own and yours to make. You are responsible for your own happiness. Making small changes, changing your perspective, and choosing to be happy is all it takes to live a life of happiness and joy.

Being happy is something you can choose to do in a million little ways. So make room for happiness in your life, and it will come. But don't be afraid to ask for a little help if you need it. How to be happy with your life isn't difficult, you just need to choose it.

About the Author

Jake Smolarek

Life and Business Coach & Entrepreneur

For over 10 years I have been helping people achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals faster and easier than they've ever imagined.

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