how to find happiness

9 Ways to Rediscover Happiness

Firstly, a few words about the belief that “people don’t change.” It’s total nonsense. You change every day more than you even know. Don’t believe me? Pull up your Facebook photos from a couple months ago and tell me you don’t look and feel different now.

But, awkward Facebook photos aside, change is difficult. Lifestyle change is difficult. If you’re having too many “off days” where you end up angry, frustrated, or just plain unfilled “at the end of the day” you’ll want to read this entire article.

Here are 9 refreshing ways you can rediscover happiness no matter what life decides to throw at you.

1) Find your direction:
A life without purpose can be painful. So the next time you have a totally “free” day, use it to really think about your direction in life. What do love doing? What gets you out of bed? Where does your sense of accomplishment come from? With a clear direction, you can build towards success in a linear fashion. Every day, every moment you move further in your direction, you’ll get a boost of happiness-producing dopamine. Good job, you! You know you feel happier and present a better side of yourself when you feel successful. Direction is where it all starts.

In my case? I found blogging two years ago and now love it more than bacon. A new comment on the blog is all I need to brighten my day, and I rush home from work each day to log in.

2) Practice gratitude:
Gratitude is a strange sensation. It comes from acknowledging someone has helped you and having the grace to thank them, both internally and externally. Understanding gratitude can help you in two ways. You’ll “get” that others care about you, and you’ll form a bond with someone who has helped you. Both lead to a stronger sense of belonging. Gratitude is not to be confused with indebtedness, which can lead us to avoid those who love us. It’s all about how you perceive the help you receive.

For me? I find saying thank you important, but not as important as following up. When someone helps me, I see an open door to help them back, perhaps in a funny or unexpected way.

quote about happiness

3) Adopt more optimism:
We all know a “happy-go-lucky” lifestyle can lead to problems. But with the right balance of optimism and responsibility, one can feel invincible going through the day. Understand that things won’t always work out, and don’t let negative results in one part of your life spill into other areas. Realize the road will be bumpy, and embrace the challenges ahead. Laugh at them. If your current strategy isn’t working, find a new one. Don’t dwell. Do, not, dwell.

My strategy? I know I often dwell on stress, it’s a problem of mine. Stress is like a warm corner of a cold, damp, room that I should be escaping from. Stress can give me purpose, but it’s the wrong kind. Knowing this, I try to seek-and-destroy stress creators wherever I notice them.

4) Consider religion:
I’m not a very religious person, though I will say a quick prayer before a flight or long bus ride. While I’m 99% practical and scientific, I have known friends to find peace of mind through spiritual outlets. Plus, the recent work of Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests that religion helps people recover from aversive events and return to happiness.

In my case? Religion wasn’t my focus growing up, but it did provide some framework for solving problems and certainly helped me help people. Helping others is a sure-fire path to more happiness.

5) Reduce material wealth:
It’s tempting to spend heavily, especially if we’re wealthy or supported by someone else. But surrounding ourselves with new TVs, the latest Apple products, clothing well beyond our means, and a closet full of shoes will only cloud the path to happiness. In fact, reducing our material possessions can free up our sense of being and make us realize what actually makes us happy. Buying a new possession will bring short-term satisfaction but when that feeling vanishes you’ll be worse off than before.

Personally: I love donating to Goodwill and though it’s a thankless deed, I feel great afterwards. My apartment looks a bit neater too.

6) Put your health first:
Your health should always be number 1. Yet in a world where that new bar is right around the corner and social pressure through fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) is everywhere, we often forget how much we’re stepping on our health. Try seeing how a weekend full of herbal tea, yoga, and extra sleep feels compared to a weekend full of late nights at the bar trying to impress your friends. Despite how strong and smart we think we are, much of our happiness begins with health.

For me? Simply keeping myself in on Friday is enough to make me healthier and happier the next day!

7) Face stress head on:
This is a BIG one. We’re all bound to have bad days. People crap on our desks, don’t thank us, and treat us like garbage. Moreover, we have to deal with ourselves. Doubtful, insecure, and depressed at times. At the end of the day we’re sometimes so drained even our favorite things look ugly. How we deal with these issues and release them from our minds is crucial. Drugs, alcohol, and other vices will worsen the problem. Healthier outlets like the gym will help. But most important of all is how we process our problems.

How do I cope? I often remind myself how meaningless and random my life is. It’s an odd technique but it helps me realize that the world doesn’t hate me, or purposefully throw me a bad day.

8) Communicate often:
As simple as it sounds, some of the happiest people are the ones who can stomach their pride and talk through problems. Communication, just like going to the gym or considering religion, is a positive coping mechanism that helps us find the source of unhappiness instead of burying it.

In my case? Phone calls are free in the evening…

9) Seek out family members:
As we grow up and move to new parts of the world, it’s harder to stay in touch with family. But we all have email. If we’re lucky, our family members live in the same country. Making an effort to check in, listening to your sibling or parent’s problems, and actively helping them will actually generate more happiness in your own life.

What do I do? I try to stay current with my grandparents. Just a phone call to them creates some happiness in their life and I can’t help but feel happier because of it.

If all nine methods fail you, I have a final question you can ask yourself. Where do your strongest talents intersect with the world’s greatest needs? Find this point in life and you’ll surely have arrived at happiness.

About the Author:The Blogger is a 25 year old guy from Manhattan who answers 150 blog questions before breakfast. He builds websites professionally on nyc.gov and does freelance design and landing page building for only the right clients. Find out how you can get free updates from his email club.

  • Pingback: 9 Ways to Rediscover Happiness | Time Management Magazine()

  • Joanna

    I hope this brightens your day. As usual, a great post.

    • Greg Narayan

      Hope so too Joanna thanks for commenting. 
      -Blogger

  • http://twitter.com/UpbeatBrain UpbeatBrain

    Nice post, Greg. Your comment about “face stress head on” really caught my attention. Sometimes, it seems easier to dodge stress, but that rarely works. To have less stress, it often helps to do just as you say, take the stress head on, deal with it and get on to less stressful things. It might seem counterintuitive to some folks that going right into the stress can make your life more peaceful, but it really can.

    • Greg Narayan

      Definitely. You get better and better at it and pretty soon demolishing stress is no problem at all. 
      -The Blogger

  • http://www.mazzastick.com/ Justin

    So true. We are changing from moment to moment as well as long term too. I have been taking a chakra healing course that includes yoga as well. This does a great job of combating daily stress in my life.

    • Greg Narayan

      I’ve been meaning to try yoga, no time! How does Chakra work?

  • http://simplybeingalive.blogspot.com/ Dan_ZenPresence

    I love this list. Very nice and practical. I recommend people bookmark it, print it, or something so that they can come back to it again and again.

    One thing I would add – it helps with number one. Live by principles. When you take the time to soul search and set up principles to live by, it gives your life direction.

    Thanks,

    Dan @ ZenPresence

    • Greg Narayan

      Nice Dan! Thanks for that. 

  • Farzy01

    i agree with everything but religion – i reckon you’re on the right track, but more of a ‘find your spiritual side’  less of the religious side.  Find what your true meaning is.. what is inside you… what makes you look at this world and go ‘wow, i am insignificant yet special at the same time’  

    I’ve seen too many people go the religious path and get so far down the rabbit hole that they cant get out… 

    not all religion is bad – though, if you put too much into something (as like overeating, over exercising.. over thinking, over loving… ect,)  it is bad.. and finding balance for us mere mortals is hard enough…  

    so i guess what i am saying is play the religious side with a fine sword.  

    Though, great post… 

    • Greg Narayan

      Yeah Farzy, it’s true. Religion can be consuming. It really means something different to everyone. I’m not a very spiritual person but I certainly haven’t ruled it out :)

      Thanks for commenting.
      -The Blogger

  • Christopherh

    Very helpful! Thank you for this post. I feel like I’m always stressed and worried but mostly because I’m very very negative with outcomes. Optimism should be the first thing with any situation. =)

    • Greg Narayan

      Negativity can become an addiction…careful Christopher. I’m glad this was at least a little helpful.

  • sam

    Blog aside I liked the honesty more in “I rush home from work each day to log in” and answer the blog questions.Which successful blogger would admit to that.

    • Greg Narayan

      Haha, me Sam. 

  • Tony

    Hi Greg, great post. I just wondered if you had any advice for an 18 year old who doesn’t know what to next in life, I feel confused and slightly stressed that I don’t know what to do. Any advice? Thanks.

    • Greg Narayan

      Sure Tony. #1 is your go to. Find a direction. What’s your greatest hobby, could it be a career? At 18 you have SO many doors open, so take some time and pick which ones you want to enter. Don’t wait until you’re 20, 21, etc. Let me know what you find.
      -Greg

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Nice post.  I especially like numbers 5 and 6.

    • Greg Narayan

      Thanks Dan. 

  • http://www.financial-lessons.net/ Laura Fritz@ Financial Helpers

    Very true tips! I find open communication to be the key to my happiness and to properly express my feelings! Health is so important as well! I always feel better after a great workout. Optimism is great for any obstacle in life, and seeking out family members is so heartwarming! 

    • Greg Narayan

      I hear ya, if only I could force myself to hit the gym :)

  • Ben

    Hi Greg,

    Thank you for your ways for rediscovering happiness. You really have a wonderful insight into every-day life experience. 

    The greatest challenge in my life has been stress and my response to it.  In moments of stress and crisis I choose to turn to alcohol and other negative outlets, despite prior planning for positive responses (like exercise).  It would be interesting to hear ways to make good decisions when one is at their most vulnerable. For in my experience there is no way to avoid times when one is physically and mentally exhausted. 

    • Greg Narayan

      Hi Ben,
      It’s true these things are inevitable. Even when life seems flawless. Seriously, I’d target  #1  on this list. A strong direction can outweigh vices like alcohol more so than planning and preparing against a habit. It’s a different way to tackle the problem. Good luck and please stay in touch. 
      -Greg

  • http://karenyvonne.net/ Karen

    The tip I need most is to seek out family… When times are feeling low I am more inclined to hide in a corner, instead of seeking help from others

    • Greg Narayan

      Family is the best! Even if it’s just a sibling, or cousin. Anyone who can relate and lend some time and help.

  • www.brightstep-hk.com

    @author: Good advices for a 25 years old man, only a few of your age have already reach this level of awareness. Don’t forget that the conscious mind can learn (the theorie) from reading a book, but it’s your subcounscious mind (the habit mind) that still gouverns your behaviors and replay your life again and again with it’s pre-programs that are still unchanged. With positive thinking and other tricks (conscious mind), you keep doing the same things and expect something different to happend!  You sure can enhance your behaviors a little bit for a while but you can not continue to strongly believe that you can really change yourself or reach your goals, only with classic self-improvement teaching alone; All the best,
    http://www.brightstep-hk.com/fullspectrum-transformation/
    http://www.brightstep-hk.com/love-new-life-happy-living-hong-kong/

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EHAYCO34DHEJRMURY2MHTLKMZI Nick

    Great post! I’m a college student and consistently stress and worry about everything college like grades, money, physical fitness, and of course girls. These are somewhat hard to get away from but then I read this post again and suddenly put back into a much better mood. 

    • Greg Narayan

      Glad this was at least a bit helpful Nick. School is annoying, those stresses just never go away! I found being released to the work world very refreshing. The work I do has clear goals and at the end of the day you can actually relax. Just grind it out, and realize school is once in a lifetime. Thanks for commenting.
      -Greg

  • Hans Freericks

    Sometimes we limit ourselves to the things we want to do in life, and doing that we also deprive and limit our own happiness. Happiness is a choice, it’s not  chance.

    • Greg Narayan

      Definitely! Great point Hans. 

  • Lanitamaki

    Love this! Thank you

    • Greg Narayan

      Anytime Lanita.

  • http://www.thankaday.com/ John Doe

    10) Keep a gratitude journal: thankaday.com

  • Pingback: Friday news round up : run with tina()

  • http://www.psycholocrazy.com/ jamie flexman

    I truly believe in number 5 here. I am constantly trying to live a minimalist life and the less I have the better I feel.

    • Greg Narayan

      Freedom! Feels great. 

  • http://goalsetting-workshop.com/blog/ Jorge Blanco

    Very true article, particularly on communication.  If you keep everything inside and deal with your problems on your own even when you really need someone’s comfort or support, you’ll most likely end up with an unsolved problem and an unhappy life. Sharing helps, a lot.

    • Greg Narayan

      Mhm Jorge. I find often times some has gone through a similar or even worse situation as me and can shed light on mine.  Can’t keep things pent up. 

  • Pingback: Personal Growth – Top 5 Resources – 11-18-12 | TerryLeague.com()

  • Lnaran

    Where do you start when you simply hate your career? I have had 2 bosses that were very disrespectful. I recently just packed up my belongings and walked out of my office. I was a nurse liasson for a hospital based home health.

    • Greg Narayan

      You start a blog Lnaran. And channel all your boss hatred into your hopes for working for yourself. 

  • Guest

    I love your remark “Where do your strongest talents intersect with the world’s greatest needs?” a brilliant thought! :)

    http://andlovewillfindyou.blogspot.com/2012/11/god-what-do-you-want-me-to-do.html

    • Greg Narayan

      Thanks!

  • http://howzatttcricket.blogspot.com/ Sudipto

    Hey Greg, Nice post and I fully enjoyed it while reading. I really like the fifth point and also the example of facebook photos in starting. Now I understand that its me who’s changing not the other’s one. Thanx for sharing this post.

    • Greg Narayan

      Hey Sudipto. The FB example is good isn’t it. We all change, a lot. Often times change occurs while we think we’re standing still, then in a matter of a couple days we see ALL the effects. It can be traumatizing and overwhelming but it makes us stronger. 

  • Pingback: The 7 Facets of Confident Writing - Dear Blogger()

  • Pingback: Why Blogs Fail to Get Traffic - Dear Blogger()

  • Pingback: Shh! 10 Good Times to Shut Up | To improve me()

  • Pingback: Shh! 10 Good Times to Shut Up | Blogs about Health & Hypnosis()

  • Soso

    Brilliant analogy there Greg. I particularly like the concept of seeking stress creators snd destroying them. That’s the way to go. I look forwatd to a time when you will blog on identifying stress creators.
    Besides I really enjoyed your write up..just full of matter for a young man keep up the good work.

  • Pingback: Friday news round up - Women's Running()

  • Pingback: Thanksgiving: A Time to Do You | FitnPins()

  • benedictine vocations

    Very nicely put & oh so true. I’m new to blogging THIS week! Glad I found your dear blogger site.