We often chase happiness through achievements, material possessions, relationships and external circumstances. However, true happiness begins from within, and you can cultivate it through daily habits that promote well-being. Here are 25 daily habits you can adopt to make yourself a little bit happier every day.
1. Start Each Day With Gratitude
Each morning, take a moment to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Make a mental or written list of the positive aspects of your life. This simple habit shifts your focus from what you lack to what you have, creating a sense of contentment and happiness.
Start each day by writing down five things you’re grateful for — whether it’s a roof over your head or an exciting purchase you just made — nothing is too big or small to be thankful for.
2. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity is a wonderful mood booster. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It can be a brisk walk, yoga, swimming or a gym workout, but moving your body releases endorphins, reducing stress and increasing your overall happiness.
If you find yourself bored and stuck in the same old workout routine, try switching it up. Going for a hike on a local trail, sign up for a pilates class or get friends to join you for your next gym sesh.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Being present in the moment can significantly enhance your daily happiness. Engage in mindfulness exercises or deep breathing. These practices help you release stress and worries, enabling you to fully enjoy the present.
4. Connect With Others
Human connections play a crucial role in happiness. Make an effort to spend time with friends and family, or engage in social activities. Sharing laughter, experiences and emotions with others can boost your mood and create a sense of belonging. Spend time with like-minded people by joining groups or clubs with common interests, like book clubs and workout classes.
5. Make Time for Your Passions
Allocate time each day to engage in activities you’re passionate about. It could be a hobby, like reading, painting or any creative outlet. Pursuing your interests creates a sense of accomplishment and allows you to improve your skills.
6. Help Others
Helping someone in need, no matter how small the gesture, can create a profound feeling of joy. Offer assistance, kindness or simply lend an empathetic ear to a friend or stranger in need. You could also spend time volunteering for a cause close to your heart, like helping out at an animal shelter or working in a soup kitchen. Acts of kindness can give you a sense of purpose and make you feel useful.
7. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Believe it or not, your diet has a direct impact on your mood. Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Limit processed foods and excessive sugar intake. A healthy diet can positively influence your mood and energy levels. Here are some foods proven to elevate your mood that you can add to your diet:
- Dark chocolate
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt
8. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep can truly set you up for success. Sleep is vital for a positive outlook on life, and you may find yourself grouchy and irritable if you’ve had trouble sleeping the night before.
Ensure you get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night regularly to recharge your body and mind and get ready for the next day. A rested mind is better prepared to handle daily challenges, and you’ll find yourself feeling much more upbeat.
9. Set Achievable Goals
Establish both short-term and long-term goals for yourself. Achieving goals of any size gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. This sense of progress can contribute to your daily happiness and motivation. Write your goals down so you can constantly remind yourself of them and track your progress.
10. Limit Screen Time
Excessive screen time can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety. Set boundaries for your daily use of technology, allowing yourself to disconnect and enjoy the world around you.
Unplugging from screens can lead to increased joy and better mental health. Studies have shown that reducing your screen time by just one hour a day can make a significant difference to your overall mood.
Here are some ways you can reduce your screen time:
- Turn off notifications between certain hours
- Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode
- Don’t use electronics during mealtimes
- Track your screen time and set limits
- Remove unnecessary apps
Additionally, avoiding screens before bed can ensure you get a better night’s rest. Try turning your devices off at least one hour before bed and read a book or take a bath instead.
11. Embrace Positivity
Practice positive self-talk and surround yourself with optimistic people. Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more constructive and optimistic ones. Cultivating a positive mindset can lead to increased happiness over time.
12. Learn Something New
Engaging your mind in learning new things can be incredibly rewarding. Whether it’s a new language, a musical instrument, gardening or a fun craft, the sense of progress that comes from acquiring new skills can elevate your mood.
Spend a few minutes each morning or evening completing a language lesson on Duolingo, watching YouTube videos to learn how to knit or cooking recipes from different countries. There are plenty of free resources out there to learn a new skill.
13. Create a Personal Sanctuary
Designate a space in your home as your personal sanctuary. This space can be a cozy reading nook, a meditation corner, a palace for your hobbies or even a relaxing beanbag. Having a space where you can unwind can be a daily source of joy.
If you live in an apartment in the city, you may have limited space compared to a big house in the suburbs. Create a space on your balcony with a chair and some plants to set a relaxing scene and watch the world go by.
14. Spend Time in Nature
Spending time in nature has a calming and refreshing effect. Outdoor activities, like camping or hiking, can relieve stress, promote physical fitness and improve sleep. However, you don’t need to plan an outdoor adventure to reap the benefits. Simply take your lunch outside, go for a stroll after work, water your plants or read on the grass. Aim for half an hour to get that daily dose of vitamin D.
If you live in an urban area, make an effort to walk to appointments, the gym, work or the grocery store. Just spending time outside and in natural light can make a big difference to your mood — plus, you’ll be getting a workout in at the same time.
15. Practice Forgiveness
Holding onto grudges and resentments can cause great unhappiness. Practice forgiveness, not only toward others but also toward yourself. Let go of past grievances and focus on moving forward with a lighter heart.
16. Unplug From Work
In our hyper-connected world, it can be challenging to separate work from personal life. Make a conscious effort to unplug from work when you’re off the clock. Doing this will allow you to recharge, relax and spend quality time with loved ones.
If you work from home, ensure you have a separate space to avoid your work overlapping with your personal life. If you have a separate room where you work, close the door at the end of each day to focus on yourself and your personal life.
17. Laugh More
Laughter is the best medicine. Find reasons to laugh, whether it’s through comedy or spending time with friends who fill your cup. Laughter releases endorphins and can instantly boost your mood.
18. Establish a Routine
Having a daily routine provides structure and predictability in your life. A routine can reduce stress and create a sense of stability. Ensure your routine includes time for self-care, work, leisure, socializing and rest.
19. Enjoy the Little Pleasures
Learn to appreciate the small joys of life. Savor that first sip of coffee, relish a beautiful sunset, buy a bunch of your favorite flowers or enjoy the feeling of fresh sheets. Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that can bring the greatest amount of joy.
20. Limit Comparisons
Constantly comparing yourself to others can lead to lower spirits. Focus on your own journey and personal progress rather than measuring your success against someone else’s. Embrace your uniqueness.
21. Practice Patience
In such a fast-paced world, patience is a virtue that can significantly enhance your daily life. Develop the ability to wait calmly, whether it’s in traffic or in line at a store. Patience can reduce stress and frustration.
22. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal can be a therapeutic habit. Document your thoughts, experiences and emotions. This practice helps you process your feelings and allows you to track your personal growth and moments of joy. It can also be fun to look back on happy memories if you’re having a down day.
23. Foster a Growth Mindset
Cultivate a growth mindset, the belief that you can develop your abilities and intelligence with effort and learning. Embracing challenges and seeking opportunities for growth can lead to a more fulfilling life.
24. Reflect on Your Achievements
End each day with a moment of reflection on your achievements, both big and small. This habit boosts your self-esteem and reinforces a positive mindset. Acknowledge your accomplishments, whether it’s completing a work project, taking a step toward a personal goal or simply making someone smile.
When you regularly celebrate your achievements, you’ll develop a sense of pride and happiness that can motivate you to strive for more significant goals and milestones.
This practice also allows you to identify areas where you can improve and grow, creating a continuous cycle of self-improvement and contentment. Remember that achievements come in various forms and sizes. Pay attention to those related to your career, personal development, relationships or even the small everyday triumphs that often go unnoticed.
Yes, it can be that simple. Smiling is a universal language of happiness. It’s a simple yet powerful gesture that transcends cultural boundaries and connects people. When you smile, you’re expressing joy and positivity, but you’re also triggering a cascade of feel-good chemicals in your brain, like endorphins and serotonin, which can instantly lift your mood and reduce stress.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Happiness isn’t an elusive goal — it’s something you can actively work on every day through small, intentional habits. By implementing just some of these daily practices, you can gradually build a happier, more content life. Remember that happiness is an ongoing journey, and it’s the daily changes that make the most difference.