Ever been curious why some people seem happier than you? If you wonder about the secret to how to live a happy life, here are 15 things that happy people don’t do.
There are many things you can do to enjoy your life more. Here are 15 things to avoid!
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How to Live a Happy Life (hint…don’t do these 15 things)
1. Blame others
Part of being happy is feeling self-empowered. It feels better short-term to blame other people or external circumstances for your woes. But that just gives others the control to ruin your mood, day, or life.
Giving away that power actually feels really crappy. Plus, you absolutely have to take responsibility for your own life.
The sooner you realize that you are actually in control, the happier you’ll be.
2. Feel sorry for themselves
Happy people don’t throw pity parties. Feeling like a victim never helped anyone feel empowered and happy.
Even when it feels like everything is going wrong, it’s important to focus on something that is going right.
Just find one thing to be thankful for. This gratitude changes your perspective, and takes the focus off feeling sorry for yourself.
3. Spend time with people they don’t like
Nothing can bring a you down quite like hanging out with someone whose company you detest.
It’s important to spend as much time as you can with those who lift you up and support you. And as little time as possible with negative people.
Start noticing who in your life nourishes your soul, and who brings you down.
4. Be a slave to fear
Everyone feels fear. But giving that fear power over you just holds you captive.
Facing fear is like exercising a muscle. Since there is no magical time when you will be fearless, it’s important to feel the fear but do it anyway. That will strengthen your ‘being brave’ muscle.
Ask yourself what is truly the worst thing that could happen if you did the thing you’re scared to do. Now examine what you would do if that situation did arise.
Chances are that in the grand scheme of life, it really won’t be that big of a deal. It’ll either be long forgotten, or make an entertaining story.
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5. Talk constantly about themselves
It’s fairly easy to spot narcissists. All they want to do is talk about themselves.
And they interrupt you all the time because they’re only thinking of the next thing they want to say.
In fact, they’re so obsessed with their own thoughts, life, or misery, that they’re quite unhappy indeed.
To work on being happier, try thinking less about yourself. Focus on others instead. Really listen to what they’re saying.
We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen more than we talk!
6. Feel motivated by ‘stuff’
People who are materialistic get tiny bits of immediate gratification from gaining new possessions. Stop looking for external contentment.
Happiness has to come from inside you. There’s nothing you can buy or have that will actually make you any happier.
In many cases, having more ‘stuff’ will actually lead to more misery. Maybe you feel regretful about spending the money, or see it sitting around but never use it.
Or your home starts looking cluttered. Then you have to spend precious time weeding through it, and end up donating or throwing it away anyway.
Resource: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
You really have to watch out for people who constantly speak ill of others. There really is some deep-rooted insecurity there.
They are just inherently negative, or are trying to look or feel better by making others look bad.
The thing about gossip is that’s kind of indulgently fun, if we’re really being honest. It’s not easy to stop. Especially if someone else starts it, and is talking about someone we really don’t like.
But in truth, it’s poisonous. And it is not going to make you any happier.
8. Forget to dream
Whether you believe in the art of manifest destiny or not, it’s helpful to dream. Dreaming means that there’s hope involved. And hope is a very powerful thing.
To dream is to also think in terms of possibilities and positivity. When you stop dreaming, you feel stuck. And stuck = unhappy.
Dreaming also helps you envision what it is you really want. Knowing how your ideal day, job, or life would look is the first step in creating it.
Really want to increase your happiness and enjoy your life more? Check out the Enjoy Your Life More workbook. It walks you through discovering what is and isn’t working in your life right now. And how to fix it!
9. Always say yes
Because happy people value their time and sanity, they don’t say yes to everything. Others are always vying for your energy and time. You’ll do yourself a major disservice if you agree to help everyone who asks.
If you get asked to do something that you a) don’t have time for, or b) hate the thought of, try saying no. There’s no need to apologize or offer an explanation. Just say something like “I’m not able to commit to that” and move along.
If you don’t respect your own time, others certainly won’t.
10. Focus on past mistakes
You simply can’t live a happy life if you’re dwelling on your past blunders. There’s really no such thing as a ‘failure.’ Only opportunities to learn.
Try to look at a mistake logically, in a way that will help you discover how you could have handled it differently. You can’t go back and change it anyway, so what’s your other option?
11. Care what other people think
Happy people don’t rely on others to feel validated. If you focus too much on what others are thinking of you, you’ll never find peace. Plus, you probably won’t even guess accurately.
The opinions of everyone in your life shouldn’t be weighted equally either. You value some people’s opinions more because they’re smarter, kinder, or more thoughtful about things.
It’s up to you to decide how much weight to give any one person’s opinion.
Everyone isn’t going to like you or ‘get you.’ For fellow people pleasers, this is difficult to swallow. It takes practice to tune out the noisy worry of what others are thinking of you.
12. Complain and criticize
Critical, judgey people just aren’t happy folks. They only focus on the negative aspects of others and situations.
Positive people also don’t criticize themselves. I think we all know a few of those self-deprecating people who bash themselves constantly. It makes you wonder if they’re just fishing for a compliment, or if they really are that miserable.
If you often go on complaining rants (it happens to all of us!), try to catch yourself. Talk about something else instead.
It might seem like it feels better to vent, but often it really just makes us mad all over again.
If you think multitasking is the best way to be productive, you haven’t heard the news. Your brain can’t actually focus on two things at once.
You can’t be present in any given moment if you’re constantly trying to juggle more than one task. You’re much better served (and will feel more peaceful), if you complete one task before moving on.
Happy people also know when to put their phone down, and just be in the moment. They know to turn off most notifications so their attention isn’t constantly being stolen.
If you find yourself picking up your phone every spare moment, experiment with looking at it less.
Your happiness isn’t hiding inside your phone. And it’s a great relief to not constantly feel distracted.
Related: 10 Benefits of a Social Media Detox
14. Act neglectful
Since people who are happy value the blessings in their life, they take good care of themselves and their possessions.
Taking pride in yourself makes a big impact on your happiness.
It starts by taking care of your body through grooming and exercise. And your home and belongings by keeping them tidy and organized.
15. Strive for perfection
If you really want to know how to live a happy life, stop trying to be perfect. It’s good to have high standards, but you will drown your own happiness if you strive for perfection.
Along those lines, you can’t demand perfection externally either. That means you must anticipate that your life will have challenges and every day won’t go as planned. And that’s totally okay.
It’s often assumed that being a ‘perfectionist’ is a good thing. But it really just means that you’re never happy with anything.
Striving for excellence can be respectable, but expecting perfection will spell doom for your happiness.
Resource: How to Become an Imperfectionist
Wrapping it up
If happiness has been eluding you, maybe you’ve wished to know the secrets for how to live a happy life.
Look closely at your life to see if you do any of these 15 things that happy people don’t. Our moods are made up of our thoughts and actions.
If we can change some of our habits and mindset patterns, we can all be happier.
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What things do you avoid to make yourself happy?