14 Timeless Ways to Live a Happy Life | The BridgeMaker

14 Timeless Ways to Live a Happy Life

By on May 14, 2009


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Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. – Marcus Aurelius

How we achieve happiness can be different for each one of us. Our passions, expectations, life experiences, and even our personalities all contribute to the level of happiness we experience in our lives. Some find happiness in their careers while others prefer the bliss found in their marriages or other intimate relationship.

No matter how you define happiness for yourself, there are certain universal and time-proven strategies to bring, and sustain, more happiness into your life. The following 14 timeless ways to live a happy life can be adapted and even customized to fit your needs. Over time, these strategies will become positive and life-changing habits that will begin to bring more happiness, joy and peace into your life.

  1. Notice What’s Right
    Some of us see the glass as being half-full, while others see the glass as half-empty. The next time you are caught in traffic, begin thinking how nice it is to have a few moments to reflect on the day, focus on a problem you have been trying to solve, or brainstorm on your next big idea. The next time you get in the slow line at the grocery store, take the opportunity to pick up a tabloid magazine and do some “guilty pleasure” reading. Take all that life throws out you and reframe it with what’s right about the situation. At the end of the day, you will be more content, at peace and happy. Take the time to begin to notice what’s right and see the world change in front of your eyes.
  2. Be Grateful
    How many times do you say the words “thank you,” in a day? How many times do you hear these same words? If you are doing the first thing, saying the “thank yous,” the latter will naturally happen. Learn to be grateful and you will be open to receive an abundance of joy and happiness.
  3. Remember the Kid You Were
    Do you remember how to play? I’m not referring to playing a round of golf or a set of tennis. I’m talking about playing like you did when you were a child – a game of tag; leap frog, or street baseball when the bat is a broken broom handle and the bases are the parked cars. One way to find or maintain your happiness is to remember the kid you were and play!
  4. Be Kind
    There is no question that by merely watching acts of kindness creates a significant elevation in our moods and increases the desire for us to perform good deeds as well. Kindness is indeed contagious and when we make a commitment to be kind to ourselves and to others we can experience new heights of joy, happiness and enthusiasm for our lives.
  5. Spend Time with Your Friends
    Although an abundant social and romantic life does not itself guarantee joy, it does have a huge impact on our happiness. Learn to spend time with your friends and make the friendships a priority in your life.
  6. Savor Every Moment
    To be in the moment is to live in the moment. Too often we are thinking ahead or looking ahead to the next event or circumstance in our lives, not appreciating the “here and now.” When we savor every moment, we are savoring the happiness in our lives.
  7. Rest
    There are times when we need the time to unwind, decompress, or to put it simply, just “to chill.” Life comes at all of us hard and fast. Time, as do the days on the calendar, keeps going forward at its own natural pace, which is not always the pace we would choose. Fatigue, stress and exhaustion may begin to settle in on us faster than we may think, or notice. The best remedy for this is indeed rest.
  8. Move!
    The expression a “runner’s high” does not infer an addiction, but a feeling or a state of mind – a state of euphoria. There is no question exercise, or any physical exertion, elevates your mood and enhances a more positive attitude as well as fosters better personal self-esteem and confidence. Indeed, one way to increase your happiness is to move!
  9. Put on a Happy Face
    Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it. I’m not suggesting that we not be honest, real or authentic, but I’m suggesting, sometimes, we just need to put on a happy face and keep moving forward. Researchers claim that smiling and looking like we are happy will indeed make us happier. Studies further show that if we act like we are happy then we can experience greater joy and happiness in our lives
  10. Pursue Your Goals
    The absence of goals in our lives, or more specifically avoiding to pursue our goals, makes us feel like we are stuck and ineffective. The pursuit of goals in our personal lives, in our relationships, or with our careers, is the difference between having a mediocre life or a life full of passion and enthusiasm. pursue your goals and watch your happiness soar.
  11. Finding Your Calling
    Some find meaning in religion or spirituality while others find purpose in their work or relationships. Finding your calling may be much more than accomplishing one simple strategy for increasing your happiness, but having a sense of purpose – of feeling like you are here for a reason – can perhaps bring the greatest joy of all.
  12. Get into the Flow
    Flow is the form of joy, excitement and happiness that occurs when we are so absorbed in an activity we love that we can loose ourselves and time seems to stand still. What creates flow is unique to each one of us. To find and sustain true happiness in our lives, we must get off the sidelines and get into the flow.
  13. Play to Your Strengths
    One way to achieve flow is by understanding and identifying our strengths and core values, and then begin to use these every day. Once we aware of our strengths and we begin to play to your strengths we can better incorporate them in all aspects of our lives.
  14. Don’t Overdo It
    Know when to say when. What gives you joy and happiness the first time may not work the second time. Too much of a good thing may begin not to feel as good if the “thing” becomes more of a routine, or an expectation. Set healthy and reasonable boundaries for yourself and don’t overdo it.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • I do not know how many times I say “thank you” per day, but I want say Thank You for your great sharing.
    Appreciate what we have, be kind then we will be who we want to be!
    Thanks again.

  • WOW- great list. I for one refuse to give up my childish enthusiasm since it is a major part of my sanity.Leap frog with friends in the middle of the night when I was emm, a couple years younger- was one of the best times shared with friends.Possibly
    not the neighbors at 3AM –
    When I am stressed I run at least 5 miles.Great therapy.Clears my head and refuels my body.
    I really like #13 have to incorporate this more defiantly.
    I will be back. Promise;)

  • Danetta

    Thank you so much for this article. I know it is full of truth and wisdom, because I practiced many of the things you advise in the past. Yes it was a very happy time.

    I don’t know how to get back “up” there again when circumstances have brought you to your knees
    and the habits and conscious thoughts were ignored for over ten years…I won’t say just how long over, but long enough to wreak chaos in my life. No goals, no connections to the things in my childhood. Perhaps one baby step at a time?

    Thanks for all that you do, and for listening.

  • Amy

    Thank you for the article, happiness it’s what we all are looking for you and you showed us a way to find happiness and be happy again…

  • Karmen Lewis

    Good insights and motivation. I really enjoy this kind of encouragement. Gets me a little bit further down the road. :o) Thanks for sharing.