9 behaviors only truly happy people display, according to psychology

Ava Sinclair by Ava Sinclair | April 26, 2024, 10:00 am

True happiness is more than just a fleeting feeling; it’s a state of mind. It’s not about having a perfect life, but rather recognizing and appreciating the beauty in our imperfect lives.

Psychology tells us that truly happy people have certain behaviors that set them apart, that they live their lives in ways that promote sustained contentment and joy.

So, if you want to know what it really means to be happy, stick around. You might just pick up a few pointers on how to enhance your own happiness along the way.

1) Embracing imperfections

No one’s life is perfect. There will always be bumps in the road and things we wish we could change about our circumstances. 

According to psychology, accepting that life isn’t perfect, and nor should it be, is a key behavior of genuinely content individuals. They understand that it’s these imperfections that make life interesting and varied.

Instead of getting frustrated or disheartened by obstacles, truly happy people see them as opportunities to learn and grow. They don’t shy away from adversity but greet it with open arms, knowing it’s an integral part of their journey.

Embrace the imperfection and see what you can learn from the experience. You might just find that it leads to greater happiness in the long run.

2) Living in the moment

Living in the moment, or mindfulness, is a common behavior among genuinely happy individuals. It’s all about fully focusing on the present, engaging with your surroundings, and appreciating what’s happening right now.

I remember a time when I was hiking in the mountains. The view was breathtaking, and I found myself completely lost in the beauty of it all.

Instead of worrying about the steep descent or what I was going to cook for dinner when I got home, I simply allowed myself to be present. I felt each breath of fresh air fill my lungs and each step ground me further into the earth.

It was an incredibly liberating experience, and it filled me with a sense of contentment and joy. That’s when I truly understood the power of living in the moment.

Whether it’s savoring a cup of coffee in the morning or feeling the wind on your face during a walk, these moments of mindfulness can contribute to a deeper sense of happiness.

3) Practicing gratitude

Practicing gratitude plays a significant role in the lives of genuinely happy people. 

Studies have shown that individuals who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for, experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.

Rather than focusing on what’s going wrong or what they lack, happy people make a conscious decision to focus on the positive aspects of their lives. They appreciate their blessings, no matter how small or big they may be.

4) Building strong relationships

Happy people value their relationships and invest time and energy into nurturing them. They understand the importance of connection, and that having strong relationships contributes to their overall well-being.

Building meaningful relationships is not just about having a wide circle of acquaintances, but about establishing deep connections with people. It involves empathy, understanding, and mutual respect.

These relationships could be with family members, friends, colleagues, or even pets. It’s about having someone to share your experiences with, lend an ear when you need to vent, or provide a comforting shoulder when times get tough.

Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, spend quality time with your family members, or even make an effort to get to know someone new. These connections can greatly enhance your happiness.

5) Pursuing personal goals

Whether it’s learning a new skill, working towards a promotion at work, or training for a marathon, having personal goals provides a sense of motivation and satisfaction.

It’s not necessarily about achieving big, extraordinary things; even small, everyday accomplishments can bring immense joy.

But more than just setting goals, happy people are proactive in working towards them. They’re not afraid of hard work or challenges that come their way. They understand that the journey itself is as rewarding as the destination.

6) Showing kindness to others

Kindness is a universal language that resonates with everyone. Happy people understand this, and they make a conscious effort to show kindness to others.

Exhibiting kindness doesn’t always mean grand gestures; it can be as simple as offering a smile, lending a helping hand, or just being there for someone when they need it. These acts of kindness not only make others feel good but also have a way of boosting our own happiness.

This behavior isn’t just about making others happy, it’s about nurturing a sense of compassion and empathy within ourselves. When we show kindness to others, we acknowledge our shared humanity and foster a sense of connection.

There’s something profoundly beautiful about showing kindness without expecting anything in return. It fills your heart with joy and gives life a deeper meaning. 

7) Practicing self-care

Truly happy people understand the importance of taking care of themselves. It’s not about being self-absorbed or selfish; it’s about understanding that you need to look after your own well-being to be able to bring joy to others.

Self-care can take many forms. It could be setting aside time each day to meditate, going for a run, reading a good book, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of tea. For me, it was learning to say “no” when I felt overwhelmed and needed a break.

There was a time when I found myself constantly burnt out, trying to juggle too many things at once. It took me a while to realize that I was neglecting my own needs. Once I started prioritizing self-care, my perspective changed. I felt more balanced, less stressed, and overall, much happier.

Keep in mind, self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. So make sure to carve out some “me” time in your routine. Your mind and body will thank you for it, and you’ll notice a positive shift in your happiness levels.

8) Embracing change

Change is inevitable. Whether it’s moving to a new city, starting a new job, or even adjusting to a new lifestyle, change is a constant part of our lives. Truly happy people understand this and instead of resisting it, they embrace it.

Embracing change is about being open and adaptable. It’s about understanding that change often brings opportunities for growth and learning.

Instead of viewing change as a threat or something to fear, happy people see it as an adventure. They’re curious and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and are willing to step out of their comfort zones.

9) Cultivating a positive outlook

The most defining behavior of truly happy people is their positive outlook on life. They choose to focus on the good rather than dwelling on the negative. They see challenges as opportunities, and they’re always looking for the silver lining, no matter how grim the situation may seem.

A positive outlook doesn’t mean ignoring life’s difficulties or pretending everything is perfect. It’s about maintaining a hopeful mindset and believing in your ability to overcome obstacles.

This behavior is crucial because our thoughts greatly influence our emotions and actions. By choosing positivity, we can significantly enhance our happiness and overall quality of life.

Reflecting on happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a deeply personal journey, intricately woven into the fabric of our lives. It’s not a destination you reach, but a way of traveling.

From embracing imperfections to cultivating a positive outlook, these behaviors aren’t just habits. They’re intentional actions that truly happy people choose to incorporate in their lives.

The beauty of it all is that these aren’t exclusive behaviors. They’re accessible to anyone willing to embrace them. Happiness, in its purest form, is within our reach.

So take a moment to reflect on these behaviors and ask yourself: What choices am I making in my pursuit of happiness? How can I embody these behaviors in my daily life? The answers may just lead you down a path of greater contentment and joy.