Have you ever thought: “I would be just a little happier if I had more money, a new car, a more exciting job, a relationship, or something else entirely?”

You’re not alone. From time to time, we’ve all had at least one of these notions (sometimes several at once), leading us to believe that the secret of a happy life lies just beyond our grasp in an elusive future. Once we obtain it, we will be satisfied, at long last.

But, what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if the secret of how to be happy in life lay in the here and now?

In this article, we’ll help you discover the steps you could be taking today to cultivate a healthier, happier you, and uncover the best ways to live a happy life. Be warned! There are no quick fixes, it will take a little time and effort on your part but remember – the keys to a happy life are already in your hands.

So, let’s start at the beginning, what’s holding you back?

Three things that are preventing you from being happy

unhappy person

Before we even get to taking positive actions to the secret of happiness, first things first – what is making you so unhappy, anyway? Generally, unhappiness stems from a dissatisfaction with the way things are going in your life right now, and this generally boils down to three factors:

Perfectionism

Who said you had to be perfect? That’s right! No one – except you. Holding yourself to unrealistically high standards is hazardous to your health and happiness.

It’s impossible to be perfect all the time. We all make mistakes – sometimes big ones – but that’s normal. It’s not a sign that you need to spend the rest of the day, week, or month, resenting yourself. Time to let it go!

That imperfectness is what makes us human, and that’s exciting. Embrace it, and cut yourself a little slack. Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be conscientious, we all take pride in our work, home life, friendships, etc. and this is a healthy practice, but there’s a big cavernous gap between that and perfectionism.

Obsessive perfectionism is not one of those keys to a happy life; instead, you could be jeopardizing your mental health. An unhealthy focus on being perfect can lead to depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, insomnia, and other issues, taking a toll on your happiness and your body.

Remember: “failure is not fatal”

Loneliness

This one isn’t just reserved for hermits and work-from-homers who spend their days in solitude. It also isn’t about how many people are around or how much time you spend talking to others. What it is about the quality of those communications and interactions with others and how they make you feel.

Have you ever been to a party, you know the one that’s packed with people, maybe you came with a friend, but somehow, they’ve gone missing in the crowd, and now you’re left with this room full of strangers?

Although you might be physically surrounded by people, you feel absolutely alone. This feeling of loneliness isn’t confined just to parties; it’s common in everyday life too. We feel misunderstood by those around us, unable to confide our inner thoughts and feelings, and, quite simply, be ourselves.

While there is situation-appropriate behavior, if we consistently experience the inability to be ourselves, then we feel alone, and that puts our health and happiness at risk.

Actively doing things you dislike (a lot)

There’s no getting away from those household tasks – washing clothes, cleaning the dishes, feeding the goldfish; unless you have the money to afford a helper, that is. Nor is there a secret way to avoid the necessities of work, not if you want to live a comfortable, fulfilled life.

But if you make these things the entirety of your day, every day, then you are on a course for disaster, and this is especially true, if you don’t find even one little tiny sliver of joy in any of them; remember, turning the music up while you clean and be very therapeutic.

However, engaging in tasks and activities, you dislike on a constant basis can leave you questioning why you’re even on this planet, making you feel down-right down about your life.

If you’ve fallen victim to any of these, chances are that you aren’t feeling too happy right now, but what can you do about it?

So, what is the secret of happiness?

Psst. It’s you!

Although we tend to tie a lot of our “happiness” on external, physical things; the secret is that it comes from within. These are some of the best things that you can do to cultivate that inner joy and contentment.

Engage in a healthy mind, healthy body routine

fun time

We all know the physical benefits of working out, and you may have heard about the power of meditation (if not, read this), but did you know it has a massive impact on your happiness too?

By actively involving health and fitness into your daily routine, you allow your body and mind to regain strength and energy putting you in a better position to address any challenges that lie ahead.

Exercise has also been proven to promote healthy brain chemistry which can leave you feeling happier in the long term. Plus, as you continue to practice, you will gain more body confidence leaving you happier and more fulfilled.

Find satisfaction in your work

loving work

Our jobs play a huge role in our daily lives, in fact, it can be where we spend the majority of our time. And this is precisely why you need to find some sort of satisfaction in what you do!

Whether this takes the form of completing a challenging task, simply doing a good job at your job, solving a problem or issue, or even allowing yourself a quiet lunch-hour to read a book, find something about your work that makes you happy and do it.

Now, if you find yourself, tired, exhausted, and dissatisfied every single day, without fail, then you might need to take a moment and readdress the problem.

Sometimes it’s about looking for the happy moments in the everyday, other times a change is needed. So, take a step back and figure out what works for you and what needs to change – your outlook or your job – and do it!

Invest time in your relationships

engaging together

This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours scrolling tinder for the *perfect* match, investing time in your relationships is all about paying attention to your connections with friends, family, and your love life.

Strong social bonds have been proven to leave people feeling happier and more secure into old age, which is why social health needs to have a priority place on your list.

So, how do you invest into a relationship? What this means is you should allocate a little time for purely social activities that you enjoy. This might be as simple as having a cup of tea and a chat with family, visiting a museum with friends, or playing a board game – essentially, whatever floats your boat.

Building close relationships can help you not only enjoy your time better, but also form the basis of support for when life gets tough.

Taking me-time

alone time

Just because social health matters, doesn’t mean you need to throw yourself into being the ultimate social butterfly. It’s more likely this will leave you tired, and exhausted, and besides, where would you find the time to do absolutely anything else?

Ensuring you have a little me time is essential. This gives you’re the chance to unwind, relax and destress, and forms the basics of self-care. Me time is particularly important for your happiness if you are a little bit of an introvert, as it allows you to step away and give yourself some space.

So, how to take me time? Learn that sometimes it’s best to say “No!” No one will bite you if you do. It’s good to set boundaries and allows you to take a little bit of time just for you.

Giving back

giving back

Being happy isn’t all about YOU! In fact, you can find joy in giving back to others. Getting involved in charity in any form can give you that ‘helper’s high,’ a release of feel good hormones that boost your mood and do good for others.

If you decide that volunteering is for you, you can also get a boost from the new social interactions you’ll have there – widening your world, your social circle, and making you a little happier at the same time.

Are you ready to be happy?

Now you know some of the secret keys to a happier, healthier you; what are you waiting for? Start employing these techniques in your day to day life and you’ll soon be amazed at just how much better you feel.

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Written by Maria Isabella Neverovich
Maria is an Irish writer, Health Editor at Verv, lover of forests, mountains and all things nature. She enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, creating...
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