We all know we only get one life to live. We want to be able to live a long life. One way to do so is through happiness. There's something special about happy people. Apart from smiling and laughing more often than the rest of the population, happy people also have some other characteristics in common.
Here are 7 traits of happy people and how those traits can lead to a longer life.
1. Happiness = Contentment
Many people are always chasing the next big thing or the next high for their life. Whether it’s the latest gadgets, partner, job, etc., we tend to always be working toward something. Going after your dreams and goals is important, but when does it all stop? At what point have you made it?
When you’re happy, you’re content with where you are, and going after the next big thing isn’t going to add to your life in a positive way. You realize that there are some things in life not worth going after. For example, a new high-paying job might sound great, until you learn that it will require a lot of extra time. You’ll have to give up family dinners or weekends away with friends. You could end up rich beyond your wildest dreams, but in exchange, you’ll be cutting your life short.
What will it take for you to be content with where you are in life and with what you have?
2. Resiliency is Key
We all have to face problems and challenges in life. There’s no getting around that. If you’re not careful, these challenges can quickly overwhelm you. If you’re happy, however, you are more likely to bounce back.
Happy people are more likely to let things go, instead of letting problems consume them. Happy people tend to respond to challenges more positively because they don’t care as much (and not in a bad way). If things go south, they will have still learned something. To a certain degree, they don’t give a fuck about the fact that they are faced with an obstacle. They’ll either work through it or get around it. They don’t let it bother them either way.
Challenges don’t rule their lives. They learn from those experiences, and it adds to the quality of their lives.
3. Happiness and Health Go Hand in Hand
When you’re happy, you tend to take better care of yourself. If you’re happy, you’re less likely to eat tons of junk food, get drunk every single night, or stress yourself out at work. Because you’re healthy, negative things often have less effect on you (resiliency) and it becomes easier to take care of yourself.
I talk quite about self-care because women, especially mothers, often put their own care at the bottom of their priorities list. That doesn’t mean you’re not happy, but if you take care of yourself, you will probably be happier. A healthy body and a healthy mind require less of you.
When you’re not happy, negative behaviors tend to take hold for a variety of reasons—they feel good in the moment or they’re easier to do. Putting in the extra effort to be healthy even when you’re not happy can actually lead to more happiness.
It can turn things around for you.
4. They are mindful and live in the present
Happy people focus on what’s happening right now. They know that whatever happened in the past, stays in the past. There’s no point mourning about it in the present. So, they make the most of what they do have. They learn from their mistakes and failures in the past, but they don’t dwell on it too much. Which is the opposite of what unhappy people do.
Most unhappy people get too wrapped up in the past. If you’re one of them, you’ve got to learn to let go. I say this as a master grudge-holder. It’s in my nature. However, I’ve learned that most of the time, it’s not worth the energy.
My stepfather ruined more than half of my childhood. While I was angry for years, I eventually learned that he didn’t deserve the energy I was wasting on hating him. I just said, “fuck it,” and let it go.
It’s not always easy to do, especially if you’re hurting. But by not letting go, you run the risk of missing out on the present, which will lead to more regrets.
5. They’re optimistic about the future
Happy people aren’t naïve. They know the future is important. They can’t simply live in the present and not think about the future. They’re optimistic about what is to come.
Even if you’re a realist (or cynic), you can still believe good things are possible. And believing in that is enough to keep you going.
If you’re already happy, you want it to keep going. This is why happy people want to protect their source of happiness.
6. They have a gratitude attitude
Gratitude is often overlooked in one’s quest for happiness. Often, it’s hard to be thankful when life is rough. It’s easy to look past the good things in your life and focus on all the things you don’t have or the things you wish for.
For example, many people have being rich as their ultimate goal. They believe that if they’re rich, they’ll be happy. But there’s a reason for the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.” I’m not saying that money is bad or that you shouldn’t want more.
But there are a lot of miserable rich people out in the world. You can be happy without money. It starts with being grateful for all the things you do have, no matter how small.
If you appreciate the gifts in your life, you will be happier.
7. They know how to laugh
Happy people tend to have a good sense of humor. They roll with the punches. When things go sideways, they’re the ones who find the humor in the messed-up situation. And their laughter is usually contagious.
They don’t dwell on whatever negative things happening right now. They take it all in stride, which makes being around them so enjoyable. They help others see the light in the situation.
Look over the 7 traits of happy people—these are things within your control. You decide what your mindset is and what kind of person you want to be. Choosing a positive mindset and being optimistic about life will lead to an overall happier life. So ultimately, it’s up to you to choose happiness.
Think about which of the 7 traits of happy people you'd like to foster in yourself first. What are you going to do today to choose happiness?