5 Habits of Happy People

By Eric Charles, MA., PhD-c


“Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.” ~Dr. Robert Anthony

1. Spend money on experience, not things
Happy people tend to spend money on experience more than on things. Of course, there are daily necessities that we need in order to function. But, at the end of the day, it is the quality of our moments that bring us the most joy. If we focus on the next “thing,” a new sport jacket, a designer handbag or a nicer car, we are likely to fall prey to the vicious cycle of not being satisfied with what we have.

2. Don’t neglect the basics
People who are happy tend to manage the basics of self-care better than people who are unhappy. From a behavioral perspective, if a person is not tending to the basics (staying active, eating healthy, making time for self-care, etc.), how can they possibly reap the benefits that a person who is doing this can? They can’t.

3. Make time for family and friends
The happiest people spend quality time with family and friends. If we let ourselves, we can easily neglect the people who love us most. This neglect happens not because we are bad people, but because we live busy lives that need our constant attention. Spending time to connect with the people we love most is often healing, energizing and motivating. We have to be careful not to become a family and/or society of tumbleweeds. Who in your life can you reach out to today?

4. What is the rush? Take your time 
Happy people tend to rush through life much less. Why? Because they recognize that rushing causes stress, and stress makes them feel unhappy. An enormous source of unhappiness comes from feeling rushed by deadlines, traffic and ourselves. So often, we get caught up in the rush of the moment, not realizing the bigger picture. Sure, there are times when we need to move quickly, but that does not mean we need to move hastily. One of my favorite quotes by John Wooden is,”Hurry, but do not rush.” We easily forget that it is a miracle to even exist. We forget that we are not permanent figures in this world. Taking time to reflect on the miracle of life is an essential part of living happily.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Happy people tend to approach life from a perspective of lightness. They realize that both good and bad things are bound to happen. More importantly, they recognize that happiness does not need to depend upon whether a good or bad thing has happened. We can still be happy, even when something does not go the way we wanted. If we allow ourselves to be happy only when good things happen, we become like an emotional pinball. Anytime we get stuck in unhappiness because something undesirable has happened, it is helpful to take a step back and remember, not only are we part of life’s miracle, we are the miracle.


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76 responses to 5 Habits of Happy People

  1. Floating Speck says:

    Great post, I love the reference to society being like a bunch of tumbleweeds. We definitely need to be more grounded and not just floating in the wind !

    Liked by 6 people

  2. cephasinfo says:

    Great post ! #3 hits home for us. We strive to ensure a “family first” policy and everything else will fall into place. Thanks!

    Liked by 4 people

    • You make an excellent point. It is interesting to me how “mindfulness” is slowly becoming an off-the-shelf type approach to everything. I think the true principles of mindfulness are rooted in something much different than what is being promoted by the masses. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 4 people

  3. verawrites says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, MIU. I agree with your points here. But I believe happiness is too small and transient a goal. To me, joy is the goal. Joy is a choice, an attitude, not driven by the external but shaped by the internal. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. Joyce Meyer stays love and self control are bookends; it begins with love, which feeds all other positive qualities, and self control is needed so we do not get out of balance. Too much of a good thing can be harmful – eg., too much love could make one a doormat for an abuser. The mind is the battlefield, and we must choose our thoughts wisely. As John C. Maxwell says, think about what you’re thinking about.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Lorena says:

    Great post Eric!
    I know for me #2 is foundational for the rest. When I’ve given myself the self care I need, I tend to buy less and more easily reach to be with loved ones and not bother as much with the small stuff. The rushing part though is a sore point. Self care or not I’m a chronically 10-15 minutes late to everything and so rush alot

    Liked by 2 people

  5. sargondorsai says:

    Thank You for sharing these great points. We are such a busy society that we don’t take time for the things that truly matter. Our family and friends. Our own happiness. I try to live every day enjoying the wonder that is my family. My happiness is so much fuller because I get to share it with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Eric,

    I like the don’t sweat the small stuff here and the keep on trying post on another entry. I can very much relate to it although it hurts when we get rejected by a loved one but come to think of it, we shouldn’t be too emotional. We just have to keep on trying until we meet the right one. For now, marriage is not on my top priority because I only have 13 more years left before I reach 60 and I should focus on saving for old age whether or not I get hitched. God bless!

    Aurora

    Liked by 2 people

  7. swamiyesudas says:

    Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:
    *******

    ‘Happy people tend to spend money on experience more than on things,’ begins the author.

    Of course what he means is HAVING THE EXPERIENCE rather than GAINING EXPERIENCE.

    With regard to his Basics, I would say,

    ‘A person who cannot enjoy a Cup of Coffee, or a Plain Salted Biscuit, (purely from the viewpoint of Enjoyment), the Beauty of a Flower or Butterfly, etc, and NEEDS Exotic Foods or experiences like Bungee jumping, then that means that:

    HE IS UNHAPPY 99% OF THE TIME!

    I Wish You all Happiness, Love and Peace!

    *******

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Each of these items would merit prolonged consideration just on its own. Thanks for packing so much “punch” into such a short post. I’m trying lately to be more than a tumbleweed speeding past my family and friends. Not so easy…

    I like the notion of considering carefully when (and why) we’re rushing; it’s easy to think the rushing is being imposed on us by outside forces (job, etc.), when in fact we’re often at least partially culpable for the sometimes-desperate pace we seem to be living at.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nicolle says:

    I agree with this! I think in this increasingly fast-paced life, sometime people lose track of what’s important (happiness) or they equate things / status / money / etc as happiness. Thanks for the great post and reminder, Eric!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. celestialk1 says:

    I love the advice to spend money on experience – not things! It has taken me time to realize it, true, because I liked spending money on clothes or shoes if I have it. But it doesn’t fulfill me, I notice. (Unless I really needed that pair of shoes.) But I absolutely love to travel! And I’d love to save up to travel, vacation somewhere wonderful. We’re finally in a state where we can maybe start saving up, so that’s definitely a goal!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for this post. Spending money and time on the experiences instead of things is so very important. Through your experiences, you learn and grow. If a person looks at life as and adventure and a time to learn, then even the unhappy experiences become a component of the learning journey. Great post. Blessings! Karen

    Liked by 2 people

  12. amixedbag says:

    So true, and unfortunately a typical modern city life does not lead to any of these good habits – chasing after the next designer item, rushing to work, staring at our phones instead of conversing with the person next to us, etc. Definitely need to keep reminding ourselves to take a deep breath and enjoy life.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Time is measured in minutes, hours, days, weeks and years, but moments are measured by our ability to be present in them. A moment can be squeezed into a hectic day with a mere gesture of gratitude and awareness. By simply tuning in to the birds’ song, a moment is filled with innocent melodies making us the satisfied audience. The “quality of our moments” truly is what “brings us the most joy.” Thank you for the much needed reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Eric I really like this post. Thank you. When I read #4 about taking my time, I breathed more easily. I appreciate the reminder. 🙂

    I find that basic self care makes such a difference for me — especially healthy eating, meditation, and running (just ran this morning).

    Anyway, great post. Have a lovely weekend. Good to connect!
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

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