103 Ways to Live a Happier Life

103 Ways to Live a Happier Life

For the first 34 years of my life I was a pretty unhappy person. I didn’t realize it at the time because I just thought this is who I was. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of happiness throughout my life but I would always default back to the negative. That’s just the way my mind wants to work. It wants me to focus on the negative.

Throughout my life I have had times where I have had nothing and also times where I have had everything (or at least what I had thought was everything). It didn’t matter. Stuff doesn’t matter. It’s all about what’s inside.

Today, at age 37, I am a happy and content person (most of the time). So what changed? Did I win the lottery? Did I become a monk? Nope. I just became willing to change and every day I make a conscious decision to seek happiness and serenity in my life. I want to become a better person each day. I want to be happier. The happier I am, the more useful I am to myself and everyone around me. The more I can (and actually want to) help other people.

I’m far from perfect at any of this. Most of these things were learned by doing the opposite or by going through a lot of pain. I still go through times when I revert back to being negative and thus become unhappy. But I keep trying and work to become just a little bit better each day. Do you want to be happier? Do you want more serenity (peace in between your ears)? Here are some of these things that have worked for me.

  1. Really listen when people talk to you. Don’t just wait for them to finish their sentence so you can talk.
  2. Do something nice for someone each day. Do it without looking for credit.
  3. Write a gratitude list everyday. Even if it’s just one item long.
  4. Stretch. Even if it’s just for 2 minutes.
  5. Meditate. Giving your mind a break and allowing some stillness in your life is so important.
  6. Get rid of your ego. Your ego hates you and wants to keep you apart from other people. Don’t let it.
  7. Read something positive each day. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a paragraph long.
  8. Don’t waste time reading negative stuff.
  9. Spend quality time with your family each day.
  10. Take a walk.
  11. Call or meet with at least one close friend each day.
  12. Floss. I have found that if I can’t commit to something as simple but important as flossing, it usually means that I am letting other areas of my life lag as well.
  13. Don’t gossip.
  14. Accept things as they are. Strive for more but be content with less.
  15. Read a book/blog/article on a subject that you know nothing.
  16. Keep a daily journal and commit to writing in it each day. Even if you just write “Today was good. I don’t know what else to write.”
  17. Be passionate about everything you do. If you’re doing something everyday that you’re not passionate about, try to figure out how to cut it out of your life.
  18. Eat real food.
  19. Give back. Nothing brings more fulfillment to me than the feeling of helping someone else.
  20. Have a plan for each day. Get the most out of the hours you are going to work so that you can get the most out of the hours outside of work.
  21. Surround yourself with positive people.
  22. Wake up early. It’s amazing how much more alive you feel when you get up early and start getting things done.
  23. Don’t work so much.
  24. Don’t think that working so much is something you should be proud of or brag about. No one on their death bed ever thought “I wish I spent more time on that PowerPoint…”
  25. Laugh. A lot.
  26. Offer to help someone each day. Don’t have an ulterior motive.
  27. Stop caring so much about what other people think.
  28. Stop worrying so much. Most of the terrible things that we think are going to happen, never do. 
  29. Don’t think that it’s too late. It’s never too late.
  30. Stop thinking that you are too old to do something. You’re not.
  31. Stop thinking you are too young to do something. You’re not.
  32. Remember that your mind can be a dangerous place so don’t go there alone. Talk to someone each day about how you are feeling.
  33. Realize that fear is natural but don’t let it consume you. Recognize your fears. Write them down, it removes a lot of the power that we give them.
  34. Expectations are resentments in the making. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on other people.
  35. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something. Be okay with asking questions. Stop thinking you have to know everything.
  36. If you have a dog, take it for a walk each day. If you have a cat, pet it for a few minutes each day. If you don’t have either, stop one in the street. If you’re allergic, watch some videos of them on the Internet.
  37. Try not to use buzz-words unnecessarily. Is that new product really a “game-changer”?
  38. Compliment someone each day. Even if it’s a stranger.
  39. Hold the door for the person behind you.
  40. Always thank the person who holds the door for you.
  41. Be positive even when you don’t feel like being positive.
  42. Try to stay as consistent as possible. Don’t be nice to the people you work with and then come home and treat your kids like shit.
  43. Be there for the little things in your kid’s lives. It’s easy to be there for the big things (first days of school, dance recitals, etc) but it’s the little things that really matter. Those are the ones that I am so happy not to miss.
  44. Don’t put people down to make yourself feel better. It doesn’t work and it makes people respect you less.
  45. Be on time. If you can, be early.
  46. Be a person of your word.
  47. Stop checking email/Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Instagram/etc so much. A couple of times a day is more than enough for any of those. If there is really an emergency, they will call you.
  48. Remove email from your phone. It will force you to engage more in real life.
  49. Don’t give unsolicited advice if it’s really just to make yourself feel better.
  50. Have empathy but don’t pity people.
  51. Don’t spoil your kids. I know you love them and want them to have everything they want but trust me, you are doing them a major disservice in life if you give them everything they want.
  52. Return phone calls.
  53. Eat as little sugar as possible.
  54. Don’t procrastinate. Thinking about not doing something that you know you have to do is usually much harder and taxing than actually doing it.
  55. Be humble.
  56. Have a purpose in life. This should go beyond “I want to make a lot of money” or “I want to be famous.”
  57. Never answer “I’m fine” when someone asks you how you are doing. Be honest. You’re either doing great, terrible or okay. Don’t forget what FINE really stands for (F*cked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.)
  58. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  59. Make sure you learn from those mistakes…
  60. Try to treat everyone you meet the same way. Don’t treat the CEO better than the intern. Be consistent, be humble.
  61. Be gracious. About a month ago I met with one of the most powerful men in media. I was meeting with him to get advice and he was meeting me to help me out (he had nothing directly to gain from the meeting). I met him in the building he owns (that takes up a city block in midtown Manhattan). He came out to meet me at the elevator and greeted me like I was the most important person in the world. He asked me if I wanted something to drink and instead of asking his assistant to get it, he went and got the water himself. He never took another call or checked his phone during our meeting. He walked me to the elevator after our time together. I left with the best possible impression of this man and his company due to his humility and graciousness.
  62. Experience things and savor time. Live for the moment and not the Facebook update.
  63. Always say please and thank you to anyone doing anything for you.
  64. Sometimes you can either choose to be happy or choose to be right. Always choose to be happy.
  65. Accept that things are exactly the way they are supposed to be at this exact moment. Don’t worry about all of the ‘stuff’ going on in your mind or all the reasons that you think you shouldn’t be happy. Acceptance is always the answer.
  66. Get rid of most of your stuff. Our possessions weigh us down.
  67. Create something new every day.It doesn’t matter if it’s something small or something you think is stupid, just create. Get used to creating.
  68. Recognize that the things you think are bad or terrible often turn out to be great in the long run. Think back in your life and see how this is true.
  69. Shorten the time you spend being p*ssed/angry/rejected/negative/. These feelings are natural but you don’t have to stay stuck in them.
  70. Be okay with feeling good about yourself and being happy. Don’t always wait for the other shoe to drop. Know that you are worthy of happiness.
  71. Don’t plot revenge.
  72. Forgive people.
  73. Don’t let the weather affect your mood too much.
  74. Read at least one book per month.
  75. Connect with two new people each week.
  76. Reconnect with one old friend each month.
  77. Don’t text and walk. Definitely don’t text and drive.
  78. Breathe deeply and pay attention to your breathing at least once per day.
  79. Remember this quote from Albert Einstein, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Choose the latter.
  80. Don’t get mad when someone doesn’t return your call/email/text right away. Patience is a virtue.
  81. Try to exercise at least five times a week (even if it’s only for 10 minutes at a time.)
  82. Drink water. Lots of it.
  83. Get a mentor. Listen to them. (Your first thought is usually wrong.)
  84. Develop spiritual life based on something. Anything.
  85. Don’t judge other people’s spiritual lives (or lack of one.)
  86. Talk to someone under the age of 7 regularly. Learn from their outlook and zest for life.
  87. Same as above with someone over 70.
  88. Get a good nights sleep every night.
  89. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, get up and do something productive (anything).
  90. Do something nice for at least one person each day. Do it anonymously.
  91. Do your own research. Don’t blindly take advice (especially from list like this;)
  92. Try not to judge people before you get to know them.
  93. Learn a new word each day. I just learned what ‘pogonip‘ means.
  94. Don’t expect to always feel happy or peaceful. Bad things do happen in life. But learn to deal with life on life’s terms.
  95. Spend time at the park.
  96. Say I love you to at least one person each day. Make sure it’s someone that you actually love.
  97. Smile more.
  98. Be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to like everything you do. Don’t let it hold you back.
  99. Remember that what other people think of you is None of your business.
  100. Try not to multitask. Concentrate on what you’re doing.
  101. Don’t let anything make you too happy or too sad.
  102. Don’t take yourself or anyone else too seriously.
  103. Just be.

We only have one life, so why not enjoy it?

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