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How to be happy: 6 tips for a more contented life

Fitness Editor
Dominic is a sports journalist and personal trainer and writes fitness articles for our magazine. He also makes free workout plans for our site.

In the midst of their busy lives, more and more people are trying to figure out how to be happy. But this goal of happiness isn’t as straightforward as it seems, so we’ll shed some light on the subject in our 6 tips for a happier life.

What Does Happiness Mean?

Contentment, satisfaction, and happiness are often used interchangeably. But the three terms don’t mean exactly the same thing. Happiness is usually a short-lived emotion, like the way you feel better when you suddenly find some extra cash or win a competition.

Being content or satisfied, in contrast, are more like internal attitudes towards yourself and the world around you. Satisfaction usually describes your state of being when you’ve reached a specific goal or a wish is fulfilled. If you accept, more generally, everything that happens around you, you are content. Both of these are much more stable states of being than short-term happiness, so they’re more important for your quality of life.

A short-haired, feminine-presenting white person closes their eyes while trying to figure out how to be happy, holding a mug in their left hand.
©Westend61

What Does Your Happiness Depend On?

Many people believe that they’ll be happy as soon as they have the latest and greatest material things, like a big house, designer clothes, or jewelry. But all these things only make us happier in the short term, if at all.

Your long-term happiness is more dependent on intangible good things like work-life balance. Other key factors in decoding how to be happy include contact with other people, following your personal interests, and an occasional bit of stress that takes you out of your comfort zone.

Tip 1: Relationships

Relationships, whether they’re with friends, relatives, or fellow members of your sports team, are important for your happiness in the long term. Other people give you new ideas and different perspectives on things like effective daily routines.

Maybe you’ll meet happy people and think of ways to improve your own life. Regular social interactions mean you’ll also find out when things aren’t going so well for other people. It may sound petty, but these insights do help put your own struggles in perspective so you can learn to appreciate your own life more.

Tip 2: Meeting New Challenges

Challenges are exhausting and often come with stress that makes you feel like giving up. But this stress isn’t necessarily something negative. To a certain extent, stress is actually positive, because it activates your physical and mental abilities.

A new challenge also means learning something new, so you keep growing. In the end, this process also helps you feel happy and satisfied, because you’ve succeeded in meeting a goal.

A short-haired masculine-presenting person wearing black-framed glasses stands in front of a wall with a slight smile, meditating on contentment

Tip 3: A Healthy Body

Wondering how a healthy body makes you happy? It’s simple! With a healthy body, you’re less likely to get sick, you’ll have less pain in your everyday life, be more active overall, and thereby feel more comfortable in your skin.

If you feel good in your body, you’re more balanced, more self-confident, and therefore less likely to get flustered. How do you make your body healthier? With a balanced diet and the right mix of regular exercise, movement, and relaxation, you’ll improve your physical and mental health.

Find out how to eat a healthy and balanced diet in our article on balanced nutrition.

/magazine/balanced-nutrition-why-it-makes-sense">Find out more

Exercise isn’t about working out for hours every day and being constantly on your feet. It’s more important to make sure you regularly signal to your muscles that they’re needed. Walking for just 30-minutes during your lunch break or after work will already serve to relax your mind and stimulate your cardiovascular system.

Strength training such as HIIT, tabata, circuit training, and working out with weights will burn a lot of calories and build up your muscles. Strong muscles also help relieve your joints – alleviating shoulder and back problems.

Our tip: Your muscles can only grow if they get enough protein, which makes our Whey Protein the perfect muscle-building supplement. It’s as tasty as a milkshake, with 24 grams of protein and just 113 calories per serving.

Check out our Whey Protein

A white woman in a black sports bra with her long blonde hair in a ponytail smiles at the camera. She wears fingerless workout gloves and holds a water bottle, while leaning against a large black metal triangular frame of some sort.
©Youngoldman

Tip 4: Self-Actualization

Self-actualization helps you achieve more life satisfaction. It doesn’t matter whether you play a sport, paint, do crafts, or take pictures. The one thing that matters is that you truly love what you’re doing and that you can reach your full potential.

Tip 5: Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most underestimated aspects of happiness. A little bit of gratitude helps us approach life with more positivity and awareness. Gratitude is about learning to pay attention to the little things that make your day better, but you’re often not aware of.

With a good helping of conscious gratitude you can focus on those things and, with time, learn that there are many things to be happy about every day.

Tip 6: Deliberate Choices

As you’ve already seen above, all our tips involve very deliberate choices to reach a state of satisfaction that’s much more constant than feelings of happiness.

Choose which tip you’ll put into action! It’s much the same with happiness itself – you can decide at any time to be satisfied with yourself and your life.

Conclusion

  • Contentment and happiness are not the same thing.
  • Satisfaction is more like an attitude towards life than an emotion.
  • Material objects may make you happy in the short term, but they only have a small influence on long-term satisfaction.
  • Social contacts, new challenges, a healthy body, self-actualization, and gratitude make you really happy in the long run.
  • You can make a conscious decision to be more satisfied.
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