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7 Happy Habits to Build a Better Life

Would you like to wake up every day feeling happy?  Of course you would! That’s kind of a ridiculous question, I know. Everyone wants to wake up in a good mood, feeling content and fulfilled. With just seven happy habits, you can boost your happiness on a daily basis.

Many people consider happiness to be the ultimate goal in life

Research has shown that happiness makes us more productive, healthier, kinder, and can help us achieve our goals and improve the lives of others.  Small wonder we want more of it!

We know happiness when we experience it, and yet it can be really hard to quantify.

That’s because people experience it in different ways – and the amount of happiness an individual experiences even impacts how they define it!

Read about Mental self-care for women Over 50

woman running on beach with balloons, 7 simple steps to boost your happiness

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Happiness – So Simple, So Complex 

People who tend to feel happier also seem to understand that a great deal of happiness is within their control.

Less happy people assume that happiness is predetermined by their genetics or created through their life circumstances.  That they can’t do anything about their own emotional state. 

The happier people are right.

Every one of us has a great deal of control over our own happiness.

Some researchers have shown we can generate around 40% of the happiness we experience.  That’s a lot!

The truth is that genetics and circumstance do have an impact on our happiness, but there is a third factor – our intentions – that is completely within our control.

If we choose to place ourselves in positive situations, seek out positive experiences, and even interpret negative experiences in positive ways, we will be happier.

How do we learn to create our own happiness? 

There are dozens of ways to influence our happiness, such as through relationships, habits, gratitude, work/life balance, mindfulness, and confidence-building – just to name a few. 

You can’t just become confident overnight, or make a best friend in an hour.

What if you are looking to boost your happiness RIGHT NOW?

Here are seven easy – really easy – happy habits you can take starting today to increase your happiness. 

At first glance, you’ll see that they are all pretty ordinary activities you should be doing for your physical health – no big surprises here. Except that the same activities are a huge factor in your mental and emotional health, as well.

If you are committed to boosting your happiness, start with these seven steps to build that framework of contentment.

Once that kicks in, then move on to the more complex factors that influence your happiness, and build on what you’ve started here.

Seven Happy Habits for a Better Life

Let’s take a closer look at these seven steps to see how they affect happiness:

  • get a good night’s sleep
  • improve your diet
  • get some exercise
  • spend some time in the sunshine
  • stop and smell the flowers
  • soothe your soul with music
  • practice meditation
7 simple steps to boost your happiness infographic with happy habits

Step One:  Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep and mood are closely connected; lack of sleep (or poor quality sleep) can cause irritability and stress.

Healthy amounts of sleep can enhance your well-being

A recent Gallup Poll showed that people who get adequate sleep are more likely to rate their lives as happier and other studies have found that sleep quality was the single most influential factor in rating daily mood. 

Sleep isn’t a luxury – your happiness depends on it!

“Happiness consists of getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.”

Robert A. Heinlein

Step Two:  Improve Your Diet

Food is directly linked to three areas of brain function that impact happiness: your capacity to focus,  plan, and remember; emotional balance; and energy regulation. 

Healthy foods have the ability to improve your brain health, boost your mood, and increase your focus.  Increased fruit and vegetable consumption, in particular, has been shown to improve happiness and overall life satisfaction. 

Skip the sugar, eat a balanced diet – and improve your mood!

blonde woman feeling happy as she eats a healthy salad, happy habits

Step Three:  Get Some Exercise

Once you saw steps one and two, you probably could have guessed that exercise would be third. 

Exercise increases happiness in so many ways

  • it relieves anxiety,
  • creates a sense of control,
  • boosts self-confidence,
  • provides a sense of accomplishment, and
  • improves physical performance. 

When you exercise, feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins are released in the brain,  blood pressure lowers, the mind is stimulated, and it removes you from your normal daily environment and routine. 

Some studies have shown that exercise can be more effective than anti-depressants.

If you don’t already have an exercise routine, start with a 15-minute walk outdoors, and build from there.

“Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.”

Unknown Author

Step Four:  Spend Some Time in the Sunshine

Natural sunlight elevates mood, improves sleep, increases energy and vitality, and strengthens our immune systems.  Your body produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, which helps improve overall health and fights disease. 

Sunlight decreases anxiety and feelings of depression.

A few minutes of sunlight each day are all you need to reap the benefits but consult with your medical professional first for advice regarding sun exposure and skin care.

Step Five:  Stop and Smell the Flowers

Pausing to appreciate the little things in life increases your happiness. Fragrance does, too! 

In fact, in one study test subjects exposed to floral scents reported being three times as happy as those who were exposed to a more neutral odor.

Even though our sense of smell often seems to take a back seat to the other senses, a whopping 75% of our emotions are triggered by smells.  Just envision the familiar scent of crayons – 85% of people report being transported to memories of childhood from the smell alone. I know I do!

Which fragrances are most effective at stimulating a feeling of joy?

  • Vanilla
  • Citrus (especially grapefruit)
  • Florals (especially lavender and jasmine)
  • Peppermint

Essential oils and candles can offer fragrance, but for the best boost, bring real flowers into your home each week.

older woman smelling a bouquet of wildflowers, fast way to feel happier, happy habits

Step Six:  Soothe Your Soul With Music

Music can certainly be a source of entertainment, but this art form is proven to have many health and mental benefits as well. 

Music is commonly used for pain management and stress reduction. 

It creates positive energy, enthusiasm, and increased productivity, and particular songs are often linked with positive memories. 

Whether with lyrics or strictly instrumental, music has a dramatic impact on mood.

Listen to music you enjoy as often as possible throughout the day.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”


Step Seven:  Practice Meditation

Would you be shocked to hear that meditation may be the most powerful step on this list?

If you are thinking you’re just not the meditating type, you may just change your mind when you consider the incredible effects that it can have on a person. 


  • soothes the nervous system,
  • increases oxygen flow,
  • improves focus,
  • increases confidence,
  • deepens understanding of your thoughts and motivations,
  • builds self-worth,
  • relieves anxiety, and
  • improves coping mechanisms. 

Meditation improves sleep, lessens mood swings, reduces fearfulness, and cultivates pleasure and joy. 

Can Meditation Make You Happier? Yes, it certainly can.

Consistency is the key to gaining the benefits of meditation, but the good news is, you only need to meditate a few minutes a day. 

I highly (and I mean highly!) recommend the Headspace phone app. (check out the FREE trial)

Read More About Happiness:

Final Thoughts on 7 Happy Habits to Build a Better Life

Sometimes, simple is better.

These seven easy steps, when followed consistently, will go a long way to reinforcing a positive outlook on life.

But don’t take my word for it – try these happy habits for yourself and see how happy you can be!

Heart made of daisies in the grass, steps to boost your happiness

18 thoughts on “7 Happy Habits to Build a Better Life”

  1. The tips that you gave a great. I already use some of them in my everyday life. You blog has great information for people to take away and digest.

    1. Andrea, thank you so much for your nice comments and for reading! I appreciate it and I’m glad you enjoyed the information. Cheers!

    1. Thank you Shelly! I hope you enjoy the challenge, it is fun! And I couldn’t agree more – diet (in terms of what you eat, not in terms of “dieting”) does play a huge role. I appreciate you reading and commenting – have a wonderful weekend!

  2. It is amazing to me how just being outside for 30 minutes can have such a huge impact on my peace of mind! Great tips.

    1. Sunlight, fresh air, being surrounded by nature – absolutely, these things have such a tremendous impact! Thank you for reading and commenting, Lynnette!

  3. Love the meditation suggestion! I’ve been wanting to get into meditation but just haven’t committed to it yet. I will try out the Headspace app! Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Thanks for reading, Delaney! Yes, Headspace is amazing. I also have a post on meditation for beginners, with some not-so-average tips that really got me on my way. I encourage you to check it out! Have a great weekend!

  4. Great reminder of what you can do to boost your mood. I find the most important thing is to consciously do things that make you feel better. Sometimes we have to work at being happy. Scents are an important part of my regime. I, too, love to wear perfume every day and always light some great smelling candles when I am home. They definitely have a positive impact on my mood. Good tips, thank you.

    1. Loretta, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to this post. I am glad it resonated with you. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Great tips! I love listening to music to lift my mood. 🙂 I think a great thing to add would be to practice gratitude! It truly helps you to focus on the positive.

    1. Thanks for reading Kathleen! Yes, music is a wonder, isn’t it? Practicing gratitude would be a great addition to the list! I’ve written about gratitude in other posts, now I will have to edit here to build it in. Thanks!!!!

  6. Great suggestions here, Lori! For me, getting out in the sunshine is the quickest way to lift my spirits. That, digging in the garden, or cooking up a flavorful wonderful smelling recipe – anything that helps heighten the senses seems to do the trick! Thanks for sharing this post.
    My Best Friend Adeline

    1. Ah, sunshine…absolutely! My husband often tells me I’m like a lizard on a rock, the way I stretch out and soak it in! I love gardening too – but boy am I sick of cooking!!! Not my thing! I’m glad you enjoy it, and you are so right about having things heighten the senses. Enjoy your day and thank you for reading!

  7. Great tips Lori:)I know that for me fragrances and music are immediately lift my spirit, which is why I start my working day with music and a scented candle:) meditation is something I struggle with still (keeping my mind from rushing to a million directions) Yoga is how I connect with it best. I need to work on that. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas. Stay happy and well!

    1. I love scented candles, too – so uplifting. I have gotten much deeper into my meditation practice in the past few months, and I find it really works well for me. I’ve got a post coming up soon focused on beginner tips! Yoga is so soothing, as well. I’m looking forward to post-COVID-19 days when I can go back to my favorite class, held outdoors on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean! Take care!

  8. Lovely ideas! The point about scents is so true: I like to wear perfume every day because it just makes me happy/happier xx

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