17 habits of happy and healthy people: your guide to a longer and healthier life

The pursuit of happiness is, for the vast majority of us, a reality. We pursue the things that we think will grant us happiness, like a job, promotion, or a new car.

While these things do make us happy, it’s only temporary until we set our sights on the next goal and start chasing happiness all over again. There’s even a term for this, “Impact bias,”. People tend to predict their happiness level based on achievements, but that’s just not good enough.

We’ve researched what truly happy people have in common and discovered 17 habits. Take a cue from these insights and begin to live a happy life yourself.

1. They enjoy the moment

At any given time, there are usually at least a few things going on in our lives that require our attention. We’re so focused on solving problems and setting goals for tomorrow that we fail to acknowledge the beauty of today. 

One habit of happy people is that they stop to savor the moment and acknowledge today’s beauty. So please take a moment to revel and bask in the glory of those little unique things that make life worth it.

2. They exercise often

It’s easier to keep your mind happy when your body is happy as well. As little as ten minutes of exercise daily can do the trick. Happy people exercise regularly, which helps reduce stress levels while also improving mental health, cognitive functionality, and improving your mood. 

Start with these 20 super-effective routine workouts at home. 

3. They don’t keep grudges

While everyone experiences interpersonal conflict sometimes, happy people don’t linger on them. Holding on to grudges means holding on to anger and resentment. These cannot coexist with happiness. 

Letting go is paramount for ensuring sustained happiness. By freeing yourself from these negative emotions, you create an environment for positive emotions to thrive.

4. They stay positive/grateful

Happy people don’t dwell on the bad things when they happen; instead, they focus on the good things that have happened as they search for solutions.

They stay positive and grateful for the things they have, and they find the silver lining. Pessimism kills your mood. Optimism, on the other hand, brings hope and is a mood lifter.  

5. They get enough sleep

Just as your phones and gadgets need to recharge, so does your body. Sleep is how your body rejuvenates. Sleep deprivation makes it incredibly hard to function physically and intellectually, and a severe case can even lead to death.

Adequate sleep helps you stay alert, focused, and active. Happy people make adequate sleep a priority in their lives.

6. They have deep conversations

Gossip, small talk, and judging others add nothing to our lives. Happy people focus on conversations with meaning; doing so feels good and builds a stronger emotional connection with people.

We’re happier when we engage in deep conversations; it’s also an exciting way to learn.

7. They help others

Making an effort to help people out makes them happy, and it makes you happy as well. It creates a rush of neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, creating positive feelings.

It doesn’t have to be a grand life-altering gesture; it could simply be paying for a cup of coffee, buying your friend that book she loves, helping out in some small task, or sharing this article. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself while rendering help to others.

8. They have a growth mindset

There are two kinds of mindsets; fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. A fixed mindset believes that people don’t change, while a growth mindset believes that they can.

This is important because if you believe you can’t improve or change anything about your life, your mind becomes an obstacle. If you have a growth mindset, embracing challenges and overcoming problems becomes significantly easier. 

9. They surround themselves with the right people

Emotions are contagious, which means you’re more likely to be happy if you surround yourself with happy people. It’s difficult to smile and laugh in a gathering of furiously negative people.

Happy people are more likely to be supportive and warm to you, making it easier to be happy as well. We derive joy and pleasure from others. Conversely, being around unhappy people will weigh you down and make you sad as well.

10. They focus on what they’re good at

We all have our unique individual strengths and weaknesses; find out your strengths and stick to them. You can’t be great at everything; focusing on your perceived flaws only makes them seem more significant than they are. 

By shifting your focus to the things you’re good at, you can build your confidence and improve your mood.

If your weaknesses are inconsequential, then there’s no point wasting energy on them. 

11. They make time for what they love

Our to-do lists are often filled with essential things we need to do. While completing these crucial tasks is good, we also need to carve out time to do the things we love, the things that bring us comfort.

Be sure to set some time aside for the things that genuinely make you happy. Doing this often will reduce stress levels and maintain your happiness.

12. They focus only on what they can control

Worrying over something that is absolutely out of your control is a quick mood dampener. Happy people only focus on the things that they have the power to influence or change.

If something is out of your hands, then try to focus on what is in your hands. It’s a difficult skill to master, but it’s a healthy ability to have.

13. They make an effort to be happy

Genuine happiness takes effort. No one wakes up happy every single day. Happy people put in the work to stay so. They assess their moods and then make the right decisions.

If you want to be happy, too, you need to be willing to put in conscious effort towards it, and you can start by mirroring the habits on this list.

14. They give freely

Taking the time to support others makes you happy as well.

Helping others makes you happy as well as them. When we do something nice for others, we do it to make them happy.

However, as many studies have shown, when we perform an act of kindness, our brain releases more oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” which causes us to feel happier.

Indeed “Caring about the happiness of others, we find our own.” – Plato.

15. Happy people laugh and form deep connections

Laughter reduces cortisol, the “stress hormone,” enhances our mood, relieves pain, strengthens our immune system, and triggers the production of endorphins, the “feel-good hormone,” according to research.

Laughter is beneficial to your health as well as bringing you back to the present moment. When you laugh, you’re not worried about the past or the future; instead, you’re fully immersed in the current moment’s joy and silliness.

It also enables you to shape, strengthen, and deepen relationships. This is important since true happiness is derived from our human relationships’ depth, not from our riches in money or material possessions.

16. They accept that they are not perfect, but they remain optimistic and strive to make the best of a bad situation

Happy people are aware that bad things happen to everyone. As a result, when bad things happen, they embrace them. They allow themselves to ultimately experiencing disturbing or depressing emotions.

Rather than wallow in self-pity or whine about what might and could have been, happy people think about what they have to be thankful for.

They focus on the lessons learned from setbacks and then try to find solutions to those issues. They tackle life’s challenges with passion and optimism, and it’s because of this, they keep a positive mindset that encourages them to try new things.

17. They focus on what they can manage

When you consider all of the habits mentioned above, you’ll notice that they all contribute to this cornerstone habit of happy people: They concentrate on what they can change.

All of these behaviors are within your control: being thankful, being kind, making time for what you enjoy, staying optimistic, slowing down, exercising, and finding growth.

How to put this habit into practice: It’s simple: always try to concentrate on what you can control in any given situation. Anything else that consumes your time and energy depletes your power. This lifestyle helps in the discovery of more harmony and joy, as well as the development of true mental power.

So, which of these habits do you practice? If you don’t practice any of them, no worries, adopt these habits now, and you too can join the ranks of truly happy people. If you want more time to practice these habits and stay happy for longer, read How to live a long and healthy life (50 science-backed tips)


Jude Uchella is a research writer and a strong advocate for health and fitness. He takes pleasure in helping people live their best life. When he's not writing, he's probably researching the next topic to write about. :)