Make happiness a priority with these three strategies

Parents giving their kids piggybacks, waist up, close up

Happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis, according to research compiled by Happify. While it varies from person to person, approximately 40 percent of happiness is controlled by your thoughts, actions and behaviors, meaning we are largely in control of our own happiness.

For most people, happiness is something we have to work at. It’s easy to dwell on the negative things around us or in our own lives, but part of being happier is recognizing that hardships and working through them are a part of life. At the core, happiness requires investment on your part – it’s imperative to take an active role in being happier.

Here are a few simple ways you can increase your happiness.

Focus on the good.

Concentrating on the good things in your life is an easy way to increase your happiness. Think about past experiences, future goals or plans and savor the moment you’re in. Dr. Fred Bryant, a professor at Loyola University Chicago, coined the term “savoring, ” in his research. He illustrated how people who regularly savor the moment are happier. This can be as simple as counting the times you smile or laugh in any given day. It might surprise you how quickly these moments add up throughout the day!

Find gratitude and optimism.

The practice of gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 percent, according to one study. Being thankful makes us recognize the kindness of the people around us. Thanks to genetics, some people do tend to be more optimistic than others, but did you know, the act of thinking about your future in a more positive light will lead to greater happiness? If you believe your goals are within reach, you’re more likely to reach them. Feeling hopeful and thankful are powerful contributors to your overall happiness.

Practice happiness.

There are a number of activities and simple exercises you can practice each day to increase your happiness instantly and over time. Start with a simple practice, like journaling. Digitally or by hand, think back on three things that make you happy each day. If you need some inspiration, check out The Five Minute Journal, which asks “What could I have done better today?” This simple question can push you to take a deeper look at how you can improve your own happiness. Giving back or to others can help solidify your own personal happiness too. The act of giving a loved one a gift or spending time doing community service in your neighborhood makes us feel more connected to the world around us and strengthens our relationships and bonds.

Throughout life we will have moments of higher levels of stress and lower levels of happiness; the key to being a happier person is realizing that positive feelings will ebb and flow and turning to your happiness toolbox for help. Happiness is based on a number of factors, some we are in control of and others that are circumstantial. But if you prioritize the practice of happiness, you will inevitably experience happiness. For added peace of mind, give this blog post a read.



“What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.”

Listen in as psychiatrist Robert Waldinger shares three lessons learned from the study and gives advice on how to be happier. 


The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.

For more on the power of positivity, particularly as it relates to your work life, consider Shawn Achor’s book. 


The benefits of giving back are two-fold: to whom you’re giving and yourself. If you’re in need of inspiration and would like to spend more time in your community, find an organization or charity near you. 



An online destination that combines cutting-edge science and innovative technology to empower individuals to live happier, more fulfilling lives. There are a number of simple happiness exercises readily available to you. 


Tara Brach From thought provoking podcasts to meditation inspirations, Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices to make you mindful of your own happiness and what you can do to improve. 

Author: Stephanie Sample

August 8, 2017