7 Simple Steps You Can Take To Prioritize Happiness In Life (& Become A Happier Person Naturally)

Happiness is attainable!

How To Make Happiness A Priority In Your Life Every Day & Be A Happier Person Naturally by Dalila Dalprat from Pexels

Most believe that happiness is just a feeling you sometimes stumble upon — if you’re one of the lucky ones. But what if it were possible to actually unlock it and have it readily available to you by using specific keys to a happy life?

It turns out there are very specific things you can do to experience more happiness in your life. But before getting into the keys to a happy life, let’s explore what happiness truly is and why it’s so important.


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What is happiness?

Happiness is often thought of as any positive emotion. Words that people will often use to describe being happy include bliss, joy, gratitude, contentment, delight and enjoyment.


Yet these terms aren’t specific enough for happiness researchers because they want something they can measure. Researchers tend to define happiness as “subjective well-being.” And this means that the more satisfied people describe themselves as being along with the amount of positive emotion they experience, the greater their subjective well-being and the greater their happiness.

What this points out is that happiness is about much more than a fleeting or temporary emotion. Happiness is about the experience of more positive than negative emotions and an overall sense of satisfaction with your life.

Why being happy is important

It turns out that there are more benefits to happiness than just a general sense of feeling good.


There is scientific evidence to suggest that being happy may make you healthier.

  • When you’re happy, you’re more likely to have healthier lifestyle habits including a healthier diet, getting regular exercise, even better sleep.
  • Your immune system is stronger so you’re less likely to catch colds. You’re more resilient to stress.
  • Happiness can help lower blood pressure.
  • Happy people tend to live longer.
  • Your perception of pain may be reduced — especially if you have a chronic pain condition like arthritis.

It also suggests that you’ll be more successful across multiple areas of your life besides your health. These areas include marriage, friendship, work performance, community involvement, and mental health.

The same research even shows that happiness precedes many different types of success. In other words, we start to achieve more of our goals and find greater satisfaction in our lives when we’re happy.

What’s interesting is that there isn’t just one way to find happiness. Happiness, just like every other emotion is a personal experience.


Despite its personal nature, you can often recognize happiness in others — just as they can recognize it in you.

The problem is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for happiness. That’s because it is a subjective experience. What makes you happy may not make others happy.

Because we are all unique, what exactly brings you joy will be unique, too. However, there are some similarities.

What are some areas to examine to see if you can dial up your happiness?

Here are seven common steps anyone can take to be happier in life, no matter who you are:

1. Decide you want to be happy

It might sound silly, but sometimes simply deciding you want to be happy and then following that decision up with appropriate action can make you happy. It doesn’t mean that you’re flipping some kind of happiness switch. It does mean that you’re paying attention to your thoughts and attitude.


Happiness is easier to attain when you have a positive attitude and tend to be a glass-half-full person. It’s also easier when you can manage your emotions and thoughts and redirect them toward happiness when appropriate.

When you decide to be happy, you’re taking responsibility for your happiness. You’re not letting someone else have control over whether you’re feeling contentment or happiness, but if they contribute to it, that’s icing on the cake.

Taking this responsibility means you’re going to do what’s necessary to experience more joy in your life. You’ll look for ways to increase the pleasure you experience in each and every day.

2. Expect to be happy

Your perceptions color everything about your experiences. Have you ever noticed that when you expect to have a bad day, you usually do? Well, the same thing happens when you expect to be happy.


Positive expectations can help form your experiences into good ones. Of course, unexpected things can still happen, but when you choose to expect happiness, you'll tend to gravitate toward it.

One of the easiest ways to condition yourself to be happy is to look for joy in each day. It may be just a fleeting glimpse of a cloud that reminds you of a tree or a flower, but when you take the time every day to notice when you have a positive emotion, you’ll start building your expectation of happiness.

3. Be grateful

An attitude of gratitude, practicing appreciation and accepting "what is" can all influence how happy you feel. Research in positive psychology has verified that there is a positive association between being grateful and happy.

Part of focusing on gratitude means that you’re not complaining or focusing on worry without searching for the cause to resolve it.


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Being grateful doesn’t mean that you’re always on the lookout for something amazing to be thankful for. You can be thankful for the little things. You can be grateful for a good stretch, seeing someone you love smile, or even just the feel of the sunlight on your face.


Maybe you need to celebrate that you got the dishes washed or loaded in the dishwasher. Maybe it’s time for a high five with your puppy when they understand what “sit” means. Maybe you deserve to celebrate the prospect of the day when you first open your eyes in the morning.

4. Forgive

Most get forgiveness and condoning poor behavior confused. Forgiveness is about letting go of experiences and choosing to move on. It's not about condoning or approving of poor behavior in any way.

When you can forgive shame, guilt, anger, resentment and any trauma you experienced, you tend to feel lighter and happier. Shame, guilt, anger, resentment and trauma weigh you down and keep you from being your best.

When you can accept and forgive yourself and others for imperfection, you can be more present. And when you’re able to focus on the present moment, it’s easier to find the joy inherent in it.


5. Be connected

Feeling connected is empowering. And there are all kinds of ways to feel connected.

You can feel connected to yourself, to others and even to the ineffable life force that flows through us all. Some call this sense of connection "love."

You also can feel connected to your purpose and passion. You may feel a great sense of contentment when you’re connected to your passion and purpose in life.

You can achieve connectedness by increasing your self-awareness, practicing self-care, meditating, spending more time in nature, and contributing to the world in some way.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” Happiness can be found through actively choosing to connect.


6. Be yourself

It’s nearly impossible to be happy when you don’t allow yourself to be who you truly are. When you try to mold yourself into who someone else wants you to be, or who you think you should be you’re disrespecting yourself.

And it’s pretty hard to be happy when you’re disrespecting yourself and pretending to be someone you’re not.

When you truly embrace your imperfections and unique perspective, you become confident. Confidence then allows you to more fully explore your world and place in it. And the exploration allows you to expand your limits.


Think of it as a confidence-happiness cycle. As you get to know yourself, you feel more confident and experience more contentment.

7. Share your happiness

Have you ever noticed that it tends to be easier to match someone’s emotions instead of bringing joy with you? But what if you do choose to share your happiness — even with a smile?

Doesn’t that make you happier, too?

Sharing your happiness is one fairly easy way to expand your happiness and that of those you encounter. You can share it through a great story, a hug, a kind word, or even a smile.

These seven paths to finding happiness are just the beginning. You may find your keys to a happy life within this list or just be inspired to search in another direction. Finding happiness requires action and you won’t find your sustained sense of wellbeing without taking action.


What if it doesn’t work?

However, finding happiness isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have challenges that we need support to overcome. Sometimes that support and encouragement can come from family, friends or a life coach.

But if you find that you have difficulty finding or sustaining happiness no matter what you do, it might be a good idea to talk with a therapist. Therapists are trained to help people find the support they need to begin finding their keys to a happy life.

The good thing is that you have the capacity to experience happiness as more than just a fleeting emotion. You just need to find your unique keys to unlocking your wellbeing and contentment.


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Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach who helps people decide for themselves how they will survive infidelity. You can learn more about Karen and her work on her website.