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How to Stay Happy — 9 Habits to Find Your Joy During Tough Times

Posted by Insightlink on 04/27/23

Are you stuck in a rut? Life can be challenging at times, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be happy. With the right mindset and a few habits, you can find your joy — even in the toughest times. If you follow these 9 simple tips, you have a better chance of staying happy even when life gets you down. 

When life's challenges appear, many think our happiness depends on whatever external event we are hoping for. It's a belief that "When X happens, I'll finally be happy." While it's true that external circumstances can bring us joy, this kind of happiness is often fleeting. Research suggests that happiness is synthetic — it's derived from a conscious choice to create it. However, this isn't something that happens overnight but rather as a result of habits we practice daily.
happy sunflowers
Supremely happy people have cultivated certain habits that help them stay happy even in difficult times. You can adopt these habits, too, and see their positive impact on your mood. When you do, you’ll be able to find your joy, no matter what life throws your way!

9 Habits to Help You Stay Happy When Times Are Tough

Staying joyful and finding happiness in all situations, good and bad, doesn’t come easy for most people. However, just like any other skill, there are things we can do to help improve our mood and, more importantly, not let our happiness depend upon what’s going on around us.
Here are 9 habits that happy people use to find their joy and stay happy during the toughest of times.
Habit # 1: Happy People Focus on the Positives
The human brain has a "negativity bias," meaning it's hard-wired to overreact to intense negative stimuli more than positive ones. If you tend to focus on the negatives, it can be difficult to feel and stay happy.
To counter this bias, people who stay happy have a knack for seeing the silver lining in challenging situations and try to focus on the positives. Of course, shifting a negative bias toward the positive requires effort. Try using positive affirmations to reframe your thoughts and help you look for the good in challenging circumstances.
Habit # 2: Happy People Have a Growth Mindset
Typically, our core attitudes are divided into two categories — fixed and growth mindsets. Those with a fixed mindset believe they are who they are and cannot change, which leads to hopelessness when faced with anything beyond their current capabilities.
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe they can learn and improve, even during difficult times. This focus gives them the confidence to tackle whatever challenges come their way. They are also more likely to be happier because they are better able to handle difficulties. Plus, they outperform those with a fixed mindset since they believe in the power of learning. 
Habit # 3: Happy People are Mindful and Present
The mental noise created by constantly worrying or ruminating on the past can significantly impede feeling and staying happy. To combat this, people who remain happy are mindful and present in the moment. This means they take time to "check in" with themselves and observe their emotions without judgment. They also strive to maintain an awareness of the present moment rather than letting their thoughts wander to the past or future. This approach helps them stay grounded and mindful of what is truly important in life.
Habit # 4: Happy People Count Their Blessings
Being grateful is another key characteristic of happy people. They regard all of their experiences, both good and bad, as gifts that have helped them grow and flourish. They recognize the importance of developing a deep appreciation for what they have rather than simply taking it for granted.
They also cultivate an attitude of thankfulness towards all the people, experiences, and events in their life, which helps them stay content even during tough times. You can also cultivate gratitude by writing down three things you are thankful for daily.
Habit # 5: Happy People Value Relationships
A 2008 research from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego found that being surrounded by happy people will make you happy too. Having great people in your life makes you less lonely and sad. You're also more likely to feel better about yourself and take good care of yourself.
People who stay happy, therefore, make it a point to value their relationships with others by hanging out with those who are positive and uplifting. They understand that having a solid support system is essential for their happiness.
Habit # 6: Happy People Help Others
Giving was the most commonly practiced habit amongst 5,000 happy people that participated in a survey by the British charity, Action for Happiness. Not only is helping others good for the soul, but it also increases your feelings of joy, purpose, and connection. Providing social support to others is also linked to a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain — all of which help create good feelings.
Another study conducted by Harvard highlighted that employees who engaged in helping others were ten times more focused at work and 40% more likely to get promoted. Try performing random acts of kindness, volunteering in your community, or starting a mentorship relationship to experience the joy that comes with helping others.
Habit # 7: Happy People Live in the Moment
Those people you see laughing all the time, smiling, and having the time of their life are usually the ones who live in the present moment. They have a knack for savoring and appreciating the small blessings, even in the most mundane situations.
Instead of being fixated on the past or worrying about the future, they focus on what makes them feel alive and fulfilled in the here and now. They recognize that dwelling on regrets or things they can't change only impedes their progress and makes them unhappy. To be in the moment, practice mindfulness and bring awareness to your body, thoughts, emotions, and environment.
Habit # 8: Happy People See Good in Others
It is natural to be wary of people and have a hard time trusting others due to bad experiences from the past. But this is something supremely happy people are not tied to. Rather than finding fault in others, they try to look for the good. They believe in a person's potential and strive to bring that out of them.
Even in weakness, happy people always find some qualities worth appreciating about someone. They habitually look at the bright side and extend that optimism to others.
Habit # 9: Happy People Don't Complain All the Time
It is human nature to sometimes feel frustrated and want to complain. But happy people don't indulge in this very often. Instead of letting negativity and cynicism dominate their personality, they try to stay positive.
Negative comments about themselves or others tear down their confidence and dampen their spirit. And to avoid being fixated on what's wrong, they focus more on what is going right. They understand that complaining rarely makes them feel better and doesn't help to bring change. Thus, they actively try to avoid complaining and focus on what is working in their lives.

Happy People Make an Effort to be Happy

No one is always happy, and sometimes life can be really hard. Even supremely happy people have their dark days, but they don't let them overwhelm them. They know how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get back on the “happiness horse.”
This group of optimistic people separates their inner joy from external happiness. They don't expect to be happy all the time. Still, they try to actively increase their feelings by evaluating their moods and making decisions with their happiness in mind. They also actively strive to ensure they're on the right path to feeling good, even during the most difficult times. Happiness can be difficult to maintain, even in the best of times. However, by practicing healthy habits and making conscious choices, you can stay upbeat and optimistic and bring positivity into your life.


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