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5 ways to increase your happiness

Illustration of a person looking grateful

Tips & tricks by Nabiha

We all want to feel happy. But sometimes it can feel out of reach. Nabiha gives her five tips for increasing our chances of feeling happiness.

Happiness can come in many forms. Joy, for example, relates to a sense of ecstasy in the present moment, while pride is a feeling of satisfaction in one’s own accomplishment. It can also come at any moment; maybe as the result of a celebration, a new child, graduating, or buying a new house. Happiness is an emotion that is very important for us. Not only does it allow for a sense of satisfaction in our life, which can create further opportunities for growth and enjoyment, but it can help us develop better coping skills and psychological toughness.

Yet, happiness can remain very difficult for us to obtain. And that’s because, for us to truly feel it, we require two things: a higher frequency of positive emotions, and being satisfied by life, whether through relationships, work, or other achievements.

Not all of us will feel we experience both aspects at the same time. We may experience positive emotions, but feel unsatisfied with our life, and vice versa, meaning that, ultimately, we can’t feel truly happy.

So how can we? In this article, I will share with you some ways to increase your chances of feeling happiness.

Pursue inner goals

A lot of us have goals we want to achieve in our lives. They might be related to personal growth, community, self-development, or something else that will ultimately be based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This theory suggests our actions are motivated by any number of five categories: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation as the five stages.

Being unable to pursue these goals can result in frustration, a sense of failure, or depression, while actively pursuing them can help increase our internal happiness. A good first step for pursuing inner goals is by doing research. And, thanks to the digital age we live in, finding ways to better our character can be a fairly simple thing to do.

Reframe negative thinking

Negative thinking leads to all sorts of unpleasant conditions and reframing them with the help of rational explanations can lead to positive ones.

To do this, we need to actively analyse each situation with a holistic and realistic mindset. A good first step is to write down any negative thoughts we are having, and then think about the evidence that they are based on. Often, they aren’t based on any evidence, or less evidence than their positive equivalent would be. It then becomes clear how rational these thoughts actually are.

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Foster meaningful relationships

Having a social circle of supportive people can help to build happiness, especially when we find ourselves faced with adversity. Family and friends can act as guides and as exceptional listeners.

In fact, research has shown that positive social relationships are a key indicator of happiness, and how happy we are in the relationships we have strongly impacts our overall health.

Cultivating current relationships and finding ways to make new friends is a great way to start developing a social circle of support.

Be present and practice gratitude

Living in the moment allows us to appreciate what we have right in front of us and can help us cultivate a sense of gratitude for what we have rather than what we don’t.

Image of person writing in a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to allow us to appreciate what we have in life (Prophsee Journals | Unsplash)

Unfortunately, gratitude can be a concept that many write off as being unimportant. But the evidence for why it can help our mental health is strong. In one study, people who wrote a gratitude blog were found to be experiencing positive emotions, in contrast to those who wrote a blog about their hardships who were found to be experiencing the opposite.

If you want to practise gratitude, starting a gratitude blog or daily gratitude journal can help.

Find your purpose

Research has shown that those of us who live for a known purpose have an overall better well-being, primarily because it gives us direction and something to achieve.

If you’re unsure of your own purpose, a good place to start is to explore your passions, engage in humanitarian causes, and look for new topics or skills to learn.

How to become a happier person

My tips are merely guidance, and it is important to remember that happiness is not a single mission that can be accomplished in one go. It is something that must be nurtured over time and consciously worked towards; something that often involves multiple different aspects of life that need to be addressed to achieve it.

Even so, I hope my tips can help you on your journey to increasing your happiness.


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