10 Practical Ways to Live a Happier Life Today

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

Living a happier life often seems to be about living your big dreams and putting in a lot of work over a long time.

I agree that it is one part. But another part of happiness is here in small ways today.

So in this article I'll share ten small tweaks I like making to find more happiness in my daily life. I hope you'll find something here that you can use today to make your life better too.

  1. Be kind in small ways. Let someone in into your lane while driving your car. Hold up the door or hold the elevator for a stranger. Not just because that you tend to get back what you give in some form. But for yourself too, these little things add up and make you feel better about yourself.
  2. Be appreciative of other people. Replace the habit of spotting the things that annoy you about people with one where you make small or big positive observations about them. It could be their great sense of style when it comes to shoes, how they always make you laugh when you need it or simply that they are always on time. Be sure to tell them that.
  3. Cut back on the time you spend with most negative person in your life. And spend more time with the most positive person(s).
  4. Cut out or cut down on the most negative media influence in your life. It could be the news on TV, the newspaper, some magazine or type of music, type of books or blogs or websites. Replace that time and find new energy and inspiration from one or more positive sources like inspiring movies and books. Or uplifting music and people.
  5. Be 5 or 10 minutes early. This will make travel time a time of relaxation and renewal rather than a time of stress and negativity added to your day. Plus, you’ll be on time.
  6. Do what is not “you”. Try a new dish for lunch. Read a book or watch a movie that is not in your usual genre. Learn a little about a topic that is not something you are usually into. This is a great and fun way to find new perspectives in life, to grow and to expand your comfort zone just a little on a daily or weekly basis. Cultivating this habit also makes it easier to get out of your comfort zone when larger and “scarier” opportunities present themselves.
  7. Let go of one thing from your past. Clinging on to an old conflict, argument or that you were wronged by someone can consume a lot of time, energy and space in your life. It can also be oddly comforting since you are so used to it. But life happens right now, day by day. And as Jan Glidewell once said:
    “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”
    So to stop hurting yourself you have to accept that what is in your mind is in the past now. By accepting that it is in the past but also in there inside of you as a memory you can start to decrease the hold this memory has over you. By accepting that is there and that you need to let go to live your life fully now that memory will lose much of its power. And you can let go.
  8. Take the smarter and higher road. Don’t be someone the people can walk all over, set boundaries and say no when needed. But recognize that unnecessary conflicts just waste your time and energy. And that some people are so addicted to the drama and conflicts that you will never win or reach an understanding between the two of you. There are more fun and good things to spend time on in your life. So try to reach an understanding. But if it doesn’t work then remove yourself from getting drawn into their conflicts and make the day better for both you and possibly them.
  9. Be kind to yourself. The next time you make a mistake or fail don’t treat yourself like a jerk of a boss would. Instead, be kind, see what you can learn from what happened, gently nudge yourself in the right direction again and keep going.
  10. Appreciate yourself. It’s OK and something that a lot of people don’t do enough. Spend 5 minutes tonight with thinking about or writing down in journal the things you can appreciate about yourself and how far you have come. Do this enough times – try 30 days – to change  how you view yourself on a more permanent level.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Subscribe to The Positivity Newsletter and get weekly tips on happiness, self-esteem and plenty more.

You’ll also get three free guides on how to stop being lazy, what to do when life sucks and 21 things I wish they’d taught me in school.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • This article is great, thank you for sharing it. Much appreciated! :D Living a happier life should be everyones goal, if everyone was happy with life and themselves the world would be a different place!


  • Jesse

    I have really enjoyed this post and blog. I just found it today and it is just what I needed. I have trouble letting go of the past and I believe it is starting to affect me and my life more than I realize. I have been dating a girl for over a year and I really love her but6 I have trouble letting go of my past and also I think constantly about her past and who she has been with, I have told her about this but I still have these negative thoughts each an everyday. How can I learn to stop this potentially devestating behavior??? Thanks

  • Very good thought, thank you Jaky! :)

  • Hi Henrik – all of your suggestions are great however letting go of the past is big for me, and avoiding negativity. I live with a challenge from the past, that keeps on coming back, and niggling me. That is one of the reasons I started my blog to be honest as it’s helped me learn from it and share it. There are so many people who battle this way. Once you learn to let go, and remind yourself, life becomes so much easier.

    thanks so much.


  • No. 6 reminds me on one of the Seinfeld episodes when George did everything exactly opposite of what he would usually do and it worked great. Well, same results are over here.
    I gave it a try as something to move out from comfort zone (one of previous post) and it really opened some new opportunities for me. But i still need some practice on procrastination (nobody is perfect)

  • Astrojunkie

    #9 is crucial
    The most important relationship you can have is the one with SELF…not to mention the wisdom you gain by learning from your “mistakes”

    This is coming from a once enlightened buddhist. I strayed from my path but am now making conscientious choices to continue my mission…starting with this awesome blog
    Hello light bringers :)

  • Praj

    hey Henrik,
    Great post! Really small things in life sure add up to many big joys of life…but we as human beings count so less on them and keep on looking forward to big number games…
    thnx for sharing such wonderful thoughts…keep writing…we all need a bit of positive dose each day :))

  • Hello Henrik,

    Thanks for sharing ways to live happier life.
    1 of my tip is happy everytime in restroom ^^..

    SallyBeam | SelfHelpFriend

  • Basant Chana

    You forgot one VERY important thing. Smile whenever you get the chance! A simple smile actually makes the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE!!

    Try it RIGHT now, and you will notice that you will instantaneously feel a bit happier!! A simple smile is all it takes to gain some happiness (:

  • It’s funny how the smallest these things are can really make you a happier person. Thanks for sharing Henrik!