A box with 2 smiling faces.

35 secrets to live a happy life: Backed by science

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions”

Dalai Lama XIV

Who doesn’t wish to be happy? Regardless of age, gender, wealth and occupation, we all seek happiness. Happiness is the ultimate reason for our activities. No one wishes to live a life of regret.

I’ve often heard people say that “If I achieve this_______, then I will be happy.”

To be honest, there is no secret to achieving happiness. The path to achieving happiness is easy and anyone can achieve happiness. The ways to achieve and experience happiness are very basic.

However, many people don’t know how to achieve and experience happiness in life. 

This article talks about the various ways in which you can achieve happiness. Remember, happiness is not a destination, it is a journey. A journey to be cherished and enjoyed.

Science backed ways to Achieve Happiness

1. Accept your mistakes

A photo of a blackboard with wrong calculations.

“To err is human.” There is no shame in making mistakes. People should not be afraid to commit mistakes since mistakes lay the road for success. Owning up to your mistakes and accepting the consequences will make you go further than not trying. 

One of the best ways to experience happiness is to take responsibility for your mistakes and not stress about them.

2. Acknowledge failure

A man wearing a black suit and showing his thumb.

Everyone fails at some or the other point in their lives. Failure is something that everyone should experience since it gives you the strength and motivation to work harder the next time. People rarely succeed in their first attempt. 

To achieve happiness, one must learn to acknowledge the failure, learn from the mistakes and move ahead.

3. Love yourself

A photo with a lamp and a notepad with happiness written on it.

The road to happiness starts from self-love. One must love themselves as they are, without worrying about finances, skin color, body shape, etc.

If you are happy from within, then only are you truly happy.

4. Practice Gratitude

A photo of a thank you note kept on table.

People should be thankful for what they have. Learning to express gratitude for what you have in your life: possessions, family, friends, etc. can truly make you happy.

If you learn to acknowledge whatever you have, be it good or bad, then you can be happy.

Learn to appreciate your surroundings, your life, your possessions, and your connections.

5. Don’t take Stress

A white page with "stress" written on it in red ink.

One of the most common reasons why people say they are unhappy is because they experience stress. Stress is a choice. People can avoid it to a certain extent by not taking too-much work responsibility, staying away from toxic relationships and avoiding unnecessary conversations.

Know more about Stress Management Techniques.

6. Spend time with family

A photo of a family holding each other's hands.

Most of the time, whatever we do, we do it for our family. However, in this busy world, we somehow forget to spend time with our families.

All our lives have a purpose and that purpose is some or the other way related to our families. Hence, spending time with families can truly make us happy.

If you are super busy with work, then cut off your TV time and sleep hours to spend time with your family. Spending time with family can reduce your stress and make you happy.

7. Plan your day

A to-do list.

Spend some time daily on organizing your stuff and planning your day. Planning your day ahead can help you save time and reduce some of the stress which you might experience due to improper time management.

8. Do charity and social service

A happy monk distributing food to poor children.

Doing charity and spending time in doing social service can make you happy.

Charity and social service stimulate areas of the brain which are associated with pleasure and trust. Helping other people can make you happy.

Indulging in charity will also increase your feel-good hormone and you will feel happy about your deeds.

9. Meditate and exercise

A man meditating under a tree during day time.

Maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit is the key to achieving happiness. Meditating and exercising on a regular basis can help you in maintaining your Physical, Mental and Emotional health.

When a person has good health, then they are less likely to fall sick and therefore have higher chances of being happy.

You can learn to meditate from the Effective guide to Meditation.

10. Stop complaining

An angry man shouting while talking on a phone.

People these days complain about almost everything. Instead of complaining, people should get to work and focus on solving those loopholes.

There is no sense in again and again repeating the same problems. One must try to solve those complaints to make the world a better place.

A better world will mean a happier world for everyone.

11. Live in present, plan for the future

A photo of a rock with "Future" written on it.

A lot of times we tend to live in the past. People tend to stick to their past mistakes and failures and this stops them from being happy and enjoying the present.

The key to happiness is to be in the present, enjoying and cherishing whatever you have and planning for the future. Let go of the past, act in present and create your future to achieve happiness.

12. Find happiness in others happiness

A photo of a happy couple browsing the internet.

One of the best ways to be happy is to be happy for other people’s achievements and happiness.

Instead of feeling jealous and competitive, one must be happy about other people’s happiness and take motivation from them to achieve happiness themselves.

Jealousy breeds discontent and unhappiness. Avoid it at all costs.

13. Be with happy people

A group of happy people standing in a circle.

Stay away from negative and demotivating people at all costs. Be happy and try to be a part of a group where most of the people have a positive outlook about life.

While it might sound tempting to help people suffering from negativity and demotivation, it is better that you recommend some professional help instead of helping them yourself.

Being with happy people will make you happy.

14. Share things with people.

2 boys sitting on a park bench and sharing their candies with each other happily.

Sharing your possessions and expressing your feelings and emotions with people close to you can make you happy.

When other people feel that they are important to you, then they will return the favor to you as well.

This mutual act of sharing and being expressive will make you and others happy. A general act of appreciation can make someone’s day and make them happy.

15. Help others

A man helping a senior citizen pass through forest.

Helping others or volunteering for an organization can make you feel good and happy about yourself. People experience helper’s high when they help other people. When you help others, you might be up for the same favor. Knowing this can make you happy.

Also, doing a good deed will, in general, make people happy and therefore make the world a happier and better place.

16. Focus on the good things

A photo of a man posing at the beach during sunset.

The world is full of good and negative things. Focusing on the good things and working towards the betterment of the negative aspects can make others happy and in turn, we can be happy.

We all know that the world is riddled with several negative aspects. Instead of complaining, we should get to work and remove those negativities. 

17. Follow a hobby

A man learning to play a guitar.

Fun diversions from day-today life can make you happy. Taking some time off every day for hobbies can lighten your mood, reduce stress and make you happy.

Allocating some time regularly towards hobbies can help you: reduce stress, make connections and get happier.

18. Be a minimalist

A photo of a white table and chair with some table plants.

Practice minimalism. Limit your number of possessions, reduce your consumerism instincts and practice gratitude.

You should remember that minimalism doesn’t require you to write off material possessions from your life, it just means that you need to reduce their use.

Your life should be driven by purpose and not by possessions.

19. Spend time in nature

A man trekking in nature.

We all suffer from “nature deficit disorder”, i.e. lack of nature time in our day to day lives. We are getting so busy these days that we hardly think about spending time in nature.

Spending time in nature can help us reduce stress, improve mental health and make us happy.

20. Digital Detox

A book in a garden with a fallen leaf on it.

Excessive use of social media can lead to unhappiness, anxiety, and depression. Taking time off from not only social media, but all forms of technology will reset your senses, make you more active and happy. Everyone should practice digital detox on a weekly basis.

To begin with, you can stay away from social media and technology (mobile phones, TV, computer, etc.) for a couple of hours on weekends.

You can utilize that time to interact with friends and family, play sports, follow a hobby and even meditate and exercise.

21. Don’t run after the money

A 1 dollar note kept in a cage.

People who are always after money are the ones likely to be most unhappy amongst all the people.

We tend to think that money is the answer to all problems and that having money can make us happy. This is a very big misconception since there is no limit to earning money and rich people face one of the highest levels of depression.

One must have other goals in life to be happy and not just run after money.

22. Have a back-up plan

A women in a white suit pondering over her plans.

Several times things don’t turn out to be the way we want them. This can make us unhappy because of the wastage of all the efforts which have gone into the process.

Having a back-up plan can be helpful since you’ll know that if something doesn’t work out, you have other options to fall back to.

However, one must put all the effort into whatever they are doing and not save the energy for the backup plan since this can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

23. Maintain Work-Life Balance

4 members of a family walking in a park.

Working too much and getting burned out at the workplace can make you unhappy.
You must maintain a work-life balance to increase happiness and satisfaction with life in general.

24. Be Imperfect

An imperfect wall painting.

Trying to be perfect in everything can make you severely burdened. Being perfect means always staying on the toes and being alert to ensure that nothing goes side-ways and no error occurs from your part.

This can keep you preoccupied and worried about the work and in that process take away your happiness.

Being imperfect is fine to the extent that you don’t commit serious mistakes and errors. It is better to be imperfect and happy than to be perfect and always worried

25. Keep a track of your expenses

A calculator and a pen kept over a budget paper.

Spending too much, falling in the hands of consumerism and maxing out credit cards can cause anxiety amongst people. 

One must control their expenses and keep their demands in check to lead a happy life. Most of the time, people buy things to impress other people.

If you wish to lead a happy life, then control your expenses, and buy only those things which make you truly happy.

Don’t try to impress others with your possessions.

26. Have a not-to-do list

A not-to-do checklist.

All of us at some point in our lives use a To-do list to keep track of our pending work.

On similar lines, we must have a not-to-do list to keep track of things that we are not supposed to do. Having a not-to-do list will help you in saving lots of time which otherwise is spent on non-productive and harmful activities.

A no to-do list can also be helpful in keeping out toxic activities and people out of your lives.

This list can make you productive, save you from negative factors and eventually make you happy by ruling out several negative things from life.

27. Be resilient to setbacks

An erect pole covered in snow.

Set-backs can be bad. They can lead to demotivation and depression. Building resilience to such setbacks and considering them as just another phase of life can make you stronger and immune to setbacks and prevent you from getting demotivated, depressed and unhappy.

28. Make a To-do list

A to-do list with a pen kept on table.

Keeping a to-do list along with a not-to-do list can make you focus on your work, improve your productivity and prevent distractions from life.

Seeing that you’re getting work done without any distractions can make you happy.

You should have a daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list to keep track of all your work.

29. Eat healthy food

4 lunch boxes filled with healthy food kept on a table.

There is an interrelationship between being healthy and being happy. Being healthy makes us happy and being happy makes us healthy,

While happiness depends on several other factors, what we can do is be healthy and add to our happiness. Eating in moderation, avoiding soda and fast food and reducing the consumption of sugar can make us healthy.

Practicing good eating habits along with a regular exercise routine can truly make us healthy and happy.

Read: 24 things to avoid to improve Health, Fitness, and Wellness

30. Have a mantra in life

A quote written on the wall.

Everyone should have a mantra in life which they can look back to when contemplating a choice or decision. All of us must lead a life that is guided by principles and beliefs.

People should do good and productive things in life and happiness shall follow the course.

31. Seek constructive criticism

A woman getting feedback from her colleagues.

One must always seek constructive criticism to improve themselves. Constructive criticism is feedback given to other people on their work, which can be both negative and positive. This is however given in a friendly manner.

This criticism can help you in improving your work, personality, and attitude.

32. Travel

A man having fun during his solo trip.

Travelling can make you happy. Spending money on an experience is more beneficial than spending money on possessions.

Traveling will not only increase your self-confidence but will also help you in getting to know yourself better. Self-awareness is one of the biggest sources of happiness.

33. Celebrate small victories

A woman celebrating her victory.

Learning to celebrate small victories can be truly helpful in the sense that you’ll keep happy with small achievements in life. 

While this won’t stop you from achieving something big in life, this will set you on the path where you will be happy with small things in life.

Big things don’t occur very often in life, small things occur frequently and this will make you happy more often.

34. Build relationships

2 gentlemen in suits shaking each others hands.

Nurturing positive relationships will make you happy. Having close relationships with friends, family and professionals can make you realize your self-worth and make you truly happy.

Everyone should have a support group to fall back to in times of difficulty.

35. Have a growth mindset

A white skull with drawings of a human brain.

Having a growth mindset will help you in developing self-confidence and set you off the path to financial success.

While having money is no means to happiness, but money sets several things in the course which can make you happy.

NOTE: Running after money can result in certain events that can lead to unhappiness. However, having money, in absolute is in no way a source of unhappiness. The choice is yours, you can either be happy or unhappy while having money at the same time.

These were some of the ways you can achieve happiness. You can start by following the most basic methods like exercising, getting healthy, building relationships and then develop several other skills on the way.

MIsconceptions about a happy life

Misconception 1: No one can be happy all the time

One of the biggest misconceptions about happiness is that “you can’t be happy all the time.” You can find happiness from every small thing, accomplishment, and decisions of life.

Being happy is a choice, a choice which very few people make on a regular basis. You can make the choice of being happy and experience the several perks which come along with it.

Misconception 2: Happiness comes from money

Several people think that money is the solution to their sad life. That’s not true. While money can set certain things in flow which can make you happy, it can also make you feel sad and depressed.

If you go out, you’ll find several poor people who are happy and several rich people who are sad and depressed.

It is your choice to decide what you wish to do with your money.

Misconception 3: Happiness is a destination

Several people think that once they reach a particular stage in life, then only will they be truly happy. They forget this that once they reach their desired destination, they’ll crave more and they’ll never find satisfaction in their status quo.

Happiness is not a destination. It is a journey, a journey that has to be enjoyed in its entirety. 

Misconception 4: Happy people are never upset

People think that a happy person can never be upset. It is wrong. Happy people experience the same emotions which everyone else experiences.

However, the difference is that happy people confront their emotions,  accept them and move ahead in their lives.

Misconception 5: Pursuing Happiness is self-centered

A painting with a motivational message written on it.

Pursuing happiness is not self-centered. This is a theory propagated by people who themselves can’t be happy and don’t want others to be happy.

They claim that being happy means a person doesn’t care about anyone else. As per unhappy people’s logic, we should be unhappy because there is too much bad going on in this world like hunger, terrorism, etc.

One should remember that being happy is not a crime and that they can be both happy about their status quo and unhappy about the evils in this world at the same time.


Road to happiness is not one, rather several. It is up to you that which things you wish to include in your life.

The above-mentioned ways to achieve happiness are highly effective. You should start by following at least 5 tips to achieve happiness. Happiness is a way of life. It is a habit.

You must strive to add this habit to your lifestyle.

Have a happy life.

All the best


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