How to Be Happy Being Yourself


It’s easy to wish you looked like or acted like someone else, or had the cushy job or great boyfriend that someone else has. No matter who you are, you can learn to be happy and fulfilled with your life. Take time to appreciate your talents and characteristics while forming a healthy body image and self-esteem. Focus on the positive aspects of your job, hobbies, and lifestyle. Fostering strong and close relationships can help you feel more satisfied and confident in your lifestyle.

Part 1
Loving Who You Are

Loving Who You Are on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Recognizing what you love about yourself first will make you much more comfortable in your own skin. Start by making a list of all of the things you love about yourself, whether it's your free spirit, your work ethic, or your shiny hair.[1] Find at least 10 things you like about yourself. Think about your talents, accomplishments, or characteristics. Appreciate what makes you unique. Perhaps you speak four languages, can walk on your hands, or can instantly make new friends. Not everyone can do that, but you can! Redirect negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, instead of thinking “I’m not pretty enough,” say “I look great today!”

Loving Who You Are on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Actively giving thanks helps you recognize the wonderful people, things, and opportunities in your life. Make a daily habit of giving thanks to those you love. Appreciate your opportunities, strengths, skills, and blessings.[2] Keep a gratitude journal and write everything that you’re thankful for. You might include your family, friends, home, hobbies, opportunities, or health. Add 1 thing to this journal every day. If you’re feeling upset or down, try reading through the journal to cheer you up. Always say thank you, whether you're thanking your local barista for an amazing cup of coffee or your father for always being there for you.

Loving Who You Are on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Always leave some room for laughter in your daily life. No matter how dire your life may seem at a given moment, never forget to take a break to laugh. You'll feel better in both the short-term and the long-term.[3] Be just plain silly. Tell a corny joke, make a bad pun, or just dance around like a fool. Why not? Laugh at your mistakes. This can defuse the situation and help you realize that things aren’t so bad. Watch a comedy or a comedian. This will make you laugh and can cheer you up. Be around people who love to laugh. Laughter is contagious!

Loving Who You Are on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Confidence is the key to happiness, but everyone has flaws and weaknesses. Instead of obsessing over your perceived flaws, embrace them. If you want, ask yourself what you can do to improve yourself in this regard.[4] Make a list of things you want to work on. Make manageable goals to improve. If you hate that you’re always forgetting things, try getting a planner or download a calendar app. Set alarms for when you need to do something. Learn to live with some of your flaws. Perhaps you won’t ever get over your clumsiness, but that’s okay! Try to laugh when you stumble or brush it off as though it doesn’t matter. Forgive yourself. Let's face it: we've all done something we're less than proud of. Whatever you did, you should recognize that it was wrong and understand why you did it, but after that, it's time to let it go.

Part 2
Creating a Healthy Body Image

Creating a Healthy Body Image on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Feeling good about your body can go a long way in helping you be happy with who you are. Look at yourself and appreciate your best features.[5] You may not love everything about your face, but you should be able to pick 1 or 2 things, like your eyes or your lips, that stand out. When you look at yourself, remind yourself how great this part of you looks. Remind yourself what your body is capable of. Try to love your body for its ability to sing, dance, imagine, or jump.

Creating a Healthy Body Image on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Exercise can boost your confidence and your mood, even if you’re not looking to lose weight or become stronger. Just working out for 30 minutes 2-3 times a week can increase your energy and confidence. Find what type of workout works for you and stick with it.[6] Mindful exercises, like yoga or tai chi, can give you a sense of calm and help you meditate about your body. Team sports, like soccer or softball, are tons of fun. They add an important social element to your exercise that can help you feel more fulfilled. Running, biking, swimming, or even just taking a walk can help you clear your mind while helping you become healthy.

Creating a Healthy Body Image on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Improving your diet can help your mind and body. Having a good balance between fruits and veggies, proteins, and carbs can help you feel more in tune with your body.[7] Foods high in fiber and omega 3-fatty acids can improve your mood and help you feel happier. These include foods like whole wheat bread, brown rice, fish, green vegetables, and walnuts.[8] Cook your own food from scratch instead of buying premade foods. Cooking can help you make healthier decisions, and you'll get more satisfaction from your meal. It's okay to indulge in the occasional burger or ice cream, but having too many processed or fatty foods will make you feel tired or sluggish.

Creating a Healthy Body Image on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Being happy with what you're wearing can make or break how you feel about your appearance. If your clothes are dirty, don't fit well, or just don't look right, it can affect your mood and self-esteem. Choose a style that reflects your unique personality.[9] Choose clothing that is comfortable for your body. Don’t try to wear clothing that is too big or too small. Have a few key items that you adore. Having a favorite pair of jeans, a beautiful knitted sweater, or a trendy scarf can really help you feel good about how you look. Jewelry, belts, scarves, and shoes can really pull an outfit together. If you’re missing that extra touch, try adding an accessory to it.

Part 3
Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle

Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Sure, some of your work may be frustrating or even boring, but pick a few things you love about your job, whether it's interacting with clients or customers, learning new things, or having the opportunity to travel occasionally.[10] If you’re struggling at work, reframe how you approach your job. Personalize your workspace with pictures or plants. Avoid taking on extra projects if you’re overworked. Take the time to get to know and appreciate the people you work with. You may feel like you have nothing in common, but if you make the extra effort to be friendly, it will make you much more eager to wake up to go to work. Appreciate what your job can do for you. On hard days, remember that your job allows you to put food on the table.

Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Hobbies and interests outside of work give you something to look forward to. This helps you become a more well-rounded and interesting person. If you don’t have any hobbies currently, you might:[11] Develop your artistic side. Try your hand at writing a poem, a song, or painting. You don't have to be great at it, but you can have fun in the process. Learn a new language. This will make you feel more cultured and it can help you find a great job. Join a team sport. Not only will you get a great workout, but you can make amazing friends. Take an evening class. Learn something that you’re interested in, such as coding, woodworking, or ancient mythology.

Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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A routine allows you to organize your life in a way that make every day activities pass in a breeze. If you feel stressed, hurried, or bored at certain points of your day, try shaking things up. Switch around your routine until you find something that works.[12] Don't rush around in the morning. Give yourself enough time to eat a healthy breakfast and drive to work to arrive a few minutes early. Set your clothes out the night before or pack all of your lunches at the beginning of the week. Even if your day is super-packed, make some time for yourself. Read a book during your lunch break, watch your favorite show before you go to bed, or wake up early enough to meditate. Get plenty of rest. Go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day so your body develops a routine. This can help you feel more rested in the morning.

Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Experiences, and not material items, are the key to happiness. Trying new experiences can help you step outside of your comfort zone while giving you many interesting and unique memories.[13] Explore your surroundings and natural environments. Take a hike, go rafting, or try rock climbing. Take a weekend trip, perhaps to a nearby city, mountain, or beach. Set aside 1 week a year for a much bigger trip to see your family or to visit a somewhere new, like New York City or the Grand Canyon. Attend concerts, museum openings, or new movies in your area. This can help develop your mind and expose you to new experiences in your own town.

Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Feeling safe, comfortable, and at peace in your own living space can make the difference between being happy and being cooped up. Decorate your home in a way that makes you cheerful or energetic.[14] Clean up any clutter. Put away things where they belong, and avoid adding too much furniture to an area. Keeping an open, light room can go a long way in creating a happy space. Filling your home with photos of your loved ones, souvenirs from your favorite vacations, or paintings of your favorite spots can help remind you of what makes you happy. Boost your mood at home by painting your walls light or bright colors, like soft blue, lavender, or yellow.

Fostering a Joyful Lifestyle on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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If you’re truly unhappy with an aspect of your life, you may have the power to change it. Take the initiative to move on and start something new. If you hate your job so much that it is causing stress or anxiety, it may be time to find a new job. Maybe you loved training for marathons for the past decade, but suddenly you dread all of your training runs. Spice things up by finding a new way to work out or spend your time. If you feel stuck, bored, or isolated in your town, consider moving or take a vacation to somewhere new.

Part 4
Establishing a Strong Social Network

Establishing a Strong Social Network on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Having a network of close friends is one the best ways to become happy with yourself in the long run. Having the right friends can improve your self-esteem, make you feel needed, and boost your self-confidence.[15] Treasure old friendships. Maintain these relationships with frequent visits, emails, phone calls, or skype sessions. If you've met someone who you really click with, don't be afraid to ask them on a coffee date to see if you can get to know each other better. Dump your toxic friends. If you have a friend who makes you feel terrible about yourself or is so negative that they manage to ruin your mood every time you hang out, it may be time to let them go.

Establishing a Strong Social Network on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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In many cases, nobody has done more for you or knows you better than your parents or siblings. Whether you're off at college, living in a different country, or sharing a house with your family members, it's important to be happy with who they are in order to be truly happy being yourself.[16] If you have a good relationship with your parents, take time to talk to them often, and tell them you love them. Don’t forget to thank them! Treat your siblings well. Even if you sometimes you feel like you and your sibling live on different planets, you still share a common bond of knowing what it's like to grow up in the same place with the same parents. Even if you don’t have a strong relationship with your biological family, you can appreciate those who are like family in your life. Consider who you might consider to be your family, and let them know how you feel.

Establishing a Strong Social Network on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Feeling involved in your neighborhood, city, religion, school, or other community group can make you feel like you belong to something bigger. This can help you create long-lasting relationships and find interesting things to do.[17] Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Your neighbors will not only make you feel involved in where you live, but they could end up being your best friends. Attend town hall meetings, book clubs on your streets, concerts by local musicians, volunteer park clean-up days, or any other events that make you feel involved in local culture or politics. Volunteering can give you a deep sense of fulfillment and help you meet others in your community. Look for organizations and causes you believe in. You might raise money for the homeless or build houses for low-income families.[18]

Establishing a Strong Social Network on How to Be Happy Being Yourself

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Romance can be very fulfilling, but it is important to make sure that your relationships are founded on love, trust, and strong communication. A toxic romantic entanglement can cause significant stress and unhappiness.[19] If you have a great significant other, communicate openly with each other on a daily basis. Make sure that both partners are fulfilled and satisfied with the relationship. If you're single and dating lots of people, have fun with it. Going on date after date may get frustrating, but if you stay positive, you're more likely to find the right person. If you're single and not looking, that's okay too! If you're not at a point in your life where you want to date anyone, be happy with who you are and the decisions you're making.

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You won't be able to fully enjoy your relationships if you're holding a grudge or stuck in the past. Learning to forgive the people you love for their past mistakes is the only way to move forward in your relationships.[20] If someone has really hurt you, try looking at it from their perspective. Your friend may have hurt you with the best intentions, or might not have been thinking clearly. Learn to accept an apology. If your friend, mother, or significant other is truly sincere and sorry about something, learn to accept an apology. Try to move on as best you can. If you hurt the other person, say you're sorry too.