In life, there are many necessary sacrifices we must make to satisfy our basic needs, like working for half a day or settling for jobs we might not really enjoy. However, there are always small things you can do to improve your mood. Of course, in some cases, becoming truly happy would require bigger changes. After all, happiness is rarely something that just “happens” – you must make it happen. With that in mind, here are some things that have helped me become a happier person, and hopefully, they will help you as well.

Continue growing

I’ve learned that no matter how much you know, there are always things you can learn and ways in which you can improve. So, start each day with a decision to continue growing. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone; the only way to expand it is to step out of it.

Add fun to your work

Even if you have a serious job, there are always ways to make it a bit more fun. For example, you can choose a quirky pen holder for your office desk, or you can do what I did once – get a small popcorn maker for the office and enjoy fresh popcorn with your co-workers every day.

Help others

During my studies, I’ve realized that making other people happy makes me feel much better about myself as well. So, I’ve decided to find a support worker job. The point is, if you have some free time, consider finding a similar job, or even volunteering – it will help you feel like you are making a difference and leaving something positive behind.

Surround yourself with positive people

Pay attention to your friends – do they seem truly happy for you when you succeed, or do they show signs of envy and indifference? Some people don’t deserve your time and would be more likely to drain your energy than give you more of it. So, surround yourself with friends who know how to find joy, and you’ll always have plenty of it as well.

Be grateful

There will always be things we wish we could have, whether it is something material, like a new pair of shoes, or something more emotional, like a pet. There is nothing wrong with having wishes, as they help us stay motivated. However, if you are too focused on what you need instead of what you already have, you’ll never be able to enjoy your life. Therefore, have your goals and wishes, but learn to appreciate what you already have as well.

Keep your inspiration nearby

To help you get through the tough periods, keep your source of inspiration somewhere where you can always see it. For example, my friend has an amazing mentor who is always there for her when she gets stuck or demotivated, and she has a photo of herself with her mentor as her laptop wallpaper. It doesn’t have to be a photo though, it can be a book, a song, or anything that means a lot to you, if it can help you remember why you’re there.

Practice mindfulness

I’ve had moments when I couldn’t sleep due to stressing out about something that hasn’t even happened yet, and when it did happen, it was not nearly as scary as I expected it to be. This is when I decided to focus only on the present moment, and practicing mindfulness has really helped me with that. There are many simple exercises that you can do every day, so if you tend to worry about your past or the future, mindfulness might help you stay in the moment.

Forgive yourself

We all make mistakes in life, it’s a normal part of the learning process. However, try not to beat yourself up over all the things that you wish you had done differently. Instead, accept yourself for who you are. Plus, nobody is perfect, so you should see your mistakes as a part of your perfectly imperfect self. Just like mindfulness, forgiving yourself will allow you to let go of your past and focus on the present.


I know that being happy is not always easy, since life does have ways of making it extremely hard to focus on the positive. However, since we do have only one life, after all, you should do your best to find joy in it, and I hope you will.


Stella Van Lane