I Want to be Happy in My Life: 5 Tips to Be Happy Now

When you think, “I want to be happy in my life,” it’s natural if you don’t know where to start. There are many paths to…


When you think, “I want to be happy in my life,” it’s natural if you don’t know where to start.

There are many paths to finding happiness. This article will outline five effective – and simple – tips to allow you to be happy in your life starting now.

It’s Ok to Not Be Happy in Life Now

When you don’t feel totally happy or content in your life, it can feel embarrassing. There are many messages all around that you “should” be happy and grateful for what you have. And if you’re not happy or positive then you’re the problem.

While we all want to be happy, it’s natural and normal to go through periods where you don’t feel joy or content in life. This is a part of being human. To deny the truth that you won’t always be happy is the problem with toxic positivity.

i want to be happy in my life

Tip #1 to Be Happy in Life: Have Compassion for Yourself

When you don’t feel happy in life right now, it’s completely natural to be hard on yourself. Yet this only makes the problem worse. You’ll never feel more joy, peace, or contentment by criticizing yourself.

Instead, one of the most important pathways out of being unhappy right now is to be kinder to yourself. This is the practice of self-compassion. Rather than fixating on why you “should” be happy take time to validate why it’s ok and understandable why you aren’t full of joy right now.

How to Give Yourself Understanding

You can validate yourself, for example, with the following journal prompt:

  • Why does it make sense I’m not happy right now? Examples: I hate my current job, I feel stuck in life, I’m lonely, etc.
  • If someone I loved were going through this situation, what would I tell them? Example: “It makes sense you’re unhappy since you feel stuck in a job you hate but don’t know how to pay your bills any other way. It’s ok to feel upset.”
  • Practicing telling yourself this same loving and understanding thing.

When you’re validating you don’t need to solve the problem, just your kindness and understanding helps ease the intensity of the unhappiness often.

Related: How to Stop Judging Emotions for Better Relationships

Tip #2 to Be Happy in Life: Accept You have to Be the One to Make Yourself Happy

Sometimes, when a person is unhappy in their life, it can be easy to fantasize that the right person will fix this. This fantasy is completely understandable. After all, American culture can often make it seem like the answer to so many of life’s problems is to find your “other half” – even your “better half.”

Yet to be truly happy, you must find a sense of wholeness and joy in your own individual presence. Otherwise, the happiness you find in another person cannot be sustained.

Related: How Self-Love Affects Relationships

Stop Dating to be Happy

When you are single, this desire for someone else to make you happy can make you feel anxious, and clingy whenever you meet someone you like.

Related: How to Deal with a Fear of Abandonment in a Relationship

You may so desperately want to be happy that you will do whatever you need to get that person to commit to you. For instance, you may not set boundaries, or you may pretend to be someone you’re not to please the other person.

Related: How to Be Your Authentic Self

While these reactions are understandable, they ultimately only deteriorate your ability to feel happy further. After all, feeling anxious and like you can’t be your true self hurt your emotional stability.

You can absolutely date to find connection and joy in this but expecting the other person to “make” you happy is too much pressure.

No One Else Can Keep You Happy

When you are already in a relationship, this fantasy that your partner can make you happy, while understandable, ultimately hurts your connection.

While finding your right partnership does add tremendous joy, it’s only possible to maintain this happiness when you ensure that you do what’s needed to care for your own emotional wellbeing. Otherwise, expecting your partner to always make you happy or entertain you is too much pressure. And it’s one factor contributing to our high rates of divorce in the United States.

i want to be happy in my life

Accepting Your Role in Your Happiness

Part of feeling happy now is to accept that only you can do this truly.

This skill is called Radical Acceptance. This is the skill that says, “It is what it is.” For example, it is what it is that only you can truly make and keep yourself happy. It’s not good or bad necessarily – it’s just the truth.

To practice this skill, you want to remind yourself as needed that you must find and sustain your own happiness. This is true even while other relationships in your life can certainly add joy. You’re the only person who can make and keep you happy moment to moment. This is all a personal job.

Related: Interdependence vs Codependence: 3 Clear Ways to Know the Difference

Tip #3 to Be Happy in Life: Treat Underlying Mental Health Issues

When you don’t feel happy, it’s natural to sometimes overlook underlying mental health reasons for this. Many people in their lifetime will experience depression or anxiety symptoms at least at some point. Furthermore, many people live with symptoms of trauma. (You don’t need to have PTSD to have trauma symptoms.)

Common symptoms of depression, anxiety, or trauma which may be overlooked are:

  • Struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep at night,
  • Always feeling tired or feeling incredibly heavy when you wake up no matter how much you slept,
  • Not feeling present in your life (always feeling like your mind is somewhere else),
  • Nightmares,
  • Not being able to quiet your mind,
  • Struggling to feel like you, others, or your life is real (maybe like you’re always the supporting character in others’ lives), and
  • Perfectionism

Gathering Information for Your Happiness

The list provided above is not exhaustive but if you resonate with any of these symptoms – or have already wondered about your mental health – it’s important to meet with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist for more information.

You don’t need to commit to any recommended treatment i.e., medications but having more information can help you understand what’s really going on. Hopefully, this information will also help you understand that it’s not your fault if you don’t feel happy right now.

i want to be happy in my life

It’s Not Your Fault

If your mental health needs care at this time whether it’s for an issue like depression or anxiety or trauma please know it’s not your fault.

Related: Can You Heal Trauma on Your Own? 4 Clear Steps to Heal

This is no blame or shame in having a mental health concern. It’s not a personal weakness to not feel happy right now. These are common concerns, and you deserve care and attention. Just like you need care for a broken ankle, the same is true for your mental health.

Related: What to Do if You Can’t Afford Therapy: 4 Effective Tips from a Therapist

Tip #4 to Be Happy in Life: Practice Happiness Techniques

There a various practices that are proven to generate happiness.

Mindfulness is one such practice. There’s a lot of research on mindfulness and how it positively impacts wellbeing. One study on 22 other studies on mindfulness found that this practice helps a person feel happier because it increase their attention to positive experiences.

Being Mindful of What’s Good

Mindfulness is simply the practice of continuing to return your attention to the present moment without judging it i.e., “It is what it is that I’m not happy right now.”

But you can also practice this attention to the present moment by focusing on what is good in any given moment. If you are sitting outside, for example, you can listen to the birds chirping and the soothing sensation of a gentle breeze by being mindful.

You can even do this in uncomfortable experiences i.e., if you’re stuck in traffic you can think about how nice it is your air conditioner is working and you have access to a podcast you like.

Focusing on What You Have Right Now

This mindful attention to what’s good can be considered a gratitude practice as well. But it comes from an attentive, honest place rather than shaming yourself for what you “should” be grateful for.

In any given moment, you can turn your attention to what’s truly good, comfortable, or positive through mindfulness. This can make you feel more grateful, which is proven to make people happier.

If you want to take this a step further, you can start a gratitude journal in which daily you write 1-3 things that you honestly appreciate. It doesn’t need to be the things you “should” feel grateful for like your family but rather even small things that truly add to your sense of joy like the iced coffee you had earlier.

Tip #5 to Be Happy in Life: Move Your Body

When you feel discontent, it’s natural to feel exhausted. Just getting through your day can seem like all you have and so you crash on your couch for hours when you get home. But have you ever noticed how this understandable urge to lay in bed or on your couch scrolling or binge-watching TV tends to make you feel worse?

This is simply because the human body needs some movement even when you don’t feel like it.

Tending to Emotional Pain with Movement

In Chinese medicine, there’s a saying where there’s pain there’s lack of movement. This can be seen with emotional pain like depression or anxiety too.

It’s completely understandable if you don’t feel like moving yet this lack of movement does negatively impact the brain. A lack of exercise makes us more likely to feel depressed and anxious while increasing the likelihood of negative thought patterns.

Start Moving in Small Ways

To break out of this negative cycle, you can start very simply. Truly you don’t need to commit to more than 5 minutes a day at first.

Related: How to Take Care of Yourself – 6 Simple Self-Care Strategies

Some ways you can start to feel happier now is to maybe practice free yoga for 5 minutes a day right now. Or you may stretch briefly when you wake up or go to bed. Or maybe you commit to walking around the block once a day when you get home (before you find yourself on the couch when it’s much harder to get up).

You Can Be Happy in Life with Practice and Commitment

When you don’t feel happy, it can feel overwhelming and daunting to begin to change your life. However, with practice and commitment these 5 practical steps will pave the way for true joy and contentment.

At this point to be happy you can:

  • Save this article to come back to it for guidance and support as needed,
  • Be patient with yourself,
  • Explore other articles on this blog for more information,
  • Check out the healing resources, and
  • Stay connected by getting our free self-soothing tips worksheet (these are the activities that help you feel better when you feel bad)

Whatever steps you take next, please know you are completely capable of becoming happier!

About The Author

Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to heal from unhealthy relationship processes. She does this by teaching the skills and tools necessary to have a life filled with healthy and loving relationships.

This passion led her to write her best-selling books and create courses. Her books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many people heal.

Her third book, Therapy Within Reach: Setting Boundaries, will be released September, 2023.

If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to krystal@confidentlyauthentic.com or DM her on Instagram. Your name and any other identifying information will always be kept confidential.

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