Find your Coach
Back to Blog

Stop searching for happiness with 6 methods for being happy today

July 7, 2022 - 14 min read


Jump to section

What is happiness?

Where does happiness come from?

How to find happiness: 6 methods

Final tips

We all want to know how to find happiness. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or running a company, you’ve probably been looking for the answer to that question for a long time. 

Unfortunately, sometimes your life’s responsibilities can keep you distracted from finding an answer. A demanding job, difficult coworkers, and confusion about your purpose in life are just a few examples of things that can get in the way. No matter how busy you are, though, you deserve to find happiness.

Imagine how it would feel to wake up each day, calm and excited to take on your day. You’d love your job, be filled with a sense of purpose, and have plenty of time to spend with friends and family. No matter how happiness looks and feels to you, we’re here to help you find your way to it. 

Let’s dive into the keys to being happy and how can you start finding happiness within yourself.


What is happiness?

If you want to answer the question, “How can I be happy?”, you have to start at the beginning. You need to have an understanding of what happiness truly means — because it’s a lot more than being the opposite of sad. 

The feeling of happiness is a mental state that comes after experiencing positive emotions or events. Happiness releases positive endorphins that boost our mental health and overall well-being.

If you’re happy at any given moment, you’re likely experiencing an increased level of serotonin in your brain. Exercise, eating foods like turkey and salmon, and meditation are all examples of activities that can boost your serotonin levels. 

If you’re asking what the keys to being happy are, though, you’re probably talking about more than the feeling of happiness. You might be looking for how to increase your overall satisfaction with life or how to lower your daily levels of stress.

Most of us associate happiness with this feeling of satisfaction, as well as the state of feeling positive emotions on a regular basis. 

So what does it take to be happy with where you’re at in life? Your life satisfaction — or subjective well-being — is impacted by areas of your life like your career, relationships, and experiences.

When these areas are thriving, you can find joy in many aspects of your life. That’s when you’re most likely experiencing what happiness is all about.

If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, according to a survey from 2020, just 14% of Americans stated they were “very happy.” The effects of the pandemic have certainly made an impact on our collective well-being.

Though the past couple of years shouldn’t be taken lightly, the good news is that you can still learn to find happiness within yourself — regardless of your circumstances. 

As you’re working to improve your relationships and career, BetterUp can provide the guidance and tools you need to thrive. With a little extra support, you can reach your goals and become the best version of yourself.

New call-to-action

Where does happiness come from?

You might think a successful business, the perfect job, or plenty of money in the bank is the key to being happy. But finding true, lifelong happiness goes much deeper than material success.  

A big house or a nice car can help you be happy, but the momentary feeling you get from these items won’t last. True, soul-level happiness is more about our life experiences and our ability to be content with things as they are.

It’s also about learning how to be grateful for all the things we already have. 

Let’s say someone dropped flowers off for you one morning. They brightened up your space and made the room smell fresh. Someone took the time and money to think of you and how it would make your day brighter.


For this, you felt grateful. Little gestures like this one can change your attitude for the rest of the day by reminding you to appreciate having a thoughtful friend

Noticing the good in everyday life leads us to true happiness. Whether it’s a long conversation with a family member or a pizza delivery to your office, it’s the little things that truly make up what it means to be happy.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives, focus on being grateful. This will improve your overall happiness.

How to find happiness: 6 methods

Sometimes we look around and get the idea that it’s easy to find happiness. Some people look so happy, while things in our life seem to be going wrong. But remember: even in times of uncertainty and challenge, you can learn ways to be resilient and ultimately, live a happier life. 

Here are six habits that can help you learn how to find happiness:

1. Look within yourself.

If things in your life aren’t going the best, you can still find happiness by turning within. You’ll always have the ability to be grateful for who you are and what you do have. Start by thinking about what you appreciate about yourself throughout the day.  

Is your self-esteem growing stronger because of how determined you are to improve your mental health? Are you a good listener to your friends and family members? Do you appreciate how creative you are? If you can’t think of anything, it may be time to go on a self-discovery journey so that you can see how amazing you truly are.

2. Don’t let your fears deter you.

We all have things that we’re afraid of. You could fear being vulnerable or speaking up, for example.

But if you’re always afraid of these things, you’ll feel stuck. That’s a good way to stay unhappy. Even if you’re content with your circumstances, no one likes the feeling of languishing

If you’re making progress towards your goals, the fear of failure could also be holding you back from happiness (or, the fear of success). Allow yourself to relax every once in a while and take a detour from your rigid schedule.

Try new things and habits to see if there are other things in life that can bring you more happiness. Remember to always appreciate the journey.


3. Think about the present.

It’s easy to worry about the future and focus on the past. However, acknowledging the present moment can boost your happiness levels. Being mindful of where you are now can help you plan for the future, not obsess over it.

Plus, evaluating the present lets you better connect with positive emotions and notice when you feel them. Take a deep breath, look around you, and enjoy the moment. Try a daily walk to ground you and take your attention away from your fears.

4. Write your feelings down.

It’s easy to think that finding happiness is a far-away achievement in difficult times. But we can’t forget about the joy we’ve already experienced. A gratitude journal, for example, can help you remember the little things that happen in your daily life.

It will remind you that good times have happened and your life experiences aren’t all negative. Remembering our happiest moments empowers us to continue moving forward and looking for more joy in our lives.


5. Stop chasing other people’s happiness.

What makes you happy won’t necessarily make others happy. People who ​​depend on certain goals or trends as their only source of happiness might not find joy.

If you want to learn how to find happiness, you need to figure out what you want, not what others think you should want.

Sometimes we don’t meet our goals, or they take longer to achieve. Watching someone achieve a goal that you share but haven’t reached can make you feel jealous or unmotivated.

We’re here to tell you: Don’t let it. Remember, everyone moves at their own pace. There’s plenty of joy to be found in the hard work of the journey. 

Taking the time to get to know yourself more will help put you on a course for your happiness and your happiness only. Rather than chase what’s trendy or follow others, be a leader and find out what will give you a happier life.

6. Welcome a growth mindset.

We can’t expect to stay in the same place our whole lives. Plus, waking up happy every day isn’t a realistic expectation. Having a growth mindset can lead to new opportunities and help you remember that tough moments are good for you. 

Taking steps towards improving your skills or bettering your well-being can contribute to living a happy life. Growth and change can be scary, but it’s necessary to step out of our comfort zones and reach new levels of happiness.

Adopting a growth mindset and changing your attitude may require some support. If you need it, BetterUp can provide guidance to help you stay focused on growing into the best version of yourself.


Final tips

As you chase your goal of living a happier life, keep in mind that happiness is constantly changing. Don’t dwell on the fact that yesterday was unpleasant.

Try to understand that you can find happiness in whatever situation you’re in. Whether that means you’ve outgrown a relationship or are hunting for a career change, remember that you’re in charge.

To send you on your way, here are five final tips to help you learn how to find happiness: 

  1. Be proud of every happy moment you achieve and celebrate it.
  2. Make an effort to get enough sleep to rest your body.
  3. Get rid of objects that clutter your space, both physically and emotionally.
  4. Listen to your values and let them guide your actions.
  5. Be silly and find humor in things.

New call-to-action

Published July 7, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

Read Next

11 min read | July 22, 2020

The role of emotional regulation in life (and work)

Happiness. Sadness. Disgust. Fear. Surprise. Anger. Emotions come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they? At times like these, when you’re being asked to flex and bend in new... Read More
10 min read | February 25, 2021

Creating resilient happiness in the midst of uncertainty

A conversation about happiness with researchers Shawn Achor and Gretchen Rubin. Read More
8 min read | September 2, 2019

Healthier, wealthier, not yet wise

In 1974, economist Richard Easterlin introduced the notion, since refined and elaborated, that happiness does not correlate neatly with wealth. Read More
21 min read | April 9, 2021

Is happiness the key to success?

We sat down with leading positive psychology researcher Shawn Achor to dive into our biggest questions on happiness. Read More
17 min read | August 23, 2021

Digital detoxing: How to overcome device dependence

A digital detox to get off your phone, the Internet, or social platforms can boost mental fitness and happiness and improve productivity at work and home. Read More
18 min read | June 27, 2022

Happy life or a meaningful life: Can you have both?

Our lives can have meaning, but no happiness. Learning the difference between a meaningful and happy life can help you find an equal balance of the two. Read More
Research & Insights
7 min read | August 23, 2022

Understanding locus of control is key to harnessing happiness

Our research reveals that the way people view the amount of control they have in their lives can drastically impact their level of happiness. Read More
15 min read | September 22, 2022

Prioritize you! Here’s how to focus on yourself

Setting boundaries can be difficult. But, with this guide, you can learn how to focus on yourself and defend your own happiness. Read More
13 min read | November 23, 2022

Learn how to make friends online to expand your circle

Friendship is vital to our health and happiness but many of us don’t have the time to find new friends. Here are some tips for how to make friends online. Read More

Stay connected with BetterUp

Get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research.