Self-care, Self-Management, Transformation

13 (Not So Secret) Secrets to a Happy Life

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I have found that happiness, true happiness, has more to do with peace than what most people refer to as being ‘happy’.

It’s not about something ‘fun’ happening, nor is it about excitement. True happiness is that overall feeling of peace, bliss, serenity, and trust in oneself and the Universe (or God).

For me, this peace is achieved when I respect my inner voice, protect my soul, work in alignment with my inner self, and care for my body, soul, heart, and community.

Many people (myself included) mistake fleeting moments of joy or excitement for true happiness, but these are temporary and often superficial. They are also (often) followed by a big “drop” of excitement: you know, that moment when you feel super low after feeling super high?

Ever experienced that?

It’s not fun. And it’s not happiness.

secrets for happiness

True happiness is a deeper, more enduring state of being. It’s about feeling content and at ease with oneself and the world around us. This inner peace creates a ripple effect, fostering harmonious relationships with others and a sense of unity with mankind.

Here are 13 things I have found essential for a happy life 👇

1. Don’t lie

Lying to yourself and others is one sure way to achieve misery.

When you lie to others, you create a barrier to genuine connections, which leaves you dissatisfied and wanting.

And when you lie to yourself, you risk living an inauthentic life, one where you are disconnected from your true self. This usually creates a kind of inner turmoil or agitation, and a sense of emptiness.

You may think that these little white lies (or bigger lies) are harmless, but the truth is, they slowly chip away at your soul, leaving you fragmented and discontent.

Protect your soul: tell the truth.

2. Don’t Talk About People Behind Their Back

Also, don’t be a hater.

happy-life-don't gossip

Did you know that rumors and gossip can actually make you sick? They can cause exhaustion, anxiety, and depression (source: WebMD).

When you engage in gossip or negativity, not only are you hurting other people, but more importantly, you’re hurting yourself.

You might think of gossip as a way to “bond” with others who engage in gossip with you, but this behavior reflects only your own inner insecurities and fosters a toxic environment.

Besides, do you actually feel better after being cruel to someone else behind their back? Don’t you often think things like: “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that”? Or, “What if what I said reaches their ear”? Do you get nervous? Feel guilty?

Why not just save yourself the trouble?

If you want to be happier and more at peace, focus on uplifting others. I promise it will make a huge, positive difference in your life.

3. Face Your Fears and Problems

The single best thing I ever did for my mental health and happiness was to tackle every single problem that was plaguing my life. That was about 4-5 years ago.

The results were so significant and positive that this approach became a philosophy of life.

There are so many things in our lives that annoy us, bother us, frustrate us, anger us… that we tolerate. Small things and bigger things. And we think it’s ok.

It’s not.

Face your issues, remove the people that need to be removed from your life, say no to the things you need to say no to… do the hard things!

They are not that hard, you just make it hard in your head. But more importantly, your life will become SO MUCH easier than it ever was when you avoided doing these things.

Facing your fears strengthens your soul, builds self-respect, and significantly improves your overall happiness and sense of peace.

4. Be Grateful For The Tiniest Things

Gratitude is the true secret to a happy life.

Unhappy people are often ungrateful people. Grateful people can have moments of ingratitude, by the way. It’s not like gratitude is a fixed characteristic. It’s a state of mind.

Gratitude quote

When you are grateful, you cultivate a sense of contentment and appreciate the present moment, which is essential for inner peace and happiness. Gratitude shifts your focus from what you lack to what you have. This creates a positive mindset and a sense of overall well-being.

If you don’t take the time to be grateful, you will never have more, and what you do have you will lose.

secrets for happiness

*P.S. This quote from Matthew is not about being rich or poor; it’s about living an abundant life; it’s about gratitude.

5. Uninstall Social Media From Your Phone

You probably don’t want to hear this, or you will read it, and keep scrolling.

But the truth is that when I have social media on my phone, I am not at peace, therefore, not truly happy, even if I turn off my notifications.

I become needy, thirsty for that validation. I start refreshing the page often, checking it regularly, expecting, waiting for the next message, comment, or like. Or I get lost in the endless scroll of YouTube shorts (for you, that may be Reels or TikTok. Whatever: same difference).

I’ve tried it dozens of times: no social media on my phone equals peace; social media on my phone equals a bit (to a lot) more anxiety.

Right now, I am happy, at peace, and content with my life. Can you guess which one of these scenarios applies to me at the moment?

Related post: 21 Habits for Simplifying Your Life and Ditching the Overwhelm

6. Get Rid of Constant Guilt

Guilt does not make you a good person; it does not mean you care or that you have a conscience.

I’ve noticed that guilt is often a way for us to think that we are “good people” or that we care, without actually taking action to resolve a problematic situation.

It’s an excuse.

There. I said it.

Now face whatever it is that’s causing you guilt and deal with it. Take action, and then move on.

Of course, there is more to it than just that! And every situation is different, but overall, dealing with that unnecessary baggage of guilt and pain you are constantly carrying around is simpler than you think.

You just don’t want to do it because you are attached to your guilt. Your guilt says things about you, your personality, your ego, and you are afraid that if you let it go, you might disappear too.

Let it go.  

The person you will become when your old self dies is a happier one.

7. Quit Taking Things Personally

Very rarely do people do things specifically to hurt you. More often than not, when people do things, it’s about them, not you.

quit taking things personally

Make this your new mantra.

Stop obsessing over why this or that person did this or that to you. They didn’t do this TO you; they did it FOR themselves.

We all do the same most of the time.

Protect your mind from negative thoughts about yourself.

So, no, you are not “lame”; no you weren’t “too stupid” to see it”; and no you didn’t “deserve to be hurt because you are so lame” either.

They did something hurtful; you were collateral damage.

Do take a moment to ask yourself important questions and evaluate your part of responsibility in the matter, learn the lesson that needs to be learned, decide you will try to behave differently next time, identify specifically how you will behave differently next time, apologize if you need to… and then move on.

8. Believe In Magic

believe in magic

I will let Rhonda Byrne explain this, as she does it better than I ever could:

“I am here to tell you that the magic you once believed in [as a child] is true, and it’s the disillusioned adult perspective of life that is false. The magic of life is real – and it’s as real as you are. In fact, life can be far more wondrous than you ever thought it was as a child, and more breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and exciting than anything you’ve seen before. When you know what to do to bring forth the magic, you will live the life of your dreams. Then, you will wonder how you ever could have given up in believing in the magic of life!

You may not see reindeer fly, but you will see the thins you’ve always wanted appearing before your eyes, and you will see the things you’ve dreamed of for so long suddenly happening. You will never know exactly how everything weaved together for your dreams to come true, because magic works in the invisible realm – and that’s the most thrilling part!” (Rhonda Byrne, The Magic)

I consider myself a happy person, and here are a few “weird” things I do regularly:

  • I follow butterflies.
  • I run in the wind just because I feel like it.
  • I hug trees.
  • I absolutely believe that trees wave at me when the wind moves the leaves and branches, and I wave back at them.
  • I talk to God and the Universe. Out loud.
  • I sing in the shower.
  • I walk barefoot when I see grass, no matter what I’m wearing.
  • I jump in mud puddles.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is…

Most people would say this is not a “dignified” attitude for a 35-year-old.

Of course, I can “behave” and act like a grown-up… and I do!

But I also embrace “child-like behaviors” (well, what people consider child-like behaviors), and it’s amazing! I am not blasé, sour, or cynical, I don’t pretend to be unfazed by things that are wonderful, I let myself be amazed, happy, surprised…

I don’t pretend.

And in doing this, my life feels magical every second of every day 😊

(Well, most days. Of course, I have my darker moments like everybody else! I just have tools now to navigate those moments better than I did in the past).

9. Eat Better

The impact of dietary changes on my mood has been drastic, and yes, some foods have been shown to reduce anxiety

I personally adopted an anti-inflammatory diet (specifically the Wahls protocol) a few years ago to cope with rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren Syndrome, and I discuss it a bit more here.

What I didn’t know was that adopting a keto/paleo style diet would have such a huge impact on my mental health and mental/emotional resilience.

I will not get into dietary considerations here as I am not a health specialist, but consider reducing your consumption of coffee, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, carbohydrates, and try introducing a lot more vegetables and healthy fats into your diet.

Who knows, you might just become a happier person.

If you are interested, here’s a link to learn more about the Wahls protocol.

10. Change Your Mind About Discipline and Routines

You can go up and down when life goes up and down, or you can stay on course no matter what happens around you.

Guess which one of these options keeps you more at peace and happy?

And which one revolves around having a routine?

A routine is not a prison; it’s not punishment, and it is time you changed your opinion on the topic because that’s where one of the keys to happiness lies.

A routine is a program whose sole purpose is to get you to do the things you know you should do (for true happiness, NOT laziness or comfort) but don’t feel like doing.

I read somewhere that dogs need structure to be happy. I can’t help but feel like for us, humans, it is exactly the same.

Having a routine not only provides structure but also cultivates discipline and consistency. These are essential traits for achieving long-term goals and maintaining mental clarity.

I certainly feel like embracing routines has led me to a more balanced and fulfilling life, yes, but surprisingly, a life of more freedom as well.

Related posts:

11. Have A Goal

have a goal

I wake up most mornings excited, ready to jump out of bed, work on my blog, write, create content, and learn new things.

(Believe me when I say, it was NOT like that in my previous life).

My goal completely captivates and fuels me. It gets me out of bed, it keeps me going when things get rough, or when I’m tired or don’t feel like doing anything.

That goal is a “good” goal because I’m passionate about it. It helps me (because writing in general, but also writing about personal development, is good for my soul); it helps others; it’s a creative endeavor; it has income potential, and it’s aligned with my core values.

Core values I took a good amount of time to explore and understand.

personal transformation workbook

One key to a happier life is to have a goal, a reason for being alive. And this goal has to resonate with your true self and be aligned with your values and deepest desires.

When you have a purpose, it gives meaning to your actions but also fuels your motivation and sense of fulfillment.

personal transformation workbook

12. Don’t Change The World; Change Yourself

Do you find yourself getting upset by external factors (like the news, the weather, or other people’s behavior)?

If you try to make other people behave exactly how you want them to, it only leads to feeling bad and frustrated.

Instead, focus on improving yourself, by changing how you think, act, and handle problems. This will help you feel better inside. It is the only way forward.

When you work on staying strong, building good habits, and being open to change, you take charge of your own happiness.

This shift from trying to control everything outside to making yourself better is what brings true, deep happiness and keeps it going.

personal transformation workbook

13. Accept That All Things Are Perfect As They Are

You are unhappy because you are too judgemental and have an opinion about EVERY single thing happening in your life.

Why don’t you try to just let things… be?

Everything around us is exactly as it should be, even when it’s hard to understand.

It is possible to find peace and happiness in every moment if we practice acceptance and stop resisting what’s happening. When we let go of the need to control or change things, it allows us to appreciate the beauty and lessons in every situation.

And there is beauty in every situation, just like Viktor Frankl found even in the concentration camps where he was imprisoned during WWII.

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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