How to Recognize 10 Signs of Happiness

Though it may come in different forms for different people, most human beings are in pursuit of the same thing: happiness. It may be closer than you imagined.

For some, happiness can be a pesky, fair-weathered friend, forever on the loose. The fact is that you have everything you need for happy living right now! Seeing it may simply be a matter of tweaking your own thinking so that you can appreciate what you’ve already got. Look for these signs of joy and say hello to happiness!

1. You live your life with integrity

Living a life that’s in line with your own values and belief is important for happiness. “That means that the things you say you believe in are the things you do,” says “Happy Guy” David Leonhardt, the author of Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the Nine Habits of Maximum Happiness. For example, if you value the environment, do you mind your carbon footprint? Or if family is important, do you make time for them? Figure out what’s important and live your life accordingly.

2. You’ve embraced living in the moment

You’re fully awake and aware, and concentrate your energies on enjoying the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. “All we have is right now,” says Michelle Keeley, an executive leadership coach with Fruition Strategies, “and life is just made up of a series of moments.” Enjoy them. (Here are 25 happy quotes to lift your spirits.)

3. You express gratitude regularly

Being grateful for the things you have—and sharing that gratitude—will lead to feelings of satisfaction and happiness. “When you’re performing an act of kindness or giving someone a compliment, you can actually feel an energy shift in your body,” says Todd Keeley, Michelle’s brother and business partner. Seek that feeling out more often.

4. Your work satisfies you

If you find satisfaction in the things you do, then you’re well on your way to living a happy life. “The more meaningfully we’re engaged and the more we believe that what we’re doing is meaningful, the more happy we are,” says David Mensink, a former psychologist with the student counseling centre at Dalhousie University.  And it doesn’t necessarily have to be linked to a career. “For example,” says Mensink, “you can be meaningfully engaged in caring for children.” (Discover 10 simple self-care ideas to help find your happy place.)

5. You enjoy harmonious relationships

Whether it’s at work or at play, being at peace with yourself and the world around is a surefire way to find happiness. Practice respect and patience as you go about your day, whether you’re interacting with family, co-workers or with your partner.

6. You keep your inner critic on mute

If you’ve got a little voice in your head telling you you’re never good enough and you’re never satisfied, then odds are good you won’t find happiness either. “Choose to let go of negative feelings and thoughts,” says Todd Keeley. “You won’t find happiness until you do.”

7. You aren’t afraid of change

Recognize that change is constant and you’ll be more ready to embrace happiness. “Then choose to respond to life, rather than react to it,” says Michelle Keeley.  You’ll feel more in control and will be better able to adapt. Stay open to the opportunities change can bring.

8. You enjoy the simple things

Taking pleasure in small things will help you build a big picture of happiness. Take time to enjoy a well-cooked meal, a beautiful painting or a spring bulb poking up through the earth.

9. You give back

Happiness is contagious, so make sure you spread it around. “Giving back to others and sharing is the ultimate way to inspire happiness in your life,” says Michelle Keeley. “Because what you give out will come back to you ten-fold.” Whether you volunteer in your community or share your smiles—it all counts.

10. You don’t take life too seriously

Having a sense of humour can help you keep things in perspective. Make sure your life is filled with plenty of laughter!

Next, check out 3 ways to be more thankful every day.