Happiness is a mental habit – 10 ways to be happier

One day Hector decides to travel around the world in search for happiness. This charming exploration on the road to happiness leads him to well-known insights, which he scribbles in his journey along the way.

While watching the movie „Hector and the Search for Happiness“ I started thinking about what it takes to bring happiness into one’s life.

What does being happy actually mean? Can you be happy about the delicious smell of fresh coffee in the morning? Are you happily jumping out of bed excited to get to your work? Is it things that make you happy or circumstances? Why do they make you happy? Exactly, its your perception and how you think about these things. To break it down, it is what you think!

Dr. J. Schindlers definition of happiness is

„ a state of mind in which our thinking is pleasant a good share of time“.

Happiness is actually a mental attitude to be experienced in this very moment. It is not a thing to achieve some day in the future when you achieve a certain goal or when you get married one day or when you buy that car you have been dreaming of. Certainly, these things will make you happy, you might argue. But you can actually be happy about this from now on until you achieve those dreams of yours, because happiness is a state of mind. It is about thinking pleasant thoughts no matter the situation.

Happiness is completely internal. It is always your own opinion and thoughts about people or circumstances that make you unhappy. Why don’t you stop letting things or people push you around. Just stop reacting with unhappiness in form of anger, frustration, self-pity or resentment. Practice to stay calm in your mind. These emotions originate from old habitual thoughts you are having about the situation. If you clean your mind, practice thinking different thoughts from a brighter perspective, you can change everything.

So, how can you train yourself to become happier?

Here are 10 tipps on how to practice your happiness as a new mental habit:

  1. Be grateful for what is! Take a moment to think of what you have achieved in life so far, think of 5 things you can be grateful for in this very moment and just appreciate them. Instant boost in happiness right away!
  1. Practice acting positively and goal orientated towards problems, regardless what happens. If you find yourself in a challenging situation, don’t make it worse by diving fully into every piece of detail. Instead accept the situation and ask yourself, how you can improve it … how can you solve it? See it as a challenge to grow instead of a problem. No matter how bad the situation or how bad some people may treat you, try to keep a positive perspective on everything.
  1. Try to cut out all negative thoughts for the next 30 days. If you catch yourself thinking something negative, divert your thinking towards other things. Try to remember that negative thoughts have a harmful effect on your health and well being. Why would you want to punish yourself? If you catch yourself thinking low of yourself, just say “delete” and use affirmations to boost your self-esteem.
  1. Stop being so realistic. Dare to dream big. Life is too short not to dream big. Believe in yourself and that you can achieve anything. If someone tells you, you cant do this, keep reminding yourself, that this is their opinion. Not yours. If you absolutely believe you can do this, hell yes, you can do this. Make use of your secret weapon: your self esteem! If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?
  1. Find a pursuit for your life! The pursuit of a quest in your life will bring meaning hence happiness into your life! Chris Guillebeau has written an inspiring book about this phenomena, check it out.
  1. Stop blaming others or situations! Take full responsibility for your life. You got yourself into that, you are the one getting yourself out. Give up complaining about people, circumstances and all those things that make you upset. Just let go and choose to look at it from a different perspective. It’s always your thoughts and the movie that’s running in your head, that shines a certain light on a situation. Switch the light bulb and come back to the brighter side of life!
  1. Savor the moment! Practice mindfulness, pay attention to the good things around you. Take pleasure in the little things, for example when you enjoy a delicious dinner at a restaurant, dive fully into the enjoyment of the taste, intensify those experiences with all your senses.
  1. Stop being afraid! Next time you feel fear of doing something, look at it precisely with an open mind. Why are you afraid, what is the worst thing that could happen? What are you giving up, when you don’t try it out? Fear is created in your mind by certain beliefs you have. Are those helping you or preventing you from greatness? Clear old beliefs, which are not serving you. Live life to the fullest, stop standing in your own way. Fear less, do more!
  1. Give up attachment! When you stop trying to control the world around you, the outcome of things and accept any change, you free yourself. Practice acceptance of what is, don’t depend on people for your sense of self-worth, let go of the past, question your fixed expectations and specifically stop being attached to material things.
  1. Love yourself! Be good to yourself, do things that make you happy, stop caring about what others think, stop trying to impress others. Love and accept yourself! Read about this men who discovered happiness by learning how to love himself: “Love yourself like your life depends on it


You have the power to take control of your happiness by choosing your thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Happiness can actually be learned by improving qualities like mindfulness, kindness, thinking positively and present moment awareness.