8 simple ways to enjoy a happier, fuller and more satisfying life, according to psychology

What would your life be like if you were truly happy? Do you have a clear image in your mind?

Sometimes the pursuit of happiness can feel like a big, lofty life goal. It’s like an aspiration for the future, but not something we can achieve now. “I’ll be happy when..” is an expression people sometimes use.

I’m chasing this dream of contentment like everyone else, but lately I think I’ve “made it.” I don’t say this to brag or gloat, but to let you know that it’s easier than you might think. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

I’m enjoying a happier, fuller life than ever before, but it’s not extraordinary. Basically, I just do a few simple things that psychology experts have been telling us for years.

Today I’m sharing 8 of the ways I’m enjoying a more fulfilling life lately. Maybe you can try some of them and get satisfaction from them too.

How many of these things do you already do?

Let’s jump in.

1) Live in the here and now

The first thing I realized on this trip is that life happens here and now. I know this is simple and you’ve heard it before, but hear me out.

Before the pandemic, I lived in the future, always rushing to the next thing and never taking a moment to enjoy the present.

And while goals and progress are important, they shouldn’t make you miss out on life. Being present takes practice. That’s what it’s called in psychology mindfulness.

The American Psychiatric Association defines mindfulness as a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience, without judgment research-backed benefits obvious:

  • Fewer ruminate
  • Reduced stress
  • Better memory
  • Increased focus
  • Decreased emotional reactivity
  • Better satisfaction in relationships

Practicing mindfulness can be as simple or complex as you make it. Start simply by taking a few minutes of walking or deep breathing every day.

The experts have been telling us for years, and I have experienced it firsthand, that living in the moment is a great way to feel happier and more satisfied with life. Give it a try.

2) Appreciate the simple pleasures in life

Seeking out and appreciating life’s simple pleasures is closely linked to living in the present moment. It’s all about recognizing the little blessings around you.

What you want to appreciate is up to you, but it can be as simple as taking a walk in nature and enjoying the beautiful scenery or taking an extra second to taste and appreciate your morning coffee.

But don’t just take my word for it.

In psychology this is called practicing gratitude and research confirms that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” as set forth by Harvard Medical School.

And the best part is: you can start practicing gratitude right away. Remember, it’s more than just saying “thank you,” it’s about deep appreciation.

Happiness often lies in the little things, pay attention to these moments of joy and enjoy them.

3) Give back by helping others

I admit it’s a bit cheesy and cliché to tell you to help others find your own happiness, but I’ll explain.

About 2 years ago I volunteered to raise money for cancer research. You know those charity workers who wear colorful t-shirts and shake buckets full of change on busy streets, asking you for a donation? Yes, I was one of them.

I was helping a friend when a volunteer pulled out at the last minute, but it was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things I had done in a long time. I didn’t expect to feel so great afterwards. But that’s why I now volunteer more regularly.

As I learned firsthand, helping others can be incredibly rewarding. Volunteering, donating, or simply lending a helping hand provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

And it’s not just my imagination, research backs it up, generosity is known increase happiness.

You don’t have to quit your job and volunteer full-time, but why not help your neighbor or donate to a good cause? It will help someone else and make you happier, it’s a win-win situation.

4) Smile more

Did you know that smiling can improve your mood?

According to recent researchsmiling can make people feel happier. Even if it is a forced smile, participants reported feeling generally happier after smiling.

And the best part: smiling is contagiousIt spreads from person to person, which means a simple smile has a lot of power. Not only will you feel happier if you smile more, but you can also make someone else smile and feel happier as a result.

Something as simple as a smile can boost your mood, happiness and overall satisfaction. This means that one of the easiest ways to enjoy a happier life is to smile more.

5) Invest in your relationships

simple ways to enjoy

I have a group of friends that I’ve known since high school. Back then we spent every day together, and most weekends too. Now we see each other as a group about twice a year. We recently thought about this and agreed to try to catch up more.

Does this sound familiar? If so, you may also want to invest more in your relationships. It’s a simple way to enjoy a more fulfilling life.

The point is: humans are social beings and connection is crucial for happiness. Life gets busy for everyone and it can be difficult to find time to invest in your relationships, but it is also an investment in your happiness.

Research suggests that close relationships play a crucial role in human happiness and that the quality of those relationships is more important than the quantity.

Spend more quality time with friends and loved ones to be happier and more satisfied because healthy relationships enrich your life.

6) Positive self-talk

Do you ever talk to yourself?

It happens more often than you think. According to a recent study 96% of people say they have an internal dialogue. But is yours mainly positive or mainly negative?

Don’t worry if it’s negative now, Tony Robbinssays a well-known motivational speaker that “negative self-talk is just a habit and we can all learn to build new habits.”

But why should you strive for positive self-talk?

Turns out: research finds positive self-talk contributes to a happier, fuller and more satisfied life, by:

  • Increasing vitality
  • Reducing stress
  • Ensuring greater life satisfaction

Turning negative self-talk into reinforcing and encouraging positive self-talk is simple but not easy; it takes conscious effort and practice. But it’s definitely worth it.

7) Learn to say no

I’ve always had trouble saying no to people. I pride myself on being a good friend, so when someone needs me, I want to be there. But the result of never saying no?

I end up feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and constantly rushed. The pandemic helped me realize that I needed to change my ways. I swore I would never say yes to everything again, even when the world opened up.

I now realize that to be a good friend, I must first be happy and healthy within myself. I learned to say no and it has changed my happiness and satisfaction.

But it’s not just me; Psychology also tells us that learning to say no has many benefits.

“Saying no can create more mental health stability by helping with self-care and building your mental health self confidence and trust through institution boundaries.” as outlined by Psychology today.

And it is not surprising that “the level of self-esteem that individuals experience has a significant impact on their happiness,” according to Nathaniel Brandenrenowned psychologist and author.

Trust me, if you learn to say no, you will change your life for the better.

8) Make sure you add something to your life review

We all update and submit our summaries when we’re looking for a new job, right?

And very often we do things that will also “look good” on our summaries, such as a course to improve our qualifications or increase our expertise.

But have you ever thought about your life overview?

It is something that entrepreneur, Jessie Itzler, talk about a lot. He calls it building your life map and the basic concept is that you prioritize the people and things you love in life to create great life experiences.

I’ve tried to live my life this way. Some may call it finding your purpose or following your passion, whatever you call it, it matters.

As explained by Forbes “Purpose contributes to happiness – when participants in a study felt a greater sense of purpose, they tended to feel more positive emotions – specifically satisfaction, relaxation, enthusiasm and joy”

Think about what you want in your life and commit to making it a reality through meaningful experiences with the people you love.

Final thoughts

These are simple things that allow me to enjoy a happier, more fulfilled life, and it’s not me, psychologists agree.

Which of these are you most excited to try out?

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