42 Secrets to Living a Full, Happy Life

Life is a game we all play, some better than others. There are secrets to life that are kept under wraps, but most of what you need to know is readily available if you seek it out. Here are 42 simple secrets to a happy and fun life!

Here are the (not so secret) secrets of living a full, rewarding & happy life.
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin

1. Laugh and smile. Laughter and smiles are scientifically proven to have health benefits. Don’t just wait around for things that will make you laugh and smile, seek them out. Rent comedy movies or go to a comedy club. Smile as often as you can, even if you’re not in the mood.

2. Go and smell the roses. These days the slogan has changed to go and smell the roses. This is because people as a whole are getting out and about less and less thanks to modern creature comforts. Plan a trip and go somewhere new to you at least quarterly.

3. Test your own limits. If there’s anyone that knows your limits, it’s you. But how well do you know them? You may think you know your limits but if you’re not actively testing them it could just be something you thought up and it became your self-imposed limit.

4. Rage against complacency. It’s so easy to get complacent, because the known feels so warm and fuzzy, while the unknown can seem like a faceless monster. Always strive to grow and improve yourself, because if you’re not growing, you’re dying, just like a flower, there’s no in between.

5. Never stop learning. Even if you’re done with formal schooling and training you don’t have to hang up the noggin and call it a day. Keep pushing yourself to learn new things, whether it’s a skill like cooking or a musical instrument, or becoming an expert of a particular time period.

6. Keep your legacy in mind. Leaving a legacy is something we all do, it just depends on the size and scale of it. What will yours be? What do you want it to be? Take a long view of your life as a whole and decide on steps today that will help get you there.

7. Don’t watch the news. When is the last time you watched the news or read the paper and felt better afterward? Trust that the most important news will find its way to you, and you’ll help avoid the barrage of negative and fear-mongering stories presented each day by the big media outlets.

8. Take a daily walk outside. Get outside each day, even if the season doesn’t make it enticing. You’ll be getting fresh air, sunshine, and natural motion that the body secretly craves. Make it a mission and it will become a habit you do without even thinking about it.

family time
Photo: J Aaron Farr

9. Make time for the people you love. Taking time from your day to spend with the people that truly mean the most to you is never wasted time. The same cannot be said for mindless things like TV watching, Facebook checking, Tweeting, etc.

10. Stamp out regrets. There’s no point in regretting things that have already happened, you were just doing the best you could with the information you had at the time. Make it your mission to live in the present and live in a way that leaves you regret-free.

11. Take steps to get organized. If your home, car, and office are a disorganized mess this represents blocked energy. Free up that energy by giving these places a makeover. You’ll be amazed how great you feel when it’s all neat and tidy.

12. Get regular sunshine. Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin” but it’s actually a hormone that helps regulate many key systems in the body. If you want to feel your best be sure you’re not Vitamin D deficient. Get sunshine without sunblock and without burning to get your body to produce enough.

13. Celebrate often. Get in the habit of buying a bottle of champagne. Celebrate successes in your life, even if they don’t seem big enough to celebrate. The more you’re in the mentality of celebration the more things will come your way that give you reason to celebrate.

14. Take care of your body. When your body feels good you can’t help but feel good, so take time each day to do something good for your body. The rewards come both in the present as well as the future in the form of living to a ripe old age.

15. Get a clear vision of what you want. In order to have a full and happy life you have to know what you want. How else will you know if you have it unless you know what it looks like. Keep that picture in your mind as often as you can and it will be drawn to you like a magnet.

16. Master a second language (or third). Being able to express yourself in a second language is very rewarding, and helps to keep the brain sharp. If you’ve already become fluent in a second language, consider adding a third.

17. Validate others. Let people know just how much they mean to you. You may feel a bit cheesy at first if this is foreign to you, but it gets easier the more you do it. Don’t wait for someone to validate you, or expect them to validate you back. Give validation just for the sake of doing it.

18. Get paid to exist. There’s no harm in getting paid to do something you’re good at, and if you have a skill or talent that you’ve been honing for a lifetime, you can get paid for it and combine your passion with your need to survive and thrive.

Go to Exciting Events
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin

19. Go to exciting events. Always have something on the horizon that you’re looking forward to. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, even a musical concert of a band you like will get your juices flowing and get you counting down the days like a kid at Christmas.

20. Trace your family history. Knowing where you’ve come from is important and will help you figure out where you want to go. Seeing your family tree mapped out before you gives you a sense that you didn’t just end up where you are, there is a long line of ancestors that helped get you here.

21. Get a magnificent obsession. Find something that you can get totally head-over-heels in love with, either a business idea, a hobby, or a dream of yours. Spend all of your time thinking about it and feeling good while you think about it and eventually it will come to fruition. Obsession can be a good thing when it’s a positive one that will move your life forward.

22. Unplug. It’s getting harder and harder to separate from our smartphones and other digital assistants, but it’s a necessity if you want a truly fulfilling life. Take time from each day with the WiFi turned off. Build up to taking an entire day off free from constant updates and social media check-ins.

23. Always have a goal to strive for. The one thing they don’t tell you in goal books is what to do when you reach that goal. The answer is to come up with a new goal and start going for that. Don’t rest on your laurels, get out there and go for something even bigger than what you’ve already accomplished.

24. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And remember, it’s all small stuff. When you focus on the things that really matter, the small stuff either goes away or works itself out without your involvement. If you’re stressed out and feeling blue ask yourself if this is something to really worry about, or is it just small stuff. Chances are, it’s small stuff masquerading as big stuff.

25. Remember the Golden Rule. Regardless of your religion or creed, we can all agree that the Golden Rule is a darn fine rule indeed. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. If we all did that, it would be a truly remarkable world to live in, wouldn’t it? Fortunately the rest of the world doesn’t have to get on board with it for you to enjoy the benefits.

26. Love what you do. You’ve likely heard the adage “Do what you love.” but that can sometimes be hard to do since you have to make a living. Start by loving what you’re currently doing, and those good vibrations will eventually translate to you doing what you love.

27. Paint. This is a therapeutic activity that just about anyone can take part in. It will relax you, allow you to tap into your creative side, and if you’re good at it can even lead to some earnings. Pick a style of painting, or try out a few different ones until you find one that resonates with you.

Connect with Nature
Photo: Tomas Sobek

28. Get in touch with nature often. Nature is there, just waiting for you to check in. Even if you have to drive a bit to get there, it’s worth the trip. A walk through a wooded area is enough to give you a feeling that all is well, especially if you spot some wildlife just going about life in the wild.

29. Give hugs. If you’re not getting enough hugs it likely means you’re not giving enough hugs. Never pass up the opportunity to hug someone. Start with your immediate family and then see if you can work it into friends, and then acquaintances, if appropriate. An awkward hug is better than no hug at all.

30. Focus on freedom. When freedom is your focus you’ll be tapping into the core of the human spirit. We all want to be free, free to travel, to get what we want, and to be with who we love. Accentuate the feeling of freedom and you’ll find that many more doors open, furthering that feeling and improving your life.

31. Succumb to the kid inside you. Eat an ice cream cone, play in the sprinklers, go down a slide at the park. That little voice inside you has been beckoning, and if you’re like most adults you reject it all too often. Be sure to budget in some childhood nostalgia on a regular basis.

32. Build your dreams. Dreams constantly change and are at risk of shrinking. Your dreams need to grow to fit your current desires, and they may need an upgrade. To build your dreams, consider the things you might want to have or experience if money was no object. This expands your mind and opens it to the possibility that you could get those things at some point.

33. Surprise someone regularly. If you can’t remember the last time you surprised someone, you aren’t surprising people often enough. These are good surprises, like flowers or small gifts, or maybe even a phone call. Anything that lets them know you’re thinking about them, and that shakes up the status quo.

34. Harness the power of music. Use music to boost your current good mood, or to help elevate your mood if you’re in a funk. This is something that should be done daily, and if you’re not using the powerful effects of music, you’re missing out on tool that can help you live a happier life.

35. Worry less, like, not at all. Worrying is negative goal setting, and it’s a form of picturing in your mind what you don’t want to happen. Einstein said the imagination is a preview of life’s coming attractions, so stop setting yourself up for disaster and despair by worrying.

36. Let the universe decide for you. You may think you know exactly what will make you happy, but the universe may have other, better plans for you. Stop trying to control everything and judge your happiness by your feelings, not your thoughts. Always seek out the best feeling and the details will fall into place. They always do.

37. Train your dragon. Your “dragon” is that special power that you possess, the part inside you that you’re afraid to let loose. To train it means to harness this gift and put it to work for you, rather than keeping it locked up in its lair.

38. Get a mentor. A mentor is someone that has what you want and is willing to tell you how they did it. It helps if they’ve already been where you currently are, so they can give the best, most relevant advice. It can be someone you know personally, a paid life coach, or a celebrity whose life you can model.

Dance
Photo: Vladimir Pustovit

39. Dance. Even if no one is watching, if you’re alone in your living room, just get down with your bad self. Dancing gets the whole body into the act, and simply makes you feel good. Dance off stress or dance to express the way you feel, just get moving!

40. Save money. Saving a bit of what you earn can pay huge dividends, not just monetarily but in the way you feel. Take 10% of what you make and tuck it away in a savings account. Don’t call it a “rainy day fund” or it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

41. Move daily. It’s getting harder and harder to get moving in our modern society. What once was a necessity of life is now viewed as a luxury or a chore. Take time to make sure that you’re getting daily motion, whether it’s a walk, a hobby, or other enjoyable activity.

42. Read. Don’t let this list be the last thing you read on how to better your life. There are so many books dedicated to getting more and more out of life, and reading and re-reading just a bit of them each day can help you stay focused on having a magical life.

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