Why is it so hard to find reasons to be happy?
We possess an innate desire to be happy, but our brain often steers us towards patterns of thinking that are in direct conflict with this goal.
Instead of focusing on the progress we’ve made, we’d rather focus on how far we are from our goals. Instead of focusing on small positive moments that take place in everyday life, we’d rather look past them and focus on our problems.
Negative thinking is a natural human survival instinct. And yet, it’s this instinct, the one that keeps us alive, that also sabotages our ability to be grateful for what we have.
In this article, you’ll find a list of 23 reasons to be happy about who you are and the general direction of your life.
We’re all going to suffer and experience struggles in life — we don’t have any control over this.
However, we do have total control of the mindset that we adopt towards the good, bad, and ugly of life. As Wayne Dwyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
The Power Of Positive Thinking
It’s difficult to find reasons to be happy when you possess a negative mindset.
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Positive thinking means you’re more likely to take positive action and believe you’re worthy of success.
Negative thinking leads to outcomes that you spend your life trying to avoid. It’s what keeps you stuck and stagnant, failing to break bad habits and enjoy the moments in life that deserve recognition.
It’s also important to note this about positive and negative thinking — either mindset can be true in any given situation.
What matters is which way of thinking you choose to believe. If you get assigned a difficult project at work that you’re unsure if you’re able to handle, your brain is going to conjure up two different stories.
The negative story will revolve around thoughts like:
- “I can’t do this. I don’t have the skills”
- “I’m way out of my depth here, how am I going to be able to complete this project?”
- “What if I complete this project and it’s not up to my boss’s satisfaction?”
The positive story will revolve around thoughts like:
- “Okay, this is a difficult project, but I can do this.”
- “I may be out of my depth, but I can do the best I can.”
- “This is a project that will expand my comfort zone and teach me valuable lessons.”
Both of these stories have elements of truth to them. You may be way out of your depth, you may lack expertise, and you may even end up doing a poor job.
However, it’s also true that you can put your best foot forward. It’s true that attempting the project will help you improve your skill set.
It all comes down to which story you believe holds more weight. Choosing to believe the negative story does nothing but make you feel inferior. The act of believing in yourself and aligning your thoughts with the positive story gives you a fighting chance at success.
5 Reasons To Find Happiness In Negative Emotions
Let’s kick off this list of reasons to be happy by talking about how to find happiness even when you’re experiencing negative emotions.
Here’s one thing that might surprise you about negative emotions — they actually all have positive intent behind them.
Negative emotions like guilt, fear, and worry tend to be construed as negative because they make us feel bad. It’s difficult to find reasons to be happy when we’re in the middle of these emotions, but the reality is they’re always trying to teach us something.
John Wiley lays this out in his book titled Positive Thinking: Find Happiness And Achieve Your Goals Through The Power Of Positive Thought.
In the book, he explains the true intent behind negative emotions:
“Take, for example, the emotion of guilt. Typically, the thoughts that accompany guilt are ‘I’ve screwed up, I shouldn’t have done that, it’s my fault, I feel bad about what I did.’
How can this way of thinking be positive? Well, the positive intent of guilt is to prompt you to recognize your wrongdoing and then to think about and take action to make up for what you did wrong.
If though, when you feel guilt you simply wallow in your guilt and beat yourself up about what you did wrong, then your thoughts and actions remain negative. Those thoughts and actions or inactions do you no good whatsoever.”
Wiley’s main point is that it’s not the emotions that are negative, it’s our response to the emotions that keeps us stuck in self-sabotage.
Without further ado, here are some powerful reasons to be happy even when you’re experiencing negative emotions:
#1: They Will Pass
No matter what emotions you’re feeling, positive or negative, they’re all temporary. Our emotional state is constantly fluctuating between joy and sadness, between excitement and guilt, between fear and determination.
None of them are going to last forever! Remember that next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Know that in the next few minutes, the feeling will subside and your brain will fixate on something completely different.
All you have to do is be present and let the storm pass.
#2: Emotions Don’t Define You
You can still find reasons to be happy when experiencing negative emotions, especially because your emotions don’t define who you are.
As mentioned in the previous section, emotions are temporary. They’re not here to stay. They fluctuate naturally, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.
There’s great power in the realization you are not a product of what you’re feeling, you are a product of what you do.
It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you. (any Dark Knight Trilogy fans out there?)
#3: They Provide An Opportunity
Finding reasons to be happy is about seeing opportunities where others see problems. Well guess what, each time you’re feeling negative emotions offers an opportunity to reframe your mindset.
Most people latch onto their negative thoughts, letting them run freely with little to no resistance. They become engulfed in their emotions without offering any sort of pushback, which leads to the creation of false beliefs that are based in fear, worry, and self-loathing.
So the next time you’re sensing some negativity in your internal dialogue, see it as an opportunity to practice reframing your negativity into positivity.
#4: No One Is Immune To Negative Thinking
If you feel like your mind is plagued by negative thoughts, then congrats! That’s a sign you have a completely normal mind.
No one is immune to falling into the negativity trap. One of the biggest reasons why negative emotions make us feel unhappy is because we shame ourselves for feeling them.
We tend to ask ourselves, “Why does it seem like I’m the only one feeling this way?”
Why would you beat yourself up for a natural mental process that everyone endures?
Everyone around you is wrestling with the same dilemma and experiencing the same feelings — your struggle is no more noble or heroic than anyone else’s.
My message isn’t that you should be happy that other people are struggling, it’s that if you want negative emotions to stop taking a toll on your happiness, realize that you’re not inferior because you’re feeling them.
#5: Negative Thoughts = Information
Another one of the key reasons to be happy when you’re feeling negative thoughts is that they provide so much useful information.
If you keep an open mind and really listen to what your brain is telling you, there’s usually a deeper meaning behind your negative emotions.
They pop up for a reason — to inform you that you need to start making some different choices. So the next time you’re feeling guilty or shameful, don’t just sit there in self-pity.
Use self-reflection questions to analyze why you’re feeling guilty or shameful. If you’re willing to look inward, you can turn negative emotions into building blocks for positive action.
7 Reasons To Be Happy About Yourself
Many people have trouble finding reasons to be happy when they look at themselves in the mirror.
We all possess something called negativity bias — this essentially means we place more emphasis on negative outcomes than positive ones.
If you lose 5 pounds, it’s likely that your brain will try to focus on the fact that you’re 45 pounds away from your goal instead of celebrating the small win.
If you write the first 10,000 words of a book, your brain will opt to focus on the 100,000 words you’ve yet to write instead of acknowledging the small milestone.
Luckily, with just a little bit of gratitude every day you can fight back against this cognitive bias. Here’s a list of inspiring reasons to be happy about yourself and the type of person you are.
#1: You’re Still Standing
Remember all those times you thought your life was over? Remember all of those internal battles that you thought would take out?
Well guess what, you’re still here. You’re on your own two feet ready to take the slings and arrows of your life.
That’s definitely worth being happy about, because it means that everything you’ve ever wanted is still possible if you put one foot in front of the other.
#2: No One Else Is You
There’s 7 billion people on this earth, and not one of them is the exact same as you. All of your positive traits and negative traits are uniquely yours.
You have your own perspective to share with the world, and that is your superpower.
#3: You Can Make Someone Else’s Life Better
One of the biggest reasons to be happy is that you can make others happy.
Has someone ever done something for you that’s made you feel happy?
Maybe it was surprising you with concert tickets, or simply providing some words of encouragement. Maybe it was a complete stranger who gave you a compliment or paid for your meal in the drive-thru line.
You have the power to impart this same feeling on others through, which often makes you feel 10x happier than doing something for yourself.
#4: You Have Total Control Over Your Happiness
Think about the good things in your life. Maybe you’re in great shape and have a consistent workout habit. Maybe you have a bunch of friends who love and support you. Maybe you’re one of the few people who love going to work every day.
Realize that you are 100% responsible for those outcomes. The positive traits you possess and the blessings you have, big or small, are a result of your own efforts.
The caveat to this is that you’re responsible for the negative outcomes as well.
The point is that you’re in control — no one else decides your future. Find happiness in the fact that your level of joy and fulfillment lies squarely on your shoulders and can’t be determined by someone else.
#5: You’re Reading This
If you’ve landed on this article, it means that you’re committed to taking your life to the next level and taking control of your own happiness.
You’re way ahead of millions of others who’ve already admitted defeat. The fact that you’re actively searching out reasons to be happy signifies you’re making some effort to change, which is the first step to that change becoming a reality.
Pat yourself on the back for your commitment to becoming the best version of yourself.
#6: You Have A Unique Contribution That The World Needs
Every one of you has a positive contribution to make while you’re here. Personally, it feels like I was put here to help people improve their lives, and this blog happens to be the medium for that mission.
That’s the unique contribution that I believe the world needs from me. Now you may not know what your unique contribution is yet, and that’s okay! You’ve got so much more time than you think to figure it out.
- Maybe it’s making your community a better place through volunteer work
- Maybe it’s teaching people how to cook
- Maybe it’s teaching people how to take control of their personal finances
Whatever it is, know that you possess unique abilities that can be leveraged to create a massive impact on your fellow peers.
Your passion is just waiting for your courage to catch up.
#7: Your Small Wins Are Worth Celebrating
Don’t get caught up in the idea that you need to make massive progress to feel happy. Small wins are still wins, small progress is still progress.
So if you’ve been working towards your goals and you’re only one-third of the way up the mountain, that’s 33% farther than you were before you started.
As long as you keep making forward progress, you will reach your goals eventually. It may not happen next month, or even next year, but you can’t lose if you don’t give up.
And if you haven’t been making forward progress and life feels stagnant? Well, use these feelings of guilt and shame to propel you forward and start taking small steps in the right direction.
The small wins you achieve each day are compelling reasons to be happy about who you are
11 More Reasons To Be Happy About Your Life
Perspective is so important when it comes to happiness. If you never take a step back to appreciate the little things, then you’ll never truly realize how lucky you are.
Every day, you can find reasons to be happy from the moment that you wake up. Let’s bring some perspective into the mix to help you find happiness in this very moment.
#1: You Woke Up This Morning
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant & his 13 year-old daughter Gianna got on a helicopter because Gianna had a basketball game scheduled.
Only 30 minutes later, the helicopter crash-landed near Los Angeles and they both lost their lives.
It was a tragedy that had millions of people in a state of shock. It served as a powerful reminder that we never know when we’re going to leave this earth.
If you woke up today, be happy. It’s yet another opportunity to work towards your goals and create a better future.
#2: You Were Born A Healthy Baby
Every year, millions of babies are born with birth defects that make it impossible for them to live what we would call a ‘normal’ life.
For those of us who weren’t, we got lucky. We could have just as easily ended up coming out of the womb with severe limitations on our potential.
We could have easily been born with heart defects, physical abnormalities, severe nerve diseases, the list goes on and on. Be thankful that limitations weren’t placed on you from the moment you entered this world.
#3: You Were Born In A First-World Country
Over 90% of my audience is from a first-world country like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, etc.
If you were lucky enough to have been born in an industrialized nation with plenty of opportunity, just know that you were given a massive head start at the game of life.
You have opportunities that other people would kill for. The first-world problems you’re experiencing seem a little less significant when you consider the fact that 1 in 10 people in the world don’t have access to basic water services.
#4: Your Parents Are In Good Health
This doesn’t apply to everyone reading this, but if you have two parents at home who are alive and well, isn’t that something that you should appreciate?
Hell, it’s one of the most compelling reasons to be happy that there is. As we just talked about, life is short.
You and everyone you know will be gone from this earth soon enough, so for now, show gratitude for the fact that two of the most important people in your life are still apart of it.
#5: Your Body And Mind Are Nourished
Be happy about the fact you’re able to sufficiently nourish your body and mind. After all, 1 in 10 people globally are malnourished.
They’re starving each night and have no idea where their next meal is going to come from. Could you imagine if this was you?
Too often we take for granted basic necessities like food and water. The fact that almost all of you reading this don’t have to stress about these things is definitely something to be happy about.
#6: Good Books
Books provide an incredible opportunity to learn and grow. We’re allowed to consume the wisdom of someone who has spent a lifetime becoming an expert in their field for pennies on the dollar.
If you’re interested in a certain aspect of personal development, here’s a few articles that will put you on the right path:
- The 10 Best Books On Habits Ever Written
- 11 Eye-Opening Books On Finding Your Passion In Life
- 15 Best Time Management Books To Supercharge Your Productivity
- 19 General Self-Improvement Books You Need To Read
#7: Great Movies & Shows
How cool is it that we have access to streaming services that allow us to sift through amazing movies & tv shows at the click of a button?
These are the types of feats that would be considered impossible thirty years ago. Remember that next time you’re binge-watching your favorite show for the third time this year.
#8: Good Friends
Good friends can provide a spark of joy even during the toughest of times. Spending time with them can act as a protective shield from the slings and arrows of life that inevitably come your way.
Be grateful that you have people you can rely on. Be grateful that there are people who believe you’re an important part of their life. Be grateful that there are people who can make you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts.
Appreciate these little moments because they’re not as insignificant as you think.
#9: Good Music
Who doesn’t love a good album from your favorite artist? Be happy that these artists are putting in the time and effort to create beautiful songs that can put you into another dimension.
#10: The Ups And Downs Of Life
Our life is filled with ups and downs, and both make life worth living.
We wouldn’t know happiness without sadness. We wouldn’t know love without heartbreak. We wouldn’t know excitement without disappointment.
It’s hard to find reasons to be happy when life smacks us in the face, but it’s these times that teach us the importance of appreciating positive moments when they come about.
#11: The Nature Of How We Got Here
Do you guys understand how unbelievable it is that we’re all here on this Earth?
Basically, a bunch of shit collided and formed a planet. This planet happens to be the perfect distance away from a big ball of fire that ensures we’re able to live without burning to death or freezing to death.
On top of that, this planet we’re on is rotating around this big ball of fire at 1,000 miles per hour, yet for some reason we don’t feel a thing.
Isn’t that just ludicrous to think about? It’s practically a miracle that we’re all here, and we should all behave accordingly.
Final Thoughts On Finding Reasons To Be Happy
At the end of the day, you get out of life what you’re looking for. If you’re constantly looking for reasons to be sad, angry, and resentful, you’ll find them.
If you’re looking for reasons to be happy, grateful, and excited, you’ll find those too.
Unfortunately, our brain’s been wired to look for option one. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t fight back against the brain’s natural tendency towards negative thinking.
If you’re willing to consciously look for reasons to be happy every day, you’re well on your way to making gratitude your default state.That doesn’t mean your life will be devoid of pain, suffering, and evil. It just means that these things won’t fuck up the thick skin that you’ve built up as a result of positive thinking.