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5 habits of happy people

iStockphoto.com / Oleg Prikhodko iStockphoto.com / Oleg Prikhodko

By Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

Completely You 

Happy people: What in the world is their secret? Are they wired differently? Do they come from a different planet? Or are they just luckier than us "normal" ones?

I've asked myself these questions for many years. When I was severely depressed and spent an entire year in bed, I desperately wanted to get a glimpse into the minds of these people. What did they have that I didn't? What did they do to be so in love with life, so happy and so balanced, while I was basking in misery?

I didn't find my answers back then, but I never stopped being curious. Over the years, I've observed, read about and researched happiness, and I've noticed five habits happy people have in common.

1. They believe in their own worthiness

In "The Gifts of Imperfection," Dr. Brené Brown writes that happy people realize they are worthy of love and therefore put themselves first more often than other people do. This leads to more self-care, more understanding of yourself and, you guessed it, more happiness. If you have trouble believing that you're worthy of love and happiness too, begin journaling, doing daily affirmations of love or meditating for a few minutes a day. The more you practice these simple (but not always easy) steps, the easier it'll be for you to realize you're important too.

2. They practice gratitude

Gratitude makes the world go round, and happy people make it a point to notice all the things they can be grateful for. The more you practice your gratitude muscle and actively become aware of all the positive things in your life, the more content and happy you'll be. Oprah does it, so it must work, right? If you have trouble practicing gratitude, download this app, Gratitude 365, which can help you make gratitude a daily habit .

3. They practice self-compassion

You know when you do this one thing wrong and you go into a huge self-attack? Well, happy people don't. They practice self-compassion instead, knowing that beating themselves up does more damage than good. While this may not come easy to you, by simply becoming aware of your inner dialogue, you can begin to change your go-to response from hating to loving yourself.

4. They design their lives to bring joy and happiness

Most of us waste our current lives waiting for a "better" future. Happy people do the opposite. They instinctively know that they deserve a happy and joyful life in the now, instead of waiting for some future gratification. You can walk your way towards your dream life by asking yourself what it is that you actually want and then taking small daily steps in that direction. It may be that all you need is more free time in your schedule to feel your quality of life increase.

5. They practice authenticity

Being authentic in every area of your life isn't always easy, right? But if you strive to be happy, that's the way to go. This goes back to realizing your own worthiness and believing that you're enough the way you are. So, stop trying to be like your "perfect" neighbor and instead embrace who you truly are.

I believe that happiness is accessible to everyone and, by building these habits, you'll soon begin to notice your happiness levels increase.

Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is Completely You's Need to Know blogger. An anorexia survivor and body image expert, she also blogs at aMindmedia, The Change Blog and Positively Positive.

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