Young woman learning how to find what makes you happy in life.

Have you ever struggled to answer these questions: What makes me happy? How do I find my own happiness in life? What makes a happy life?

You are not alone. The truth is, most of us don’t really know what makes us happy. We don’t know because we are most likely too busy to figure out what really makes us happy in life.

We have to go to work, care for our kids, and make time for our family and friends. By the time we’ve done all of that, there’s barely any room left for ourselves.

This is is a sad reality for many of us and the reason why I want to share with you some simple, happiness-inducing activities that I’ve picked up over the years that you can use each day.

In this post, you’ll also learn how to find what makes you happy in life and why it’s important to your overall happiness and well-being.

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How to find out what makes you happy.

Here are some practices that will help you figure out what makes you happy in life. Studies have shown that some of these practices can be good for your physical health as well as your mental health.

1. Make a list of things that bring you joy.

Joy is an emotion that uplifts you and makes you feel happy. This is why a joy list is a great way to figure out what makes you happy in life.

Spend a few minutes each day for a week, either at the beginning or end of the day, writing down the things that spark joy inside of you. You can even write down just one thing each day that brings you joy.

After the week is done, go back and look at what you wrote.  Observe any patterns in your joy list.

Make a note of any other feelings or thoughts that come up as you read your list and any changes that have happened to you internally and externally.

Then pick and choose from your list the things that you want to do more of because they are the things in life that bring you great joy and happiness.

2. Practice self-love.

It’s hard to fully experience happiness if you’re full of resentment, anger, and fear.  It took me a long time to figure out that happiness can be amplified if I’m not full of negative feelings at the same time.

It’s hard to give something you don’t have if your cup is empty. This is why it’s important to practice self-love. Love is something you can give to yourself, as well as to other people.

Loving yourself can lead the way to greater happiness by increasing your self-confidence, boosting your self-esteem, and embracing all of yourself, even your flaws.

3. Practice gratitude.

Gratitude is being thankful for the things that you have in your life. It’s a great tool to use if you want to increase your sense of abundance and happiness.

There are many ways to practice gratitude in your daily life. My favorite way to express gratitude is through journaling.

Gratitude journaling is writing down the things in life that bring you great joy and happiness. I discovered that the great thing about gratitude journaling is you don’t have to write a huge list at all to reap the benefits of it.

You can write just one thing that you’re grateful for each day, either at the beginning or end of your day, and you will feel more joyful and abundant.

If journaling’s not your thing, you can express gratitude quietly to yourself (which is something I’ve been doing lately myself) or to someone you’ve been meaning to thank.

Whichever method you choose, gratitude can be a great way to increase happiness and live a more fulfilling life.

4. Start journaling. 

Journaling is another tool that can help you figure out what makes you happy in life. It’s a great way to practice self-reflection and gain more clarity about yourself.

My favorite journaling technique is the one I learned from “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I don’t do the 3 morning pages that she suggests, however.

Instead, I do a shorter, modified version and write whatever’s on my mind for a total of 5 minutes until my timer goes off.

This way, I can journal most days of the week and still reap the benefits of journaling without taking too much time from my day.

It’s been helpful in my life in several ways, especially in digging deep into my subconscious and helping to resolve inner conflicts.

5. Meditate.

Meditation is a great way to find out what makes you happy in life because it allows you to hear your inner voice more clearly.

One of the ways to practice meditation is through mindfulness. Mindfulness is a meditative practice that allows you to become aware of the present moment while cultivating compassion for yourself and others.

One of the great benefits of meditation is that it can help you process your thoughts and emotions and has even been known to lower stress.

Meditating on a regular basis can also help reduce negative thoughts and keep them from taking over your mind so that you are in control instead of your mind.

If you meditate on a regular basis, you will realize that your thoughts, emotions, and behavior are not who you are and you’ll be able to figure out how to truly be happy.

6. Do a random act of kindness.

Being in service of others is a wonderful way to figure out what makes you happy and one of the ways you can do it is by doing a random act of kindness.

Random acts of kindness are acts you do for others or yourself without planning ahead. They don’t have to be grand gestures to make yourself or someone else happy.

Simply saying hi to your neighbor or smiling at a stranger can be enough to make you and someone else happy. If you it regularly, you’ll discover how much happiness even a tiny act of kindness can bring.

7. Make a list of values.

Values are the things you cherish most in life and it’s important to know what they are because they can help you figure out what it is that makes you happy.

People whose values align with their personality have better self-esteem and are happier than those who don’t know what their values are.

Knowing your personal core values can also help you have healthy boundaries, keep you from losing a sense of who you are, bring more purpose & meaning to your life, and carry you through tough times.

Here are some examples of personal core values:

  • Family
  • Health
  • Money
  • Recognition
  • Creativity
  • Adventure
  • Education
  • Security
  • Faith
  • Beauty
  • Peace
  • Friendship
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
  • Cooperation

8. Make a list of things to try.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or routine, you can write a list of things that you like to do, or would like to try, to find out what makes you happy. Here are some examples of things to try:

  • Painting with watercolors.
  • Hiking in a new park.
  • Petting your dog.
  • Learning a new skill.
  • Picking up a new hobby.
  • Reading a good novel.
  • Spending quality time with a good friend.
  • Visiting a new museum.
  • Learning how to do the cha cha.

When you complete your list, pick something easy, or something that most appeals to you, and do it.

If you try it and you don’t like it, you can always pick something else or add to your list of things to try. You won’t know what makes you truly happy until you go out and explore.

9. Find good a support network.

The people we surround ourself with on a regular basis can affect our happiness, so you want to make sure that you have supportive relationships if you want to experience happiness in life.

Here are some ways to find a good support network:

  • Seeking family members you trust.
  • Surrounding yourself with optimistic people
  • Making more friends.
  • Hanging around happy people.
  • Spending time with people who support your dreams and goals.
  • Finding a group of like-minded people.

If you find it difficult to look for good, supportive relationships, you can always ask for help from someone you trust like a good friend, a spiritual leader, a trustworthy family member, or a licensed professional.

Why it’s important to know what makes you happy.

It’s important to know what makes you happy because studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between well-being and happiness. How happy you are can affect how long you live and your health outcomes.

There is a caveat, however, because happiness can be subjective.

For example, a person who is more financially secure may be happier than someone who is not. But that doesn’t mean that the person with more money is always happy and the person with less money is always unhappy.

Happiness can also depend on many factors, such as how much your basic needs are met.

For example, we think that spending money, making more money, and working more hours will make us happy. I was one of those people who thought money could buy happiness.

Buying material things allowed me to enjoy life, but only for a brief moment. After I purchased the thing I wanted, the feeling usually dissipated quickly.

There is a leveling off of happiness and life satisfaction when it comes to money. After your basic needs are met, money becomes less important.

I found out later in life that eudaimonic happiness is more meaningful, satisfying, and lasts much longer. So if you want to experience lasting happiness in life, be sure you figure out what makes you happy and what brings it purpose and meaning.

What happiness is.

We all know that happiness is a feeling. But I think that it can be a choice and a state of mind.

How happiness is a choice.

I won’t pretend to know all the things that define happiness and I’m certainly not going to suggest that choosing happiness is the solution to all problems.

I do know from experience that we can choose to be happy while we’re experiencing negative feelings.

Choosing to be happy while your day, week, month, or even year is going bad can act as a raft during those times when you are caught in a river of negative emotions and you’re finding it difficult to surface from them.

How happiness is a state of mind.

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.”  HH Dalai Lama

HH The 14th Dalai Lama

Happiness can also be a state of mind. The Dalai Lama co-wrote the book, “The Art of Happiness.

It was the first in a series of books written by the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, an American psychiatrist.

The book was first published in 1998 and is divided into 5 parts (15 chapters) that touch on the techniques and benefits of training the mind to achieve true and lasting happiness.

Because the authors come from very different backgrounds, their beliefs, philosophies, and cultures often clash with one another throughout the book.  

The book suggests that you can train yourself to be happy, even when your circumstances are not ideal, such as an illness or great loss.

Because we all face suffering, we can train ourselves to be more resilient when it happens.

Therefore, happiness is not just a feeling, it’s also a skill and a tool that can be honed to develop resilience and create lasting joy and satisfaction in our lives.


Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what makes us happy because we simply don’t have the time to do it.

However, it’s important to know what makes us happy because it can affect our overall life satisfaction, health, well-being, and life expectancy.

You don’t have to buy material things to enjoy life. There are simple tools you can use to help you find greater happiness in life such as journaling, meditating, trying new things, and surrounding yourself with happy people.

I hope you found these tips on how to find what makes you happy in life helpful. Do you have any happiness tips to share? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Jazakallah. Discovering happiness is a personal journey. I resonate with the idea of cultivating joy through practices like gratitude, self-love, and exploring activities that bring genuine happiness.

    1. Christine Songco says:

      Hi Talha. Thanks for your kind words. I had to look up the word Jazakallah and thank you so much for that. I’m so happy that these practices to find personal happiness have resonated with you. They have certainly brought me joy and peace :).

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