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How to be happy: 20 tips and exercises for more happiness

Everyone wants to be happy, but it’s not always easy. Especially when circumstances are unfavorable, we often have the feeling that we can do nothing at all for our happiness. But this is not true, happiness is also or mainly a question of one’s own thinking and doing.

How do I become happier? This question is on the minds of many people in the world. Often we look for our happiness in material things. But becoming happy means one thing above all: being happy for yourself. How you find happiness in small things, you will learn here.

How to be happy: What being happy actually is

Be happier with meditation and mindfulness

When do you feel happy? If you ask different people at what times they are (or could be) happy, many tell you about external circumstances: a great job, the great love, a nice vacation, a great car, …

Of course, these things can make you happy if you have them. But they are not a prerequisite, and that’s a good thing.

Being happy is often a matter of small things. Many small happy moments add up to big happiness. And you can take care of those little moments, no matter what the circumstances are in your life right now.

More happiness in everyday life with these tips and exercises

More happiness in everyday life with these tips and exercises

We’re giving you 20 ideas, tips and exercises to help you be happier. To you, they seem like little things, but in abundance, they create many precious moments.

Do things you love

In the stress of everyday life, the things that are actually important to us often get lost. At the same time, what you love is the best happiness giver. To be happy, you should therefore regularly take time for it. If you don’t know what you like to do, it’s time to find out. This can also be a new hobby.

Spend time with people you care about

Spending a relaxed day with family, sitting with friends, having a chat with that old classmate … time with people we care about has the best potential for happiness moments.

Be grateful

Gratefulness causes feelings of happiness almost immediately, and the best part is that we can learn it. As an exercise to do this, you can get in the habit of writing down three things you’re grateful for every day.

These can be big, existential things, like your children or having enough to eat. But even very small moments often leave us amazed – and happy – with gratitude.

It often comes down to the right mindset. Because positive thinking is something you can train yourself to do with some practice, even if you tend to be pessimistic.

Reduce stress

Reduce stress

Stress is probably the biggest happiness killer of our time. If you’re just rushing from one appointment to another, you won’t have an eye for beauty or time for the things that are important to you.

In addition, stress also makes you sick. Enough reasons to reduce stress in your life, right? How to do that is very individual, because it depends on the factors that are causing you particular stress.

Maybe you have to hand over tasks, maybe you have to resolve open conflicts or even separate from certain people. But sometimes it’s more small things like better time management or regular short relaxation breaks that help reduce the stress in your life.

Go outside

Nature is a tremendous dispenser of happiness. This is especially evident when we stand on the beach and look out to sea. But riverbanks, forests, flower meadows or snow-covered fields also make us happy.

And if it’s just gray outside, at least the daylight and the air are good for us. Various studies have shown: People who are regularly outside are also happier.

Learn to say no

Become happier by learning to say "no"

If you’re always being talked into tasks (or even goods), you’re wasting a lot of time, effort and money. Being happy also means knowing what doesn’t do you good, and then not doing it if possible.

Of course, it is not always possible to avoid annoying tasks. But you don’t have to say yes to unpleasant chores that no one else wants to do. Learn to say no and enjoy the small feeling of happiness of not having to do an unpleasant task.

Work on your dreams and visions

What goals do you still want to achieve in life? What is your vision of a fulfilling life, your sense of life? What dreams are still waiting to become reality?

Take these goals, visions and dreams seriously and work on getting closer to them every day if possible. Even if fulfillment is still a long way off: Even a small step in the right direction makes you happy.

Write down moments of happiness

Probably the most effective exercise for more happiness in everyday life is this one: Write down as many moments of happiness as possible every day. Make it a daily habit in the evening and collect at least three happiness moments of the day.

This may be difficult at first, but after a short time you will notice that you already pay more attention to what makes you happy during the day. And that will lead to significantly more moments of happiness than before.

Do sports

Doing sports can make you happier

Sports release endorphins and they make us happy. In addition, exercise improves our health. And being healthy and fit is also a good basis for happiness. Therefore, if you’re not doing it anyway, you should start exercising more regularly now.


In meditation, your thoughts can finally settle down and make room for relaxation. Many people therefore find meditating a great happiness factor. Why not give it a try?

Care for a balance between give and take

If you are constantly concerned only with your own benefit, you will not be happy in the long run. Those who constantly give only and exhaust themselves in the process, likewise not.

Really happy are the people who on the one hand can accept good things, but on the other hand are also happy to pass them on to others. This can refer to many areas of life: Money, time, compliments, attention, help …

Be loving

Let’s be honest: how do you actually treat yourself? Do you pay attention to your needs? Do you encourage yourself in your thoughts or do you tend to belittle yourself when something doesn’t work out? Do you make sure that you get everything you need for your well-being?

Many people have the impression that other people are responsible for such things, but this is a big mistake that quickly makes you unhappy. First and foremost, it’s up to you to love yourself.

Banish things (and people) that harm you

What’s not doing you any good? What tasks, objects, or even people do you constantly get angry about, with no good times?

If there are such factors in your life, you should seriously try to get rid of them. Nothing and nobody has the right to harm us permanently. Banish such things and also people from your life.

Care for a good sleep

Care for a good and restful sleep

That enough sleep is an important happiness factor is something we actually all know from experience. Nevertheless, we often do far too little for it. There are many ways to ensure better sleep: Go to bed early. Ensure relaxation in the evening.

Optimize the bed and the bedroom so that they are real resting places. Adjust the daily schedule as much as possible to your own biorhythm. Avoid alcohol. What causes you to sleep badly? And how can you change it?

Find beautiful things in your surroundings

A little exercise you can do anytime, anywhere: No matter where you are, try to find something beautiful in your surroundings. Even a tiny little thing is enough to focus your mind on positivity and thus become happier.

Live in the here and now

You can no longer change the past and how the future will develop, you can not foresee today. Happy are above all the people who manage to live much in the here and now.

This means not to be constantly preoccupied with the past and not to seek happiness in an uncertain future. If you want to be happy, be happy now, no matter what the circumstances.

Learn to forgive

Old anger and hurt feelings can be real happiness killers. The remedy for this: forgive. Many people don’t want to or can’t forgive because they don’t realize one thing: Your resentment is not harming the person who did something to you, but only you.

The other person usually doesn’t notice much of it, but you yourself have to deal with the bad mood over and over again. Forgiveness does not mean to forget everything or to approve an act. It only means to free yourself from the hurts of the past.

Look at what you have

Focus on what you have

Many people pay most attention to the things or abilities they would like to have but don’t. The neighbors have a bigger car, the girlfriend is slimmer and actually the man for life is still missing …

If you constantly focus your thoughts on the lack, it will make you unhappy. Instead, turn your attention to the things you already have. Because they form the basis for your happiness. You can practice this view with the exercise for gratitude, which we have already presented to you above.


A few years ago, something amazing was noticed: The brain seems to pick up information about how we’re doing from our facial muscles.

This means that when you smile – even when you don’t feel like it – you’re signaling to yourself that you’re doing well, and the brain releases the appropriate neurotransmitters that actually make you happier. Smiling at yourself and others can make you happy for that reason alone.

Start today

Postponing your happiness into the future doesn’t work. If you want to be happier, you need to start today. Just pick two or three of the tips you like best and put them into action today.

Sayings about being happy

We have sayings for you that revolve around the theme of happiness. They may encourage you to take steps or stop for a moment and enjoy the happiness in these words of wisdom.

  1. Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. (Abraham Lincoln)
  2. If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are. (Charles-Louis de Montesquieu)
  3. The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up. (Mark Twain)
  4. True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. (Seneca)
  5. Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. It is the exercise of virtue. Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life. (Aristotle)
  6. I have chosen to be happy because it’s good for my health. (Voltaire)
  7. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. (Anne Frank)
  8. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. (Buddha)
  9. Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination. (Mark Twain)
  10. Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. (Marcel Proust)
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