Over the last 10 years of living in 4 different countries/continents, the lifestyles and ways of being from my happiest friends stand out from the crowd.
The happiest people I know share a number of commonalities. Here they are:
- They spend time outside, as often as they can. I don’t mean just walks in the park (although that counts too). My happiest friends go to the mountains, to the seas, to the lakes, to the valleys, to the rivers. They get out and get in the environment, sometimes for days and weeks at a time.
- They do some kind of sport. Usually, this sport is also spent outside and with friends. The types of sports my friends do range from climbing, kayaking, rafting, biking, running, swimming, hiking, skiing, surfing, and yoga. Moving your body is not only for jocks and outdoors people. Moving your body is a foundation of wellness and happiness. These sports also focus you and put you in a flow/meditation state. Plus, they are super fun.
- If their focus isn’t on a sport, then it is on another hobby. My happiest friends have hobbies that include cooking, music, painting, writing, sculpting and so on. Usually, my friends have both a sport and an art practice as a hobby. The idea is that you get to touch on all the elements of the human experience and have something fun to excite and drive you. Bonus happy points if that hobby helps other people.
- They do things with their friends on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean they also don’t have alone time (which is also important) but they make sure to have regular fun times with good friends. This means going biking/skiing/running/etc. together, or even cooking or doing art together. If you don’t have a crew to do fun things with, spend some time trying to make one. Usually, the outdoors/sports community is very welcoming and you can make friends pretty quickly. Try climbing gyms, kayak clubs, biking groups, Crossfit boxes. Look at Facebook groups and meetups in your area. Just be open, genuine and proactive and you’ll make fun friends in no time. If you don’t know how to do these sports — learn! It’s never too late to learn and learning is half the fun.
- They are kind, generous and loving. They know how to spread good vibes, which in turn generates more good vibes. They don’t expect things in return for their generosity, they just do it to do it.
- They tell their family and friends “I love you,” often.
- They do intense things. By this, I mean a few things. One way is that they do a lot of high-adrenaline/body pushing sports (ie: marathons, ultra running, rafting the Grand Canyon, skiing before work, etc). They push themselves to get a bit better every day. They set goals and move towards them. Another way is some incorporate fasting, cold showers, saunas, and other “body-pushing” tricks that ignite your body into being its best. Putting in the effort has the effect of actually making much of life “effortless.”
- They expel much of their excess energy with sports and hobbies. Anxiety is often a cause of us not expelling energy as we used to as animals. Just talk to an endurance athlete if you don’t believe me. Use your body, calm your mind.
- They read books and listen to podcasts. Voraciously. They love to learn, expand their minds and get into a good story.
- They treat themselves well. By this, I mean that they eat and sleep well (except on ski trips, but that’s okay). They take solo time to recharge. In general, they make sure to do what they need to do to be their best.
- They have fun. Duh.They make sure to have fun on a regular basis, be that rafting in the Grand Canyon, participating at Burning Man, going out to brunch, going dancing, going on a nice long walk, running beer miles, working on their craft, reading a book. Whatever fun is for them.
- They don’t spend much time talking about people (ie: gossip) but talk often about ideas and their hobbies.
- They exude positivity and don’t let the little things bother them much. Life will always have things to throw at you, and that is normal. Being positive is a cultivated habit.
- They know that life is fun! You just have to tap into it and see what interests you.
In sum, the happiest people I know get outside often, move their bodies regularly, have at least one hobby and are loving, positive people. They know that life is fun and they live life as fully as they can.
What do you see in the happiest people I know? Thank you for reading!
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