What if I told you that you could be happy no matter what was happening in your life? Would you believe me? While I have to admit that happiness is not always readily available, there are a handful of proven ways to find happiness from within.
Prioritizing internal happiness gives you the ability to be happy regardless of your circumstances. By going within, you find a lasting joy that will sustain you through life’s highs and lows. Even when you're having a hard time right now.
This article will teach you exactly how to develop internal happiness to create consistent peace. By the end, you will find yourself better equipped to feel happy on a day-to-day basis.
- What is internal happiness?
- Why is it important to have internal happiness?
- 9 Tips for internal happiness
- Wrapping up
What is internal happiness?
Is internal happiness any different than regular happiness? Let’s answer this question together.
Internal happiness is your capacity to feel happy in spite of your current external circumstances. It’s a sense of joy that’s rooted within and controlled only by you.
And the research indicates that when you feel this sense of internal control you are more likely to experience happiness in daily life.
This differs from typical happiness in that it is not dependent on anything but yourself.
This isn’t to say that external factors won’t bring you happiness. And that happiness is valuable as well.
But external happiness can often be short-lived and less stable than internal happiness.
Why is it important to have internal happiness?
As we just discussed, happiness that depends on others and circumstance is often fleeting.
This is exactly why internal happiness is crucial. It’s a form of happiness that you can rely on no matter what life throws your way.
And by having the capacity to generate happiness from within, you’re more likely to feel satisfied on a regular basis.
The research backs this up. This study had participants engage in a mental training program designed to cultivate internal happiness.
At the end of the program, the participants experienced greater life satisfaction and were better able to regulate their emotions. This was found both in the short and long term after completion of the program.
I know this to be true on a personal level. I can achieve things at work or meet a big goal. But ultimately these things never lead to my long-term happiness.
It’s working on my inner peace and character that has brought me a sustainable sense of contentment.
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9 Tips for internal happiness
If you’re ready to find happiness within yourself, these 9 tips were made just for you.
1. Give up the need to always be in control
Starting off the list strong, we have perhaps one of the most challenging tips. But if you can master this one, I almost guarantee you’ll find internal happiness.
As humans, we have this inherent desire to want to feel safe. And to feel safe, we often think we need to be in control.
As a full-fledged control freak, I have a hard time surrendering. And because of this, when I feel out of control I start to go down a negative anxiety spiral.
So how do we combat this? You learn to surrender to what is out of your control.
This is a high level of meta-cognition. You have to first realize that you’re trying to tightly control a situation or aspect of your life.
For me, I’ll often want to be in control of other people’s behavior or reactions. Or I want to control the outcome of a situation.
But that’s not life and it’s a recipe for unhappiness. You’ll never have complete control.
But by practicing letting go of control, you set yourself free. And you gain an unshakeable sense that things will be okay.
2. Be your own cheerleader
Another big aspect of feeling happiness from within is learning to be kind to yourself.
I used to start my day off by looking in the mirror and immediately criticizing myself. I’d talk about how I hate my hair or the size of my thighs.
Imagine how that made me feel. It’s no surprise that the rest of my day I was grumpy and unsatisfied.
We have to learn to be our own cheerleaders. You have to point out the things you love about yourself and motivate yourself to be better.
This could look like practicing morning affirmations that exude self-love. Or it could look like stopping yourself when you find yourself saying something self-deprecating.
It may sound cheesy, but it works. It’s only logical that if the voice in your head is constantly putting you down then you won't be happy.
Treat yourself like you would your best friend and watch how your emotions become elevated.
This includes supporting yourself with your big and ambitious dreams. Because chasing those deep desires will lead you to lasting inner satisfaction.
3. Practice self-honesty
Another great way to find inner happiness is, to be honest with yourself.
You might be thinking, “Of course, I’m honest with myself.” But I’d encourage you to stop and really think about it.
I’ll give you an example. Yesterday I was feeling really frustrated with my fitness.
I immediately started to come up with excuses about why I wasn’t where I wanted to be with my workouts. But none of these excuses were going to help me grow or improve.
I finally got honest with myself and admitted that my workouts had been haphazard half-efforts lately. This brutal but necessary honesty with myself gave me the kick in the pants to get organized.
And this honestly helped me get back on track with my fitness which ultimately leads to my happiness.
When you aren’t honest with yourself, things won’t improve. You won’t grow from your weaknesses and instead, you’ll live in a world of false comfort.
Maybe that sounds like tough love. But we all need it if we want to find real happiness.
4. Embrace your imperfections
This probably sounds like a nice cliché. But it’s true. Internal joy is highly related to being able to fully embrace your flaws.
I will be the first to tell you that this is not natural for me. I tend to try to shy away from my imperfections. Or I try to hide them altogether.
But your imperfections are part of what makes you wonderful. They make you authentically you.
And by being ashamed of your imperfections, you become your own critic and deny yourself acceptance.
I’ll give you a personal example. I have a few moles on my face.
Throughout my teenage years, I wanted perfectly smooth skin like my peers. I thought my moles were ugly. Now, I’m at a stage where I embrace that these moles are part of what makes me unique. And because of that, I feel greater peace about my appearance.
Your flaws won’t always be physical. Sometimes they will be behaviors or personality traits. But be willing to embrace them while still striving to be the best version of yourself possible.
5. Know when to choose yourself first
If you find yourself unhappy, it might be time to start making yourself a priority again.
At first glance, it can sound selfish to choose yourself first. But let me illustrate why it’s difficult to feel internally happy if you don’t.
As a semi-retired people pleaser, it’s easy for me to bend over backward for others. I hated saying no and I would put my needs second to keep others happy.
This used to be especially true in my workplace. I’d always take on the extra project or work overtime to help.
In both my professional life and my relationships, this led to burnout. I started to resent my work and doing favors for friends.
I’d come home exhausted each night. And by not prioritizing my own needs, I felt depressed and frustrated most of the time.
The solution came when I started to say no to others. But I was saying yes to myself.
I was able to find a better balance. I learned you can still help others while taking care of yourself.
Spreading yourself thin won’t make you or others happy. So do yourself a favor and choose yourself first so you can feel jazzed about your life.
6. Make clearing your mind a habit
If you’re anything like me, your mind runs 100 miles per minute. I’m always thinking about the next thing or fixating on a mistake.
This scattered brain does not serve me or create happiness. Instead, it breeds anxiety.
So what’s the antidote for internal peace to a chaotic mind? Clearing your mind.
Before you blow me off as another person telling you to meditate, hear me out.
Meditation is one great way to clear your mind. But clearing your mind can take on many forms.
It could be as simple as stopping and naming 3 things you’re thankful for.
Or it could look like taking time to clean up your physical space so you don’t feel stressed at home.
My personal form of clearing my mind is daily movement. Sometimes this is a walk, a run, or lifting weights.
By getting my body moving, I force myself to focus on the present and my body. This practice slows down my mind and helps me reset.
Find a way to clear your mind each day and you’re on your way to feeling happy from within.
7. Develop trust in yourself
Another way to foster inner happiness is to learn how to trust yourself.
You might be thinking that you already trust yourself. But let me ask you a few questions.
When was the last time you second-guessed yourself? Or when was the last time you felt confident betting on your own abilities when facing a challenge?
If you find yourself with several answers to those questions then you may not trust yourself as much as you think.
Trusting yourself means learning to listen to your gut. And it means trusting yourself to know that you are capable of achieving your dreams.
When you stop constantly second-guessing yourself, you stop ruminating and doubting your abilities.
I’m not perfect at this. But I’ve gotten better at it because I realize that even when I don’t make the best decision things will work out alright.
So take the leap and switch jobs if you’re unhappy. Break up with the toxic partner. Because when your insides are telling you something isn’t right it’s time to start listening.
You feel more at ease on a regular basis if you feel you can always rely on yourself to make things work.
8. Forgive yourself
This tip is a doozy. Forgiving yourself is what I consider one of the toughest forms of forgiveness.
We’re often our own worst critics. Some nights I lay in bed and think about all the ways I messed up that day.
It’s not a healthy habit and I’m working on ditching it. But it’s rooted in a sense of difficulty forgiving myself.
What I try to remind myself is that I’m quick to forgive my best friend and my husband when they mess up. So why do I hold myself to a different standard?
Yesterday at work I made a mistake in regards to some paperwork. It was a silly mistake that shouldn’t have been a big deal. But I held onto it the whole evening.
What did not forgiving myself accomplish? Nothing other than causing myself unnecessary anxiety.
Acknowledge that you’re human and forgive yourself. You’ll feel much better and be able to learn from your mistakes much better.
9. Take advantage of self-help books
I used to roll my eyes when someone suggested I read a self-help book. I often thought they were cheesy and unnecessary.
But it only took reading one “self-help” book to realize what I was missing out on. A friend recommended “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero to me.
This book opened my eyes to how self-help books are insanely valuable. It’s a person’s most valuable life wisdom condensed into a short form to accelerate your own self-growth.
You can literally read a book about internal happiness. Or you can read a book on the topic of many of the tips in this article to master it in depth.
In case you want a few ideas, here are a few of my favorite self-help authors:
- James Clear.
- Jen Sincero.
- Tony Robbins.
- Ryan Holiday.
- Jay Shetty.
- Lewis Howes.
A book by any of these folks will help you start to foster wellness from within.
Beyond reading the book, you also need to slow down and apply the concepts. It’s tempting to want to breeze through the book for the sake of completing it.
But if you finish a book without implementing some of the tactics, what was the point of reading it?
Take notes and re-read self-help books often. It’s been a game-changer for me when it comes to happiness.
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Happiness comes in many forms. But internal happiness is arguably the most essential for life satisfaction. The tips from this article will help you cultivate inner wellness no matter what circumstances you find yourself facing. With time, you’ll find that you value this internal happiness because no one and nothing can ever take it from you.
How would you rate your happiness currently? And how much of that comes from within? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!