50 Ways to Start Cultivating Happiness Today


The most common questions I receive from readers revolve around finding happiness. As many of you know, I believe happiness is self-generated. Whenever we are experiencing unhappiness, it is usually due to situations that we have either created, invited, or failed to act upon.

Regardless of the specific causes of unhappiness, many people eventually reach the realization that if they want their situations to change, THEY are the ones who must work to change it.

In my article, The First Step Toward Personal Change (featured on The Change Blog), I discussed the importance of visualizing a blank slate. The mental blank slate represents the “letting-go” of old patterns. This visualization allows us to purposefully redesign our lives, unencumbered by mental clutter from the past.

So, if step one is to start with a blank slate, then the next logical question is . . . then what?

The next task is to start cultivating happiness. We can accomplish this by adding consciously reinvented layers of our lives to the slate. Although we may all have areas that we need to focus on more, I have provided the following list of suggestions to help you to begin the process.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive; once you start the process, I am sure you will naturally add the items that are most relevant for you. There really isn’t a specific order to follow, but I think the most logical place to start is with a rediscovery of self.


  1. Learn about yourself through introspection.
  2. Define your core values and beliefs.
  3. Set your own priorities and direction.
  4. Love, value, and forgive yourself.
  5. Prioritize self-care (adequate sleep, healthy diet, relaxation, etc.).
  6. Live authentically.
  7. Live within your means.


  1. Teach others how to treat you by loving and respecting yourself.
  2. Cultivate positive, supportive, and reciprocating relationships.
  3. Seek relationships that cause your world to expand (your world should not feel smaller).
  4. Create healthy boundaries.
  5. Understand the differences between dependence, co-dependence, independence, and interdependence.
  6. Learn about and develop your emotional intelligence.
  7. Share your world with a pet.


  1. Simplify/organize your surroundings (get rid of excess).
  2. Design/create a personal sanctuary.
  3. Furnish your environment with inspiring materials (books, art, music, etc.).


  1. Be willing to learn and experience new things.
  2. Volunteer for a social cause.
  3. Seek peak experiences/Create a bucket list.
  4. Accept personal challenges (run a marathon).
  5. Don’t wait for someday(start enjoying life today).


  1. Resist pessimistic thinking.
  2. Keep things in perspective.
  3. Accept that you can only control yourself and your own reactions.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff and choose your battles.
  5. Focus on the present (let go of the past, don’t worry about the future).
  6. Smile more.
  7. Increase your opportunities to laugh and share humor.
  8. Don’t allow negative moments to snowball.


  1. Develop your creative skills and talents.
  2. Find what you love to do and make it your life’s work.
  3. Set and work toward meaningful personal goals.
  4. Challenge your self-limiting beliefs (you can achieve more than you think).
  5. Seek improvement over perfection.
  6. Appreciate/celebrate your accomplishments and personal milestones.
  7. Redefine your beliefs about success (don’t confuse material acquisitions with success).
  8. Give yourself permission to change your mind or direction when something isn’t working.
  9. Remember to enjoy the journey as much as the ultimate destination.


  1. Treat peace of mind as a priority.
  2. Know that peace, love, and happiness are all generated from within.
  3. Learn to channel your awareness and attention (where your attention goes, energy flows).
  4. Learn to re-center and replenish using relaxation or meditation techniques.
  5. Seek moments of solitude.
  6. Practice gratitude.


  1. Recognize that change is natural and inevitable; be flexible and less resistant to it.
  2. When things change, embrace the new normal.
  3. Develop confidence in your ability to respond to stress and crises.
  4. Look for active ways to solve problems.
  5. Identify with yourself as a survivor, not a victim.

“Happiness is an inside job.”
~William Arthur Ward~

*Image: Nabil Medawar

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