I love that you are on a journey to learn how to find what makes you happy.
It’s a good quest to be on! And one I’ve done before.
In my work as a Happiness and Manifestation Coach and Educator, I use a mix of mindset mastery, happiness research, and manifestation concepts to unlock ways to create an amazing, happy life.
I’ll be giving you these tools in this article so that you can start on your beautiful self-discovery journey to find all the parts of life that make you happy.
15 Exploration Steps for How to Find What Makes You Happy
1. Start with Self-Reflection
Starting with self-reflection is the best way to understand your inner voice and discover the core of your desires.
Set aside quality time daily or on a regular basis, so you can explore your thoughts and feelings.
Gratitude Journaling: Every night, jot down three good things that happened during the day. This will shift your focus from negative emotions to positive ones, helping you identify sources of joy in your daily life.
Meditation: A great way to connect with your inner self. As you meditate, pay attention to the feelings that come through you. They can offer clues about what truly brings you happiness.
Ask this Simple Question: Every morning, ask yourself this simple question: “What would make today a good day for me?” Your answers will vary, but they are your inner self guiding you.
Mindful Social Media: Social media can distort the perception of happiness. By reducing your online hours, you give yourself the space to understand your own happiness without external influences.
Talk to Good People in Your Life: Sometimes, the best advice comes from those who know us best. Talk to a best friend or family member (the ones that have your best interest in mind) about moments they’ve observed you being genuinely happy.
Revisit Past Experiences: Think back to moments in your life when you felt truly happy. What were you doing? Who were you with? These moments can offer a roadmap to your true happiness.
Remember, the journey to understanding how to find what makes you happy is deeply personal. Always trust your inner voice. It knows you best.
2. Try New Activities
Exploring new things is a fun way to uncover hidden passions and understand how to find what makes you happy.
Trying new things may mean you step outside of your comfort zone, but sometimes that’s where happiness lives.
Here are some ideas to you started:
Workshops and Classes: Sign up for a local workshop or class that seems interesting. Whether it’s pottery, dance, or a new language, learning a fresh skill is a great way to stimulate your mind and find joy.
Travel to a New City: Sometimes, a change of environment, like visiting a new city, can open your eyes to activities or experiences that resonate with your inner self. If you can’t take a full trip, take a day trip.
Sports and Regular Exercise: Physical activities like yoga, hiking, or team sports, can boost your mental health and happiness levels. But, also, doing gives you a chance to find your happiness and to meet happy people with similar interests.
Tap Into Your Creativity: Sketching, painting, or even digital art can be therapeutic. Being in a state of creativity will connect you to your intuition, where you can find what makes you happy.
Play Games: Video games offer a wide range of experiences. From serene exploration games to adrenaline-packed action, there’s something for everyone. And board games connect you to others and open up fascinating conversations.
Volunteer Work: Community service or volunteering can provide a deep sense of purpose. Helping others can be a direct path to your own happiness.
Nature Activities: Activities like bird-watching, gardening, or taking long walks in nature connect you to the wise wisdom of the Earth.
These are just some ideas but be sure to listen to your inner voice and let it guide you to activities that resonate with your spirit.
3. Prioritize Mental Health
Mental health is intrinsically tied to your overall happiness.
Recognizing its importance and actively working towards a healthier mindset is crucial in the journey of discovering how to find what makes you happy.
Here’s how you can prioritize your mental well-being:
Professional Guidance: If you’re facing a hard time, don’t hesitate to seek help. Therapists and holistic counselors can help you navigate negative emotions and find a path to a happier life.
Mindfulness and Meditation: These grounding tools can help you stay in the present moment, reducing anxiety and increasing life satisfaction.
Limit Social Media: Social media can sometimes amplify feelings of inadequacy or loneliness. Setting boundaries or taking breaks can significantly improve your mental health.
Regular Exercise: Physical activity (any kind that you like) isn’t just for the body. It’s a proven mood booster, releasing happy hormones that combat stress and elevate your mood.
Mindful Eating: What you eat affects how you feel. Consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients can have a positive impact on your mood and energy levels.
Join Support Groups: Surrounding yourself with supportive relationships and individuals who understand your struggles can make a world of difference. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone.
Educate Yourself: Read books, attend workshops, or listen to podcasts about mental health. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to handle challenges.
Set Boundaries: It’s okay to say no. Whether it’s a demanding job or a draining family member, setting boundaries is essential for your well-being.
Gratitude Practices: Focusing on the good things in life, like maintaining a gratitude journal, can shift your perspective and elevate your mood.
Avoid Negative Triggers: Identify what brings you down. It could be certain places, activities, or even negative thoughts. Being aware helps you avoid or cope with these triggers better.
In the end, prioritizing your mental health is one of the most important steps in understanding how to find what makes you happy.
It’s a continuous journey, but you can achieve a fulfilling and happy life.
4. Gratitude Journaling
Spend a few moments each day to write down positive experiences, you’re not only creating a list of happy memories but also actively shifting your mindset.
Imagine coming home after a hard time at work.
The weight of the day’s challenges might cloud your judgment, making everything seem not ideal.
But when you sit down with your journal and start recounting the simple pleasures – a colleague’s joke that made you laugh, the delicious lunch you had, or even the beauty of the sunset you witnessed on your way home – your perspective begins to change.
The weight lightens, replaced by a positive attitude that focuses on the silver linings.
On days filled with negative emotions, flipping through past entries serves as a reminder of the joys you’ve experienced.
It’s a testament to the fact that happiness can be found in the smallest of moments, from a brief chat with a best friend to the aroma of your favorite food.
Gratitude journaling also propels your personal growth.
By consistently focusing on the good things, you’re training your mind to seek positivity, even in adversity.
Over time, this shapes your overall happiness levels and enhances life satisfaction.
Through gratitude, you open yourself up even more to expanding into what makes you happy.
It’s a great way to ground yourself, reminding you of the true happiness that stems from appreciating the beauty in everyday experiences.
5. Journal Your Feelings
In life, emotions and experiences create patterns that go unnoticed but later show up in positive or negative ways in life.
When you write down these feelings, you’re giving yourself the space to process and understand them.
Over time, as you flip through the pages, patterns emerge.
You’ll begin to notice what activities elevate your mood, the people who infuse joy into your days, and even the simple pleasures that bring a smile to your face.
This journal becomes a roadmap, guiding you on how to find what makes you happy.
The act of writing can be therapeutic, helping you navigate negative emotions and reinforcing positive ones.
6. Revisit Childhood Joys
A child is full of wonder and curiosity, being more into their spirit self, than their human self.
It’s a phase where every day feels like an adventure, and the world is a playground waiting to be explored.
Think back to the days when you’d spend quality time building castles in the sandbox, or the thrill of riding your bike for the first time.
Go back in your memory to the good parts of your childhood and where you had joy.
For instance, if you loved painting as a child, perhaps it’s time to pick up the brush again.
Or if you spent a lot of time outdoors, maybe hiking or nature walks could be a great way to reconnect with that joy.
This is about the experience, the moment, and the sheer joy of being alive.
As you do this, you may find yourself going into self-awareness. And it’s this self-awareness that can help you find what makes you happy.
7. Limit External Influences
I’ve brought up social media a couple other times, and it’s for a good reason.
This journey is about exploring you, not about exploring or comparing yourself to others, something that happens so easily on social media.
Be mindful of what goes in front of your eyes and what enters your ears.
Follow and engage only with accounts that expand you, limit the ones that contract you.
Digital Detox: Dedicate one day a week where you disconnect from all digital devices. This break allows you to reconnect with yourself, giving you more space to find what makes you happy.
Curate Your Social Media Feed: Unfollow or mute accounts that don’t resonate with your values or make you feel inadequate. Instead, fill your feed with content that inspires, educates, and uplifts.
Set Boundaries: Allocate specific times in the day for checking social media and stick to them. This discipline ensures that you’re not endlessly scrolling, losing precious quality time that could be spent on activities that genuinely bring joy.
Seek Genuine Connections: Start meaningful connections and conversations with those that lift you and help increase your ability to find what makes you happy.
8. Set Personal Challenges
Setting personal challenges allows you to step out of your comfort zone and increases your chances of finding what makes you happy.
Examples of how to set personal challenges:
Learn a New Skill: Always wanted to play the guitar or speak another language? Set a goal and dedicate time to it. The journey of learning, with its ups and downs, offers immense satisfaction.
Physical Challenges: Whether it’s running a marathon, trying a new sport, or simply committing to regular exercise, physical challenges not only boost your health but also your confidence and happiness levels.
Travel Solo: Traveling alone can be a transformative experience. It pushes you to be self-reliant, and open to new experiences and offers a fresh perspective on life. It’s been life-changing for me.
Read a Variety of Books: Challenge yourself to read books outside your usual genre. This practice not only broadens your horizons but also introduces you to new worlds and ideas that can make you happy.
9. Travel or Explore a New City
Traveling or exploring a new city is like opening a new chapter in the book of life.
Every street corner, every local eatery, and every sunset viewed from a different horizon can offer clarity and a fresh perspective.
Immersing yourself in a new environment can introduce you to activities or cultures that resonate deeply with your inner self, helping you uncover layers of your personality and passions you might not have been aware of.
Examples of how traveling or exploring a new city can enhance happiness:
Cultural Immersion: Dive deep into the local culture. Attend traditional events, taste local cuisines, and engage in conversations with the locals.
Nature Retreats: Choose destinations that allow you to reconnect with nature. Whether it’s hiking in the mountains, lounging by the beach, or simply taking a walk in a new city park, nature has a unique way of rejuvenating the soul.
Attend Workshops While Traveling: Many cities offer workshops on local crafts, dance forms, or cooking. Participating in these can introduce you to new hobbies and passions.
Historical Exploration: Visit museums, historical sites, and old neighborhoods. Understanding the past can offer insights into the present and even your own life.
The joy of giving is unparalleled, and volunteering stands testament to this.
Helping others, be it humans, animals, or the environment, provides a profound sense of purpose.
The act of giving, without expecting anything in return, can be a powerful catalyst for happiness and personal satisfaction.
Examples of how volunteering can enhance happiness:
Teach: Share your knowledge. Whether it’s teaching kids in underprivileged areas, offering workshops in community centers, or even teaching a skill you’re passionate about, the act of sharing knowledge is so rewarding.
Environmental Causes: If nature resonates with you, volunteer for tree plantation drives, beach clean-ups, or wildlife conservation projects. Every small effort contributes to a larger cause, and the tangible results can be immensely satisfying.
Work with Animals: Animal shelters often need volunteers. Spending time with animals, taking care of them, or even just playing can offer a unique sense of joy.
Community Service: Engage in local community services. It could be helping in soup kitchens, organizing community events, or assisting in elderly care homes. The gratitude and smiles you receive can elevate your happiness levels.
Overseas Volunteering: Combine travel with volunteering. Many organizations offer opportunities to volunteer in different countries, allowing you to experience a new culture while making a difference.
11. Attend Workshops or Classes
Attending workshops or classes is a proactive way to engage in personal growth opportunities.
Learning environments can be the catalysts that introduce you to new passions or reignite old ones.
Imagine walking into a pottery class, the feel of the clay between your fingers, the wheel’s rhythmic motion, and the joy of creating something with your own hands.
Or picture yourself in a dance workshop, where the beats of the music resonate with your heartbeat, and every move is an expression of your inner emotions.
These experiences not only enhance your skill set but also contribute significantly to your mental health.
12. Create a ‘Happy List
Life, with its myriad experiences, offers countless moments of joy, laughter, and happiness.
However, in the rush of daily life, these moments often become fleeting memories.
Creating a ‘Happy List’ is a simple yet powerful exercise to capture these moments.
By listing things that have brought you joy in the past, you create a bank of happiness to dip into during challenging times.
Think back to the time you spent an entire day reading a book, and the sense of fulfillment it offered.
Or the impromptu road trip with friends, filled with laughter, music, and the thrill of the unknown.
Remember the satisfaction of completing a challenging project or the joy of cooking a meal that everyone loved. These moments, big or small, contribute to your life satisfaction.
With a ‘Happy List’ in hand, you have a tangible reminder of what brings you joy.
On days clouded with negative emotions, this list serves as a beacon, guiding you toward activities and experiences that can uplift your spirits.
It’s not just about reliving the past but using it as a foundation to seek similar experiences in the present.
For example, if spending time in nature is on your list, plan regular hikes or nature walks.
If connecting with loved ones brings you happiness, make it a point to spend quality time with them regularly.
The list becomes a roadmap, guiding you on your journey of happiness.
14. Set Aside Quality Time
Moments of solitude and introspection can often get overshadowed by the demands of daily tasks and never-ending to-do lists.
I can’t stress this enough, setting aside quality time for oneself is paramount.
It’s during these moments that you can truly connect with your inner self, explore activities that resonate with your soul, and find genuine happiness.
Examples of how to set aside quality time:
Morning Rituals: Start your day with a routine that’s just for you. It could be reading, meditating, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee in silence. This sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Digital Detox: Dedicate a few hours each week where you disconnect from all electronic devices. This break from the digital world allows you to be present in the moment and engage in activities without distractions.
Hobby Hour: Allocate a specific time each week to indulge in a hobby, be it painting, writing, or dancing.
You’ll find that as you dedicate time for yourself, you’ll find more and more what makes you happy.
15. Connect with Nature Often
Nature, with its vast landscapes, serene beauty, and rhythmic patterns, offers a sanctuary for your spirit.
Whether it’s the rustling of leaves, the gentle flow of a river, or the majestic sight of mountains, nature has a unique way of bringing clarity and grounding the human spirit.
Spending time outdoors allows you to disconnect from the artificial and connect deeply with yourself.
Examples of how to explore nature:
Nature Walks: Take regular walks in your local park or nature reserve. The act of walking, combined with the calming influence of nature, can be therapeutic.
Camping: Spend a weekend camping in the woods or by a lakeside. The simplicity of life outdoors, away from the comforts of home, offers a fresh perspective on life and happiness.
Gardening: Engage in gardening. Planting, nurturing, and watching something grow is not only satisfying but also a metaphor for personal growth and happiness.
Bonus Tip: Hire a Mentor or Coach
While introspection and self-exploration are vital, there are times when seeking external guidance can be beneficial.
Professionals like counselors or life coaches are trained to help individuals navigate their emotions, identify sources of happiness, and provide tools and strategies to achieve a more fulfilling life.
Examples of seeking professional guidance:
Counseling: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unable to pinpoint the sources of your unhappiness, consider counseling. A trained counselor can provide insights, offer coping strategies, and guide you toward a path of happiness and fulfillment.
Life Coaching: A life coach can help you set and achieve personal and professional goals, leading to a more balanced and happier life. They provide tools, strategies, and support, ensuring you’re on the right path.
Workshops and Retreats: Attend workshops or retreats focused on personal growth, happiness, or well-being. These are often led by experts in the field and provide a structured environment to explore, learn, and grow.
Takeaways for How to Find What Makes Your Happy
In conclusion, the journey to happiness and fulfillment is multifaceted.
Setting aside quality time ensures you have moments of introspection and engagement in activities that resonate with your soul.
Exploring nature offers a sanctuary, a place to disconnect from the chaos and connect deeply with oneself.
And when the path seems unclear, seeking professional guidance can provide the tools, strategies, and support needed to navigate the complexities of emotions and life.
Together, these steps offer a holistic approach to understanding and achieving genuine happiness and fulfillment in life.
Embracing simple pleasures, listening to your inner voice, and seeking supportive relationships can significantly enhance your overall happiness.
It’s the little things, like a brief moment of laughter with a family member or the joy of discovering a new city, that often brings the most profound joy.
Remember, every individual’s path to happiness is unique.
It’s about finding what resonates with your soul, whether it’s through personal goals, reconnecting with childhood joys, or seeking professional guidance.
The good news is that the tools and strategies to enhance your happiness are within reach.
By prioritizing mental health, setting aside quality time, and continuously engaging in personal growth, you can navigate the complexities of life with a positive attitude.
At the end of the day, finding your happy is not just a state of mind but a way of life.
Embrace it, seek it, and cherish every happy moment.