15 Reasons To Do What Makes You Happy: A Mindfulness Guide to Authentic Joy

Imagine living a life that lights you up from the inside out every day! 

That’s the magic of doing what makes you truly happy. 

It’s more than just a catchy phrase; it’s a lifestyle that nurtures your soul, energizes your body, and boosts your mental health. 

This path of joy isn’t elusive—it’s rooted in mindfulness, in the here and now. 

Let’s explore why happiness matters and how weaving it into our everyday decisions can spark a transformation like no other. 

15 Compelling Reasons You Should Do What Makes You Happy

The pursuit of happiness isn’t just about feeling good—it’s a fundamental part of a life well lived.

When we follow our joy, we ignite a powerful ripple effect that transforms not only our own lives but also the world around us. 

couple holding hands hiking Do What Makes You Happy

Here are 15 compelling reasons why doing what makes you happy should be at the top of your priority list.

1. Enhances Mental Health

Doing what makes you happy isn’t just a feel-good mantra; it’s a key factor linked to enhanced mental health. Engaging in activities you love triggers a positive response in your brain, releasing feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, often referred to as ‘happy hormones.’ 

These not only uplift your mood in the moment but also contribute to long-term mental health by lowering stress levels, reducing the risk of depression, and promoting overall contentment. Happiness can foster resilience, equipping us to better deal with life’s challenges. 

This isn’t about ignoring the tough parts of life but about building a mental fortress that allows you to navigate them with grace. The bottom line? A happier you is a mentally healthier you.

2. Boosts Physical Health

Happiness has a profound impact not just on your mental but also on your physical health. Studies have shown that individuals who regularly engage in activities that make them happy tend to have lower heart rates and blood pressure, better immune function, and a reduced perception of pain. 

This isn’t sorcery but biology at its best: the positive emotions triggered by happiness can reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which has numerous beneficial effects on the body. But it doesn’t end there. When you’re happier, you’re also likely to be motivated to take better care of your health.

So, doing that extra bit of gardening, dancing in the kitchen, or getting lost in a good book might be some of the best things you can do for your physical health.

3. Increases Productivity

Doing what we love makes us naturally more engaged, focused, and motivated. This intrinsic motivation can lead to significant increases in productivity, whether it’s in your professional work or personal pursuits. The reasoning is simple: it doesn’t feel like work if you love what you do. 

This can lead to a state of ‘flow,’ where you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time, making the whole process more efficient and enjoyable. Moreover, this increased productivity isn’t just about getting more done—it’s also about improving the quality of your work. 

When you’re happier, you tend to be more creative, innovative, and willing to take on challenges, which can take your output from good to exceptional. So, pursuing happiness isn’t just good for you—it’s also good for your work, projects, and dreams.

4. Strengthens Relationships

Doing what makes you happy can lead to stronger, more fulfilling relationships. When you’re happy, you’re more likely to project positive energy, which tends to attract others and forge deeper connections.

Happy people are often more empathetic, understanding, and patient, qualities that make any relationship thrive. It’s not just about being pleasant company, though. Being content with oneself can decrease the dependence on others for validation and happiness, leading to healthier, more balanced relationships. 

Happiness is contagious, and by doing what makes you happy, you could also spark joy in your loved ones’ lives.

5. Promotes Personal Growth

Happiness, specifically the kind derived from doing what you love, often goes hand in hand with personal growth. 

Investing in activities that bring you joy makes you more likely to embrace challenges, step out of your comfort zone, and learn new skills—all critical components of personal development. 

Group of woman sitting on blanket having dinner Do What Makes You Happy

This isn’t about achieving grandiose goals; it’s about continually expanding your horizons and becoming a better version of yourself. And, as you grow and evolve, you’ll likely find new sources of joy, creating a positive feedback loop that fuels both your happiness and your personal growth.

6. Fuels Creativity

One of the most rewarding aspects of doing what makes you happy is the spark of creativity it can ignite. Engaging in joyful activities can put your mind in a relaxed state, making room for new, innovative ideas to flow. 

It’s no coincidence that many great ideas come when we’re doing things we love, whether taking a walk in nature, playing a musical instrument, or simply daydreaming. 

This creative boost isn’t limited to traditionally ‘creative’ pursuits; it can enhance problem-solving skills in everyday life or even in highly technical jobs. So, by following your joy, you might just stumble upon your next brilliant idea.

7. Fosters a Positive Outlook

There’s a beautiful simplicity in the idea of doing what makes you happy, and it carries the power to transform your outlook on life. When you prioritize happiness, you cultivate an attitude of positivity and gratitude, finding joy in the simplest moments. 

This optimistic outlook can become a buffer against life’s ups and downs, making it easier to bounce back from setbacks and view challenges as opportunities for growth. 

Ultimately, by doing what you love, you’re not just enjoying the present moment—you’re also setting the stage for a future filled with positivity and hope.

8. Inspires Others

Believe it or not, your happiness has the power to inspire others. When people see you pursuing your interests, passions, and, essentially, what brings joy to your heart, it can motivate them to undertake a similar pursuit of their own. 

This is especially powerful if you’re in a position of influence, such as a leadership role at work or within your family, but it applies universally. Every individual—be it a colleague, friend, sibling, or even a stranger passing by—can be positively impacted by your radiating joy. It’s a non-verbal yet powerful message about the importance of personal happiness and self-fulfillment. 

Moreover, being a ‘happy influence’ can increase your own sense of purpose and satisfaction. By doing what makes you happy, you’re not just creating a joyous life for yourself but also setting off a ripple effect of inspiration that could lead others to discover their own path to happiness.

9. Contributes to Longevity

Happiness isn’t just good for the soul; it’s good for your heart, mind, and lifespan. Numerous scientific studies have found a compelling link between sustained happiness and longevity. 

Happier individuals often live longer and healthier lives, underpinned by the biological benefits of happiness we discussed earlier, such as lower stress levels and improved immune function. But the connection goes deeper. 

When you’re engrossed in activities that bring you happiness, you’re more likely to lead a balanced lifestyle, incorporating elements like exercise, nutritious food, sufficient sleep, and regular medical check-ups—all of which contribute to a longer life. 

Plus, let’s not forget the indirect effect: happiness can make life feel more fulfilling, making every moment count. As such, the pursuit of happiness isn’t just about enriching the quality of your life; it’s also about extending the quantity of your years.

10. Improves Quality of Life

Happiness is a key ingredient in the recipe for a satisfying life. It enriches every moment, turning ordinary experiences into extraordinary ones. 

When you engage in activities you love, you’re not just passing time; you’re creating meaningful memories, learning new skills, expressing yourself, and making a positive impact on the world around you. All of this contributes to a sense of fulfillment and purpose, which are fundamental to a high-quality life. 

Happiness can make you more resilient, helping you navigate life’s challenges more effectively. This resilience can further enhance your quality of life, enabling you to bounce back from setbacks and grow from them.

11. Encourages Balance in Life

Pursuing what truly makes you happy can be a potent antidote to the one-sidedness that often creeps into our lives. In today’s fast-paced, achievement-driven world, it’s easy to be swept away by the currents of productivity and efficiency, sometimes at the cost of our own happiness.

However, when you consciously make room for activities that spark joy in your heart, it’s like gently pressing the pause button on life’s endless to-do list. It serves as a powerful reminder that life is a rich tapestry of experiences, not just a string of tasks and obligations. 

It’s about work and rest, productivity and relaxation, giving and receiving, doing and being. This broader perspective can inspire you to seek balance, consciously allocating time not just for duties and responsibilities but also for self-care, passion projects, and simple pleasures. 

This balance is not just beneficial—it’s crucial. It helps prevent burnout, reduce stress, and maintain enthusiasm in various aspects of life. Ultimately, by living this way, you’re fostering a more balanced life where joy and duty walk hand in hand.

12. Fosters Self-Esteem

Doing what brings you happiness profoundly affects your sense of self-worth. When you discover what truly lights you up and give yourself the freedom to pursue it, it’s a powerful act of self-affirmation. It sends a message to yourself (and to the world) that your joy matters, and that your interests and passions are valid and valuable. 

This can lead to enhanced self-esteem as you recognize your capability to create joy and satisfaction in your life. Moreover, following your happiness often involves expressing your unique skills, talents, and perspectives, further reinforcing your sense of self-worth. It’s also about standing up for your own needs and desires, even in the face of societal expectations or pressures—an act of courage that can significantly boost your self-confidence. 

Over time, this enhanced self-esteem can improve various aspects of your life, from your relationships to your career to your mental health. You’re not just cultivating joy—you’re also cultivating a stronger, more confident you.

13. Enhances Life Satisfaction

Life satisfaction is a complex concept, influenced by various factors, from our physical health to our relationships to our career success. However, at its core, it often boils down to one simple question: Are you doing what makes you happy? 

Engaging in activities that bring you joy infuses your life with a sense of fulfillment and purpose, contributing significantly to overall life satisfaction. It’s about finding contentment in the journey, not just the destination—enjoying the process of painting, not just the finished artwork; savoring the moment of laughter with friends, not just the party itself. 

This ability to derive happiness from the present moment can significantly enhance your life satisfaction. In other words, happiness isn’t just a product of a satisfying life—it’s also a powerful catalyst.

14. Boosts Energy Levels

Have you ever noticed how you feel more energized when you’re doing something you love? This isn’t just your imagination—it’s a testament to the power of happiness. Engaging in activities that bring you joy can create a surge of physical and mental energy, making you feel more alive and vibrant. 

It’s like a natural caffeine-free energy drink that boosts your vitality and enthusiasm. This increased energy can then spill over into other areas of your life, improving your efficiency and productivity. 

For instance, the energy from a morning spent painting could fuel a productive afternoon at work, while the enthusiasm from a weekend hike could energize your chores at home.

15. Sparks Joy

Last but not least, doing what makes you happy sparks joy—a simple yet profound reason to follow your bliss. Joy is a powerful emotion, a radiant form of happiness that lights you up from within. 

It’s that sense of delight you feel when you bite into your favorite dessert, the rush of excitement when you’re lost in a book you love, the serene satisfaction of completing a challenging workout. This joy isn’t just pleasurable in the moment—it also nourishes your soul, promoting long-term benefits.

It reminds you that life isn’t just about achieving goals or meeting expectations but about savoring moments of joy along the way. You’re enhancing various aspects of your life and adding a splash of vibrant, exhilarating, soul-stirring joy.

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How to Figure Out What Makes You Happy

Finding what brings you joy can be like piecing together a beautiful, intricate puzzle. It’s a journey of self-discovery and uncovering your desires and passions, and it’s absolutely worth it. Here are some thoughts on how to do that.

1. Reflect on Your Passions

Dive deep into your heart and remember the things that once ignited sparks of joy. Was it painting? Reading? Gardening? Often, our childhood interests hold the key to understanding what truly makes us happy.

2. Understand Your Values

Our values act as our internal compass, guiding our actions and decisions. When you identify what you value most—be it love, creativity, or adventure—you’re more likely to discover activities that resonate with these values, thus bringing you happiness.

3. Evaluate Your Happiness Triggers

There are moments when you feel a sudden surge of happiness. Maybe it’s when you help someone or spend time in nature. These triggers can point you towards activities or environments that naturally make you happy.

4. Test and Explore

Life is a buffet of experiences waiting to be tasted! Try new things—paint, write, travel, code, cook. You never know what might bring you joy until you give it a shot.

5. Listen to Your Gut

Often, our intuition knows what makes us happy before our conscious mind does. If something feels right, it probably is. Trust your gut; it can lead you to unexpected sources of joy.

6. Create a Joy Journal

Document your happy moments and what caused them. This isn’t just a mood booster but also a practical tool. Over time, patterns will emerge, helping you understand what consistently brings you joy.

7. Seek Professional Guidance

If finding happiness feels like a struggle, don’t hesitate to seek help. A life coach, counselor, or psychologist can provide valuable insights and tools to help you discover what truly makes you happy.

Remember, figuring out what makes you happy is a personal and ever-evolving journey. It’s about tuning into your inner self, values, and passions, then aligning them with your everyday actions. And that, my friends, is where the magic happens!

When Is Doing What Makes You Happy a Bad Idea?

While seeking happiness is generally a positive endeavor, it’s important to note that not all paths to happiness are created equal. Sometimes, what we think makes us happy can lead us down a less-than-ideal road, particularly if our sources of happiness are tied to unhealthy or unsustainable habits or behaviors. 

Here are a few instances where following philosophy of happiness might not be in your best interest:

  • When it harms others: True happiness should never come at the cost of others’ well-being. If your preferred activities or actions cause harm, discomfort, or distress to others, it’s time for some introspection. Not only can this negatively affect your relationships, but it can also lead to guilt and regret, which are antithetical to long-term happiness.
  • When it’s destructive to self: Instant gratification activities, like overindulging in food or alcohol, can feel pleasurable in the short term but are detrimental to your physical and mental health in the long run. Such behaviors, while momentarily uplifting, could potentially spiral into addiction or other health issues, jeopardizing your overall.
  • When it’s avoiding responsibility: Happiness should not be an excuse to shirk responsibilities. While it’s important to make room for joy, avoiding necessary (if not enjoyable) duties to chase fleeting moments of happiness can lead to more complications and stress down the line. It’s about striking the right balance between duty and delight.
  • When it’s not sustainable: If your happiness is built on unattainable or unrealistic expectations or relies heavily on factors outside your control, it’s bound to lead to disappointment and frustration. Pursuing such ephemeral happiness can be exhausting and emotionally draining, emphasizing the importance of finding balanced and sustainable sources of joy.

In these scenarios, it’s essential to reconsider our definition of happiness and the ways we seek it. There’s always the possibility of finding healthier, more constructive avenues to happiness, and if needed, professional help can provide valuable guidance on this journey.

What Makes You Happy in Life? Happiness-Inducing Activities

Happiness is a uniquely personal experience, and it looks different for everyone. What brings a sense of joy to one person might not work for another. Nevertheless, there are certain activities that, due to their nature, are universally known to foster happiness and are worth trying:

Practicing Mindfulness: Focusing on the present moment without judgment encourages appreciation of the simple pleasures in life, reducing stress and ultimately increasing happiness. Dozens of mindfulness activities, particularly meditation, can lead to a better mood and a sense of equanimity.

Engaging in Physical Exercise: Regular physical activity has been proven to boost mood and release endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones.

Spending Time in Nature: Being outdoors can significantly uplift your mood by reducing stress, improving focus, and promoting a sense of awe.

Expressing Gratitude: Regularly expressing gratitude can make you happier by shifting your focus from what’s wrong in your life to what’s right.

Nurturing Relationships: Strong social connections are closely tied to happiness and emotional well-being.

Pursuing a Hobby: Engaging in activities you love can bring you immense joy and satisfaction.

Helping Others: Acts of kindness can boost your mood and provide a sense of purpose.

Trying New Experiences: Novel experiences can break the monotony of routine and stimulate joy and excitement.

Learning Something New: The process of learning can provide a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Practicing Yoga or Meditation: These practices can help you connect with your inner self and cultivate peace and happiness.

Listening to Music: Music has the power to elicit a wide range of emotions and can significantly enhance mood.

Reading a Good Book: Getting lost in another world through reading can provide relaxation and happiness.

Creating Art: Artistic expression allows for the release of emotions, reducing stress and increasing joy.

Cooking a Favorite Meal: Cooking can be a creative and therapeutic activity that results in a tasty reward.

Spending Time with Animals: Interacting with animals can promote feelings of love, joy, and companionship.

Each of these activities offers a unique path to happiness. The key is to try them out and see what resonates most with you. Remember, it’s your journey to happiness, so make it a joyous adventure.

Final Thoughts

Harness the power of happiness by prioritizing what brings you joy. Explore these suggested activities, discover what truly makes your heart sing, and incorporate them into your life. This is your journey towards a more content, fulfilled, and happier existence. Go forth, pursue your happiness, and savor each moment of joy.