100 things that make you happy: The ultimate list

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Last updated on May 13, 2024

In this post, we’re diving into the top 100 things that make you happy, shedding light on what gives us joy.

Happiness, that elusive yet sought-after state of being, is often perceived as a mysterious blend of emotions. But beneath the surface lies a fascinating interplay of neurotransmitters, hormones, and neural pathways that shape our perception of joy.

When we experience moments of happiness, our brain releases a cascade of chemicals that influence our mood and overall well-being. Serotonin, often dubbed the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter, floods our brain when we feel appreciated or loved. Dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, surges when we achieve our goals. Endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers, are released during activities like exercise or laughter.

From simple pleasures to profound experiences, let’s explore the top 100 things that bring joy to our lives.

Map to the best tulip fields in the Netherlands

100 things that make you happy: The ultimate list

1. Laughing out loud

Watching a funny movie or sharing jokes with friends is bound to make you happy. Laughing triggers the release of endorphins. Additionally, laughter reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol, promoting relaxation.

2. Basking in sunlight

Taking a few moments to feel the gentle warmth of the sun on your skin can boost your mood and provide essential vitamin D.

3. Enjoying a homemade meal

Cooking a homemade meal with fresh ingredients and savoring each bite can be a most nourishing experience for both body and soul.

4. Setting aside time for rest

Whether a power nap, a day off, or a holiday, setting aside time for rest is essential for replenishing your energy, reducing stress, and promoting physical and mental well-being.

5. Spending time in nature

Going for a leisurely hike, exploring scenic trails, or enjoying a picnic in the park will inevitably elevate your mood.

6. Listening to music

Put on your favorite album and allow the music to transport you to a place of freedom and joy.

 

7. Engaging in creative activities

Setting aside an afternoon to paint or draw, letting your imagination flow freely can bring you closer to your true self and lift your spirits.

 

8. Enjoying pleasant scents

Lighting scented candles and taking a luxurious bubble is a pampering ritual that can relax your body and indulge your senses.

9. Watching the sunset (or sunrise)

Taking a stroll as you watch the sun dip below the horizon in a breathtaking display of colors is guaranteed to warm your heart.

10. Giving and receiving compliments

Offering genuine compliments (or receiving them) boosts self-esteem, strengthens relationships, and spreads positivity.

11. Decorating your home

Decorating your home allows you to express your style and interests while nurturing a life-enhancing sense of belonging.

12. Experiencing adventures

Engaging in thrilling adventures like zip-lining or rock climbing can provide an adrenaline rush, pushing you out of your comfort zone and invigorating your spirit.

13. Digital decluttering

Digital decluttering reduces distraction, promoting focus and productivity, while freeing up time and energy for meaningful pursuits and activities.

14. Snuggling under a cozy blanket

Wrapping yourself in a soft, cozy blanket creates a sense of comfort and security, allowing you to unwind and relax.

 

15. Connecting through meaningful conversations

Engaging in deep, meaningful conversations with others nurtures emotional connection, enriching your relationships.

 

16. Reminiscing of moments of joy

Reflecting on moments of joy and gratitude from the past can evoke positive emotions and an appreciation for life’s blessings.

17. Engaging in acts of kindness

Performing acts of kindness towards others, whether big or small, cultivates compassion, empathy, and gratitude, creating a sense of fulfillment.

18. Attending a festival or cultural event

Participating in festivals or events that celebrate culture, community, and shared experiences, provides opportunities for the enjoyment of music, art, food, and traditions.

19. Embracing your uniqueness

Celebrating your individuality and embracing your quirks allows you to live authentically and honor your true essence.

20. Practicing mindfulness

Cultivating mindfulness through practices like meditation, deep breathing, or mindful awareness can reduce stress and enhance overall well-being.

21. Self-care practices

Prioritizing self-care through indulgent practices like massages or spa days will undoubtedly promote relaxation and a renewed sense of vitality.

22. Dressing up

Dressing up in an outfit that makes you feel confident and stylish can boost self-esteem, enhance mood, and set a positive tone for the day.

23. Watching live sports

Watching live sports will surely ignite excitement and passion, while providing entertainment.

24. Learning something new

Engaging in continuous learning stimulates mental agility and expands horizons, which in turn cultivates a greater sense of fulfillment.

 

25. Dancing like no one is watching

Surrendering to the rhythm and movement of dance can help release contained energy and promote self-expression and joy.

Simple things in life

26. Taking a refreshing dip

Immersing yourself in water refreshes the body, invigorates the senses, and promotes relaxation.

27. Embracing spontaneity

Embracing spontaneity can open doors to new rewarding experiences, connections, and possibilities.

28. Stargazing

Gazing up at the stars will connect you to the vastness of the universe, awakening a sense of wonder.

29. Practicing gratitude

The practice of gratitude cultivates a positive mindset and promotes emotional resilience and well-being.

30. Moving the body

Engaging in physical activity will invariably boost your mood as well as energy and fitness levels.

31. Hugging

Receiving a heartwarming hug releases oxytocin, which stimulates feelings of comfort.

32. Reading self-help books

Reading self-help books for guidance, inspiration, and practical strategies for personal growth, healing, and self-improvement, can empower you to overcome challenges, cultivate resilience, and live a more fulfilling life.

33. Engaging in hobbies

Hobbies provide a source of joy, allowing you to express yourself while exploring various interests.

34. Setting and achieving personal goals

Setting and achieving personal goals (no matter how big or small) infuses a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and self-worth.

35. Rediscovering passions

Reconnecting with childhood passions can ignite creativity, sparking inspiration and excitement.

36. Attending live performances

Attending lighthearted live performances, be it concerts, theater productions, or art exhibitions, can serve as a feast for the senses, stirring positive emotions.

 

37. Freeing yourself

Freeing yourself of the things that don’t serve you will liberate your mind, allowing space for growth and new possibilities to emerge. It’s about letting go of self-doubt, negative beliefs, toxic relationships, and old habits that hold you back from living authentically.

 

38. Experiencing awe

Allowing yourself to be swept away by moments of awe and wonder, whether observing a majestic work of art or arriving at an incredible destination, opens your heart and mind to the beauty of the world.

39. Savoring the first bite of a dessert

Take a moment to indulge in the first bite of a delicious dessert, delighting the senses.

40. Gardening

Gardening connects you to the earth and the cycle of life, providing a source of joy and tranquility.

41. Surrounding yourself with positivity

Cultivating a positive environment by seeking out uplifting influences and adopting optimistic attitudes is bound to create a strong foundation for happiness and well-being.

42. Embracing change

Embracing change allows you to adapt, grow, and evolve in response to life’s inevitable transitions, increasing resilience and flexibility, thereby enriching your life experience.

 

43. Being of service to others

Extending kindness, compassion, and support to those in need, be it through volunteering, acts of generosity, or simply offering a listening ear, can contribute to a collective well-being.

 

44. Letting go of worries

Releasing worries, fears, and anxieties that weigh you down allows you to live happier and more fully in the present moment.

45. Forgiving yourself and others

Practicing forgiveness, both towards yourself and others, enables emotional freedom and contentment.

46. Finding beauty in simple pleasures

Cultivating an appreciation for the simple things that bring you joy, whether a blooming flower, a heartfelt conversation, or a shared laugh with loved ones, is guaranteed to brighten your day.

47. Connecting with spirituality

Exploring your spiritual beliefs and practices, be it through meditation, prayer, or connection with nature, can nourish your soul and deepen your alignment with your higher self.

48. Setting boundaries

Setting boundaries is an act of self-care that empowers you to protect your physical and mental well-being, communicate your needs and values, and cultivate healthy relationships and environments.

49. Nurturing relationships

Investing time, effort, and care into cultivating meaningful connections with others will enrich your life and nourish your soul.

 

50. Cuddling with pets

Snuggling with your furry friend can not only reduce stress but also deepen your bond with your pet.

Simple things in life

51. Adopting a mentality of abundance

Adopting a mentality of abundance involves recognizing and appreciating the wealth of resources, opportunities, and blessings available to you, that will empower you to approach life with confidence and optimism.

52. Taking breaks from technology

Taking breaks from technology allows you to recharge and cultivate presence, promoting overall well-being.

53. Watching inspirational documentaries or movies

Watching inspirational documentaries or movies exposes you to uplifting stories, role models, and transformative experiences, inspiring a renewed sense of possibility and motivation.

54. Practicing acceptance

Practicing acceptance involves acknowledging and embracing reality as it is, without judgment or resistance, allowing you to let go of attachment to outcomes and genuine happiness to flourish.

55. Expressing love and affection

Expressing love and affection towards others through words, gestures, or acts of kindness strengthens relationships, promoting feelings of happiness.

56. Having an early start to your day

Having an early start to your day sets a positive tone and rhythm, cultivating a sense of productivity.

57. Getting enough sleep

Prioritizing adequate sleep promotes physical and mental health, enhancing mood as well as cognitive and immune function.

 

58. Nourishing the body with healthy food

Nourishing your body with healthy foods that provide essential nutrients will support your overall health and well-being.

 

59. Watching your pet play

Observing your pet playfully engaging with their toys provides moments of joy and relaxation.

60. Enjoying your favorite beverage

Enjoying your favorite beverage, whether a comforting cup of coffee, a refreshing glass of lemonade, or a matcha latte, provides a moment of pleasure.

61. Grounding your feet in nature

Grounding your feet in nature connects you to the earth’s energy, promoting calm and balance.

62. Decluttering and cleaning your space

Decluttering and cleaning your space creates a sense of order that can help reduce stress and promote well-being.

63. Embracing solitude

Embracing moments of solitude allows for introspection, self-discovery, and opportunities to recharge.

64. Avoiding procrastination

Avoiding procrastination allows you to take control of your time, reduce stress, and increase productivity.

 

65. Finding joy in the journey

Finding joy in the journey means embracing the present moment and finding beauty in the process of pursuing your goals and aspirations, rather than solely focusing on the end result. It’s about savoring the experiences, lessons, and growth that come from the journey itself.

 

66. Lovemaking

Engaging in lovemaking with a partner releases endorphins and oxytocin that stimulate emotional bonding, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.

67. Journaling

Journaling provides a safe space to explore thoughts and emotions, promoting emotional processing and personal growth.

68. Doing puzzles or brain teasers

Engaging in puzzles and brain teasers stimulates cognitive function, enhances problem-solving skills, and promotes mental agility and concentration.

69. Spending quality time with family

Investing time and attention in meaningful interactions with family members strengthens bonds, enriching life.

70. Reflecting on past accomplishments or successes

Reflecting on past accomplishments and successes cultivates feelings of pride and confidence, reinforcing positive self-esteem and motivation.

71. Creating a vision board

Creating a vision board to represent aspirations, goals, and dreams can help inspire action and manifest intentions.

72. Doing a DIY project

Doing a DIY project can nurture creativity, resourcefulness, and problem-solving skills while providing a sense of accomplishment and ownership.

73. Gentle stretching or yoga

Practicing gentle stretching or yoga promotes physical relaxation, flexibility, and balance while reducing stress.

74. Expressing yourself

Finding outlets for self-expression, whether through art, music, or writing, nurtures creativity and personal growth.

 

75. Immersing yourself in captivating stories

Curling up in bed with a captivating book that transports you to distant lands and magical realms, allowing your imagination to soar, is a cozy escape from reality that can nourish your soul.

100 things that make you happy

76. Practicing deep breathing

Practicing deep breathing reduces stress and promotes relaxation while increasing oxygen flow and energy levels.

77. Adopting a win/win mindset

Adopting a win/win mindset promotes cooperation, resulting in a culture of collaboration and shared prosperity.

78. Going for a scenic drive

Going for a scenic drive provides a sense of relaxation while connecting with nature.

79. Enjoying a night out

Enjoying a night out at your favorite restaurant, movie theater, or entertainment venue provides an opportunity for enjoyment and excitement.

80. Playing a game

Engaging in games, whether board games, card games, or video games, promotes fun and mental stimulation.

81. Changing the routine

Introducing variety into your routine invigorates the senses.

82. Curating a playlist of your favorite uplifting songs

Curating a playlist of your favorite uplifting songs can provide mood enhancement, as well as motivation and positivity.

83. Listening to a motivational podcast or TED talk

Engaging with motivational podcasts or TED talks inspires personal growth, learning, and empowerment.

 

84. Cultivating understanding and empathy

Cultivating understanding and empathy involves listening with an open heart and mind, seeking to understand others’ perspectives, experiences, and emotions, and responding with compassion, kindness, and respect to create harmony in your relationships and communities.

 

85. Watching cute animal videos

Watching cute animal videos evokes joy and laughter, providing a mood boost.

86. Embracing imperfection

Embracing imperfection means accepting yourself and others as beautifully flawed human beings. Freeing yourself from unrealistic standards will lead to greater satisfaction with yourself and your relationships.

87. Creating a supportive environment

Creating a supportive environment involves surrounding yourself with people who uplift, inspire, and empower you to be your best self, providing a safe and nurturing space for growth, healing, and self-expression.

88. Visiting a cozy coffee shop

Visiting a cozy coffee shop provides an inviting atmosphere for socializing or solitary reflection, allowing you to unwind from the pressures of daily life.

89. A bonfire or BBQ

Gathering around a bonfire or BBQ with friends or family creates a cozy space for conversation and the enjoyment of food and company.

90. Spending time with children

Interacting with children can bring joy and laughter.

91. Exploring new places

Venturing into unfamiliar territory ignites curiosity, stimulates the senses, and broadens perspectives.

 

92. Hosting a dinner party

Hosting a dinner party brings people together for good food, laughter, and conversation, nurturing friendships, and shared experiences.

 

93. Immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of nature

Immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of nature, such as birdsongs, rustling leaves, or ocean waves, to promote relaxation and well-being.

94. Aligning with your purpose

Aligning with your purpose and values provides direction and fulfillment in life, allowing you to pursue the goals that resonate with your passions and strengths.

95. Reading a magazine

Whether interior design, fashion, science, or music, flipping through magazines provides a source of entertainment, knowledge, and inspiration, leading to relaxation and enjoyment.

96. Following your instinct

Trusting your intuition and following your instincts can lead to making decisions that align with your true desires and values, promoting a sense of authenticity and fulfillment.

97. Sharing a meal with a loved one

Enjoying a meal with a loved one provides opportunities for shared experiences, laughter, and meaningful conversations that nourish both body and soul.

98. Leaving the comfort zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences promotes growth, enabling you to expand your horizons, and overcome fears and limitations.

99. Finding meaning in challenges

Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning cultivates resilience and optimism, allowing you to embrace adversity with a positive mindset.

 

100. Finding joy in personal growth

Embracing opportunities for personal growth and development promotes a sense of purpose and fulfillment, empowering you to pursue your passions and aspirations with enthusiasm and determination.

Simple things in life

100 things that make you happy: The bottom line

 

As we reflect on diverse sources of joy, it’s essential to acknowledge that certain experiences will resonate more deeply with some individuals than others, based on personal backgrounds, values, and emotional dispositions. Something that makes me happy might be different from what brings joy to someone else, but the beauty lies in noticing those unique moments and experiences that light up our hearts and souls.

It’s often the simple things in life that bring us the most joy. Creating a list of what makes you happy can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth. It’s a way to intentionally seek out and prioritize the activities, experiences, and moments that bring you genuine happiness and fulfillment. Whether it’s the warmth of a morning cup of coffee, the laughter of a loved one, or the beauty of a sunset, compiling a list of things that make you smile can serve as a reminder to savor the simple pleasures in life.

Suggestions to inspire your own list of things to make you happy

 

  • Reflect on your daily life and identify moments that bring you joy.
  • Pay attention to your emotions throughout the day and notice the activities or experiences that elicit positive feelings.
  • Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re grateful for each day to help shift your focus towards the positive aspects of your life.
  • Share your list to inspire those around you.

While the suggestions on ‘100 things to make you happy’ offer avenues for pleasure, it’s prudent to approach them with mindfulness, avoiding the temptation to use them as systematic escapes from reality. Instead, let’s embrace them as enriching moments that enhance our lives, deepen our connections, and contribute to our overall well-being.

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100 Things that make you happy

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