Our lives are a balance between many extremes, including happiness and sadness. Although we cannot always control our experiences, we can actively make ourselves open to the possibility of happiness.

A good way to begin this openness is by studying the habits of those we view as “happy people” – clues that can help us discover that “happiness” is less of a random emotion and much more of a proactive, daily mindset. Have a look below…

1. Happy people seek to be grateful.
People who view small moments as a gift are likelier to find the happiness within those same moments. Although universal gratitude sounds ambitious, we can begin simply by making declarations of appreciation for life, love, and the people who surround us.

2. Happy people choose to smile.
Smiling doesn’t have to be a passive reaction – it can be a proactive statement, symbolizing our declaration, “I am going to enjoy this life.” You can’t choose the weather, but you can choose to smile at rain and sun alike.

3. Happy people look at the big picture.
This means that happy people excel at letting the small things go. We can’t really hold on to anything in life, so why harbor negative thoughts? Clearing out the minor worries makes more room for us to receive joy and laughter.

4. Happy people invest in their dreams.
Long-lasting happiness doesn’t often come from lucky breaks or overnight successes – more often it is the result of perpetual effort and investment in yourself, making time and space for doing what you love over a long period of time.

5. Happy people remember to play.
Those who balance work with recreation and relaxation are happier and healthier than those who forget to have fun! Music, literature, dance, art… these are a few great starting points.

6. Happy people value action over thought.
Worrying about things never brings inner peace. Instead, going out and doing something about our worries helps us confront and conquer fear and doubt.

7. Happy people live in the present.
It is quite impossible to grasp the past, or to collect the future in our hands. All we can see, touch, and experience exists in this moment only.

Do you have any other happiness habits you can name? Add to our list by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.