The Pursuit of Happiness: 5 Tips for Adults to Make the Most of Their Lives

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Happiness is an interesting concept that has many definitions. In fact, there may be as many definitions of the word “happy” as there are people. Some view happiness as achieving success in their professional endeavors. Others seek happiness through spirituality or religion. Many focus on physical fitness or starting a family to find contentment in life.

No matter what your definition of being happy entails, one of the main ingredients is working toward it. As described in the Declaration of Independence, everyone has the right to pursue happiness. However, it does not just happen accidentally. Most of the time, you have to make conscious decisions that can contribute to your happiness.

Sometimes, life can get so busy that it feels difficult to focus on personal contentment. Maybe you have a very demanding job, or you are exhausted from caring for an aging relative. Perhaps you have several children, and all your energy is devoted to caring for them. The following tips can help you pursue happiness as an adult.

Manage Stress

Stress is one of the heaviest anchors that can hold you back from finding happiness. It can also be caused by almost anything, including burnout at work, a messy living space, a poor diet, academic struggles, physical health issues, relationship challenges, and more. Letting this stress take control of your life can significantly reduce your chances of contentment. Finding strategies to manage stress will be critical to turning things around. Focus on nutrition, physical activity, positive sleep patterns, social support, and relaxation techniques to combat the stress you are dealing with, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help. 


While being incredibly fit may not be the end goal of getting more exercise, physical activity is still very important in your pursuit of happiness. The main benefit of physical health is that you will have a greater ability to do the activities you love. Your immune system will also be stronger, helping fight off diseases that may reduce the quality of life. But exercising is also helpful because it results in the release of endorphins which make you feel much better. Physical fitness can also lead to emotional health as well. The great thing about exercising is that there are so many ways to do it. You could play a team sport, take up running, head to the gym, try swimming, or even work out at home. 

Invest in Key Relationships

As humans, we need relationships to have any shot at contentment. We are not built to experience life alone, and leaning on the most important relationships we have can significantly impact our quality of life. Grow closer to your loved one and overcome emotional barriers by attending couples therapy. Block out more time in your schedule to meet up with your closest friend to catch up. Set aside one night each week that the whole family upholds to watch a movie together or play games and then continue that tradition even as the kids get older. The more invested you are in key relationships, the more emotional support you will have when challenges come your way.

Choose a Hobby

Hobbies are underrated, even though people talk about them all the time. These small passions have a bigger impact on your mental health than you might realize. Hobbies are proven to slow down mental decline from aging, as they keep the mind engaged and healthy. Hobbies also can improve your mood since many of them involve creating artwork or accomplishing something. The feeling that comes with creating an original piece or successfully achieving a goal can contribute greatly to overall happiness. 

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Remember That People Are Usually More Concerned With Themselves

Comparison is the thief of joy. You may have heard that statement before, and it is completely true. Comparing yourself to others can be devastating to your chances of feeling content. Whether you are comparing their accomplishments to your own or are simply envious of how they look, it is rarely helpful to compare yourself. Additionally, many people are self-conscious and worry about what others may think of them. One thing to remember is that people are usually too concerned with themselves to have those thoughts about you. Constantly worrying about what others think or comparing yourself to them is a recipe for poor mental health. Focus on self-improvement rather than pleasing others without letting it turn into self-absorption or selfishness. 

Happiness is Both a State and a Goal

While there are plenty of other ingredients that can detract from or contribute to happiness, most of your success in this pursuit depends on perspective. Do you spend time reflecting on the things that you already have or have accomplished? Or do you spend all your time wishing for more? The tips listed above can certainly help you achieve the goal of happiness, but your perspective on life can also put you in a state of happiness as you pursue that goal.