How to Be Happy With Yourself

Make Time for Fun

Remember the old proverb "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"? Not only do we become boring (and bored) when we don't take a break from work, we also become unhappy. A common belief is that the only way to be successful or to "get ahead" is to push ourselves to the breaking point, neglecting other facets of our lives in favor of our careers. While working hard is admirable, few people at the end of their lives wish that they'd put in longer hours at the office. Instead, they wish that they spent more time with their friends and family, engaging in activities that made them happy. Even the most rewarding job can cause burnout, so making time for fun is essential to happiness. Time away can even give you a fresh perspective at work.

Making time for fun might mean refusing to take on something new or asking for help with an overwhelming project. If you're still having trouble fitting in your fun time, schedule it -- if it's on your calendar, you're more likely to treat it with just as much importance as you do meetings and appointments. A 10-minute walk, a comedy special on TV or a few minutes at a funny Web site all count, not to mention devoting time to a favorite sport, hobby or interest. Of course, we're also talking about taking personal days (and actually relaxing instead of using them to run errands) and planning vacations.


Think about what you wanted to do more than anything else when you were a child: play. Children throw themselves into their play without thinking much about whether they're doing it "right" or what others may think, because it makes them feel happy. It doesn't matter if you feel silly doing activities like Hula-hooping, jumping on a trampoline or coloring with crayons. The important thing is that it's fun and it relieves stress. It's hard to be anything but happy when you're having fun.

Want more on happiness? Try the links to HowStuffWorks articles below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Bauman, Alisa. "The Secrets to Happiness." Prevention. February 13, 2006.
  • Biswas-Diener, et al. "Most People are Pretty Happy, But There is Cultural Variation." Journal of Happiness Studies. Vol 6. 2005.
  • Chopra, Deepak. "Personal Transformation Tools: Forgiveness." December 31, 2008.
  • Conniff, Richard. "Are You Happy?" Men's Health. 2009.
  • Davidson, Karina W. "Emotional predictors and behavioral triggers of acute coronary syndrome." Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Vol 75. Supplement 2. March 2008.
  • Diener, Ed. "Satisfaction with Life Scale." University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Diener, Ed and Robert Biswas-Diener. "Happiness." Blackwell Publishing. 2008.
  • Dominican University of California. "Study Backs up Strategies for Achieving Goals." Dominican University of California News. December 20, 2007.
  • Elias, Marilyn. "Psychologists now know what makes people happy." USA Today. December 8, 2002.
  • Flett, Gordon, et al. "Dimensions of Perfectionism, Unconditional Self-Acceptance and Depression."
  • Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy. Vol. 21. No. 2.Summer 2003.
  • Manier, Jeremy and Bonnie Miller Rubin. "Experts try to unlock mysteries of happiness." Chicago Tribune. October 5, 2008.
  • "Are you happy - really?" CNN. February 6, 2008.
  • Pavot, William, et al. "Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale." Psychological Assessment [PsycARTICLES]. Vol. 5. No. 2. June 1993.
  • Seltzer, Leon F. "The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance." Psychology Today. September 2008.
  • Tabak, Lawrence. "If Your Goal Is Success, Don't Consult These Gurus." Fast Company Magazine. Dec 18, 2007.
  • Siahpush, M, et al. "Happiness and life satisfaction prospectively predict self-rated health, physical health, and the presence of limiting, long-term health conditions." American Journal of Health Promotion, Vol. 23. Issue 1. 2008.
  • Stevenson et al. "Happiness Inequality in the United States." The Journal of Legal Studies. Vol. 37. Supplement 2. 2008.