Welcome to your 20s: a fun, unforgettable, and oftentimes confusing time in your life. Caught between adolescence and adulthood, your 20s are a kind of limbo between the person you were and the person you’re meant to be. No longer are you tied down to hometowns, high school, or university life: now is the time to grow into yourself. And with that, comes a slew of new friends, new relationships, new cities, and what seems like an entirely new life.
However, your 20s aren’t just a time of butterflies and rainbows. Now, you’re thrust into adulthood: the working world, grad school, family life…you’re no longer relying on others for the things you’ve been leaning on for so long. Not only can this be disorienting, it can also be upsetting. And while your 20s can be some of the happiest times in your life…they can also be some of the saddest.
You’re not alone in that. Millions, billions, of people each and every single day struggle with feeling happy—no matter what age they are. However, if you can figure out the things that make you happy now, in your 20s, you might just be setting yourself up for a more fulfilling life in the future.
And while there’s no switch we can flip to suddenly become happy individuals, there are some things you can do to make you feel better—and lead you on a path toward a happier lifestyle.
Happiness starts with you: Here are 5 tips as to how to feel happier in your 20s.
Talk To Someone
No matter who you are, we all need someone to talk to. So, in your 20s, now is the time to talk to someone about how you’re feeling—whether that’s happy, sad, or anything in-between. Not only will this help you feel emotionally regulated now, but it will set you up for emotional maturity in the future.
By talking to a mental health professional, you’ll be able to learn valuable tools that can help you connect better to your emotions. Whether that’s identifying them or learning how to deal with them, becoming emotionally intelligent can do wonders for your personal happiness.
And if you do need help, know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for it. There are so many people that care about you and want you to live the happy life you deserve.
Engage In Healthy Relationships
You’re only as great as the people you surround yourself with. For that reason, you should only engage in relationships that are healthy and beneficial to you. In your 20s, you don’t have the time for one-sided friendships and romantic relationships. And, if you choose to engage in these unhealthy relationships, it can have an extremely negative impact on your personal happiness.
Unhealthy and negative relationships may force you to give up parts of yourself to make somebody else feel happier. However, your goal in this life should always be to live a great and happy life for yourself. And if you’re sacrificing that in order to make someone else feel better, then it might be best to say “goodbye” to that relationship.
When dating in your 20s, look for partners that have the same priorities as you. And when you’re making new friends, look for people that genuinely care about you and the eventual friendship you’ll build together. If none of these align with you, it’s best to skip out on that particular friendship or relationship—trust me.
Do Things For You, And You Only
Say it with me: it’s not selfish to put yourself first. Time after time, we’re called selfish for making decisions that prioritize our happiness above all else. And while there can be instances where this may be perceived as selfish, for the most part, there are some situations where it’s essential to put yourself first.
The destination that you want to travel to? Who’s stopping you from going?! If there is an opportunity to make yourself happy, then take it—no regrets. Whether it’s a job offer, a travel opportunity, or any other thing that may come your way, don’t be afraid to claim whatever it is…especially if it will make you happier in the long run.
Stop Caring About Outside Perceptions
It’s human nature to care about what others think of us. However, in reality, this might do more harm than good when it comes to our happiness. By constantly thinking about what others think of us, we’re putting way too much stock into the opinions of someone else. At the end of the day, all you have is yourself. And if you listen to the thoughts of others, you’re letting opinions that don’t even matter impact the one person who does: you.
So, tune out the opinions of others. Who cares if someone doesn’t like your outfit or the way you dress in your 20s? Come to think of it, they’re not the ones wearing it, and they’re not the ones who have to spend every moment with, well, you.
You will never feel happy if you care what others think of you, especially if you listen to them. If you want to feel happier in your 20s, you need to start living them for you—nobody else.
Be Yourself. Seriously.
Finally, when it comes to feeling happy in your 20s, there’s one over-arching piece of advice to remember: be yourself. And yeah, this is easier said than done. It takes work, patience, and time to learn yourself. But, if you’re willing to put in the work, you may find yourself feeling happier than ever.
Find the things you’re passionate about, and act on them. Whether that’s finding a new hobby or trying out something you’ve always wanted to do, it’s always important to be true to yourself, no matter the situation. After all, you spend every waking hour with yourself, so you might as well like the person you are…right?
Being happy in your 20s isn’t an automatic thing. Feeling happier requires a lot of time, energy, and (most importantly) a genuine want to feel better about yourself and your life. While your 20s can be an awfully confusing time, there is so much potential to make it some of the best—and happiest—years of your life. You just need to be willing to do that for yourself; you deserve it.