Finding Happiness Within Yourself After 40

woman searching for happiness

Turning 40 can be a difficult transition to make – but it doesn’t have to be! All you need is the right mindset and actions when it comes to finding happiness in life. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to find happiness after 40. 

The Evolution of Finding Happiness Within Yourself

As women coursing through life, one thing we’ve come to terms with is that happiness changes over time. How we felt happy as teenagers wildly differed from when we clocked 30. 

Throughout our lives, our pursuit of happiness has often been shaped by societal standards. Both external influences and the environment play a significant role in shaping our perspective on this elusive concept of happiness.

For instance, when we were teens, we often felt uncertain and isolated as we struggled to define our goals in life. And so, when we define them, the rush of happiness is often excitement.

By our mid-20s, we are reminded it is a man’s world. Thus, we have to become more competitive to achieve significant success. And so, happiness at this point is when we feel successful and validated.

In our 30s, we are again faced with another expectation. Happiness means getting married, perhaps having children, owning a home and checking all the boxes society says we should check. And yet again, our definition of happiness changes.

It is often said that life truly blossoms at the age of 40, marking the start of a remarkable journey filled with self-discovery, personal growth, and the pursuit of happiness. At this stage of life, we become more aware of our purpose and start to prioritize our own needs. We understand that it is necessary to invest in ourselves and take the time to nurture our mental health. So we continue on a new search to achieve happiness.

The Secret to Finding Happiness

Fortune cookie with text "don't pursue happiness - create it."

So, what is the secret to finding happiness after 40? Well, it all boils down to a simple concept, which I recently found on a fortune cookie I opened while at lunch.

“Don’t pursue happiness – create it.” 

The message is clear. It’s time to stop waiting for happiness to come our way and intentionally make it happen. You determine what brings you genuine joy and take action to manifest it. No longer do you wait for happiness to surprise you; instead, you integrate activities into your daily life that uplift your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

This involves understanding what triggers your negative feelings and actively avoiding them. This helps you avoid the cycle of destructive negative emotions, which can lead to a lack of motivation and joy.

It means making your own rules and living life on your terms. We all have different versions of happiness, so don’t let anyone else define what will make you happy. Instead, take the time to discover what makes YOU happy and go for it!

Daily Habits to Cultivate Lasting Happiness

Woman creating a to do list for creating happiness

Dialing up happiness and inner peace often means making some changes in various aspects of your life on a day-to-day basis. 

Here are some tips to help you get started.

Let Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be a huge obstacle to happiness. Remove your own barriers and accept that you’re human. Mistakes and poor decisions will happen, and when they do, forgive yourself, learn from them, and move on. 

Embrace Your Limitations

As you age, your physical strength and abilities may decrease. That’s just part of life. But, instead of resenting it, embrace it. Find joy in what you can do, no matter how big or small. 

Focus on activities that bring out the best in you, even if they’re different from what you used to do. You can learn a new skill or find ways to incorporate your existing knowledge into something special.

Age is just a number and it should never define what you are capable of achieving in life. Don’t be afraid to explore your boundaries and see how far they can stretch! 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

One common mistake many individuals make is comparing their own lives to others. Do those around you appear to have it all figured out while you feel lost? This tendency can significantly impede your happiness and overall well-being.

It’s time to let go of your fear and anxiety of inadequacy. Instead of lingering on how your life pales in comparison to others, redirect that attention to yours. Focus on your talents and improve them without seeking external validationfrom others.

Stop trying to be the person you think other people want you to be. To lead a truly fulfilling and content life, accept yourself wholeheartedly and let go of your fear of judgment.

Discover Who You Are Right Now

William Shakespeare was up to something when he famously wrote, “To thine own self be true.” You need to discover who you are and not other people’s expectations of you.

Perhaps you’ve spent the past 15 years primarily focused on those around you (i.e., children, partner, parents) and you’ve neglected to invest time into exploring your passions. Now is the opportunity to do that, no matter what stage of life you’re in.

Understanding your own identity empowers you to harmonize your values and decisions. When your actions align with your core beliefs, a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment emerges. This organic synergy cultivates genuine and meaningful happiness that resonates within you.

Self-discovery also allows you to identify what truly matters to you and let go of those things that constantly drain your energy. More so, knowing your own needs and desires will enable you to nurture healthy relationships with others.

In a world that constantly tries to shape our lives, discovering yourself will enable you to live authentically and find happiness within yourself. 

For more on self-discovery, read the 5 principles of living your best life.

Focus on Your Well-Being

To achieve happiness within yourself, it is crucial to prioritize your well-being. It’s challenging to experience joy if you are continuously plagued by illness and poor health. Therefore, taking care of yourself becomes even more imperative as you enter your forties.

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, ensure you get enough restful sleep, exercise regularly and eat nutritious foods. Incorporate more outdoor activities into your life as the fresh air can provide numerous health benefits. 

Understanding your body’s needs and nourishing it accordingly is essential in the pursuit of truly feeling content with yourself. 

Appreciate All The Little Things 

Pause for a moment and truly value where you stand in life. It’s all too easy to become consumed by our thoughts or concerns and overlook our accomplishments. 

Take pride in the successes you’ve attained and relish every step forward on your journey!

Journaling can be an effective strategy. Writing down your reflections and emotions can provide a great sense of clarity and peace within ourselves. 

To get started, read How to Journal.

Practice Gratitude 

Practicing gratitude is like having magic wands that help you see the sparkle in and around your life. And that’s a recipe for finding happiness within yourself. Instead of fixating on what you don’t have, shine a spotlight on the incredible things that you possess.

Practicing gratitude will also help you build resilience. When things get tough, you can always have a pocketful of positive thoughts to strengthen you. On the plus side, gratitude can also help you develop self-esteem, fueling your worth.

Learn how to expand the latitude of your gratitude here.

Give Back to Others

Generously sharing with those around you is a profound path to living your most fulfilling life. Consider this: at this stage of your journey, you’ve amassed a wealth of wisdom, experience, and expertise. By actively contributing to causes close to your heart, you can experience a profound sense of fulfillment that is truly unparalleled.

Giving back can also ignite your passion and fill you with purpose. And when we talk about giving back, it doesn’t have to be grand. Start small. You can donate personal belongings to people who need them. Volunteer at your local shelter, mentor someone or give to a school fund drive. No act of kindness is too small!

Set Healthy Boundaries With Others

Setting healthy boundaries with others is another way to live your best life. Imagine strolling through a serene garden alone and free. That’s exactly what creating boundaries does for you. It makes you feel free, where your needs, emotions, and self-care come first.

Setting healthy boundaries shows that you respect yourself. It’s another way to say you value your time and feelings and won’t compromise on that. It also allows you to steer clear of unnecessary drama.

For instance, you shouldn’t work past your shift if you aren’t paid extra for your services. Your supervisors should respect that and act accordingly.

Spend Time with People Who Uplift You

Who you socialize with is a key factor in how content you feel. Life isn’t always easy, and having people around who support and understand you can make all the difference. 

Spending time with people who care for your growth makes it easier to stay positive and focused on what matters. Find the friends that will help you grow your dreams, not your doubts. 

This doesn’t mean that you should cut off those who don’t support your goals. Instead, try to focus on the positive and encouraging elements of your relationships while still setting boundaries when needed.

Set Personal Goals

Setting and pursuing personal goals is another effective way to find happiness within yourself after 40. 

Start by identifying the areas in your life that you want to work on. Then, set attainable and realistic goals that will take you closer to those dreams. 

This could be anything from reading more books or learning a new language to starting a side hustle or getting a degree. 

If you’re having trouble selecting goals, start by joining online communities that discuss the topics that interest you or join in-person groups or classes. You can also speak to your family and friends for ideas. 

Don’t forget to celebrate each tiny win as it comes along! This will help keep you motivated and inspired toward your ultimate goal. 


Woman balancing happiness

In the great adventure of life, discovering inner happiness is akin to uncovering the ultimate treasure map. While life beyond 40 presents its own set of hurdles, traversing this chapter with an inward-facing compass can truly make a world of difference.

Always remember, living your best life is not about conforming to someone else’s expectations. It’s about embracing and cherishing the unique beauty of being yourself.

Focus on your actions that drive long-term happiness. It may not happen overnight, however, it’s important to be consistent, patient and persistent in your pursuit of lasting joy. 

So, let’s raise a toast to fully embracing every moment of our lives—the highs and lows—and relish the joy of finding inner happiness.

Now that you have a new recipe to feel happier and cultivate internal happiness, consider creating a bucket list to begin your self-exploration. 

To get started, read bucket list ideas to unlock your best life.

Cheers to a happy life!

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