There’s no doubt that life is hard. Even the Bible tells us that, as followers of Jesus, we will face many challenges. In John 16:33, Jesus tells His disciples, “‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’” Jesus had just got done telling His disciples that He would be leaving them. These words served as encouragement to His followers. They were to remind them, and now us, that God is trustworthy and good, and we can take “heart” or confidence and comfort in God, even when times are hard. We can have peace, even in the midst of turmoil; joy in the midst of grief; hope in the midst of despair. We can be happy even when life is hard because Jesus has overcome the world. This is just one of the many lessons from the Bible that teach us why and how to remain hopeful and happy during tough times.
How to Be Happy Even When Life is Hard
It's easy to be happy when life is going your way. But what about when things are tough? How can you find joy in the midst of hard times? As Christians, we know that God is with us no matter what. And through Him, we can find happiness even when life is difficult. Here are five ways for how to be happy even when life is hard.
1. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is one of the most significant ways for how to be happy even when life is hard. Scientific studies prove that gratitude increases optimism and decreases depression and anxiety. When you focus on what you have vs. what you lack, you’ll experience more joy. So, even when you’re going through a hard time, you can be happy by thinking about all God has done in your life. Has He blessed you with a loving family or great friends? Do you have a job you enjoy that enables you to provide for yourself and others? Has He provided you with a roof over your head and food to eat? There are so many ways God has blessed you, even when you’re going through times when you don’t feel His blessings at all. Focus on showing gratitude to God for all He has done and trust that even more blessings will come.
2. Be Okay with All Your Feelings
Feeling happy is more fun than feeling sad, so it’s natural that the first thing you want to do is find ways for how to be happy even when life is hard. But sometimes, it’s important to feel feelings other than joy. When God created us, He gave us an array of emotions. Even Jesus Himself experienced sadness, anger, and exhaustion when on Earth. Life isn’t easy. Like Jesus told His disciples, you will have trouble; life will be hard. It’s ok to feel disappointed, discouraged, or down. But it’s equally important to seek God in those moments so that He can comfort you and shower you with love and peace.
3. Serve Others
Serving others is one of the best ways for how to be happy even when life is hard. Whether you get involved at your church, volunteer at a senior center, or pay it forward at the grocery store, being kind to others will help you feel better. There are also scientific studies that highlight the many benefits of serving others, but let’s look at lessons from the Bible that point to this important practice.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:8-10).
You can serve others in word and deed, by the encouragement you share to the helping hands you lend. However you choose to do it, serving others will not only help you feel more joy but it will glorify God at the same time.
4. Do Something You Enjoy
Once you’re done doing something for others as a way for how to be happy even when life is hard, do something for yourself. Whether you enjoy a long walk by the river, painting, singing, hiking, or something else, spending time doing something you love will help you feel better. These types of activities are also a great place to connect with Jesus. Turn your regular walk into a prayer walk. Sing worship songs to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
5. Spend Time with Loving People
Spending time with good, kind, loving people can make hard times better. Whether they offer a shoulder to cry on or a reason to laugh until your stomach hurts, being around people who love you and support you is essential when life is hard. God designed us to be in community with others because He knew we’d need people when life got difficult. Ecclesiastes 4:9a says, “Two are better than one.” Spending time with people is how to be happy even when life is hard because if one falls down, the other can help them up. If one gets cold, the other can keep them warm. If one is in a battle, the other can help them win. God created us to be in community with others because we need people to make it through hard times.
Find Peace with God Even When Life is Hard
It's not easy to be happy when life is hard. In fact, it can feel downright impossible at times. But as Christians, we are called to find joy in the midst of our trials, and that doesn't mean we have to pretend everything is okay when it's not. It just gives us more reason to lean into God and follow lessons from the Bible that remind us how to be happy even when life is hard.