Everything we do--professionally and personally--has an effect on us, whether it's for good or not-so-good. The truth is that we all want to live happy lives. When we choose to do the right things for the right reasons, we get better results.

Numerous research studies have demonstrated that being kind has multiple health benefits, including reduced stress, increased energy levels, improved sleep patterns, and enhanced self-esteem.

So here are seven super important things--backed by science--to practice every day to set you on the road to happiness.

1. Take care of yourself

What's common sense for some people it's not common practice for others. Therefore I mention that it's important to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Eating properly, sleeping adequately, exercising regularly, and praying or meditating frequently will enhance your overall well-being.

2. Spend your time wisely

How you spend your time says a lot about you and your priorities. You have 24 hours in a day--no more, no less. Value your time, as it is more precious than gold. If you manage your time properly, your life will become less stressful, you'll focus on the things and the people that matter most to you, and you won't easily get distracted.

3. Respect people

First, respect yourself, and then respect others. Respect isn't something that you earn. It's a fundamental human right that is to be given no matter if people are nice to you or not. Being respectful to everyone speaks highly about your character. In a world where values are decaying, you have a great opportunity to set an example to follow.

4. Think positively; talk positively

Stay away from gossip, and avoid complaining. Fill your mind with healthy thoughts--it's possible, even if you're struggling with something. Engage in smart and meaningful conversations. Give compliments to people, and speak highly of others, too. Add more positive words to your vocabulary, and refuse all negativity.

5. Practice kindness

Give yourself an opportunity to be happier. You have limitless opportunities to do so by being kind to others. Reach out to a person in need, offer to do the shopping for a friend who's sick, refill the coffee pot when you take the last cup, hold the door open for others, and so forth. When you are kind, you feel better about yourself--and others feel better about you.

6. Ask for help

Avoid letting your pride get in the way of asking for help. More times than not, people will be glad to help you. Sometimes you may need a fresh perspective about a problem that seems impossible to solve. Be prudent and seek the advice of people whose values align with yours. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

7. Be grateful

Appreciate all that you have in your life. Be thankful for your health, your home, your family, your job, your car, and the money that you have to buy food and clothes. Don't ever take what you have for granted. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Say thank you whenever someone does something for you. Smile more.

Published on: Aug 27, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.