How to be happy is a question lots of people ask. It's very common for us to depend upon others in order to make us happy... "if only I could have an amazing boyfriend, I would be happy", or "if only my friends were more attentive, I would be happy" or (and this is a common one!) "if I had more money, I'd be happy".

But these things are situations and events in our lives. Your happiness depends on one thing and one thing only - you. You have a choice every day when you wake up whether you are going to be happy today or not.

That is not to say that there aren't difficulties you might have to face - but those difficulties will be there whether you are happy or not. If you let those difficulties make you unhappy then you are giving your power away to external sources which can never ever come close to being as powerful as your own mind.

Have you noticed how some people are, more often than not, happy? It isn't that they have such marvelous lives that are much different from yours, what is different is their outlook and the choices they make. Be happy or don't. It sounds simple doesn't it? Well, it is...

The ideas I've given you below on how to be happy are just a small sample of the things you can do to boost your mood and get happy.

I truly hope that they can help you to realise where happiness comes from and how to be happy - and stay that way :)

Happiness Depends Upon Ourselves - Aristotle

How To Be Happy - Gratitude

The happiest people do not have the best of everything, they make the best of everything they have.

On and on it's seems to go, but you don't know what you've got till it's gone... sang Joni Mitchell.

It is very easy to take what we have for granted these days because we have so much.

Being more grateful will bring you more happiness and there is a very simple and scientific reason for this - you are an energy magnet and you attract towards you what you give out. Showing gratitude is in fact a prayer - a request for more of what you are thankful for. The universe is only too happy to oblige and supply more of it!

It doesn't matter how small you perceive a thing to be – a beautiful flower, birdsong in the morning, the smell of your hot fresh coffee at breakfast – be thankful, that is how to be happy!

Try to imagine the feeling you get when you are in a state of heightened gratitude, when something truly amazing has just happened to you. Perhaps the birth of your child, or passing an important exam, or witnessing an extraordinarily beautiful sunset. That's real joy and that joy is you giving thanks for the beauty you have just received. You don't have to ask how to be happy in that moment, you just experience the happiness without question and your joy is your way of saying thank you.

The more you start appreciating what you have in your life, it will begin to come naturally to you. You will begin to receive more of what makes you joyful and you will also become a happier person.

How To Be Happy - Take More Opportunities That Come Your Way!

Sometimes, especially when we are busy or feeling low, we tend to say "no" to invitations to parties or when a friend asks us to go for coffee. Saying no is the easy way out. It means you don't have to bother and can go home and wallow in self pity. I know, I've been there!

But do you know what you are really doing when you say no to those invitations? You are saying no to life!

Consider that each time you say no to an opportunity - no matter how insignificant it may seem, a door closes. Maybe for good. Who knows what might have come your way if you had agreed to attend the party or accepted the invitation for coffee? The man or woman of your dreams may have been at that party or you may have made an important business connection... or at the very least, you may have had some fun!

Life is like a river and we are as a leaf floating upon the water. Be like the leaf - go where life carries you - so how to be happy? Give in to happiness! Say yes more often and more happiness will enter your life!

How To Be Happy - Follow Your Bliss

The phrase follow your bliss was coined by the American Mythologist Joseph Campbell.

How many people do you know including yourself, who are truly happy with where they are in life, or rather what they are doing? How many others ask themselves how to be happy?

We plod along in life making decisions because we think we should or must, to fill some obligation to someone or something that is certainly not our own happiness. What's even worse is we are taught to do this during our school years! We are taught how to get a job, how to do well in interviews but we are not taught how to be happy.

Of course the bills need to be paid, but who is to say that we have to work a soul destroying 9-5 job that we hate in order to pay them? Why not follow your bliss instead? If your bliss is restoring vintage cars I'm sure there is a way to pay the bills by doing so.

The point of life is indeed to follow your bliss. Find what makes you happy - and do it. I'm doing it by making this website. I guarantee you will make more money and be a happiness billionaire when you are doing something that literally makes you forget everything else, feels like you're having fun not working. The thought might be a scary one... to give up that day job to follow your bliss. But one thing's for certain - living in fear will never make you happy.

So - find your bliss and follow it. Happiness cannot help but follow back.

How to Be Happy - Be Kind To People!

Studies have shown that random acts of kindness towards others improve a person's general mood and state of wellbeing. As well as making you a nicer person, that fact will make you feel like a better person.

You will feel more connected to your fellow human and you open yourself up to acts of kindness being done unto you. What you give out you get back...

Doing something nice for someone will make their day and it will make you feel absolutely great about yourself. Whoever you do a kindness for will no doubt pay it forward and you will have created a chain reaction of random kindnesses!

For example, you could buy a homeless person a meal, scrape the snow from a neighbour's path as well as your own, leave a copy of your favourite book on a cafe table with a note inside explaining why you enjoyed it and that you wanted someone else to enjoy it too.

The act of kindness could be anything – it doesn't need to cost anything.

Your good deed for the day will make you feel good and feeling good makes you happy! Even better, it will show someone else how to be happy too!

How To Be Happy - Live in the Present Moment

"This is the real secret of life - to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play."

The above proverb by the great Alan Watts is pointing us to the fact that we are never happy living in the now. If we are doing something that needs to be done that isn't necessarily particularly exciting, we are usually thinking about something in the past or something in the future. Wishing we were somewhere else other than right here, right now.

The trouble with this is of course that this can cause us unimaginable suffering since the past is gone never to return and the future is just an imaginary fiction that never comes. We are "stuck" in the here and now, whether it is a pleasant here and now or a not so pleasant here and now. So why fight it - you'll never change it.

All we ever have and all we ever will have is the present moment - the eternal now. So think of it this way. No matter what chore you are doing, no matter how tedious it may seem, enjoy it. Put your all into it. And do it carefully and with love, and focus. In this way you will begin to find pleasure and happiness in everything you do, even the most tedious chore and you will have found how to be happy by being present in the Now.

For a wonderful introduction to living in the Now read Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now.

Practice being present in the moment and happiness will be right there with you at your side. Eternally.

How To Be Happy - Accept What Is

Let's face it, happiness is a state of being. Happiness is a choice. We all want more of it. Yet we live in a dualistic universe full of opposites – hot and cold, up and down, happy and sad.

In such a universe, how can you know happiness without ever having known sadness?

How to be happy in a world of such apparent chaos? All these opposites are part of life's rich tapestry. And if something happens that does make you feel sad, remember – this too shall pass.

Learning to accept what is - to take the rough with the smooth - instead of fighting against it and pushing against the natural flow of life force and the reality of this moment will allow abundant happiness into your life.

How To Be Happy - Enjoy The Small Things

How many times do you look up at the sky and wonder at the gorgeous blue or if it's nighttime, marvel at the stars in the galaxy we live in? Because they are there all the time we tend not to notice them any more. They are just part of the furniture.

When you play with your pet, bake cakes with your children or get into a really great book or listen to your favourite piece of music – enjoy these moments and realise the joy they can bring you.

Write a list of all the good things you have in your life, from the biggest right the way down to the smallest thing. You'll be surprised just how many things you do have to be happy about.

A life full of many small enjoyable things is a happy life indeed!

How To Be Happy - Learn To Forgive

If you fall out with friends and family it can cause you to experience emotional and physical problems that you might not even attribute to the falling out.

Holding onto a grudge or hatred will literally eat away at you and you will not find peace or happiness.

No one is saying that you should roll over and let people treat you badly. My advice is to learn from the situation, if the situation cannot be rectified remove the person from your life, but forgive them for their actions.

Otherwise, the only one who will suffer if you do not learn to forgive is you. Learning to forgive will not only make you happier, but you will also be much more at peace with yourself.

How To Be Happy - Smile!

It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile so frowning actually takes more energy and effort than smiling. So you have no excuse! Smile and the world smiles with you.

As you walk down the street on the way to work or to the shops, smile at strangers. Nine times out of ten they will smile back. It feels great to exchange a friendly smile with a stranger and you'll both feel better for it!

People who smile tend to have less wrinkles and look years younger than they are so turn that frown upside down and consciously smile, whether you feel like it or not. You are training yourself to be happy! Your brain has learned to keep you frowning and you can retrain it to keep you smiling and feeling happier.

You will find that the act of smiling in itself will make you feel better, heighten your mood and soon the smile will be a natural one!

How To Be Happy - Eat Well, Sleep Well, Exercise Well

A healthy diet, sleep and exercise programme works wonders for your all round well being as well as making you happier.

Foods For Happiness

Foods high in Magnesium such as bran, brazil nuts, seeds, dark chocolate

Oily fish contains Omega 3 which has a serious beneficial affect on your mood.

Tomato skin contain lycopene and antioxidants. Lightly cook to release the powerful mood enhancing properties of tomatoes.

Spinach – is a superfood so has many health benefits. The folic acid in spinach helps with improving mood.

Spinach (oh it's a good one!) fish, spirulina and nuts are all foods high in tryptophan which is an amino acid that controls the brain's production of it's own feel good chemical, seratonin.

Foods high in B vitamins, spinach,avocado, nuts, and seeds.

Whole grains, oats, brown rice.

Healthy snacking throughout the day helps to keep blood sugar levels regulated and mood on an even keel. Snack on seed, fruit and nuts, avoid the high sugar, fatty options.

Always ensure you are getting enough Vitamins and minerals – especially the B vitamins which the body needs for preventing depression and anxiety. Vitamin D supplements are great for helping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Take a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.

Eat raw fruits and veg where possible - cooking eliminates a lot of the goodness from them. If you must cook them, steam them very gently.

Drink at least 2 litres or 8 glasses of fresh water every day. Dehydration can make stress and anxiety worse.

Sleep for Happiness

Sleep has a big impact on your happiness and mood. Without enough sleep, the body makes more stress hormones. It's recommended that most adults need about 7 or 8 hours sleep a night.

If you're stressed you'll find it much harder to sleep. This can be helped with exercise. Scientists are studying how lack of sleep affects our emotions but what is for sure is that the parts of the brain responsible for depression and negative emotions are extremely active when we are tired.

When you have enough sleep your immune system will function optimally and a healthy body will increase your chances of feeling much better mood wise.

I personally would NEVER have a television in my bedroom. Or any electrical items including LCD alarm clocks etc. The electromagnetic frequencies the TV etc give out do not allow you to sleep properly and affect your REM sleep. Also any kind of light in your bedroom will interfere with your sleep so before going to sleep, turn off all the electrical items or better still, don't have them in your bedroom in the first place.

The bedroom is for two things and one of them is sleeping... the other is not watching TV!

Exercise for Happiness

Exercise makes your body produce it's own feel good chemicals. It reduces stress and has an all round positive effect on your mental - as well as physical - health.

How to Be Happy - Increase Your Social Circle

Friendship and human contact is key to human happiness. You may recall that in Victorian times, orphan babies were taken to large and impersonal orphanages and 99% of them died. They didn't starve to death or die from any disease, they died from lack of human touch and love. Our need for human touch and love does not disappear as we grow older.

We are very social creatures and although we do need some time to ourselves, a good group of friends will make you happy. It's great to have someone to confide in and to listen to in return.. Out of all animal species humans have been shown to interact with each other on a more intense level than any other species. We need human contact to help us thrive.

Program Co-Director and Arthur J.E. Child Foundation Fellow John Helliwell (University of British Columbia) and former CIFAR-funded post-doctoral fellow Haifang Huang conducted a happiness study and investigated the effects that real and online friends have on an individual’s well-being. They found that online friends have no impact on a person's happiness but real life friends have a very large impact on a person's happiness levels.

It was found that doubling the amount of real life friends has an effect on wellbeing roughly equivalent to a 50% increase in income. Single people benefit more greatly from friendships as people can gain the same benefits from friends as they would from their spouse or partner.

How to Be Happy - Ask Yourself "Who Am I?"

I have saved the most important point till last. Asking Who Am I will start you off on a beautiful journey of spirituality that will bring you to a state of near permanent happiness once you realise Who you really are.

The awe of realisation of just what is looking out from behind your eyes is beyond happiness, beyond time... beyond words. It cannot be given to you or taken away from you.

Realise this and you will find true happiness and bliss, all fear will fall away from you and you will begin to truly be.

Peace and Love

Author's Bio: 

Kerry Little BSc (Hons) Psych and Webmaster of Kerry assists people with personal development especially regarding the law of attraction, manifesting, meditation and visualisation techniques. She finds nothing more amazing than the human potential to grow, learn and achieve and it makes her day, every day, to be a part of that.

She can be reached at