One of the main reasons why humans have so much trouble being happy is that, in the majority of cases, we don’t know what happiness is. The Dalai Lama said that the purpose of life is to be happy - but if we don’t know what happiness is, how do we search it out? There are two common misconceptions about reaching a state of happiness.
Firstly, we tend to believe that the acquisition of material goods will bring us happiness, but many lottery winners can attest to the contrary. Somehow, we feel protected by money or possessions, and they may make us temporarily happy - but the effect is short-lived.

Secondly, we believe that if we are able to rid ourselves of anxiety, stress and doubt, or feelings of sadness, we will automatically have peace of mind.
What we don’t always realise is that happiness is a state of mind, but it is no secret that unless our minds are content and at peace with ourselves and our lives, we cannot truly claim to be happy. Things may not be 100% perfect but if we are accepting of the current situation, we will have discovered a degree of contentment.

Take a close look at yourself

We are often unhappy because we haven’t taken a serious look at ourselves and how we operate. We need to embark on a voyage of self-discovery and become interested in how we think and behave.
Our tendency is to believe that we are the centre of the universe and, instinctively, we analyse how things will impact us. We should perhaps think about using the words “I” and “me” more cautiously and think differently about how we engage with others on a daily basis.
We all deserve to be happy. If we are happy, our happiness becomes infectious and we can bring a feeling of well-being to others.

Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~ Buddha

Tip One: Make Friends And Be A Good One
It’s wonderful to have friends around us that we have known since childhood or our school days, but it is also wonderfully refreshing to bring new people into our circle of friends. I’ve moved house and country on several occasions, and one of the greatest thrills during these times, has been meeting and becoming friends with the new people who have enriched my life in so many ways.
Once made, we need to make sure that we nurture our friendships. Time is one of the greatest things we can give to our friends – time to talk to them, laugh with them, cry with them, listen to them, understand their point of view; in a nutshell, communicate with them.
Making new friends isn’t always as easy as it sounds. The key is making the effort to reach half way, and hoping that the other person will meet us in the middle.

• Make a list of friends you have been intending to call.
• Choose one friend and make that call or send that email. Find out how things are going for them; arrange to meet them; get involved in what they are doing. Your time is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone else, and giving it will bring contentment to you.
• Is there a person you would like to know better? What could you do to start that process?
• Start a friendship journal. At the end of each day, reflect on the opportunities that you were given, to be a good friend. Did you take the opportunities?
I never miss an opportunity to make a new acquaintance or friend. Sometimes, the effort works out well and other times, it does not - but I feel happy that I always try.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” - Anais Nin

Tip Two: Do A Dreaded Task
Be honest. Is there something that you know that you (absolutely) should do, but can’t bring yourself to do? It may be inviting your parents-in-law for the weekend or asking your boss for a change in your working conditions. Maybe your garage is so full that you can’t get your car inside and you really should tidy it up. The task may be small or large scale but probably, there is something which you have avoided doing because, despite being buried deep in the recesses of your mind, your stomach turns over when you think about it. You would feel so much happier if you brought it into the light of day, dusted it off and decided to do something about it. Worrying about doing something is often worse than the reality of actually getting it done.

The Procrastination Process
• You know that there is something you should be doing.
• You sit on the issue for a long time, ignoring the problem.
• The problem gets larger.
• You start to invent excuses (which seem very valid to you) why you can’t possibly tackle the problem.
• The moment of truth arrives, when you can resolve to take action, or bury the problem and let it erode your confidence, forever.

• Make a list of things you have been avoiding.
• Prioritise them in a list of importance, starting at one and ending at ten.
• Examine - truthfully - the excuses that you have been making in order to avoid correcting them.
• Be honest and say whether the excuses are valid, or are they the easy option?
• Decide which task you are going to tackle first.
• Write a list of actions you could take right now, in order to get things underway.
• In the course of the next week, carry out at least two of those actions.
Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.” ~ John Barrymore

Tip Three: Don’t Keep Score
Keeping score takes many forms. It may be in the form of an ongoing tally “I paid last time so it’s her turn this time”, or “I’m not phoning them because it’s their turn to phone me”. It may take a more serious form, like devising a retaliation - “He played a dirty trick on me, I won’t forget it and when the moment is right... ”. Keeping score can easily turn into a vendetta or revenge. Don’t let such a damaging result occur, because any resulting euphoria will be short-lived.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you become a doormat for others, but what I am suggesting is that you take the “I” out of the equation, and not dwell so much on how things impact you. Life happens, and if we are not careful, we hold onto negativity, we bear grudges and feel angry and hurt. On a daily basis, these emotions cloud our minds and prevent us from being the best we can be. We need to learn to let go.

Letting Go
Letting go usually involves some form of forgiveness or acceptance – whether that acceptance is directed towards yourself, someone else, a situation or even an unknown third party. The irony is that whatever you’re holding onto at present, it is most probably hurting or bothering you far more than it does anyone else.
Letting go doesn't mean we condone a situation or behaviour, it’s about lightening OUR load. Because when we let go of whatever is bothering us, we set ourselves free and are able to reclaim that energy for ourselves.
And remember – the thing or things that you find most difficult to let go, are probably what you need to let go of the most

• Think of a situation where you may need to let go.
• Decide that you are willing to let go. You don’t need to know how. That will come by itself.
• Be open to thoughts that come from inside and be ready to take action. Maybe you will remove yourself from a particular situation or gently, but firmly, tell someone that you are not comfortable with the way they behave towards you. Disengaging from a particular person or situation will diffuse its impact on you.

Taking responsibility for not keeping score makes us feel happier, whatever the eventual outcome of the situation. This shift in mind set will minimise the problem or situation, for you.

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” ~ Gail Sheehy

Author's Bio: 

From an early age, I knew that communicating with others was something that I simply loved doing. I founded Vivien McKnight Creativity Coaching because I wanted to help ordinary people become extraordinary - in both their professional and personal lives. Someone once asked me, “What would you most like to know about yourself?” to which my answer was, “I would like to know what I am capable of doing, what I can really achieve.”

I run courses and workshops, both on-line and in person, for people who also want to see what they can really achieve - people who want to exchange bad habits for good ones, and achieve happier ways of living. I help them to get rid of the bad, and replace it with something far better.

I enjoy working with people who want to make lasting changes in their lives; people who are motivated and committed to achieving positive change.

I’ve nothing against sheep but I don’t want to be one. My challenge always lies in giving clients the confidence to take action, and to seek out who they truly are.

“Let go of who you are supposed to be and embrace who you are.” ~ Brene Brown

Vivien believes that we all have a creative being inside, and she encourages people to release this gift, in order to enjoy a life in which our own unique skills and passions are valued and harnessed. She carries out her work with sensitivity and humour, which is a winning combination.
Vivien divides her time between Spain and the UK, giving talks and workshops throughout Europe and beyond. She runs on-line courses with participants across the globe.
Discover your true skills and passions, and the peace of mind that is rightfully yours at