You’ve probably seen them: people who work the most mundane jobs, who drive the most beat-up cars, wear outdated clothes and live in places many people fear to tread – and they are, inexplicably, very happy. What gives? How can people whose lives seem to be full of hardship and struggle be so happy?

Wondering how to be happy? Create a habit of happiness!Our lives seldom look like we want them to. Something is always not quite right. Or it’s missing altogether. We would be happy if only

We wait for the stars to align. For conditions to be just right. For the right person to waltz into our lives.

And we wait, and wait, and wait.

We wait for happiness that depends on perfect conditions. But really – would your life be truly happy if you had more money? Your first inclination might be “YES!” Well, when you have money, you spend it. Then, you have a lot of stuff to take care of. And you might start worrying that somebody will come by and steal your stuff, or your friends won’t like you… or that you’ll make one bad investment and it’ll all be gone in a flash.

So temporarily, you might be happy. But ultimately, your level of happiness won’t change. You’ll still be you, wanting something to come along to make your life happy permanently.

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The perfect relationship won’t do that either. Whomever you attract into your life is a mirror of you in some way. The traits you admire in them exist in you – and the things that irritate you in them, exist in you as well. Inevitably, your ‘perfect partner’ will do or say (or don’t do/don’t say) something that will disappoint you and make you… unhappy (even for a moment).

So as happy as you can be with another person, that relationship will never give you the permanent happiness you seek.

The ‘perfect’ job, house, car, children or any situation will never create permanent happiness either.

Happiness is a choice and a habit. It has no source except that which is within you. Here’s how to make that choice as unconsciously as you make the choice to NOT be happy.

Nothing outside of you can make you truly happy.Here are the secrets of the happiest people on Earth!

1. Enjoy, appreciate and fully experience the present moment. If you look for happiness “tomorrow” then “tomorrow” is when you will be happy. Why not now? Your worries and fears do not exist in the now; they are imaginary scenarios you paint of the future; and your regrets and guilt belong to the past! But you live NOW!

2. Be grateful for what you have, and don’t dwell on what you don’t have. Start now by choosing an object you have at home and put it to use right now; as you use it, appreciate it for its usefulness, beauty or whatever qualities that object has. Why do you have it? How has it improved your life?

3. See the world with optimism because life is full of possibility, humor, silliness, absurdities, delights and beauty. Yes, the opposites exist too, but most of us give too much attention to the negative aspects of life (otherwise, the TV news would be out of business!). Turn off the TV, go outside, interact with neighbors and friends, play with kids and animals and do what you love – see the good in everyone and everything.

4. Smile. Studies have shown that people who smiled in their high school yearbook photos were more successful in all areas of life: they were more affluent, had better marriages, and were generally happier than the people who didn’t smile in their yearbook photo. A smile is magnetic. It opens doors and hearts.

5. Enjoy the little things; the details, the moments, the unnoticed slices of life that are easy to miss in this hurry-up world. Literally, stop to smell the roses.

6. Visualize. Use the Silva Method visualization exercises to create happiness within. Learn to imagine yourself in your current circumstances, only happy – and tap into your intuition to create a more desirable set of circumstances.

7. Take excellent care of yourself. If you neglect your body’s needs or your intellectual and spiritual development, you are setting yourself up for major unhappiness. You have been gifted with a body designed to experience life fully. You have been gifted with an intellect designed to be curious and to learn. Are you using these gifts, or squandering them? Don’t forget: “use it or lose it”.

A positive outlook creates happiness.8. Stop trying to be perfect or trying to make your life perfect. Perfection is a matter of perspective. Everything changes; something can be ‘perfect’ for a limited time only (and therefore your associated happiness is limited also). Why? Because a newer, better, faster, stronger, prettier or more useful – more perfect – version will come along, rendering the old version imperfect. There is always room for improvement. Focus on that. Take small steps and make small incremental improvements. Enjoy the process as much as the achievement.

9. BE the ‘ideal you’ right now. Don’t wait for knowledge, skills, achievements or situations to be just right. Give your best, right now, in everything you do. Think, talk and act your best. Emulate the most desirable traits of someone you admire. Give more. If you don’t have money, give time, effort, empathy, understanding, knowledge, smiles and hugs. BE the happy, generous, adventurous, virtuous, kind person you want to be. Just do it!

10. Spend more time with happy people and less time with the downers and drama queens.

11. Choose a new interpretation. Happiness is about how you interpret life. Choose to see (and think, speak and act) more good than bad. Choose to see the silver linings, the little things and life’s everyday wonders. It’s a moment-by-moment choice – a daily achievement – and it’s not always easy. But the more you practice happiness, the easier it becomes to be happy.

12. Develop yourself spiritually through whatever means resonate with you and become inwardly happy, peaceful, loving, compassionate… and understand that you are an infinite, eternal being having a physical experience – so make the most of it!

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