If you want to learn how to be happy, you first have to learn that the power is within you. Happiness is a choice. It takes participation and a positive attitude. Having a positive mindset and taking consistent action toward your dreams will help you create happiness in your life.

No matter what you are going through, there is always a silver lining.

As Robert Frost once said, “The best way out is through.”

Happiness comes from inside. It depends on how you allow yourself to feel about things. To be happy you have to define what makes you light up, and create those experiences for yourself. You can’t wait for someone to come into your life and bring joy. You have to do it yourself.

You also need to know what makes you unhappy and learn to avoid it. If you don’t like sardines, you’re not going to order them in a restaurant, right? Likewise, if your friends are unsupportive and self-involved, spend less time with them and seek out new relationships. If you hate your job and Mondays make you feel down, it’s time to make a change. Think about the things in your life that get you down and work out solutions to making them better.

It’s Not About Things

You can have it all and still not be happy. A designer wardrobe, a luxury car, a personal trainer, a stylist: These things alone will not make you any happier if they are not your heart’s desire. How many celebrities do we see who seemingly have it all, and are still unhappy. They may have millions of adoring fans, but do they have love in their lives? They may have millions of dollars, but they can’t buy happiness.

You can have an empty wallet and still feel abundant and happy.

You can struggle to put food on the table and still feel satiated and happy.

You can live alone and still feel loved and happy and connected to the world.

It’s an attitude. But it’s more than that. It takes action on your part.

How To Take Action Toward Happiness

Do you want caring friends and a great relationship? Go out and meet people. Be nice. Be a great friend. Be generous with your time. Be a good listener. Care. You will find friends who are worthy of you.

Do you want to feel healthy? See your doctor. Take breaks. Learn to cook. Make time to cook. Shop for fresh ingredients. Don’t follow fad diets but rather practice a healthy lifestyle.

Do you want to be beautiful? Take care of yourself. Think beautiful thoughts. Say beautiful things. Read beautiful books. Fill your head with beauty and allow it to shine through from your soul.

Do you want to feel peace? Learn not to care about other people’s opinions. Put down the phone and the tablet and engage with the world. Look within and learn that you have the power over your own thoughts and feelings.

Do you want to be successful? Define success on your own terms. Figure out what you want. Make a plan. Break it down into actionable steps. Ask for help. Take a class. Improve your skills. Try new things. You never know what you are good at until you try.

You’re Allowed To Change Your Mind

Keep in mind that what makes you happy will evolve over time. When you were a kid, going to the playground, eating a popsicle, and summer vacation made you happy. When you were in college, doing well on a test, getting invited into a sorority, and weekend parties may have made you happy.

As we get older our goals and plans change and new levels of happiness enter our lives. Relationships, children, building a home, accomplishments. Our wants and needs develop over time. Reassess your happy levels from time to time. Get rid of what no longer serves you. Find new inspirations.

The combined practices of optimism and taking action will help you learn how to be happy. And remember: It’s all a practice. The more you practice creating joy, the happier you will be.

What makes you happy? I’d love to know how you practice joy in your everyday life. Let me know in the comments below.