Life can feel incredibly sad and difficult at times. Studies have shown, however, that much of your ability to be happy or sad has to do with your perspective and not your situation. What this basically means is that happy people stay happy, no matter what happens to them. For those who don't naturally have that going for them, there is good news. There are some clear ways to get there. Here are a few tips:
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Most negative, unhappy people have a few particular trains of thought that they always go down when they're being negative. Thought patterns are like water channels. At first, water can go any way on a flat surface, but once it goes down the same way over and over again, it becomes habit. You may not even feel unhappy, but if that train of thought gets tripped, then you'll end up sad. By challenging whether that thought is logical, relevant and accurate, it's like evening out the flat surface again, and it allows your brain to re-think in more positive ways.
The next step in this is to begin to replace the negative thought trains with positive ones. This begins by intentionally coming up with things to be grateful for. They can be small details about the day, or large overarching things like health and family. The important part is to make the effort to be grateful, especially when things go wrong in your life. Find something unique to be grateful for every day. On bad days, find several things.
Fake it Until you Make it
This is the next step in the process. Becoming happy and positive doesn't happen overnight, it takes work, and is a lot like getting your attitude in shape. Just like you can't go from couch to marathon overnight, you will have to work, fail, and try again for a long time before it is effortless joy. Eventually, though, you won't have to fake it anymore, and you will be genuinely happy.
Embrace the Meaningful and Cut the Toxic
Finally, the last step, while working on yourself internally is to take a long hard look at the external influences in your life. You can be happy with the internal work, but you will find it a lot easier if you are eliminating bad influences like toxic friends and family and work situations you despise. Embrace passion and meaning, find the things that bring you joy, and make a plan to bring your life more in line with these things. Give back to the world by volunteering for those who have less than you to keep your gratitude in check. By following your dreams and maintaining a positive attitude, you will be surprised at all you can achieve.