Do you consider yourself to be a happy person? Would you say you are you generally content and in a good mood from day to day with a spring in your step, or do the little things tend to bring you down?
A while ago I happened across a web discussion where someone had asked "How do you define happiness?" This person went on to provide a dictionary definition of the word that included the phrase "passive state of pleasure." Well, that works for me. After all, isn't true happiness just a feeling of contentment without the need for anything to be happening in the moment to provide it?
Happy people are not happy because they were born perky. Happy people are not happy because something in their lives outside of themselves has made them happy in a given period in time. They are happy because they realize that happiness is a choice, and that just being alive is something to be grateful for. No matter what life's challenges, if you can find a reason to smile each day, a reason to try again at some task, or a reason to continue to move forward (or sideways as the case may be) in spite of adversity, you can create your own passive states of pleasure and maintain them.
The key to happiness is learning how to appreciate who you are and what you have. There are many unhappy people in the world. These people just can't seem to rise above all the reasons they find to be miserable, and because misery loves company they want to take the rest of us down with them. We must have compassion for those people, but in order to preserve our own happiness we must learn to do it from a distance.
In order to truly be happy in life we must also learn how to keep things in perspective. If you planned to spend the day outdoors gardening, sunning or swimming at the beach but the weather has turned ugly, you can either dwell on it or you can see it as an opportunity to do something else and reschedule your day outdoors. A thunderstorm may put a dent in your plans but that doesn't mean you can't form other plans that would bring you just as much enjoyment.
Looking at the bright side may seem like a cliche but it's not just a way to always be happy, it's good for your health. Stress, frustration, and anxiety all combine to lead to any manner of problems including insomnia, indigestion, and depression, and can contribute to or complicate more significant physical health issues.
Problems in life are temporary; life holds so many simple pleasures that there really is no reason to dwell on the negative. Meditation, yoga, walks, or merely stopping to smell the roses are all excellent ways to stop and refocus in unpleasant moments to allow your inner bliss to triumph over adversity.
Always strive for passive states of pleasure. never let anyone or anything steal your joy.