We all take our happiness for granted, and it's only when something truly awful happens that we begin to value the importance of a life filled with joy rather than sorrow.
Then again, some people always seem to be happier than others. But why? Do they possess a mythical key they're not tellings us about?
Not quite. There is no 'key' to happiness. But in their mind at least, they have opened a door where they can see everything for what it is. In the words of a well-known Greek philosopher, 'Happiness depends on ourselves.'
Here are ten possible explanations for why some people are happier than others.
1. They never take anything for granted
It's common knowledge that those who value friendship, love and the simpler things in life are often happier.
One only has to look at the demographics of Western economies like America to see that people's individualistic and financially driven lifestyles have made them more depressed whereas those in developing countries, where there is little modern technology in place, are usually better off emotionally.
2. They're not materialistic
While happy people may notice the latest Chanel bag or the shiny new Ferrari Spyder that whizzed down the road, they don't look at them and feel an innate need to have them.
Their only care is living, not wanting. If you manage to distinguish between the two, then you'll probably feel just as good as they do.
3. They are ambitious
While living care-free can be a positive sign of one's happiness, many living that lifestyle lack any long-term plans and instead turn to partying and wild nights of debauchery.
The happy-go-lucky types, however, may seem carefree, but they also know what they want in life. The difference between these two types may be subtle, but it's crucial.
4. They value living in the moment
On the other hand, those with grand plans and big ideas can still feel bogged down and dissatisfied with life for not seeing their dreams come true.
However, those that are ambitious, but who value the now, rather than solely looking ahead are often happier. They know they are doing their best for a better future, but at the same time, they know the future is unpredictable and to neglect the present would be naive.
5. They say yes
Saying yes isn't the answer to your problems, but it can help. You don't have to revert to Jim Carrey's character in "Yes Man", but by saying yes more times than you say no, you'll likely find yourself in some cool scenarios.
Some things will backfire, leading you to have wished you said no, but by saying no all the time, you are putting a wall up to living.
6. They experiment
You may be one of those people who always order the same thing in a restaurant. Or never goes to another holiday destination because the place you went to last year was ' just fine.' By doing that, though, you are restricting yourself to new flavours, sights, and sounds.
Those who constantly want to switch things up, however, and try new things are happier and usually lead more prosperous lives.
7. They value the importance of the self and aren't always worrying about pleasing others
Happiness shouldn't be confused with kindness. Sometimes, being happy requires a bit of self-interest to preserve your wants and needs. For instance, if you wanted to write a novel and get it published, chances are you won't be too fussed telling your friends you can't see them for a while.
Even those who end relationships at the drop of a hat, while appearing mean, are merely following their needs to be happy and not waste their life being with someone they don't want to be around.
8. They don't set unrealistic standards
In a world increasingly built on material success, you can be forgiven for falling privy to the flawed notion that success equates to wealth and beauty. But if you see past these shallow desires, and look into the inner-beings of someone, you'll have a whole new outlook on life.
Of course, it can be easier said than done, and happy people who don't need material possessions aren't always the happier than people who are rich.
Usually, though, they are far more at one with themselves that those who pursue the most expensive cars and the most 'attractive' partners.
9. They value the importance of downtime
You can be ambitious and go-getting without working every minute of the day. It's important to have fun, regardless of how badly you want your life to be in the future. You don't have to work hard and play even harder, but you should let go once in a while.
If you consume yourself in something for too long, it turns into an obsession that can sometimes have adverse effects on the project/goal.
10. They don't dwell on the past
Looking back isn't best advised, and while you can learn from the past, you can never replicate it.
So let go off heartbreaks and unsavoury memories. Enjoy what you have, and you'll soon find yourself dancing like a 1969 Woodstock hippie every day of the week.