You know when you feel happy and you know when you don’t. Are you asking yourself, ‘Why can’t I be happy?’ If that is the case, you aren’t alone. Many people rely on external validation to make them feel happy.

This means they rely on their work, relationships, and income to feel happy. As you know, all of those things can change. You shouldn’t rely on others to make you feel happy.

Why can’t I be happy?

I have seen a lot of people in my practice. And, I have heard this question a lot. Happiness comes from within. You need to look at internal validation to feel happy.

Why can’t I be happy? That is a question you need to ask yourself. Stop and take a breath. Wait and see what answers you get. Nobody feels happy all the time. And, nobody should feel sad all the time.

It’s important to find balance in life. Research has found happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life, and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.

This means, how satisfied are you in your relationships or at work? Do you enjoy your work? Do you look forward to seeing your partner at the end of the day? If you answered yes, then you are likely to feel more happy. If you answered no, then you need to start making some changes.

Here are 7 things that will help you feel happier:

  1. Random acts of kindness. Performing acts of kindness can boost oxytocin in the brain. This is also known as the love hormone. Hold the door open for someone. Help your neighbor carry in groceries. Smile at a stranger, and don’t forget to say thank you.
  2. Exercise your way to a better mood. Make sure you put exercise on your calendar. You can go for a walk or go to the gym. Take a yoga class or go for a swim. Make sure it is something you enjoy. You are more likely to exercise if you enjoy it. One of my favorite ways to exercise is to dance. I love listening to loud music when I exercise. You can’t beat the endorphin rush.
  3. Stop predicting you will be unhappy. This is usually based from having negative past experiences. ‘Why can’t I be happy?’ Did you come up with an answer yet? There is such a thing as the self-fulfilling prophecy. This means you are predicting you will be unhappy, or things will only get worse. You can be happy. It starts with having a positive attitude.
  4. Practice gratitude daily. Start your day with one thing you are grateful for. I start my day by being thankful for having made it through the night a being alive. This concept comes from Positive Psychology. Research has found when you practice gratitude you will feel better. This doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen. Think of practicing gratitude like training a muscle. The more you practice it the better you will feel, even when bad things happen.
  5. Stop playing the comparison game. This is always a disaster. You will never feel good enough. This means stop scrolling through your social media. Everyone puts their best face forward on social media. When you do this you will feel like a failure. This doesn’t mean you have to quit social media. Just take some time off from it.
  6. Spend time in nature. This is good for your mental health. It will help relax you, reduce stress and clear your mind. Even if you are just sitting in nature, it will help boost your mood. Stop and look at the clouds. What type of formations do you see?
  7. Make sure you know the difference between feeling down or feeling depressed. We all have our bad days. But, they shouldn’t take over. You can use feeling unhappy as a guide. It’s important that you know what makes you feel happy and what doesn’t. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it could be more serious. If that is the case, don’t hesitate to reach out. Meet with a professional that can help.

You should be able to feel happiness in your life. This is something that everyone deserves. Spend time with positive people that have your best interest at heart. It’s true, a negative attitude is draining and they are contagious.

If you liked this article, there are more in Taking Care Of Yourself. It is filled with lots of tips that can help you feel better.

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on to learn more about her services and expertise.

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