It might be hard to believe but we really can control how happy we are in our lives. There are people who have so little but bear the crinkles around the eyes and mouth of someone who laughs often and loves deeply. How can they possibly be so content when they struggle for life’s most basic necessities? Perspective.

It’s all about the attitude we adopt when we consider the open road before us. It is possible to choose happiness, even in the most dire of situations because it is one of the few things that is within our control.

Practice Gratitude

We focus so often on what we don’t have. We wish our bodies were fitter, our homes were bigger, our jobs paid more and that our hair would just magically fall into place every morning. With a small shift in our perspective, we can learn to love what we have and actually be grateful for the imperfect lives that we lead.

Be Optimistic

It might be easier said than done but optimism is associated with lower levels of stress, improved mental health and better outcomes following major health scares. Telling yourself that everything is going to be okay takes some practice but it’s worth the time and effort.

Work on Self-Acceptance

Do not define yourself by the mistakes that you’ve made, the hurt you have caused/experienced, the job that you have or the shape of your body. You are so much more than the sum of those things. You are an amazing human being who is in a continual state of evolution. Accept that there will be bumps in the road but that you are doing your very best.

Don’t be a Critic

While it’s important to learn to love yourself, it’s also important that you stop criticising others. Sure, there are times when a loved one needs some feedback but reserve those moments for when they are really, truly warranted. Remember, everyone is trying to navigate through life. Let them live and learn through their own experiences while you focus on your own.

Live in the Moment

Rather than dwelling on the past or planning too much for the future, try living in the moment and enjoying the people and places around you. Savor the sights, smells and sounds of whatever you are experiencing. Allow your senses and feelings to be truly immersed in whatever you are doing at that time. It’s a great way to stop worrying about things that have already happened or may never happen in the future.

While some of these things may be easier said than done, it’s entirely worth the effort. Removing negativity and replacing it with positive, confident and optimistic thinking can enrich your relationships with your friends, family, coworkers and, most importantly, yourself. Believe in your own power and choose happiness!