Are you inclined to dwell on everything that goes wrong? Have you figured out how to transport yourself away from your tiresome, tedious ho-hum life? What does happiness look like to you? Do you truly want to turn that frown upside down?

Achieving happiness is not magic. It’s simply something you need to make a habit of. Let’s be honest. There’s no shortage of reasons to be a moaner, complainer, and wet blanket every single day. Boss embarrassed you, some hotrod cut you off on the highway, you burned dinner – again. No, dinner is not ready when you hear the smoke alarm. Having pancake flambé again?

You may drive a BMW or a pick-up. But guess what? The difference between upbeat, contented people and unhappy ones is habits. Sure, your gene pool plays a role. But those high-spirited, light-hearted types sure do think and act differently. You may not see yourself as the merchant of doom and gloom, but do you swallow bitter pills on the regular?

Smile before you feel happy. You may just become what you pretend to be. Smiling tells your ole brain to release dopamine, and guess what? That makes you feel stoked. Every morning, acknowledge one thing you are thankful for. Are you even aware of the positive things that surround you? Quick, name one.

Make someone’s day. Believe it or not, when you compliment her, it boosts your immune system and lowers stress. Studies say it’s akin to giving someone cash. I know, money doesn’t solve all problems. But it could solve my money problem. Ever wonder why it takes five business days to refund your money, when it took five seconds to take it out of your account? Hmmm.

Looking for some impeccable words of praise? “If there’s one thing I like about you, it’s that I like more than one thing about you.” Awww. “The chance of meeting another person just like you is the only reason I talk to strangers. I know it’s cheesy, but I think you’re grate.” Okay, maybe not. Heh.

Ponder some happy memories or things you are still looking forward to. Whip out your planner or just grab a few sticky notes to sketch out your day. If you allow events that are out of your control to dictate your emotions, the sunlight will never hit your eyes, sweet friends.

Ever meet someone who just remains happy no matter what befalls him? She’s just got that perennial, positive outlook on life. Where can I buy some of that? Work on your PMA: Positive Mental Attitude. Do not allow the fears in your mind to push you around. After all, you become what you think about, my friends. Don’t worry about getting ahead of your neighbor. Get ahead of yourself.

What’s that you say? It’s raining. So bring your own sunshine. As soon as the sun hits your skin, you produce vitamin D, the secret, happy hormone serotonin. One of the biggest happiness zappers is worry. I know; it seems as if you’re doing something when you dwell on your problem…but…are you really? I’m certain that you don’t just walk around with an umbrella, waiting for it to rain.

It’s time to develop some habits, sweet friends. You know what they say: “Bad habits are like a comfortable bed – easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” Develop a non-judgmental awareness of yourself and about everyone you meet. Purposely thinking bright thoughts literally builds new connections in your brain. So go ahead and rewire it. Exercise is a natural pain reliever, and the cheapest happiness booster out there. So what’s stopping you? Get out of the “fitness protection program” already. Yes, it’s Pilates – not pie and lattes.

Set meaningful goals, but be sure they are realistic. We all need a reason to get up in the morning. You know the part about mornings, when you actually have to get out of bed and participate in real life. Sheesh.

If you want to spend money, splurge on the right things. Treat yourself as if you were on vacation once in a while. A gift for yourself, perhaps? Consider buying an experience instead of your 31st pair of shoes. A small trip or visit to your favorite museum or restaurant. You know, girls can walk in five-inch heels with no trouble. I wear sneakers and still manage to trip over things that aren’t there. Heh. So what’s the worst part of online shopping? Having to get up and get your credit card from your purse. But do pack your coping skills with you wherever you go. After all, what shall you remember more: good times with friends and family, or with your diamond necklace or Tesla?

Stop leaning toward the miserable side of life. We have all received blessings. How grateful are you for yours? Savor that hot morning coffee – for real. I don’t need an inspirational quote. Can someone just text me a cup of coffee?

We often don’t know the value of a moment in our lives until it is a memory. Don’t let that happen to you. You know what they say: “Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.” This is not a dry run, sweet friends. This is your life.

Channel Elsa and master the art of “letting it go.” Angry, and holding onto to that hot coal? Drop it, please, because you are the only one getting burned. Forgive others and focus your precious energy on things you can control. Continue to focus on solutions to problems, otherwise known as “challenges.” Don’t let your friendships or relationships with loved ones decline. Maintain them. Check in.

By all means, don’t be afraid to reward yourself for a discipline or habit you developed or improved upon. It’s okay to give to yourself, as well. What perk or prize would you fancy? Pick one of your many strengths – and use it today.

Who are you when you are truly at your best? Work on being less self-conscious and feeling a strong sense of self instead. Be the cause of happiness in others. And most of all, please add life to your days, not simply days to your life.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at