Most of us are in on never-ending quest to be happy. According to a study carried out by Shabam & Akbar in 2016 we usually do not see happiness as a choice. This research study suggests that some of us feel they have no control over their own happiness. At times we attempt to attain happiness through external factors like wealth, success and power. On the other hand we might find happiness through inner peace, meaning and spirituality. Is happiness really a choice? What do we need to get rid of on our road to happiness?

Learn to say no:

In today’s world, stress is the buzz word and ‘go, go, go’ is what we do. Most of us feel overwhelmed on a daily basis. We find it difficult to juggle work and home commitments and rarely have time to stop and smell the flowers. It might get harder and harder to say ‘no’ because we do not want to disappoint those around us and we fear missing out on what is going on in our social circles. However, this can leave us with a plate that is too full. Having too much to do, coupled with the need for everlasting perfection can put us in a very unhappy place indeed.

Do not be sedentary:

I know you must have heard this numerous times but exercise is good for you. It releases ‘dopamine’ the feel-good factor hormone that gives us a sense of well-being that can last for hours. However, sometimes we tend to get inpatient with ourselves and expect to feel better after our first run or training session. Keep at it. Research does suggest that regular exercise helps alleviate the mood of those passing through depression (Craft & Perna, 2004). This, accompanied by a healthy, balanced diet and less fast food can help boost our sense of well-being tremendously.

Surround yourself with positive people

There is an old Maltese saying that states ‘Ghidli ma min tghamilha u nghidlek min int’ implying that we become similar to those we keep closest. Look around your close circle of family and friends. Do you want to emulate their outlook on life? Do you admire the way they cope with life challenges and difficulties? If not maybe it’s time to open up your circle to new friends who have a more positive mind-set.

Find meaning in what we do

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how’ (Nietszche). There must be more to life than working, eating, sleeping and repeating the cycle day after day. Find meaning in the ordinary, in your work, in friendships, in your family. Do small acts of kindness with love and happiness might slowly find a way to your heart.

Take care of yourself

We cannot put everyone’s needs before our own every, single, time. We will be burning the candle from both ends. Schedule in some time to meditate, to be one with nature, to touch the infinite. Journal your thoughts, have a good heart-to-heart with a friend, go for therapy. Regular self-care is as important as caring for others if we want to find peace, tranquillity and be happier on a daily basis.

Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on or call us on 79291817.