08/31/2013 10:08 am ET Updated Oct 31, 2013

Why You Aren't Happy Right Now (And the Simple Fix)

Have you found yourself feeling like certain life circumstances outside your control are holding you back from truly being happy and having it all? If only you had a 9-5 job you would be happy, or if only you had a spouse, or could get pregnant, or made more money, or had more vacation time, THEN you would be happier, more excited, and more fulfilled by life and finally complete. The problem with this equation is that you are looking for external successes to complete you. And once you get that new and shiny thing, the "high" wears off and you are seeking still MORE money, MORE happiness, and MORE excitement. The following are five ways to feel happier, excited and fulfilled with your life -- today -- without changing one external thing:

1. Have gratitude for what you do have. If you are thinking something else is better, you are most likely focusing on what you don't have and picking apart what you do have. No matter who you are or what you currently have, there is something to be grateful for. What are the things that you take for granted and how would you feel if you lost those? The answer to that question is the first step toward appreciating your current situation.

2. Choose to fake it until you make it. Commit to being happier. Put a smile on your face. Say positive things to yourself and to others. Do activities that bring joy to your life, and hang out with friends or family that make you feel good about yourself. When you feel happier, you automatically have more fun doing whatever you are doing and can therefore appreciate it more fully. Happiness is also a strong contributing factor to being in the present moment, and the present moment is where life happens. So instead of hoping that you will be happy once you get what you want, focus on being happy now.

3. Accept the real truth -- almost every is imperfect. No one has it all, and life is full of the imperfect. Perfection might exist in Disney movies, but life is full of blemishes. Trust that perfection is a myth, and even start to question whether you really want perfection. You might find that what you really want is just to be happy, not have a "perfect life, and the cool thing about that is you can start choosing to be happy today.

4. Change from the inside. It's not about the changes around you -- it's about the changes inside you. You need to feel fulfilled from the inside before the changes on the outside will have a lasting impact. There probably isn't something better out there. And if there is, you won't be able to see it until you start feeling fulfilled from the inside. Start looking at your attitudes, and challenge your thoughts when you find yourself criticizing what you currently have. Lasting changes from the inside will produce lasting results on the outside.

5. Understand that you may always be striving to achieve something bigger and that's okay. Part of self-growth is taking yourself in new and sometimes difficult directions, and the reason why we do that is because we are striving to achieve more out of life. It's perfectly normal to want more from life and have goals. Just keep in mind, as you strive onward and upward, to implement the other four steps so that you are enjoying your unique journey.

As always, I'd love to hear your comments in the section below.



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