It is very frequently said, “You will be exactly as happy as you decide to be.” The question that arises is, what makes you decide what is your happy state of mind? Research has proven that men and women experience happiness at different intensities in a similar circumstance. Experts opine that women are likely to experience more positive emotions across their lifespan as compared to men. But, because their range of happiness is higher, their intensity of feeling the negative list of emotions is also higher, thus exposing them to a higher risk of depression or other mental health related issues.

To all those who are in a a quest to seek happiness, here is a list of 15 things you can practice to make sure you can get past all the dark moments in your life.

1. Reminisce your happy moments: You attract whatever it is that forms a major part of your thoughts. If you look for good around you, you will be able to attract similar moments. During the day if you happen to face difficulties which make you rather sad, reminisce and recall all the good things that happened to you during the day. It will lift up your mood for sure. The key to leading a happy life is savouring all those happy moments.

2. Keep on your feet: Exercising is said to help release the “happy hormone”. Pick your favourite and most suitable form of exercise and get moving. A healthy life is a happy life.

3. Grab something to read: Reading helps you direct your thoughts and increases your cognition. Reading is an excellent way to tap reality and dream without any limits. Reading helps you distract from rather redundant thoughts for that time being.

4. Work on your hobbies or learn new things: If you have had to discontinue your hobbies due to responsibilities in your professional and personal life, find the time to get back to those. Even if that means a mere thirty-odd minutes, pursue your hobbies with a zeal. It will give you incredible pleasure.

5. Eat right and sleep tight: It is extremely important for you to watch what you are eating. Your diet has a major role to play in the way your body functions with respect to your emotional regulation. Similarly, to start afresh the following morning, you need to get the right amount of sleep. Disturbance in your sleep cycle can also cause mood swings.

6. Acknowledge the unhappy moments and remember that nothing lasts forever: None of us live a stress-free life. It’s very important to understand that ups and downs in life are a given. Its about how we acknowledge those moments and learn to move past them. Acceptance is the first step towards rising from one’s downfalls. Remember that your moments of weakness aren’t going to stick around forever.

7. Get into nature and explore meditation: Nature has its own way of giving us life lessons. Sometimes what you cannot learn sitting in the comfort of your homes, can come to you when you spend some time outdoors. Meditation is a proven technique to increase your concentration, direct your thoughts and take you to the path of happiness. It is worth a shot.

8. Help others and make others happy: A very old saying states “you get back what you give”, that doesn’t specifically apply to all the ill deeds you’ve done but also to all the good things you do for others. Helping others around you gives you a different sense of satisfaction and happiness. You can start off by complimenting someone on their outfit or their work. It will tend to make their day a whole lot better and will subconsciously will add to the happy things in your day too.

9. Build positive relationships: Restricting your circle to people who want to see you grow and wish you well is extremely important. Surround yourself with people who will be there for you in your highs and lows and motivate you in your daily tasks. This will help boost your self-esteem and the way you look at yourself.

10. Plan your week and take time out to declutter: Maintaining a routine is very important. Take time out to plan your week. Make a list of all the things you need to finish working on and how you will work on them. Along with making a plan, declutter. Pick a specific area of your room, house, apartment and take out all the trash and clean up. Sorting objects subconsciously helps you sort your thoughts too.

11. Evaluate your goals and look for meaning in your life: Keep evaluating your goals and your weekly tasks. Reschedule if required. Try and be a part of something big which will help you find meaning and purpose in living.

12. Take care of yourself and your body: Develop a self-care routine. Self- love is the best kind of love. You can take care of yourself better than anyone else ever can. See what you want to do for yourself and your body and work on those things. It can be something as simple as adopting a skin care routine.

13. Maintain a journal: Writing has a major influence on how you feel. In a moment of despair if you pick up a piece of paper and scribble your current feeling or jot down how you’d rather want to be feeling, it will help you in understanding your chain of thought and how can you have a control on your own feelings.

14. Let go off grudges and be accountable for your actions: Pent up negative emotions are often the root cause of unhappiness. However difficult it may sound, make a conscious effort to let go of grudges on other people or situations. Take accountability for whatever you do. Its always a matter of choice.

15. Be grateful: The life you are living is your own life. So, do what you want to with it. But never forget to be thankful for all the people around you who love you, encourage you and help you grow. Be grateful for all the materialistic things and the numerous situations in your life which give you immense learning experiences. Don’t let go off a single chance you get to thank someone simply for being a part of your life.

“Happiness is a matter of choice.” I hope you make yours wisely.