The ever-elusive happiness. Desired by most. Found by few. What gets in the way of happiness? Why don’t more people have it?

Many would say that happiness is the result of circumstances. IF you have enough money, IF you marry the right person, then you will be happy. But a quick look around proves that idea untrue.

There are plenty of very rich, very unhappy people walking around. There are plenty of people who married the “perfect” person who are miserable.

Welcome to the plight of happiness. What is the answer? Where does happiness come from? Who gets to be happy? Who doesn’t?

If you are unhappy, if you are happy sometimes but not others, if you are a little bit happy but would like to have more, you can. Happiness is a choice. One that you can make.

There is not another person, or a certain amount of money, or a change of circumstances that will make you happy. You are the source of happiness for you. You either choose it, or you don’t.

If you are not happy or not as happy as you would like to be, the bottom line is that you are the one that’s stopping it. You are standing in the way.

The good news? You can get yourself out of the way now and start to have a different reality.

If you would like to choose happiness, here are my top five tips to get you on your way today:

1. Start Every Day by Asking Questions

Do you ever wake up in the morning and just feel heavy? Do you ever have thoughts of, here we go again? Another day. Same old. Same old.”?

The next time this occurs, rather than spiraling down into those all-too-familiar feelings of sadness, overwhelm and despair, get yourself out of the way of your happiness by asking a question. Asking questions can empower you to change anything.

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What can I be or do different today to change this?
  • How does it get any better than this?
  • Universe, will you please show me something beautiful today?
  • What else is possible here that I’ve never considered?

When you ask questions, you open the door to possibilities. When you ask questions, you let go of the conclusions that are stopping you from choosing happiness.

2. Curiosity is Key

Research has shown that curious people – those who are constantly asking questions and looking for new possibilities – tend to enjoy higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being.

Take kids as an example. In case you haven’t noticed, they tend to have a higher level of happiness than most. They play. They imagine. They explore. They ask questions. They are curious.

Each one of us has an innate awareness of what decisions will bring us the best of love, life, health, finance, and business. The trick is to keep your mind open to every possibility – to never seek an answer to anything. To forever and always remain curious.

3. Don’t Take on Other People’s Stuff

One of the ways we get in the way of our happiness is taking on other people’s stuff. Our co-workers are unhappy. Our family members are unhappy. Our friends are unhappy. The other drivers on the road are unhappy. And we decide, “Oh! I should be unhappy too.”

Are you willing to be as different as you truly are? Are you willing to be happy even if no one around you is?

Here’s a great tool you can use. It’s called, ‘Who does this belong too?’ The thing is, you are like a gigantic radio picking up on everyone and everything around you and guess what? That includes a lot of unhappiness.

So, the next time you feel unhappy, ask, ‘Who does this belong to?’ If you feel lighter when you ask, you’re not the unhappy one. You are just picking up on others. Let that unhappiness go! Choose the happiness that is available.

4. Practice

Practice being happy. Even if it’s just for 10 seconds at a time. You can choose it again as many times over as you like.

Let’s say you have 10 seconds to live the rest of your life and in that final 10 seconds, you’d like to be truly happy. Choose it! Choose happy. That lifetime is over. You have another 10 seconds to live the rest of your life. What do you choose? Happy? You certainly can.

Every 10 seconds, if you’d like, you can choose to be happy. If you stop being happy and you notice, choose again. “Wait. Somewhere my happy got lost. This is a new 10 seconds. In these 10 seconds… I choose happy.” It really is that simple.

5. Start a Gratitude Journal

What we acknowledge grows bigger. One of the best ways to choose happiness is by focusing on the things that you are grateful for because as you do, more of those things show up.

To become more aware of all of the amazing gifts in your life, start a gratitude journal and start to write them down.

Every day, write down 3- 5 things that you are grateful for. Include what you are grateful for about you. The first few days it will be easy. You will write down the things you are obviously grateful for. After a few days, you will have to look beyond what you are currently aware of.

As you do, you will begin to see that your life is filled with gifts all around. The air you breathe. The beauty of the nature around you and so much more. Focus on gratitude. Gratitude grows.

Regardless of the story you have been telling yourself, despite the reasons you use to justify being unhappy, there is nothing or no one that can actually make you unhappy. Happiness is a choice that you make, and when you make it, life becomes a joyful adventure.

Wake up every morning and ask questions. Maintain the playfulness of wonder and curiosity. Don’t be unhappy just because everyone else is. Practice choosing happy for YOU – every 10 seconds.

When you stop standing in the way of happiness and actually invite it in, everything you desire becomes possible.

Enjoy the adventure.

Gary Douglas

Gary M Douglas is an internationally-recognized thought leader, bestselling author, business innovator and founder of Access Consciousness®, a set of pragmatic tools and teachings that is transforming lives in 173 countries around the world. He has authored or co-authored numerous books including the novel, The Place, which became a Barnes and Noble #1 bestseller. An avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary has established ‘The Antique Guild’ store in Brisbane, Australia, owns a thriving stud for Costarricense De Paso horses, an historic castle in Italy and an eco-retreat in Costa Rica. He is a vocal advocate of Benevolent Capitalism and conscious leadership, believing that business can be a force for good, contribute more to the planet and a create a sustainable future. Follow Gary @garymdouglas and on Facebook.