5 Things That Keep You From Being Truly Happy (& Are Surprisingly Simple To Fix)

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how to be happy

Did you know that you — yes, you — could be preventing your own happiness? Bear with us for a moment. Would you believe that happiness is a choice and you can actually choose to be happy?

How many times have we said to ourselves, "I'll be happy as soon as I lose five pounds." Or, "As soon as I get promoted, I'll finally be happy." When was the last time you stopped to appreciate what you have? A home of your own to go back to every day. Friends and family that always have your back. And beautiful children that always brighten your day.

RELATED: 9 Ways To Accept (and LOVE) Your Life TODAY — For Real Happiness That Lasts

Staying focused on the positive is hard. It's even more challenging to let go of the past. But you are in complete control of what you choose to focus on. And by denying your freedom, you could be limiting your own happiness.

Happiness is how you think. What you do. And what you choose. 

Our YourTango Experts give us great advice on the things that keep you from being happy and how you can fix that now:

1. You're worried or stressed. 

“Remember to check in with where you are at — what you are thinking or feeling right now. Is there a sense of “lack” or “worry”? Are you feeling inadequate or stressed? Change your state and remove that roadblock by taking a couple of deep breaths. For one moment, consider the wonderful biological process that is occurring simply for you to breathe deeply in and out. Your body is pretty clever, hey?

Next, identify where abundance is showing up in your life right now. Find, name, think of things that demonstrate abundance is present in your life. Here are some thought starters to help: You are healthy. You have eaten a delicious meal within the last 24 hours. You have a very good friend that you can call on at any time for help or to chat. You are planning a holiday. You can easily walk in nature. You can easily recall the last time you felt real joy. You have eyes that allow you to read this.  

Now, take a moment to appreciate what is in your life and notice in this one moment that you are indeed happy. Appreciate yourself for doing this exercise. Feel yourself sink into a feeling of appreciation — if only briefly. Allow yourself to go there. Then, make an effort to practice this at least once a day, and notice what you are noticing."

Dianne Stewart is a leadership and confidence coach. She helps people transform their lives to experience natural empowerment. Follow Dianne on Twitter.

2. You're not practicing gratitude.

“Hoping that happy experiences will make you grateful is backward. Gratitude must come first. Be grateful in all situations, and true happiness will come to you.”

Having gratitude for what you have is essential for happiness. Try making a list of all the things that you're grateful for. A wonderful husband. Being able to take care of yourself and your children. You can even include the adorable little pup that always gives you lots of love. Once you start to realize how much you have, happiness will come. 

Jim Merhaut is an internationally-known relationship and leadership coach. He is the author of Gratitude Journal: A Journey of Transformation. Learn more about coaching, training, and speaking opportunities with Jim at

3. You're putting a limit on happiness.

“Two little words that can have a massive impact on your happiness are ‘if’ and ‘when.’ When these two words are attached to your vision of happiness you relinquish your ability to be happy in the moment. I will be happy when I win the lotto. I will be happy when I find my perfect partner. I would be happy if I lost ten kilos. Fixating on the idea that happiness is dependent on things, situations, and circumstances outside of yourself is extremely limiting.

Happiness is not found in external things. Happiness is a state found within you that you bring to the situations and circumstances of your life. It is specific to you, available always and applied by you in your life as you choose. To create and coax more of your happiness out into the world recognize that everything in your life has relevance and serves a purpose.

From this perspective, you view your life circumstances very differently and see both the good bits and the challenging bits as part of a bigger picture. You see that it’s all good, meaningful and worthwhile. Your life is a unique example of perfect imperfection. Embrace that to infuse more happiness into your life every day.”

Karen Wilson is a personal development coach, speaker, intuitive healer and author of the book, Change Made Easy. For over 15 years she has helped people make change, rediscover joy in their lives and live a life they love. Connect with Karen at Changing

RELATED: 17 Happiness Truths From Love & Relationship Experts

4. You're out of touch with your inner strength. 

“Consider the connection between happiness and resilience. When your 'resilience bank account' is full, you can cover small or even large withdrawals in the form of stress, pressure, or challenges. But if your resilience bank account is low or empty, it is very difficult to maintain your levels of happiness, well-being, or even optimism. Focus on happiness... and you might get it from time to time. Focus on filling your resilience bank account and it'll take a lot to keep you from being happy.” 

Having inner strength will allow you to conquer anything! You can withstand harsh criticisms and not let it make or break you. And when things go wrong, you'll be able to keep calm. With resilience, you'll always see the bigger picture, and find your way to happiness.

Karl Hyden is a mental toughness & resilience coach for introverted professionals and entrepreneurs. Over the past 30 years, he has supported thousands of business owners, management, staff, and professionals from thirty-two countries. You can find him online at, or connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook where you can check out his free videos, downloads, and posts.

5. You're not actively choosing to be happy.

“We make choices every moment of every day. Every choice we make can either bring us down or raise us up. What brings us down is anything that is not lined with our essential self and our purpose. What raises us up is anything that supports our full becoming. There is no in between. You choose.”

Are you striving to be your best self? Do you have habits that support who you want to be? You can overcome, and stop repeating negative patterns that are no longer serve you. Even when things get tough, we all have an opportunity to become better. You can decide who you want to be. You always have a choice.

Lisa Torres is a homeopath and founder of Access Homeopathy, dedicated to helping people heal safely, gently, deeply, taking into account the mind, the body, and the emotions.

RELATED: How To Reset Your Default Emotion To 'Happy'

Jamille Jones is a freelance writer who once taught English in Japan for two years. She's an Asian culture enthusiast, chocolate addict, video gamer, and loves to teach for the heck of it.