I'm starting a grad school program this fall, and in one of my classes this week we talked about happiness. It's actually a much deeper concept than just putting on a happy face or "thinking positive." Being happier is really about thinking what is important to you and how you're spending your time.
Did you know the most popular class at Harvard is about happiness? These brilliant young people spend a semester not learning about economics or science, but how to be happier. And it seems they could use it ...4 out of 5 of them report an episode of depression at some point during their years at Harvard.
A few things came up several times that are pretty good routes to happiness: exercise, sleep, relationships (with a partner, kid, family or friends), and laughter. I agree: I am a mess if I get sleep deprived and am no fun to live with, I think working out is the best medicine there is, no one makes me happier just by walking in the room than my husband and kids, and if I can't laugh it's a screaming warning siren I need more of any of the above, stat. I also would include getting out in the fresh air, trying new things, and listening to music as my own personal happiness ingredients.
What makes you happy?