So, you’re having a bad day. Or maybe a crappy week. Or maybe experiencing a series of days upon days of a funky blue feeling you just can’t shake. And you’re tired of it, so tired of your heart hurting and general malaise. So tired of that sense of ennui and melancholy hanging around you. Though at times is sounds selfish in your own mind, you just want to learn how to be happy.

Unfortunately, it seems as if life is just nothing but a series of exhausting, soul-sucking moments. It’s as if you’re stuck  in one, debilitatingly long nightmare of a day. But it’s lasting weeks. Or months. But the truth is, it’s simply part of the human experience. Each one of us will experience a myriad of seasons in our lives. But just because we have memories of happier times. Or simply periods of time where life felt easier, doesn’t mean that this particularly challenging time means you’re lost forever. Sometimes, we are simply in a position where we  feel like we cannot make the choice to be happy.

Yet, deep down, a part of us longs to push aside the exhaustion and learn how to be happy no matter what is happening in our life. That’s where teaching yourself new ways to find traces of happiness and joy can be helpful. Because when you can find your way to feeling just a little better  it can make a positive impact that allows you to build more good moments than soul-sucking ones.

Here’s six tips on teaching yourself how to be happy even when life pretty much sucks.

Tip #1: Open Your Eyes if You Want to Learn  How to Be Happy

But they’re already open, you may say. Well, do you have gray colored shades on that are making life seem sad and negative? This is where you old pal awareness comes in to help you find ways to be happy. So when life feels especially soul sucking, it’s time to take a step back and critically look at your life and situation right now.

What’s going well in your life? Make a list, preferably on paper so you can refer to it later. Recognize the love your friends and family have for you. Look at your pet if you have one and see how genuine their love is. Start to appreciate the life you’ve built for yourself. You don’t need rose colored glasses all the time either. But recognizing your good is a start to feeling better.

Tip #2: Help Yourself Choose Happiness By Turning Your Ears On and Your Brain Off

What’s your favorite music? Blast it through your car speakers on the way into work. Sing in the shower like you’re the star of the show. Because it’s your life and you really are the star.

By doing and enjoying something that makes you happy, you’ll begin teaching your brain that things will be OK. Even if not every day is filled with happiness.

Tip #3: Practice Being Present if You Want to Teach Yourself to Be Happy Even When Life is Tough

It’s practically impossible to teach yourself how to be happy if you constantly looking back at the past. Nor is it easy to overcome a challenging, soul-sucking season if you’re panic-planning about potential pitfalls in the future. But by staying the present, you’re not feeding into future anxiety or dwelling on past depression.

Oh, and while we’re talking about presence as a path to learning how to be happy, recognize that any way you numb your attention – scrolling through social media to late night binging of Netflix – pulls you away from presence. And feeds your mental and emotional exhaustion.

While this isn’t a sure-fired way to be happy all the time, what I know for a fact, though, is that I am happier when I practice presence. That I am more connected to my own life when I take deliberate action. This one is hard but a great tool in your mental health toolbox to have, so, find ways to notice the here and now.  And it also helps you ensure that you aren’t simply keeping busy for the sake of subscribing to hustle culture.

Tip #4: Sticking to Your Routines Can Help You Learn How to Be Happy

When I’m really down in the dumps, I stop working out in the morning. And look for reasons to grab fast food when I’m out running errands.  Yet, I know these two actions will only push me deeper down but it’s hard sometimes to not cave in.

So, when life feels the most soul-sucking, I challenge myself to fine tune my routines. Because routines help you better manage your energy, which will not only help you feel more accomplished, it helps you feel less exhausted. So when your life is feeling the most challenging, it’s important to really stick to nourishing routines.

When you create a routine that is designed to foster your feelings of satisfaction and joy, you are teaching yourself how to be happy.

Tip #5: Examine Who You’re Hanging Out With

We become the people we spend the most time with. So, if you’re unhappy and exhausted, examine your relationships. Are you spending time with positive, uplifting people? Or are you hanging out with a bunch of complainers? You can be fueling your own unhappiness and exhaustion by spending time with folks who are exasperating the negative in your life. Rather than fueling your life with joyful moments.

Oh, and it isn’t just flesh and blood people I’m talking about. Look at the social media accounts you follow and unfollow anyone that doesn’t spark joy. And pay attention to your other consumption habits: what TV shows are you watching, what books your reading, and how you’re getting your news. It’s hard to find even a smidge of happiness if you’re filling your mind with negativity.

Tip #6: Commit to Getting More Rest

Life feels harder when you’re exhausted. Yet, often when you’re unhappy, it’s hard to get good sleep. While I’ll encourage you to get more actual sleep, which necessitates you working on your sleep hygiene. But that may take some time to repair months – or years  – of bad bedtime habits.

This is why it’s important to also find ways to get more rest. Rest looks different for all of us, but I can tell you that this will look like time away from screens. Sometimes rest may look like cozying up in a chair with a book. And sometimes rest can look like a walk around the block. Finding ways to rest throughout the day can help heal whatever is sucking the joy out of life.

While happiness may not feel like a choice when life is wearing you down, don’t lose hope that you’ll never BE happy.

While each season of our life adds to the rich fabric of all our our experiences, make the decision that you aren’t going to let this particular season define you. When you make the decision that you’re going to teach yourself how to be happy – or at least less unhappy – you’re on path to change. Especially when you utilize solid tools that help you ease your suffering.

Remember, my darling, you are human. Not a super human. And as such, you need to nourish yourself and your life.

Do you want to learn how to be happy no matter what life throws your way?

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