Today I read a review of a book called Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials by Stephanie Dowrick. Here's something she writes:
Whatever our background, culture or race, what rewards us most powerfully and consistently are the most deceptively simple abilities of all: the ability to be kind, to live enthusiastically and creatively, to appreciate and understand experiences different from our own, and to sustain a sense of inner stability and trust even in unwelcome and difficult situations.
And here's something else:
Take care of your spiritual needs. Make time for what's uplifting, connecting, inspiring. Compassion must translate into action. Don't just wish for love; be more loving. Don't just wish for happiness; live with greater joy.
It is, of course, difficult to choose happiness when we're faced with some serious problem or challenge. I've learned over the years to appreciate the degrees involved. Sure, if I'm dealing with a serious problem then I'm probably not going to feel as happy as I do when I'm truly care free. But I don't have to let myself become as miserable as I could be in that difficult situation! And that's no small accomplishment.