Inherent within the human spirit is the quest for happiness. Even the suicide, says philosopher Blaise Pascal, seeks the happiness of oblivion. After years of watching individuals seek happiness I came to a few conclusions: If your happiness model is owning things, it is doomed to failure. If you lose or miss one or two things the happiness model collapses. Your inner condition contributes much more to your happiness than your outer conditions. Happiness is, therefore, a deep sense of serenity and wellbeing. 1. If you want to feel good, do good. I have recommended and practiced this technique. Doing things for others, whether small or large, remains a powerful way to boost your own happiness as well as those around us. Anna Freud categorized altruism as a mature defense mechanism. In other words, useful in organizing your environment. The doing good does not have to be in terms of money, but rather in giving our time, ideas and energy in the pursuit of happiness. 2. Connect with people. I beyond doubting that individuals with strong and broad social interactions are happier, healthier and live longer. One of the first things that I suggest for the socially isolated is listen to others, provide emotional support and engage in dialog. Even the dull and ignorant have their story. When accomplished the connection leads to an increase in your sense of self-worth. 3. Take care of your physical needs. The mind and body connection is settled science. Being active physically contributes mightily to a firm sense of wellbeing. I recommend unplug from external stimulation, go outside, run, walk and press your endurance often. Finally get enough sleep. 4. Notice the world around you. This is a handy antidote against the suspicion that there must be more to life. There is! Stop and take notice. Look beyond the obvious and take notice. Avoid becoming ,what George Bernard Shaw, saw as a bundle of needs endlessly whining why the world will not take notice. The world is interesting if subtle. Become aware and mindful and that wonder becomes apparent. 5. Keep learning new things. The science of brain plasticity tell us that new synaptic connections and different pathways literally change the way that you think and expand the depth of your perception. This keeps you engaged in your environment and deepens your sense of wellbeing. For example this September is the 100th Anniversary of the Great War. Tens of millions of soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen died between 1914 and 1918. Their story and their civilian counterparts merit recognition. 6. Construct your life as goal oriented. This is the hallmark of a life well-lived. Feeling good about the future is a byproduct of organizing goals that challenge you across the lifespan. I have observed significant change in individuals when they choose ambitious but realistic goals . The result is the achievement of a sense of direction that often was heretofore absent. The cumulative effect of accomplishment over accomplishment contributes significantly to happiness. 7. Find ways to bounce back during after crises. The expectation of stress, loss and trauma takes some of the sting out of life's misfortunes. Preparation of your reaction contributes to having a cool head in a crisis and is a valuable asset in the pursuit of happiness. The development of resilience takes several forms. Foremost among them is a tolerance for uncertainty until the true nature of the crisis emerges. Tolerance for uncertainty has the double benefit of preventing rash decisions and developing coping skills, Both lessen the impact of difficult times upon your psyche. 8. Take a positive approach. You have a choice about which emotion you can dwell upon. Mind-training to actively seek feelings of joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration and pride contribute toward an upward spiral that builds your resources. Positive emotions cannot exist simultaneously with the negative. The mid-training teaches you to choose the positive. I use this as a means to self-soothe myself to sleep each night. As a consequence I have never suffered from insomnia or any form of poor sleep hygiene. 9. Comparison to others. Individuals err when they compare their inner world to another's outer appearance. In clinical work this is a salient theme. "Why wasn't?" "Why did not…"? Both are common complaints. The desire for a different past, while often poignant and tender , is a fool's errand. It is an impediment toward the pursuit of happiness. Instead I guide individuals to see life as it really is and not as you wish is was. Practice in this area by rejecting, as illogical, the desire to change the past, offers the individual a sense of resiliency that will serve you well in pursing happiness. 10. Be part of something bigger than yourself. This is much easier for extroverts than it is for introverts. However both need meaning and purpose for achieving happiness. It can take many forms. In your job. In your role as parent, sister, brother or caregiver. It can be the area of community service, volunteerism or religious faith. The point is becoming connected to something bigger and more important than yourself, My clinical experience tell me that this is a powerful antidote to anxiety, fears and depression. I use the example often in the clinical session about Dr. Victor Frankl. Dr Frankl used his horrible experience in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II to develop a premise and later a psychotherapeutic model, that says that meaning in life and subsequent happiness develops in one of three ways: You can create a work or do a deed deemed important. You can experience something or encounter someone in a deeply meaningful way. You can create meaning and joy through the alleviation of suffering in someone other than yourself. I find this thought particularly contributory toward achieving happiness: I have the freedom to choose my reaction in any given set of circumstances. I have the right to choose my own way- and so do you.