Happiness can be elusive, but below are ways to help find it.

1. Only you can you make yourself happy.

You really can’t rely on anyone else to make you happy. If you aren’t happy with yourself, you won’t think you deserve affection and attention. Do not give anyone else the power to make you feel anything. Do not make anyone your whole world.

2. Little things can bring joy.

Get excited about everyday things. You can find something to be happy about every day: getting coffee with a friend, your favorite song playing on the radio, eating a piece of chocolate, spending time with family or getting a compliment.

3. Expectations ruin happiness.

William Shakespeare said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

I thought by 30, I would be married, have a house, maybe have had a baby and traveled more. Things happen in life that you cannot control. So many of us have expectations about what our lives should be like at a certain time in our lives.

Expectations also can put a lot of pressure on relationships. There is nothing wrong with having expectations in a relationship, but having unrealistic ones can ruin any relationship. Sometimes we expect more from others because we’d be willing to do that much for them.

4. Appreciate what you have.

There are moments when I am surrounded by my friends or my family that I feel so blessed and grateful. There are moments where I realize that everything really does happen for a reason.

Happy moments make you realize how lucky you are. You start to appreciate the things you have and the more you’re grateful about what you have, the happier you’ll become. Sometimes, happiness is just accepting what’s happening right now and being OK with it. There is a feeling of peace in giving up the need to control outcomes and appreciating whatever happiness you have.

5. Happiness maintenance.

Happiness for any length of time requires maintenance. Once you set your mind to be happy, you have to keep at it. Keep doing things that bring you joy. Keep pushing away negative thoughts. Happiness requires maintenance. Priorities change, interests fade and relationships go through changes.

6. You are not missing anything.

People always say, “I will be happy when…” I’ll be happy when I go on vacation, when I get married, when I lose 10 pounds… Happiness comes from living in the moment. Happiness cannot be based on a future event. It will only make time pass without enjoying the now. By putting our happiness on hold until the future, we’re robbing ourselves of precious moments. It’s important to work toward goals to maintain happiness but also enjoying moments until then.

7. You are in control of your own happiness and your own thoughts.

You can select your thoughts the same way you select your clothes for the day. Choose to be happy. Choose to push away negative energy. Choose to be happy rather than to suffer.

8. Your past does not define you.

You can learn from your past experiences, but your mistakes do not define you. We’ve all made mistakes and bad decisions in the past. We are all human. We can take the lessons from those bad decisions and start a new future, starting with this moment.

Letting go gives you freedom. Your bad choices do not define who you are. It’s how we choose to deal with the negative things in our lives that make us who we are.

9. People like to be around happy people.

Happiness and laughter are contagious. Even if I’m really stressed out, especially at work, I try to be positive and energetic because I know it will only bring others down if I am negative. People tend to dwell on the negative and bring others down. Your happiness could influence others.

Choose carefully whom you let into your life. Surround yourself with positive people who bring you up and only want the best for you and themselves.

10. You feel happy when you help others.

Volunteering or even just helping out a friend can reduce stress and improve your mood. We all want to feel like we are caring for others and making a difference. Helping others will help your self-confidence, give you a sense of worth and make you feel included.

Happy man photo available from Shutterstock