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Happiness is a universal want. If you ask people what their goal in life is, the most prominent answer would be happiness. They may not use that exact word. Instead they could say to be rich, land their dream job, or start a family. That's what they link to the feeling of happiness. At the end of the day, isn't the pursuit of happiness what motivates us? We work daily towards what we think will bring us closer to that goal. However, it's a common misconception that we can't be happy in our current situation, even if it's not where we want to be.

People work their entire lives to pursue happiness but unfortunately come up short since their associations to happiness are incorrect. As a result, they live bitter and unfulfilled lives. They associate the idea of happiness with things like massive wealth, a job promotion, or a significant other. Problem is, if you're not happy before you have those things, most likely you won't be happy after you attain them. There's nothing wrong with pursuing success or a significant other, but using that to determine your happiness will lead to disappointment. In those cases, you are seeking happiness from external and unbalanced sources instead of within yourself. That's where happiness truly comes from.

Being happy, almost like meditation, is a practice. Here are five traits of a happy person:

1. They make an effort to be happy.

Have you ever been around someone that is always happy, to the point at which you start to get a little annoyed and envious? You start thinking to yourself...

"What do they have to be happy about all the time? Is their life really that much better than mine?"

The answer to that is no. Unfortunately, there's no magic potion you can take daily to make you happy. People that are happy all the time work at it. It's not because they have perfect lives and situations go their way. More so, it's the way they respond to life situations. At the end of the day, life and your happiness are about how you respond to everyday situations. Happy people choose to look on the bright side. Since you can't control how people treat you, why get down or beat yourself up about it? Control what you can control, your happiness, because you have no idea what the day will bring.

2. They surround themselves with happy people.

We are all familiar with the terms "Debby downer" and "negative Nancy." They derive from the fact that people generally don't like being around negativity. People are labeled as such as a warning to others to prepare for negativity. Being in that atmosphere affects your mindset. If you constantly hear someone complain about how unfair the world is, or if they consistently spend time judging others, that indicates how they feel about themselves.

"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." -- Jim Rohn

3. They take care of themselves.

Unhappiness and stress can take a serious toll on your body. Often, you can visibly see unhappiness manifest itself in the form of wrinkles and weight gain, among other things. Happy people have a high self worth, and want to continue to live a long happy life. Therefore, they try to look their best. Whether that means taking a few extra minutes in the morning to put on makeup, heading to the gym daily to keep in shape, clean eating, or taking "me time."

4. They pursue their passion.

Pursuing your passion makes life fulfilling. People that follow their passion are happier because they are living authentically. Even if they are not in the best position now, they know that by relentlessly pursuing their passion they will reach success.

Here's a great free guide on how to hack success.

They truly feel like they have something meaningful to contribute to society, and have the ability to do so. They don't see defeat or setbacks as the end, but as an opportunity for a comeback.

5. They are happy with who they are.

Happy people are thankful for their quirks. They love themselves and wouldn't want to be anyone else. They have a deep appreciation for their uniqueness and experiences, and are grateful for how their mind works. Their likes, dislikes, and even shortcomings are something they are thankful for. They also understand the value of bettering themselves and work towards self-improvement. Nobody is perfect, but you should always strive to be better and to have more meaningful encounters with people.

In reality, no one can be happy 24/7. The key is to not let circumstances and other people get you down for more than a moment. It's fine to have an unhappy moment, but don't let that lead into unhappy weeks or months. Take time to count your blessings. Your situation may not be ideal right now, but you can still choose to be happy.

Alicia T. Glenn shares her experiences and advice on how to accomplish cool things, and live a more fulfilled life by discovering and pursuing your passion on her blog. Join her free newsletter to get business ideas, life hacks and strategies on how to live a more fulfilled life.

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