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Happiness looks different for everyone. Or having a secure network of friends who accept you unconditionally.

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Happiness: You know it when you feel it, and you definitely know it when you don't.

While few of us walk around grinning in a constant state of bliss, frequent feelings of sadness are a reason to pause and take stock of why that might be. The opposite of happiness isn't always unhappiness, either; if you're no longer getting a kick out of things that once brought you joythat's another major that something's amiss. According to Acacia Parks, the chief scientist at Can you be happya site that offers "emotional health solutions" crafted with the help of experts in the field, " research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life for example, finding meaning in your work and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.

Have you felt like your inner world's a bit drearier lately, even when you're in good health, employed, and on financially-solid ground?

How to be happier

If so, these research-backed strategies can help you answer the question, "why can't I be happy? We've all had our "off" days, but a longer stretch of unhappiness can mean it's time to seek professional help. But if you experience what the Anxiety and Depression Association of America ADAA identifies as symptoms of depression for at least two weeks, most of the time and on most days, Petiford says it may be something more serious. Meanwhile, "'the blues' are another normal experience of life, and can accompany a memory, transition, or other loss," according to Petiford.

As life coach and Fix My Life host Iyanla once said"Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self. That said, the impulse is perfectly natural, if often unhealthy.

Susan Biali Haas. And speaking of Instagram and Facebook, and LinkedIn Though your life is still the same good life you had a moment ago, the comparison robs you of your peace and contentment, blotting out your good feelings about your life.

How to be happy: 25 habits to add to your routine

Quitting social media altogether isn't realistic. But Haas suggests revamping your Facebook feed settings so you can only see a select group of people's posts i. As for Instagram, "pay attention to what types of posts, or people, tip you into the comparison trap, and curate your feed accordingly if you can. Spending time in nature can relax youreduce stress, and clear your mind, according to John Zelenskia psychology professor who's studied Can you be happy connection between happiness and nature.

Positive psychology research findings have extolled the benefits of gratitude again and again, but amid life's very real disappointments, it can be tough to stay grateful. Think of gratitude as a muscle you've got to work to maintain.

My life is great, so why can’t i be happy?

Oprah's been singing the praises of a gratitude journal —in which you jot down small things you're grateful for, at least several times a week—since the s. In this clip from The Oprah Winfrey ShowOprah celebrates the avocados she had a spiritual yet hilarious connection with on a vacation; now she's got her own avocado orchard.

Achieving those goals will bring happiness, Lyubomirsky explains, but people often expect that feeling to last forever when it's typically fleeting: "Eventually, research shows, most people return to their happiness baseline. So if your post-wedding life isn't the paradise you'd imagined, that's completely normal.

How to be happy: 8 ways to be happier today

She suggests moderate-level intensity workouts like walking, biking and rowing, which have been shown to boost BDNF. One's personality, economic circumstances and habits can contribute to a fixed level of happiness that spans decades: "the happiest 20 year olds are, on average, the happiest 40, 50, and 60 year olds," he continues.

That said, you can work your way to a somewhat sunnier demeanor "work" being the operative word. Those feelings come from biochemical changes in the brain," Petiford says. Performing an act of kindness can boost oxytocin, aka "the love hormone," and euphoria-inducing dopamine—so much so that researchers have dubbed it the helper's high.

Wondering why you can't be happy? these tips will help

Petiford puts it best: "It makes you feel better and the ripple effects benefit those around us. Your Best Life. Type keyword s to search. Getty Images.

Then, stop comparing your life to others. Related Stories.

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