Happiness, joy, contentment, satisfaction are not dependent on the conditions around you or what someone else says or does. Now, wait a minute before you stop reading. The conditions around us do affect us. That's true, but I'm going to tell you how you can internally keep your contentment and happiness, no matter what is going on around you.
Remember that you can feel multiple emotions at the same time. You can feel sad that there is world hunger, and still feel satisfied and happy that you own a home. You can feel frustrated that your vacation at work did not get approved, and still be happy to see your family. You can feel angry that your parents did not protect you as a child, and still fell warm and loved by another person. You get the point; we are complex thinking and feeling beings.
We do not have to allow the conditions around us to control how we feel, think, or perceive the world. We have all been conditioned, to some degree, that when we feel any kind of way, that it has to do with what is happening around us. What if I told you though that you have the right and the power to feel, think, and perceive things how you want to. The idea that we blame others or circumstances for how we feel, gives away our power to feel better. The idea that we feel good only when a person behaves a certain way or something happens that makes you happy, also gives away your power to feel anyway you want.
With that understanding, let's look at how we can intentionally be happier more of the time, the more we practice.
Step One: Know You are in Charge of Your Feelings
Practice this: Every time you catch yourself or notice how you are feeling, tell yourself, I can feel anyway I want right now. I'm in charge of how I feel, think, and react.
It is that simple. You have to start noticing how you feel and remind yourself over and over again that you are in charge of your emotions, thoughts, and actions, no matter what. Once you start seeing glimpses of believing this, go on to step two. Yes, you will have to keep repeating step one over and over, every day, until you start noticing that you don't automatically react in old ways or blame others. You simply start the habit of noticing how you are feeling and habitually realize you are in charge.
Step Two: Make Your Own Choices to Feel Better
It is true, honestly, that you can choose how to feel (or think or react). Once you are in the habit of noticing how you feel (or on your way there by practicing whenever you remember), acknowledge what happened and how you are feeling. And, congratulate yourself for noticing, really (vs 'beating up on yourself when you realize you didn't notice'). You then take a deep breath, or two or three, and start telling yourself things that will make you feel a little better. This has to be something you really know and believe; it cannot be far-fetched, or it will not work.
Example: You are driving and you seem to hit every red light. You start feeling anxious or like you might be late. You start blaming the cars or the traffic lights or the kids for making you leave a few minutes late. STOP. Breathe. Start telling yourself something you WILL believe... "I am the person in charge of how I feel and react. I can take deep breaths. I am getting better and better and noticing how I feel. I can breath without blaming or judging myself or anyone or any circumstance. I can let go of anxiety and blame. I can just breathe."
Step Three: Notice How You Feel After Trying Step Two
The real growth, awareness, and shifting takes place consciously. It takes place when you notice how you feel after you try step two. Awareness of what you have control over reinforces your belief that you are really in control of your feelings (and thoughts and actions).
The only caution is trying to go too far or saying things you don't really believe. That may cause you to reinforce old patterns - that it is some condition to blame for all your troubles. Example: If you hit all the red lights, and notice your anxiety, and you say, "I love red lights. I love being late.", or something else you really don't mean or believe. You are then likely to reinforce how rotten you are starting to feel, and you are left with the feeling you have no control over the circumstances, and therefore, how they make you feel.