The conscious choice to be happy is the first and most important step to creating a happy state of being. The active decision to be happy helps to cultivate attitudes and habits that serve this purpose. Such mental habits and conditioned mindsets are gratitude, a sense of purpose and self-worth, compassion, and appreciation for the present moment. Growing these ways of thinking into habits, you can work to distance yourself from situations that cause unhappiness.
Matthew Killingsworth conducted a study, monitoring the moods of over 2,000 people several times a day, in relation to their current activities and thoughts. The subjects were significantly unhappier when their thoughts were somewhere else. Also, daydreaming made them unhappier throughout the whole day. Buddhism teaches that those who are mentally in the present moment are the happiest people.
In "The Happiness Hypothesis," John Haidt refers to mental hygiene as a powerful tool to cultivate happiness. Mental hygiene means paying attention to one's thoughts and challenging the negative ones.
An important fact to keep in mind is that exterior circumstances do not determine people's level of happiness. You can shape your interior circumstances through shifting your perspective, self-truthfulness and actions that influence your mood.
Actions that change your mood should become a priority. Allowing enough time for hobbies, being with loved ones, and being alone contributes a great deal to happiness. Regular exercise, time spent outdoors, meditation, sexual activity and sleep are just as important.