Films are made about it. Books are written about it. Scientists study it. Countries even dedicate funds to it and it’s the one thing we all want ­ No not sex or money ­ Happiness!

Given its amazing physical, social and mental benefits the pursuit of happiness can only be a good thing. Plus, it’s entirely free! So here’s how to get truly happy now and start reaping the fabulous rewards right away.

1. Capitalize On Positive Events

Ask a friend, partner, colleague or acquaintance to tell you about something good that happened to them that day. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they enjoyed it.

While they’re sharing the event actively listen. That means really listening and being engaged with what they are sharing by making eye contact, smiling, asking open­ended questions and making positive comments. You’ll be amazed at how natural this feels once you get in to the moment.

Also notice how your encouragement is increasing the other person’s positivity by making them feel cared about. Feels good right?

Not only that, talking about the event together is also a positive experience which will enhance your relationship. Research has shown that romantic partners who responded to each other’s news of positive events in this active constructive style reported greater relationship well­being and were less likely to have broken up two months later.

2. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

This involves doing five kind things in one day and then writing about them. First of all, think of the kind acts that you’ve been the recipient of. Next reflect on the kind acts that you already do.  Then note five acts you want to do along with the day that you intend do them. For an extra happiness boost, when you’ve completed your acts of kindness, write down what you did and how they made you feel. Chances are you’ll want to do it again.

Research shows this practice makes us feel happier because it makes us think more highly of ourselves and we become more aware of other positive social interactions, which also increases happiness. Note: Don’t do the same act over and over, it will start to feel less special.

3. Practice Forgiveness

We all have hurts and betrayals that we ruminate about at times but we can always choose to forgive. This is an excellent way to release the distress that arises from constantly remembering these incidents and move on.

However, forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget or even reconcile. Instead it’s about changing your attitude to the original pain so that it will no longer to hurt you.

Researchers at the University of Miami found that forgiveness is linked to increased life satisfaction, more positive emotions, less negative emotions, and fewer symptoms of physical illness. The same group of researchers also found that forgiving on one day is linked to higher happiness the very next day.

To practice forgiveness you need to:

● Commit to your personal healing

● Recognize that your distress is coming from your feelings and thoughts

● Remind yourself that you can hope for positive things and work hard to get them

● Decide to make some positive goals in which to better invest your energy

● Focus on what is good in your life right now

● Change the way you think about the past

It can take some time but it is worth it.

4. Cultivate Optimism

Research suggests that building optimism about the future motivates people to work towards their goals. This then makes the desired future more likely to become a reality. You’re not only increasing your happiness in the present, you’re also paving the way for sustained happiness down the line.  The following exercise will help you to understand what you really want, helps you to restructure your priorities and increases your sense of control over your life. Here’s how it’s done:

● Take a moment to imagine your life in the future, making it the best you can possibly imagine. Consider everything, career, relationships, hobbies, health, spirituality and academia and don’t rush the process.

● Now ask yourself, what exactly would it be like? Paint a clear picture in your mind, exploring all of the details.

● Finally, write about what you imagined in this exercise, being as creative as you like.  Take around fifteen minutes to do this.

So stop postponing your happiness until tomorrow. Just focus on the positive, practice forgiveness, be kind and become more optimistic and you will utterly transform your life.

So what are waiting for? Hurry up and get happy!