I get asked this question quite a bit during therapy. It's kind of an unanswerable question as we all programmed differently and what makes one person happy doesn't necessarily make another feel the same way.
I think although for everybody it's different, we all have positive actions we can take to assist our pursuit of happiness. Researchers that have undertaken many studies into the art of happiness have generally concluded that there are five stages to a happier life that we can all achieve. (obviously those experiencing difficult times such as grieving or living with challenging issues or illness will find this much harder, as will those whose Maslows' basic needs are not being met)
These five stages are :-
Reach out to others, nurture positive relationships with people you care about and make time for them
Regular physical activity several times a week doing something you enjoy that makes you out of breath for at least 30 minutes
Stimulate your brain by carrying on learning and be open to developing new skills and knowledge
Be open to new experiences and challenges (Which seems quite similar to the stage above )
Give to others in need. Those who give their time and energy to help others seem to have an enhanced sense of well being
All these suggestions seem quite simple in terms of personal development but I wonder how much time they will take to implement? As therapists we are required to complete yearly quotas of professional development learning in order to stay registered but the personal development is just as important too. I'm going to give these a try.