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When we think about happiness, and what it takes to be happy, we often assume that happiness is a destination. However, in reality-happiness is a state of mind.

This might come as a shock, but the only thing standing in the way of your happiness is you. The sooner you realize that, the better your life will be. Happiness is not found outside the self, it comes from within. We often blame outside forces when we are unhappy, but in the grand scheme of things, we are the only ones who have the ability to control whether we are happy.

When you get caught up in a cycle of depression- it can become second nature. But you can break free. The first step is realizing how you are blocking yourself so that you can find your way through.

1. You don’t practice gratitude.

Gratitude is what wires our brain toward positivity. When things aren’t going our way, it can be easy to get swept into a sea of negativity. However, if you allow this to happen, you can lose sight of all the blessings right in front of you. An easy way to remember how good you’ve got is to practice gratitude. For example, you might not have your dream job, but if you have a job that pays the bills and supports you and your family, you might work on practicing gratitude for what you have.

2. You compare yourself to everyone.

With the rise of social media has come a major rise in the comparison game. Just by clicking an app (Facebook, Instagram, or whatever) you are easily able to see the highlight reels of everyone you know and don’t know. Before you know it, you might be thinking, “Wow, she looks so happy. Her life is so beautiful. Look how amazing she looks!” And suddenly, your life feels like a big pile of crap. The thing is- you do NOT know what is actually going on in the lives of the people you compare yourself to.

3. You live in your comfort zone.

Our comfort zone is where our dreams go to die. It can be tempting to stay where it’s comfortable, and where you are accustomed to being- but, staying in your comfort zone only guarantees one thing: you will never grow.

4. You live to please others.

If you spend your whole life trying to please others, you are going to miss out on your own happiness. Make sure that you are also attending to your own needs and building your own happiness, instead of focusing on making everyone else happy.