Your default setting isn't 'happy'.
Are you a happy person? That shouldn't be too hard to answer. You don't need to be happy absolutely all of the time, but perhaps most of the time, to be considered a happy person. Now take a moment to think... do you know anyone who could be described as an unhappy person? I can think of a few. Perhaps you're an unhappy person. I realised something recently, when I was pondering the difference between my happy self and the unhappy people I observe. We're all the same. We all come out of the box, wrapped in plastic, our happy switch set to 'off'. (Please note that this topic does not refer to people with mental illness.)
As kids, at some point our parents probably flick us into the 'happy' setting. With cuddles and nummy food and lullabies. But if they didn't - just imagine. We default back to unhappy pretty quickly. We grow up, we learn how to make ourselves happy. We make friends, we have hobbies, we go to school. Subconsciously we figure out that if we don't keep flicking the happy switch back on, then we will be unhappy. Our lives are pretty much spent awkwardly trying to reach the happy switch on our backs. For some reason, people forget that happy isn't the default. Or they've never realised it. If I sat here and did absolutely nothing for 12 hours I can guarantee that my happiness levels would plummet drastically. If you want to be happy, you need to do something to get it. Sounds simple enough. I've noticed that when I'm unhappy, I'll often turn to immediate pleasure rather than actual sustained happiness. As I'm sure we all do. Food is a big one, makes me feel good for a minute and then disappears. Pleasure. Whereas when I go for my walk, it makes me feel great for the whole day. Happiness.
Whenever I'm unhappy, I always ask myself what am I not doing? Not, what's been done to me, or why is this happening. It's obvious why - there's something I'm not doing. Usually, for me, it's painting. Whenever I'm unhappy I can trace it back to not having painted in a while. Almost always. For some reason it fills up my long term happiness deposits. It's so easy to forget and just go through the day to day motions of life, and suddenly realise you're unhappy. The people who I struggle with are the ones who expect happiness to be given to them, without them doing anything to get it. And no matter how much you give to them, it will never be enough. I'm sure you can think of at least someone you know like this. They're always complaining about their job, or their partner, or their living situation, and everything else not being ideal. And you'll tell them, why don't you change this? Or do this? And they'll roll their eyes or sigh and mumble. Because they don't seem to understand that they aren't going to be happy unless they make themselves happy. We all need to pay more attention to what flicks our default switch from unhappy to happy, and keeps us that way in the long term. We all go through times when we're unhappy. The quicker we tell ourselves that we've simply reverted to our default setting and that it's time to flick it back on - the better.