The pursuit of happiness is one of the primary goals of all humans. This, along with life and liberty, was declared as an essential right in the declaration of independence.
Every religion and philosophy has offered its pathway to happiness. Happiness is a state of mind and there are many paths to it.
There are common prerequisites to sustained happiness as well as common causes of unhappiness. These usually transcend all classifications of gender, age or race. There are other factors which are individual specific. Happiness depends partly on external circumstances and partly on oneself. The prerequisites of happiness are:
Good Health - This implies freedom from illnesses which can destroy zest in life. Good health results in vitality which can make living much more enjoyable.
Sufficient income to meet basic needs - Basic needs vary from individual to individual. What is implied in this phrase is income to provide for reasonable food, shelter and clothing.
Affection - Humans are social beings. They need other persons to communicate and share experiences with. Basically they need other people who can make the individual feel he is OK. It is important to have at least one person whose affection you enjoy.
Some productive work and activity - People need some work or activity to give them a feeling of being productive and of making a difference to the world. This should not be drudgery and need not be paid work.
Good attitude - What is needed is a positive attitude - an attitude of being tolerant towards people, events and circumstances and not being stickler or a perfectionist. It means not getting upset just because the world is not the way you want it.
Defined goals - The key to any progress on the path to increased happiness is having a set of defined goals. These goals would be for all major aspects of your life-health, financial, relationships, etc. and would be for various time periods; that is, you need to have a goal about where you see yourself at the end of your life and then develop a set of intermediate goals. True happiness comes from steady progress towards meaningful goals.