Dr. Jill here. I have often been asked that very question.
Positive psychology says that the happiest people are those that spend time with family and friends, care little about keeping up with others, and are grateful and forgive easily. Forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness, says Univ of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson.
But here’s something that needs to be added to this. There’s VERY STRONG research evidence that just ACTING happy turns on the very same portion of your brain that’s naturally activated for happy people. So just ACT happy, and you’re more than half way there. Remarkably, this really does seems to work.