17/01/2011 10:33 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Why Can't You Be Happy?

You want to be happy, right? And you're making the right changes to your life. Maybe you're starting small, like eating organic and recycling. You're trying to make a difference. Perhaps 2011 is the year that you've taken the leap to fulfil a long-standing ambition.

And yet there's this niggling feeling it's not making enough of a difference. It's not reaching that elusive part of you that seems to know there's way more to life.

So what's the problem? We look at some common barriers to happiness, and how to move through them.

Even-Hollywood-stars-like-SJP-aren't-always-happy Even SJP feels the pain. Photo: PA

Many fall at the first hurdles to happiness because they don't really know what makes them feel loved, fulfilled, inspired, accepted or worthy. It takes a willingness to look inside. Conditioned since childhood, we instead want what we're told - whether it's a relationship with the perfect man, a hiddeously successful career, or simply attaining a behind like Kylie's. Here's the thing; the answer to your happiness is inside you.

You're stuck in the past
"The hydrogen atoms in a human body completely refresh every seven years" Kevin Kelly tells us in his new book What Technology Wants. The idea is that we're a completely new person (on a basic, physical level) every seven years. Yet people keep on clinging to the old - their jobs, their homes, their looks, their ideas, their dreams. Let it go. You don't need it. And it's never coming back. Who are you now, today? What are you capable of?

You're too busy

Any thing new needs a space, a vaccum in which it can be held and happen. If you're too busy stuffing your life with things, activities, ideas and bad attitudes, it doesn't leave much space for a deeper, fresher connection with life. Make room for happiness; quit planning, clear your head, open your heart, and be spontaneous.

You're getting in your own way
When life is speeding up like crazy, shaped by influences beyond you're control you can either keep grabbing the side of the rollercoaster and try slowing it down. Or think f*** it, raise your arms high to the ride of your life. There's only one way to be happy in a mysterious world: accept everything, stay grounded, and let go.

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You don't know yourself