“It is all in your head.” Has anyone ever said this to you? It can be really frustrating to hear this, especially when you are having a bad day.

But the truth is: your mind holds the power to do what you tell it to do!

I’ve been walking around Athens, Greece, the past few days. On two different days I passed two different women wearing two different shirts, but both had the same phrase written in front: “Make your own happiness.”

What a sweet thing to read/see. For the past several years, the country’s people have been made to struggle by the government for financial troubles caused by the government. For years, the people have faced the austerities put upon them by the law.

My friends and family have taken pay cuts, seen decreases in their pensions, lost their jobs, and can barely afford their rent. In general it is a very sad situation to say the least. Even though the cafés are open and people are out at night doesn’t mean all is well.

But seeing these shirts and the loving, happy camaraderie among friends gives me such hope for my second home.

These ladies really get it. The situation might be miserable, but you can make your own happiness among the chaos.

Keeping a positive mindset is the most important step. Maintaining communication with others is right there behind it, especially in a very social country like Greece. Setting and achieving realistic goals is also very important. Knowing that you can accomplish things that are important to you gives you a great confidence and can bring you happiness.

Even in difficult times, we can achieve small victories, and increase our joy, increase our happiness. It really is all in the mind. Keep your mind on the positives, and do your best to not focus on the negative. Of course you can’t ignore big problems, but if you can manage to not dwell on them, it will make a huge difference.

Be sure to keep your expectations realistic (not too high) and celebrate the small victories.

When you can keep the disappointments from clouding your mind is a big achievement. Recognize that it is temporary. Look at the good that surrounds you and focus on that.

When you need some encouragement, connect with a friend, share a laugh or two, and look for the positives in your life. Help your mind get to the place of happiness.