Credit for this can be given to Rav Noach Weinberg z'l, Dr. Rabbi Akiva Tatz, and Rav Yaakov Hillel. The only thing here that is mine are the mistakes.
We spend out entire lives looking for happiness. Money, power, prestige, material possessions, Love, entertainment, knowledge. Drugs, relationships, Sushi. Cosmetics, respect, more money, Alcohol, fitness, the "perfect" job. climate. Therapy, smiling a lot. Exotic vacations, a spa, music, sports and even more money.
Doesn't work does it?
Generation after generation has followed the very same pattern and come up empty-handed. "We'll be different", you proclaim. But are we? Seek out those who claim to have "tried" any of the above and examine their results. Are they truly happy? Surely not.
Relax as always the Torah has the answer for us.
The Mishna tells us "Who is rich? One who is happy with what he has."
If you appreciate what you have, you'll feel rich. If you don't appreciate what you have, no matter how much you get you'll never be satisfied.
Judaism teaches that if you can master the art of noticing, appreciating, and consciously enjoying what you already have, then you'll always be happy.
How do we achieve the happiness that the entire world is going to Europe or South America to search for? APPRECIATE LIFE!
Remember when all you wanted was that car and then life would be great. But then we finally got that car and life still was not so great because we were still not happy. After all our friend had a much better car or we wanted to "hook up" our car more and more.
This teaches us that happiness is not a happening. Happiness is a state of mind. You can have everything in the world and you can still be miserable. Or you can have relatively little and feel very, very rich.
The Chazon Ish writes in one of his letters the following: "For someone who knows the lights of the lights of truth (you know what life's all about) there is no sadness in the world.
So why or what is it that gets us down, sad, and depressed?
Dr. Rabbi Tatz says real sadness is when you don't know which road you should be on (your life's purpose). You can be sitting in the lap of luxury of eating and drinking, but if you're on the wrong road you will be miserable, everyone around you can be giggling, but your soul will be depressed.
The reason why we believe that happiness is money and clubbing and getting drunk and so on is because the media created a stereotype of what happy is. So according to them it doesn't matter what you do, do what makes you happy. But that's not Judaism.
When your soul is doing what its supposed to be doing the response will be happiness. If the soul is not doing what it should be doing the response will be depression.
The Kabballist Rav Yaakov Hillel says
"They (sinners) can never be truly happy, because deep down, they know the truth. Like it or not they know that they are not fulfilling their life's real purpose.
The honor available in this world is meaningless nonsense, defined by bank accounts, pedigrees, social contacts, and party affiliations. It is false, yet we find it impossibly difficult to forgo. All the emotional anguish we have over honor and attention are not only worthless but also short-lived, lasting only as long as we do."
There is always a chance for change, the Gemara tells us
" One who comes to purify himself is assisted"
If we want what is right and make the initial move, Hashem will help us. But that initial move is entirely up to us.
I'll end with a famous quote from Rav Pam, "The world is traveling to find a city of happiness, while it can only be found in a state of mind"