Imagine a huge lake. In front of that lake stands a person, a thirsty person. But instead of turning to the lake to drink, it turns to a faucet at the end of a long pipe coming out of the lake. Happy End? No, because that person does not drink from the faucet ether, doesn´t dare to, because there are signs around that faucet, an infinite number of signs stating what that person has to do and achieve first in order drink from it. Signs like: „Not before you have done your homework“, „only when achieved a stable income“ or „only with a healthy body“. The person does not dare to drink before fulfilling the demands of the signs. What would you tell that person? Would you expect them to fulfil them first? Would you expect them to die of thirst if they can´t? Should they ignore all signs?
That lake symbolises people`s happiness, their good-feeling state. Happiness is an emotion, a feeling. Feelings are always available for us. Ask any actor or actress. It is debatable if feelings that are directly inspired by circumstances are really exactly the same as willingly produced feelings from a philosophical point of view, but I can assure you they can feel the same. We mostly allow ourselves positive feelings when we recognise conditions on the outside that we have learned are happy, „happy things“. For example, making or spending money, others showing us their love or even spiritual practices like meditation. But truth is, those good feelings don´t get injected into our veins alongside these happy circumstances. No heavenly nurse is jumping from behind the curtain with a syringe when we get the promotion or finally buy that beautiful thing we wanted. Fellings develop on the inside, they are felt on the inside and they can be called to existence from the inside as much as they can be called through outside conditions. Have you never experienced a dream or a daydream that made you feel happy? How is that possible if your happiness depends on reality, on manifested factors?
It is our mind that limits us to the faucet and all these signs. Some people say that this is wrong of the mind and a symptom of an overactive mind. I would say that limiting our experience, for example through those signs, simply is the job of our mind. It is, however, I think, a signal of an unbalanced relationship between our mind and heart/emotions/intuition, if we can´t ignore the signs even in times of need. There is something wrong if we can´t ignore the signs and drink before we die of thirst. It is the first and primary responsibility of every living thing to stay alive.
Yet all these signs are a necessary part of social systems, a necessary part of being a cultural and social being and it is not wise to just aggressively and unreflectingly break through them. It is not wise to become ignorant of others‘ needs and to rules that are necessary to structure social life. But it is equally unwise, especially when suffering, to believe that happiness can´t be achieved and found aside from all regulations of the mind, aside from all circumstances. There are many examples of people that found happiness in all kinds of suffering. Monks meditate their way into happiness in jail, sickness, or even while dying. Many people that have recovered from sickness and trauma told me, that they feel so much freedom now, more than they ever felt before because they found happiness even when they were in pain. Small, sometimes tiny moments of happiness in comparison. Sometimes hard to find and easy to lose but it was there. And knowing that, what could scare them now? After being through horrible things and knowing that there will always still be good moments even in the greatest darkness, what could scare you after that?
Like always it seems to be about balance. Being antisocial and ignorant about sensible social rules is wrong and so is failing to take care of oneself before one dies of thirst. It is about finding the right amount and right time for either of them. Being centred and calm in ourselves, in our body and mind is a good place to start that journey of finding balance. Learn to quiet your mind. Not shutting it off because it is a burden but deciding that it deserves a break for once and allowing it to become quiet or better calm. Treat it like a friend. If it wants to tell you something listen to it but don´t get wrapped up in it. You wouldn´t do just anything that a friend tells you to do, would you? But you would still try to stay open and friendly to what a friend has to say. That is, I think how we should treat our rational, thinking mind. To relax and quiet the mind focus on other calm things like the breath or habitual sounds. Your body deserves a bit of attention and your mind a bit of rest, that should be reason enough to at least try it. Be aware of your expectations. Do you need to feel pure bliss after a minute of meditation even though you were devastated when you started it? Does the pain have to reduce itself from a 10 to a 0 in just one meditation? Or do you give yourself and your body, mind and energy time to develop and evolve step by step and in time?
You can also reflect and ask yourself: Are there people that have found peace or even happiness even though they were in trouble like you are now? Are there small things that you can say are, not countervailing to the bad stuff but still, bringing you happiness somewhere around or inside you?
There are many other methods like breathing technics, visualisation etc., other forms of mediation and mental training. I would suggest you research different techniques and see what works for you. After that, you can work on establishing a routine for yourself or find some kind of teacher or community in your area or online to support you.
Just remember: Essentially it is not the technique that makes you happy, it is happiness that makes you happy. There is nothing you need to have or do or be for that, you already have it, you already are it.