In the entire history of human lives no one has ever been happy in the future or in the past. All happiness has occurred in the present.
Still, it is possible to cultivate future happiness. That is, one can live one's present moments in such a way as to increase one's happiness in "future" moments (which will be present moments when they are happening).
But first, what is happiness? I think happiness is pleasure. That is, the state of heightened (or at least acceptable) well-being which people call "happy" is a pleasurable state. A state of pleasure. Joy is also pleasure. Ecstasy and bliss are pleasure. Unhappiness is displeasure--which is often simply insufficient pleasure.
Pleasure is a bodily experience, so if you want more pleasure, and thus more happiness, take really good care of your/the body. Nurture it with good nutrition, excercise regularly, don't over-consume caffein or alcohol (or other drugs). Stretch regularly or do yoga.... And yes, practice mindfulness of the body. Notice in a mindful way (Google it if you're clueless, folks) what sensations are present, including emotional sensations -- which are all bodily sensations. And notice the associated thoughts, mindfully. In due time the body itself will teach you how to be more and more happy in the present--if you commit to that as a journey and practice. (One can no more learn this without commitment than one could learn Olympic level diving or ice scating without commitment and practice.)
Chronic unhappiness, like enduring happiness, is learned activity supported by a skill set (or unskillfulness). Skills are developed with practice.
Notice that some parts of your body are "happy" while others are not, sometimes. Some parts are contracted and tight; others are loose and open and ... well, happy (pleasurable). Notice that the tight and unhappy places are attempting to deliver messages to your conscious self/mind. Ask these places, as you would ask a dear friend whom you love and to whom you are compassionate, "Darling, why so unhappy?" and be prepared to listen. And be prepared to take much time to learn what your whole body is trying to say to you about how to be happier.
Last edited by River; 09-20-2011 at 09:00 PM.