On the surface, most of us can probably agree on what makes people happy: taking a great trip, for example, enjoying a warm, sunny day, or seeing a hilarious movie with friends. But each of these is more about momentary enjoyment than true happiness — that deep-rooted sense of contentment and fulfillment that is sustained over time. Inner happiness is based on more than just short-lived pleasures; it even depends on more than strong and satisfying relationships. True happiness comes in part from meaningful connections and work, but it is also enhanced when we meet the challenges that life throws our way — learning how to relax or how to love ourselves, for example, or working through personal tragedy toward finding joy.
Aries (March 20th - April 19th)
For the sign of the Ram, achieving lasting happiness depends on finding ways to ground your fiery energy and willpower. Chasing down every adventure and indulging every impulse can certainly be fun in the moment, but you risk long-term dissatisfaction and burnout over time. Your challenge, then, is learning to balance extremes, such as curbing your impulsiveness and checking your famous temper without smothering that wonderful inner fire. You do best when surrounded by stable, dependable people who also challenge you, including standing up to you when merited. Relationships with people who encourage you to express your natural energy but also inspire you to develop focus and follow-through can be especially satisfying, as these are learning experiences that enhance your senses of self-control and self-reliance.
Taurus (April 20th - May 20th)
Some might think the sign of the Bull has a corner on lasting happiness, since this sign is all about pleasures like great food, wonderful friends and a beautiful, comfortable home. But again, deep, inner fulfillment is about more than momentary pleasures and creature comforts. For Taurus, the key ingredients also include working hard at a meaningful occupation — since it’s all too easy for you to self-indulge to the point of laziness — and having loving friends who can shake you out of the deliciously comfortable ruts you’re famous for slipping into. Rather than indulging your preference for routine, try switching things up from time to time. You’ll find that doing so creates a fresh perspective along with a wonderful sense of anticipation and joy.
Gemini (May 21st - June 20th)
It’s rare for a Gemini to be found in a bad mood. Life is just too much fun — too hilarious, too fascinating — to waste on doom and gloom, at least for such an observant, curious and witty sign as yours. If you could just add a laugh track to the running commentary in your head, your own thoughts and perceptions would make a hit comedy show. And yet, your curiosity about and enjoyment in the world around you isn’t quite the same thing as a deep, inner sense of happiness. In fact, for the sign of the Twins, genuine fulfillment requires getting serious — at least a little bit, some of the time. Rather than bouncing from one hobby, job or relationship to another, you’ll find that when you focus, settle, dig in and learn, you’ll engage with life in a brand-new way, one that gives you a real sense of lasting satisfaction.
Cancer (June 21st - July 21st)
The Crab’s main focus in life is security of all types, but emotional security comes first and foremost. You depend a lot on your personal connections, especially those with your family, whether that means blood relatives or dear friends who make up your chosen tribe. You derive a lot of happiness from these connections, as well as from nurturing the people you love. But part of your recipe for true, deep happiness depends also on nurturing yourself, and building your trust and confidence within yourself to the point that you know you can weather any challenge that life might toss your way. Be sure to put your own feelings and needs first from time to time, since your tendency is to put others’ needs before your own. Building inner strength and setting firm boundaries will increase your well of inner contentment.
Leo (July 22nd - August 21st)
Momentary happiness tends to come easily to the sign of the Lion. After all, yours is one of the most exciting, dramatic, romantic and flat-out fun signs of the Zodiac. You know how to have a great time with the people you love, and you’re often surrounded by admirers who make you feel wonderful about yourself. At least, their attention and admiration should boost your self-confidence...so why does Leo tend to suffer from secret insecurity? Perhaps this is because you, alone, know the depth of your need for attention, connection, love and loyalty. What you may not realize is that these are yours for the taking. You inspire these in other people, simply by being your warm-hearted, courageous and charismatic self. Once you begin making yourself more emotionally vulnerable to others, you’ll start to learn who is truly there for you, through thick and thin — and that deep-rooted insecurity will dissolve. This is your key to lasting happiness.
Virgo (August 22nd - September 21st)
It’s a tough job, being such a detail-oriented, exacting sign as Virgo; it’s no wonder, then, that this sign can tend toward anxiety along with self-critical and compulsive behavior, all of which stand as serious roadblocks to lasting happiness. The fact that you take your time in building deep, strong connections with others works in your favor; once you commit to a particular relationship, a stable foundation of trust has already been established. But fulfilling personal relationships may not be enough to counteract that deep-rooted sense of worry that preoccupies so many Virgos’ minds. Loosening the reins of control, developing a sense of self-acceptance and pride in yourself exactly as you are — these are the changes that may take you years to achieve. But knowing Virgo’s constant striving for improvement, you’ll make it happen, and once you do, you’ll know the contentment of deep, enduring happiness.
Libra (September 22nd - October 22nd)
Surprise, surprise: Lasting happiness for the sign of the Scales depends on creating balance in your life between all the many opposing forces. But that doesn’t mean you have to figure out how to make everyone get along. Quite the opposite, in fact. You’re constantly striving so hard to please everyone else that it’s easy to forget altogether about your own inner contentment. You try to keep the peace among your friends, your family members and your coworkers, which is a valuable role to play — except that it means you don’t speak your own truth or take a firm stand as often as you should. For Libra, then, building your inner well of happiness depends on doing some very hard work that may run directly against your natural instincts. Once you learn that the world doesn’t fall apart when you put your foot down — and that, in fact, people treat you with greater respect — being truthful and setting limits will become easier and easier. In turn, your self-confidence will grow, as will your sense of satisfaction in your life.
Scorpio (October 23rd - November 21st)
Achieving lasting happiness can be a complicated endeavor for Scorpio, which should come as no surprise; life itself is a complex venture for this sign. But you welcome the intensity of learning from direct experience, which, in this case, is about finding positive ways to channel your considerable personal power. Especially when life gets tough, it can be all too easy for the Scorpion to follow instinctive urges toward possessive, compulsive or even vengeful behavior. But your best qualities are your deep compassion and your natural ability to heal and nurture others. When you tap into these streams of energy within yourself, that twin destructive urge is diminished, and you develop a strong and healthy self-image in the process. Nurturing your closest relationships also builds that well of happiness within you, so put conscious effort into building trusting, loving connections with others.
Sagittarius (November 22nd - December 20th)
The optimism and idealism of the Archer often translate to a happy disposition, so it would seem that lasting contentment should come easily to this sign. But even Sagittarius can have issues with frustration and depression, especially when life starts feeling a little too, well, real. Lasting happiness for you might depend on accepting that not every experience can be a grand adventure, and life isn’t just one big party after another. Furthermore, as a carefree wanderer, your instinct is to roam far and wide, but you may actually find that true contentment comes when you focus on one relationship or occupation, commit to it, and settle in for the long haul. It’s all about balancing your wanderlust with a home base, or your taste for adventure with a fondness for the familiar.
Capricorn (December 21st - January 18th)
For the sign of the Goat, lasting happiness stems from creating balance in your life between work and play. Left to your own devices, you might allow your natural drive, dedication and ambition to push you to work constantly, rarely or never taking time out to relax or connect with friends and family. But these are the very activities that make all that hard work worth the effort. Setting aside unstructured free time is essential for your happiness. If you need to be structured about it, so be it — schedule leisure time on the calendar at regular intervals. Another important key to lasting happiness for Capricorn is building your inner sense of trust in yourself and the world around you. After all, your drive toward success is really, at base, about a deep-rooted need for security. Once you learn that you have everything you need within yourself, you can begin to relax. At that point, true, lasting contentment can take hold.
Aquarius (January 19th - February 17th)
Lasting happiness for Aquarius stems first from the freedom to be truly, uniquely yourself, and second from making a positive impact on the world around you. Friends and family members who encourage you to express your one-of-a-kind brilliance feed your inner contentment almost as much as giving voice to that strong urge to make a difference. Just don’t forget to nurture your personal relationships as you become more and more involved in your important work. The people who love you give you a great deal of space and support, and it can be easy to take them for granted. But working against your urge for lots of solitary time actually makes you happier in the long run. It reconnects you with the physical, living world, along with the emotional plane of existence — two things you often forget about when you’re dialed into the intellectual plane.
Pisces (February 18th - March 19th)
The most empathetic, nurturing and selfless of all the signs of the Zodiac, Pisces is also the most intuitive. This means the Fish can be like an emotional sponge, sopping up the moods and inner feelings of everyone around. Thus, on several levels, happiness for Pisces depends on the people you care about most. On one level, when your loved ones are content, you feel content; you’re simply that invested in their wellbeing. On another level, however, it’s important for Pisces to take care to surround yourself with positive-minded, loving people, since you’re so vulnerable to absorbing others’ feelings of depression, anger or despair. Thus, developing true, deep and lasting happiness for Pisces depends on learning to set firm personal boundaries. It may seem counterintuitive to such a giving and self-sacrificing sign, but once you learn to set limits on what others may take from you — materially, emotionally and otherwise — your newfound strength will become a wellspring of happiness.