Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a choice. This is a big claim I know, and I am fully aware that I may have just dug myself into a bit of a hole here, but I promise you I can pull myself out and provide some explanation.  

Of course, there will always be factors out of our control that will impact our relative happiness levels, but I fully believe that with intention and commitment we can live in any emotion that we desire. A large proponent of this theory is the wonderful phrase, “fake it till you make it.” Growing up, when I was sad my dad would encourage me to just smile. This often led to frustration because I figured he was downplaying my emotions and I could not comprehend how he intended for a smile to solve my problems, but his suggestion really had some base to it. Every time you smile, your brain releases neuropeptides to reduce stress, serotonin which act as an antidepressant and endorphins which ease pain. In other words, smiling is a great tool to take hold of your health and wellbeing! Not to mention, you’re very likely to boost someone else’s day by offering them a smile. In this way, by choosing to smile you are also choosing happiness and this can be the easiest decision you make all day! However smart I’m sure you all are, your brain can’t detect the difference between a real and fake smile, so no worries there. So, if you’re ever feeling down, simply turn the corners of your mouth up and you’ll be making strides towards a better mood.  

I am not at all trying to disclaim any sad thoughts or bad days that you may encounter, because I have those as often as any. Rather, I am suggesting that the next time you’re sad you take a moment to acknowledge and accept that feeling with a positive attitude, find gratitude that all your good days outweigh all your bad days and look forward to brighter times ahead. In this way, we can change our perspective to be happy about being sad because it’s beautiful that we always have something that is able to pull us out of our bad thoughts.  

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” He makes it sound simple huh? Controlling your own happiness is absolutely a process but can totally become something instinctive. A large part of this is the realization that happiness is subjective. Where you find happiness is guaranteed to be different for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. Understanding that you are not going to be able to reach your highest level of happiness from material goods or people is also vital in understanding that you must be content with yourself and willing to find happiness within to truly succeed. After all, you are the only guaranteed constant in your life and with that you should be comfortable with taking control of your emotions and steering them where you’d like.  

Here are some tips for choosing happiness, as we all know that our world needs some happy, kind people now more than ever.  

Tip 1: You need to stop victimizing yourself…point blank. Waiting for other people to pity you is only going to lead to wasted time, besides the fact that other people’s pity isn’t even a good thing to have. This will also free up some time for you to move on and choose happiness instead of sorrow. 

Tip 2: Set goals. Instead of pursuing happiness, pursue a goal that you are passionate about, and happiness will follow. Making your desire for happiness specific gives you a mean for success and should only increase your odds.  

Tip 3: Be kinder than necessary. Being kind to not only others but also yourself is never going to bring you harm and will certainly bring you benefits. Your kindness will place happiness onto others and satisfaction upon yourself for your good deed.  

Tip 4: Forgive often and forgive honestly. There’s no point in carrying around yesterday’s troubles. Allowing yourself to turn a new page with every day is sure to put your mind at ease and create more room for happiness. 

Tip 5: Make lemons out of lemonade. If you practice finding positives in bad situations, you are so much more likely to leave with more appreciation and a better ability to get over poor circumstances than if you decided to sit in sadness which is all relative to happiness. 

Tip 6: Count your blessings. Bringing attention to all the positives in your life rather than the negatives and leaning into your gratitude is such an important practice to follow. Even on the worst days you can always find something to be thankful for which is something in itself to be happy about. I like to reflect on what I’m grateful for before bed that way I may wake up with yet another appreciation which is a new day. 

Tip 7: Allow yourself to thrive in a reinforcing environment. Ultimately happiness must come from within, so if you are in a negative place then you’re not exactly setting yourself up for success. While I still believe that we can make any environment a happy one, I am acknowledging that it’s harder and thus not in your best interest. This could mean hanging out with negative people, working at a job you hate or participating in things you don’t like. You need to prioritize your own needs first and just allow the rest to fall into place. 

Ultimately, being conscious in your decisions and leading with positivity and kindness will propel you to happiness if you are able to trust the process. 

I hope you move into today with smiles for strangers and friends alike, gratitude for sadness and a choice for happiness above all else 🙂 

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