The phrase “happiness is a choice” is something we’ve all heard before. But have you ever really stopped to think about what it means? If you’re like me, your first reaction was probably something like, Yeah, right. If it were that easy we’d all be ecstatic all the time. Nobody feels stress or pain or worry because they want to. Those things are a part of life that we can’t do anything about.
Well, that line of thinking is actually correct…to an extent. You can’t magically rid yourself of bills or responsibilities or unforeseen accidents, or a million other things. But you can control how you respond and react to those negative circumstances.
If you know much about me or my story, then you’re probably aware that I struggled with feelings of anxiety, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and even depression for a lot of my life, before I finally suffered a breakdown at age thirty-six. So I know what I’m talking about when I say that no matter how out of control you think your life is, you really can change how happy and fulfilled you feel on a day-to-day basis.
It all comes down to figuring out a more positive way to react to the negative things that happen to you, as well as consciously infusing your life with more positive thoughts, people, and habits. For instance:
- If you find that you’ve accidentally overdrawn your checking account, you could beat yourself up over this slip-up all day, then also complain to your spouse (or whoever will listen) about how stupid you are and how you wish your family wasn’t so financially strapped. OR, you could figure out why the mistake was made so you can prevent it from happening in the future, as well as begin thinking of some new ways to earn more income (or conversely, about some new ideas to cut your expenses)…and then focus on how to make the most of your evening.
- Your coworkers are starting up the daily gripe-fest around the water cooler. You could join in by describing the latest condescending phone call you received from your mother-in-law. OR, you could turn the tide by congratulating everyone on the new client your company just signed.
- Once again, the nightly news is describing mishap after calamity after setback, and as usual, your thoughts are starting to swirl into a vortex of doom and gloom. You could continue watching and let yourself become more discouraged. OR, you could turn the TV off and read a chapter of a motivational book, or go for a walk or a jog.
Now, you’ve got to realize that you’ll never wake up and have a perfect day, and that building a happier life for yourself won’t happen overnight. But I promise, when you decide to focus on the people, things, and behaviors that enrich and fulfill you, and that inspire your positive mental, physical, and spiritual growth, you will notice a big difference in your mindset and emotional state. Once you understand the concept of choosing to be happy, your life will begin to change for the better.