Happiness Is A Choice How To Be Happy

By Stephanie Kirby

Updated February 19, 2020

Reviewer Karen Devlin, LPC

It's a safe bet to say that everyone would like to be happy. No one wants to go through life feeling sad, down, depressed, or like they are just getting by. So, if everyone wants to be happy why don't we have more happy people out there? It's because many people are waiting for things to happen to them that will make them happy when in reality, happiness is a choice.

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Ralph Marston said, "Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you." It sounds too simple to be true, but it's not. Happiness truly is a choice.

Happiness Isn't Going To Find You

There are a lot of challenging things that you will experience in life. Some people go as far to say that you are either in the middle of a storm, just coming out of a storm, or getting ready to go into one. That means that if things are going great in your life for the moment, get ready because the storm is coming.

This doesn't mean that all of life is bad, it means that life is not easy. Adults try to warn children that life only gets harder as you get older, but children never believe them. It appears just to be a lesson that we all must learn the hard way. The same is true with marriage and children. Many people trick themselves into thinking that they will be happy once they are married or once they become a parent. But, people that are already married or already have kids try to warn them that even though it may be rewarding, it certainly isn't easy.

If you are waiting for happiness to find you, you will be waiting a long time and will end up disappointed. Happiness does not come from your circumstances or your situation. Happiness comes from a choice that you make within.

You Don't Have To "Feel" Happy To Be Happy

As a whole, society is used to living by our feelings. We do things because we "feel" like doing them. We don't want anyone else to tell us what we should or shouldn't do. Their feelings control many people. If you live like this, you are going to be exhausted, and it's going to be difficult for you ever to experience true happiness in life. Instead of being controlled by your feelings you need to learn how to control your feelings.

No matter how hard we might try to hide our feelings, they aren't going to go away. We are human, and part of being human is having a wide range of emotions and feelings. Feelings can be helpful to us in some ways. Feelings help us enjoy the good things in life by being excited about them. Feeling scared or suspicious of something can help you avoid a dangerous situation. When you want to show empathy to someone feelings of sadness or thoughtfulness help you to do that. Our feelings are always going to be there.

Take Control Of Your Feeling

If you are not used to controlling your feelings, it is going to feel weird and wrong when you begin to do it. Sometimes taking control of your feelings feels downright bad. You may want with all your might to cry and feel sorry for yourself when something doesn't go your way, but you are going to choose to respond differently.

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The key to controlling your feelings is to start by controlling your actions. Your feelings will follow your actions. One of the most used examples of this is forgiveness. Many people that have been through trying situations have to consciously choose to forgive another person even though they do not want to forgive the person.

They must choose to stop holding the wrong against the person and to stop talking about it and thinking about it. When they make this choice and start to act in ways that show forgiveness the feelings of forgiveness will eventually follow. But, if they wait until they "feel" like forgiving the other person they might never do it and stay stuck in their unforgiveness forever.

Choosing Happiness

Happiness is a choice, which means you need to learn how to choose it. The first step is deciding to control your feelings. You must determine to control your actions regardless of how you feel. You might not feel happy, but you need to stop dwelling on it. If you are ready to take steps to choose happiness, start doing the following:

Choose To Look For The Positive Things In Your Life

No matter how bad your life seems to be going, you can always find something positive. It could be that you have a house to live in, eyes that see, ears that hear, or a family that loves you. Since happiness is a choice, you need to start finding things in your life that make you happy. Focus on all the small things that are going well in your life. You can look for things you appreciate in life in general. This includes things like flowers growing in the spring or the smell of the ocean air when you are on vacation. Begin to look for the good things in life proactively.

Smile More

We tend to think that being happy makes us smile, but it can work the other way as well. When you smile you start a chemical reaction in your brain. It increases the level of dopamine and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters that help you feel happier and boost your mood. When these levels are low, there is a good chance you are experiencing symptoms of depression. So, if you want to be happier choose to smile more. It may feel weird when you first get started but stick with it anyway. Eventually, you will find that you are feeling a little happier.

Smiling can also help brighten the day of the people around you. It could change the interactions that you have with the people you pass on a regular basis and spark conversations.

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Think About What You're Thinking About

If you are constantly thinking about negative things or knocking yourself down with negative self-talk, you are not going to feel happy. If you believe happiness is a choice, then you need to start choosing the think about things that will make you happy. Don't be afraid to praise yourself for the things that you do well. Fill your head with good, positive, and productive thoughts. It's easy to go through the day daydreaming and letting any random thought hang out in our heads. But, when you start to pay attention to your thoughts, you may find that many of these thoughts are negative or judgmental towards yourself or others. Replace the negative with positive.

Limit Your Screen Time

A study by Nielson Total Audience found that adults are spending around 10 hours each day in front of a screen. This could be your laptop, smartphone, television, or some other devices. What device you are using doesn't matter, it's more about what you are using it for. Countless studies have found that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. We think of social media as a good thing because it allows us to connect with others, but it tends to do the opposite. Instead of helping us build real relationships it causes us to compare ourselves to others.

When you compare your entire life, including the hidden parts, with the highlight reel of someone else's life on social media, you are never going to win. There are very few people that post the good and the bad on social media. Instead, people spend a lot of time making sure their pictures are right, and the words they use are perfect. They post something good anytime happens which can leave you feeling worse about yourself. However, chances are they have things going wrong in their lives as well; they just aren't broadcasting it to the world. So, if you want to feel happier take a social media break.

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While you're at taking a break from your screen reduce the amount of time you spend watching the news. The media has a way of only focusing on the negative things that are happening locally and around the world. It's hard to feel happy after listening to story after story of all the horrible situation around the world. So, take a break from it all. Limit the amount of time you spend taking in this information.

Happiness Is A Choice You Must Make Every Day

You can't just choose happiness once and call it good. If you want to be happy it is something that you will have to do daily. If you notice that you aren't feeling as happy anymore take some time to think through your actions. Are you doing the things you need to choose happiness or are you simply letting your emotions take control?

If you are trying to feel happy and it just isn't working for you consider talking to a licensed therapist. Better Help has many therapist and counselors that you can work with online. They can help you sort through your situation and create a plan to overcome any obstacles. Happiness is a choice and choosing help is a great step to getting started.


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