I believe that "happy" is a choice. Just as sad, mad, and scared are. We can choose to be happy just as we can choose to be angry. While we cannot always control the things that happen to us, we do have control over our reactions to them.
Do you Want to be Happy?
Sometimes bad things happen to us, and we temporarily lose our happiness. Sometimes nothing happens, but we still have trouble finding it. It's not always easy to choose "happy". In fact, it's often the more difficult route. It can take time and lots of practice to train ourselves (and remind ourselves) to choose happy.
First and foremost is to decide that we really DO want to be happy. There are still many people who would rather wallow in self-pity, hatred, or anger. If that is the case, these examples probably won't help.
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy.— Groucho Marx
Exercises For Choosing Happy
What makes you happy?
How do you learn?
How do you remember?
Think about situations that make you happy.
Do you need to read and write something to learn it?
Make a vision board or hang sayings and posters to remind you.
Which music makes you happy?
Does it sink in better if you listen and speak aloud?
Keep your iPod/listening devices charged and handy.
Do you have a "happy place?"
Will role playing or watching an example be a help?
Make a mantra (or several)
Do you Choose Happy?
Please use the comment section below to add any other choices you may have.
Some Examples of How to Choose Happiness
- Write a mantra. I like the idea of saying it in the morning. I like to remind myself that is going to be a good day. Sometimes, I have to say it repeatedly during the day because some days are easier than others.
- Make yourself a playlist of go-to music that you can find easily when you need it. I have stations on Pandora, as well as on my phone that get me ready for many situations.
- Make a "Vision Board" or hang reminders around you. When I find a saying or quote that I like, I hang it around my desk, my kitchen, wherever I am sure to see it. I even have a small trinket box, where there are different snippets of paper with all kinds of positive memories or messages on them.
- For many people, exercise, yoga, meditation, writing, etc., help them to find their happy. It is important for you to discover what makes you calm and happy, what gives you inner peace, then use it.
- My final suggestion here is to discover and isolate what it is that is keeping you from being happy. This is very broad and can differ from individual to individual. The key is to find your triggers and use the above techniques to thwart them!
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy." They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.— John Lennon
Losing Your Way
It occurred to me not too long ago, that I have not been very happy. This came as quite a surprise because I have always viewed myself as upbeat, optimistic, sometimes silly and, most of the time…happy! So, what happened? What changed? To be honest, I’m really not sure. No earth-shattering, life-changing event has suddenly come upon me. I could list at least 101 annoying things that are going on in my life, but they are probably no more or no less than the average problems. I think I just forgot to choose happy.
Sometimes Just Choosing Happiness isn't Enough
I do want to say here that there are some things in life that can totally throw us. Horrible things that, whether beyond our control or not, may not be as easy to get past. If this is happening to you, please seek the help of a professional. The suggestions in this article are meant for day-to-day issues and struggles. They are to help people practice the mindset of happiness. They can, of course, stand you in good stead if you are already practicing them before a crisis, but they are not a simple solution to a life crisis.
Thank you Pharrel Williams!
Pretty much every year, there is a catchy, “feel-good” song that often becomes an overnight sensation. This year, that song is Happy. (I know, I know, you thought I was going to say the other one, just Let it Go!) Not having seen Despicable Me, I wasn’t familiar with the song and wasn’t particularly fond of it when I first heard it. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t really love it. But…what I do like about it is how so many people have embraced it. I have seen videos made by all kinds of organizations and groups. The common thread is that they are happy. How nice is that?!
People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be— Abraham Lincoln
And one final thought from the incomparable Audrey Hepburn! While I don't entirely agree with the sentiment, it would be fun!
The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters.— Audrey Hepburn
Questions & Answers
© 2014 Randi Benlulu