Happiness is a choice. For every minute you are angry or irritated, you lose 60 seconds of happiness. Be happy. Be yourself. If others don’t like it, then let them be. Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.
If you have the courage to admit when you’re scared, the ability to laugh even as you cry, the nerve to speak up, even if your voice is shaking, the confidence to ask for help when you need it, and the wisdom to take it when it’s offered, then you have everything you need to get yourself to a happier state of mind.
Begin today by taking responsibility for your own contentment. Here are ten ways to choose happiness:
- Choose to be the best YOU can be. – Give it your all in everything you do, commit to your goals, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. John Wooden once said, “Success and happiness is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Never try to be better than anyone else, but never stop trying to be the best you can be. If you feel called to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
- Choose to be around the right people. – Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
- Choose to focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life willbring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy or acquire anything new. It makes sense. You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t thankful for what you already have.
- Choose a good attitude. – What often screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be. And the reason so many of us give up is because we tend to look at how far we still have to go, instead of how far we have come. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. This moment, like every moment, is a priceless gift and an opportunity. Be positive, smile, and make it count. Pretend today is going to be great. Do so, and it will be. Research shows that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. A great attitude always leads to great experiences.
- Choose to smile more often. – A smile is a choice, not a miracle. Don’t wait for people to smile. Show them how. A genuine smile makes you and everyone around you feel better. The simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you’re happy. And when you’re happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. This reaction has been studied since the 1980’s and has been proven a number of times. Bottom line: Smiling actually makes you happier.
- Choose to take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Recent studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise significantly raises happiness levels in the near-term. Not only that, six months later, the people who had continued to exercise were less likely to relapse into depression because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
- Choose honesty. – Start being honest with yourself and everyone else. Don’t cheat. Be faithful. Be kind. Do the right thing! It is a less complicated way to live. Integrity is the essence of everything successful. When you break the rules of integrity you invite serious complications into your life. Keep life simple and enjoyable by doing what you know in your heart is right. Don’t get involved with drama that doesn’t affect you.
- Choose to help others when you’re able. – Care about people. In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.
- Choose to let go when you know you should. – Sometimes you have to be strong for yourself. Love is worth fighting for, but you can’t be the only one fighting. People need to fight for you too. If they don’t, you eventually have to move on and realize that what you gave them was more than they were willing to give you. Some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed. If you try to force them back together, things will only get worse. Holding on is being brave, but letting go and moving on is often what makes us stronger and happier.
- Choose to embrace the next step in your life. – You can hold on to the past, or you can create your own happiness today. Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart. Every day is a new beginning and a new ending. Embrace it, make the best of it, smile, and keep looking straight ahead. And don’t forget, a smile doesn’t always mean a person is happy right now; sometimes it simply means they are strong enough to face their problems going forward. Read The How of Happiness.
And remember, your mind is your private sanctuary; do not allow the negative beliefs of others to occupy it. Your skin is your barrier; do not allow others to get under it. Take control of your boundaries and what you allow yourself to absorb from others.
Never let someone’s opinion become your reality. Never sacrifice who you are because someone else has a problem with it. Love who you are inside and out. No one else has the power to make you feel small unless you give them that power. You are the only one who can create your happiness.
The choice is yours. Choose happiness.
Photo by: Noukka Signe