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How You Can Choose to Be Happy

choose to be happy, happiness

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Happiness is a choice, but it’s not as easy as hitting an on/off switch. If we want to choose to be happy, we need to treat it as a process and art to master. Abraham Lincoln said:

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

 

And although there is truth to this, it can take practice and self-study to achieve a happiness mindset. How can we begin this process and eventually choose to be happy?

Prioritize the art of self-study

The way we feel is a direct product of the narratives we tell ourselves about the world and who we are. What if there’s a way to reshape this narrative to serve us throughout life while making us happier?

There is, and it happens through self-study. Studying our own minds entails staying on the watch for any thoughts or feelings that make us feel uneasy, depressed, or worried. There are a few key strategies to implement in order to master self-study. Mastering these will surely enable us to choose to be happy.

Meditation

Meditation is undoubtedly one of the best techniques available to us. Through meditation, we can be still and effectively watch how our minds work for or against us. Not only does meditation scientifically ease emotions that lessen happiness, but it helps us get to know ourselves better as well.

Here’s what Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly known as Buddha, said about meditation:

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”

 

It is wise to meditate, yet meditation is the thing that brings wisdom. This is why it can be hard for many to begin a meditation practice. Yet when the practitioner begins, mental negativity flees the mind small bits at a time. 

Negative thoughts are a force that makes it difficult to choose to be happy. Perhaps there’s some negativity involved with how we’re viewing our life situation. Meditation ultimately helps us rewire our views and narratives to starve the negativity within us.

Journaling 

Have you heard of a gratitude journal? 

A gratitude journal is basically what it sounds like. It’s a place to jot down all that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t take happiness to be grateful, but gratefulness will ultimately lead to happiness.

Giving thanks is a form of self-study that can transform our lives. Further, giving thanks in the form of writing is a powerful habit. By writing in a gratitude journal, we’re reaffirming all the reasons we have to be happy. This journaling practice will recreate our mental thought patterns as well as the way we perceive situations and consequences. 

Speaking with others who wish to choose to be happy

In Tibetan Buddhism, a debating method is used to challenge personal ideas, fixations, and philosophies. Monks can be seen having very intense conversations that seem to edge almost on arguments. 

Speaking with others who have similar goals as us is undoubtedly a powerful way to challenge our own thoughts and narratives about the surrounding world. 

I have experienced the power of connection with another in a way that helped me find more gratitude and happiness. A friend of mine came to me feeling unhappy about how little he had going for himself. He felt unworthy and lacked a sense of purpose in the world. After thinking for a while, I finally concluded that although things weren’t perfect for my friend, there was still much that was going his way. 

“For example,” I told him, “you had a nice meal this morning and have a friendship like ours to make your life more meaningful. Maybe your current purpose is to start being more grateful for what already is. Maybe then you’ll attract more favorable experiences into your life.”

He reflected for a while and then agreed. Through this conversation, I realized that I too needed to refocus my attention on all that I already do have in order to move forward with more happiness.

Harness your ability to choose to be happy

The cliche regarding the glass being half full or half empty is famous for a reason. Most things in life can be looked at with either an eye of depression or with an eye of hopeful joy.

The Dalai Lama said:

“Happiness is not ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

 

This quote can remind us that part of being happy as a choice is choosing to do the things that will make the choice easier. Here are some simple actions we can take to help us choose happiness.

 

Our bodies were made to move and process wholesome, organic foods. Getting adequate exercise and proper nutrition can make us feel happier by increasing our abilities to live life with greater vitality. Aim to consume many fruits and vegetables and to exercise every day (even if it’s a simple walk or gentle yoga practice).

Are your current friends complaining most of the time? Or are they seeing the bright side most of the time? Try to surround yourself with people who choose to see the cup as half full. Surrounding ourselves with these types of people will help us harness our ability to choose to be happy. Further, these types of people are great company in general. They’ll help increase our happiness.

Does your job feed or take away from your happiness? This question goes hand-in-hand with what we choose to surround ourselves with. Our jobs dictate who we’re surrounded by and what we spend a vast majority of our time doing. If we wish to make happiness an easier option, we should choose a job that’ll bring us fulfillment and a deep sense of purpose.

To choose to be happy is to choose to focus on the source of happiness. Instead of creating tunnel vision toward our dreams and aspirations, it’s best to enjoy the small aspects of our journeys. Whether it be noticing the beauty of our surroundings or considering the fortune of our situation— pausing to appreciate and enjoy is an important component for our abilities to choose to be happy.

Happiness is our birthright

Remember that happiness is your birthright. You deserve to be happy. Though we live in a time of great confusion, we also live in a time of infinite potential and possibility. We live in a world where there’s more good to focus on than negative to dwell over. Realizing this fact is an important step for choosing to be happier. 

Looking for more insightful tips? Visit the TelMD Upstream Blog!

Let’s Make Wellness Contagious!™ 

choose to be happy, happiness

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