Friday, October 14, 2011

You Can Choose To Be Happy

I am a closet philosopher. My undergraduate degree was Philosophy, Politics & Economics (aka pre-law) only because I thought a straight philosophy degree wouldn't be as practical in the real world. I think about the meaning of life - and any and all related tangents - on a more than regular basis.

Lately my random thoughts have turned towards the concept of happiness. A lot of financial decisions are made to achieve a certain level of happiness. But can you find happiness by seeking/searching/accomplishing? Or could it be that happiness is simply a choice - something that you don't actively seek out but just need to accept into your life?

Think about it - there are so many situations in life that are going to be unpleasant. Work, relationships, money, social pressures, family. You can't control these situations so what are your options? The only thing you CAN control is how you react to these unpleasant situations. Let's use that guy who cut you off on the freeway this morning as an example: how many minutes after you laid on on the horn, shook your fist (or your finger) at the window and screamed an obscenity did it take before you let go of the situation? Did you mention it to your coworkers or to your family when you got home? Did it alter your mood for the rest of the day? Or do you just shake your head and move on while singing the Zac Brown Band at the top of your lungs?

Choose Happy
Happiness doesn't seem to be something that can be obtained. It exists and is within your grasp at all times. You just need to let go and allow it in
1. Start your day with thoughts of gratitude
2. Smile
3. Hang out with people who bring happiness
4. Make other people happy - it will probably make you pretty happy too
5. Try to figure out how you can get something good out of your crummy work/relationship situation until you have the means to move on. My dad wrote an entire book at work!! Shh...don't tell anybody!
6. Say it out loud - I choose to be happy

I can wake up everyday and focus on what it is that I don't have yet, where I should be in life, how awful I feel, horrible I look, how dirty the house is, tired I am......the list goes on - negatives seem to be so easy to find. Or I can wake up and make a concerted effort to be thankful for what I have accomplished, where I am and the people who surround me. 

Next Steps
As I congratulated myself on my AHA! moment, I Googled 'Choose To Be Happy' and figured out I'm actually late to the game when it comes to this concept. So check out these additional resources to help you decide whether you agree with this philosophy.. 

Some Happiness Resources
How We Choose to Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People--Their Secrets, Their Stories
WebMD: 7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Do you consciously choose happiness? What do you do to promote happy thoughts and feelings in your life?

Stay tuned,
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