Happiness is a choice? A common belief out there (that I also believed back in the day) is that happiness is something that is achieved when we attain the success that we want in life. Common beliefs include:
- “When I make more money, I will be happy”
- “If I could only have a beautiful girlfriend, then I will be happy”
- “One day when I live on a warm tropical island, then I will be happy”
But what makes you so convinced that achieving something in your life will change how you FEEL? Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss says,
“If you’re not happy with what you have, you might never be happy”
This can apply to any area of life that you are trying to improve. This includes building your self-esteem or confidence, growing an online business, or having stronger relationships.
The truth is that happiness doesn’t lie in anything that you achieve in the future, but is a state that you can have in the present moment; happiness is a choice.
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APPRECIATE THE SMALL THINGS
In order to take on this state of happiness in your everyday life, you need to learn how to get appreciation from the smallest things. This won’t be an easy task because we take these things for granted all the time, and we are used to having them. This includes appreciating the air we have to breathe.
We can also appreciate the things in our daily routine (we might as well since we do them so often). We won’t always have the luxury of doing what we want in a given moment. For example, maybe you are at work and you go into the break room to eat lunch. Subconsciously, you are probably thinking, “I’m just on my break again, I’m going to eat and get back to work”. But, maybe the food you are eating is delicious, or maybe you finally get to sit down after running around during your shift. These are small things that can give you pleasure in the moment and increase your state of happiness.
BECOME MINDFUL OF YOUR EXPERIENCE
A great blog that I read is zenhabits.net, run by Leo Babauta, which has a lot of excellent strategies to feel happier and live a more meaningful life. He is very big on mindfulness, which helps you become more aware of your experience in any given moment. This includes your emotions, thoughts, physical sensations, and anything else that you are experiencing right now. By practicing mindfulness, you will be able to enhance your experience of the present moment by noticing more things about it.
For example, while I recorded the video for this blog post, if I were to evaluate my experience of the present moment, I would listen to my own voice, see myself on camera, touch the selfie stick I use to film, and taste my saliva (Gross, I know, but you can be mindful of whatever you choose to taste). The 5 senses (hear, see, smell, touch, taste) can enhance your experience when you pay attention to them. You can gain pleasure from the satisfaction that these senses can bring, helping you see that happiness is a choice.
YOU DESERVE TO FEEL HAPPY NOW
More examples of daily activities that you can gain pleasure from include:
- Drinking a hot cup of tea
- Taking a warm shower
- Sleeping in a warm and comfy bed
The idea here is that you don’t have to make things perfect to feel happiness; in fact, that would be absolute torture. As humans, we are growing, but it is impossible to achieve a perfect state of being.
Why do we make it seem as if where we are at in life is not deserving of happiness, but where someone else is at is?
Both you and the other person have a long way to go before achieving perfection, they might just be a little further ahead. It’s not a big deal, and there’s no reason to punish yourself for where you are in life.
OBSERVE YOUR EMOTIONS WITHOUT REACTING
To see how happiness is a choice, another important thing to be aware of is that emotions are just passing brain chemicals, and don’t necessarily have to control your overall state. It is completely normal to feel sad, frustrated, or agitated about things. Again, we aren’t perfect, and we get affected by stuff happening around us.
But why not just observe the emotion we are experiencing instead of being absorbed by it?
You can sit there with the emotion instead of being reactive and giving into it. Think about how many arguments would be prevented if people who are angry decided that instead of lashing out, they would take a few moments to sit down alone with their emotion, and allow it to pass. Emotions are constantly coming and going, and it is important to know how they work. This is key when it comes to minimizing the negative states that you are in, and increasing your overall happiness. By eating, sleeping, and exercising well, you will also put yourself in the best position to experience positive emotions more consistently. However, negative emotions are inevitable, and it is important to know how to prevent them from affecting your core state.
SO DO I NEED GOALS?
A big question in the area of personal development and goal setting is:
If I can be happy right now in the present moment, then why should I have goals?
Happiness is enough right? Who needs to work hard to achieve goals in different areas of life if what I have right now is enough to be happy? My response to this is that firstly, you have to realize that the present moment is ENOUGH. The present moment is all you NEED to feel good about your progress and life in general. Again, you must realize that many people out there don’t have HALF of what you have. There are many things you have that you can be grateful for right now – it sounds cliche but it is true. People are wishing to have some of the things that you have right now.
For example, the shirt I am wearing right now. Some people would love to wear this shirt to look nice and feel warm. Or how about the house I am writing this blog post in right now? Some people are on the streets and would love to warm up in a house like this.
These are simple things that I can feel happy about right now.
Now, in terms of goal setting, a great reason to set goals is out of self-love. You need to know that what you have now is enough, BUT you deserve to give yourself the gift of growth. Being able to improve your character and offer more value to the world are things to be proud of. These are all positive things…but they are not things that you need how happiness is a choice.
FIND JOY IN THE PROCESS
My advice to you is: Look into ways that you can get more meaning out of your everyday life.
Especially when you are out there enduring the hardships and challenges that come with going after your goals, allow yourself to feel joy in the process, the process of potentially failing. When I go to the mall to practice talking to people, I don’t necessarily always hate it or anything. I look for things that are positive about the experience like how beautiful the mall is and how many great stores are inside it, the music that plays (the mall has an awesome soundtrack), or the interesting people that I get to see and meet. The curiosity of the experience makes it enjoyable. Even when I go out with my friend there’s always the curiosity of who I will meet and what will happen at the place that I go to.
HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE YOU CAN MAKE TODAY
I urge you to be more curious about your life. There is so much happening around you to enjoy and feel positive about. So take a look at your current life: are you spending your days constantly getting negatively affected by your emotions? Or are you in a proactive state of mind, looking for opportunities to feel grateful and seek enjoyment from the present moment? Happiness is a choice that you can make today.
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