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“It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.” I’m sure you have heard something like that before.
Be it “destination” or “journey”, I have learned something along the way: happiness is more of a choice than I first realized.
In the past I tended to think happiness would naturally follow if I…
Attained a certain set of goals.
Or succeeded at certain things.
And I’ll admit, I often experienced a measure of happiness as a goal was accomplished or I succeeded at something that was important to me.
But over time I noticed a pattern: the happiness didn’t last. I felt like someone who won the 100 yard dash. I’d win, feel the joy, and go on to win again. And again.
The problem was holding on to that “winning feeling” between races.
I found myself wanting more.
I wanted to feel joy on a more consistent basis.
I longed to experience happiness more — and chase it less!
In other words, I wanted the kind of happiness that didn’t require me to attain something in order to have the feeling.
A BREAK THROUGH…
I have now come to the realization that, for the most part, I can choose to be happy on a daily basis.
There is a measure of truth in the old saying, “Fake it till you make it.” Granted, it doesn’t work all the time.
However, if “fake it” means choosing to think and act in a variety of “happy ways” before I actually have those feelings, then I would have to say I agree.
Take a simple smile, for instance.
I’ve found that something as simple as smiling can do wonders to help me see that I have in me the ability to choose to be happy.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT
I believe one of the best things we can do is to live in the moment: it does wonders when it comes to cultivating a life filled with ongoing happiness.
Taking the time to reflect and be grateful for the things we have accomplished can also have an enormous impact when it comes to lifting our moods.
I’d strongly encourage you to take breaks during the day.
Take small, bite-sized breaks to ponder those happy memories that you’ve collected in your life. Then, make it a point to build new ones as well.
Let’s face, though. We do “get down.”
I believe we need to acknowledge that reality.
People will hurt or disappoint us.
Our hearts will be broken.
We may have to deal with a variety of losses.
Unfortunately, life is not all smiles, and I believe a part of being happy means understanding and accepting the reality of “hard times.”
BEWARE OF STAYING THERE TOO LONG
We need to be aware of a danger in the acceptance process.
And the danger is creating our own soap operas.
It is simply not healthy to review our own sad stories again and again — like replaying a very sad day on one of the soaps.
When we dwell too long on the “sad things” we relinquish to them a power they were never meant to have: the power to keep our mental controls on the same channel in our minds.
I have learned that I don’t want to give that kind of power to things I have no control over.
Instead, I need to remind myself that I can choose happiness.
IT’S NOT EASY!
Deciding to move forward and choosing happiness over sorrow is a tough choice.
Sometimes I feel as though I’m fighting an uphill battle — and you will too! At times we may feel that the dark clouds may never give way to the sunshine.
It is at those very moments that we have to remind ourselves of the power we do possess.
It is the power of choice.
I have discovered that somewhere in the midst of whatever chaos may surround us we can…
Choose happiness over despair,
Hope over hopelessness,
Joy over continual sadness,
And a smile over a frown.
SO HAVE AT IT!
Practice making this choice by doing things that make you smile, as well as bring joy to others.
When you share kindness it always finds its way back to you.
May your life be filled with much happiness, Josh Hinds