Here’s a simple fact: you can’t truly be happy unless you choose to be happy.
When you choose to be happy, you are making a conscious decision about how you look at the world. You are taking personal responsibility over your outlook, rather than blaming outside forces for the way you feel.
And this is great, because there are nearly 7 billion people wandering around on planet Earth. Odds are that, on a daily occurrence, people will create situations and events that make you feel angry, sad or frustrated.
Just remember that you can never control the actions of others. But one thing you can control in every situation is how you respond to outside stimulus.
Why Should You Choose to Be Happy?
Put quite simply, the happier you are, the healthier you will be. We know this because a wonderful connection between wellness and joy has been discovered.
In March of 2013, doctors, psychiatrists and experts from the Mayo Clinic, Harvard University and National Institutes of Health all jumped on Twitter to hold a one-hour discussion about happiness.
Dr Friedman is a psychiatrist with the Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Hospital in New York who tweeted that, “happiness is hard to measure, but easy to recognize.” And that is so very true. You can spot a happy person in an instant. They have a glow about them, and give off a radiance of peacefulness and satisfaction. That may be due to the fact that happiness has now finally been officially linked to better health. And this affects entire communities as well as individuals.
Happiness can even lower the number of stress-causing hormones in your body, and improve your immune function. Just ask Laura Kubzansky, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health who is a leader in studying the effects of those people who choose to have a positive outlook on life. She participated in a study whose results were released in 2007, which included over 6,000 women and men. It tracked 25 to 74-year-old individuals for two decades. Those participants who were engaged in life and chose to face life’s troubles with enthusiasm and hopefulness actually had a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
It seems that emotional vitality can actually make you healthier. This in turn causes you to feel better about yourself and your surroundings, which continues to make you happier about the world. When you choose to be happy, a wonderful cycle of health and joy begins.
How Can You Choose to Be Happy?
You might think that if you could simply choose to be happy, you already would have. Yes, making that choice is simple, but it isn’t always easy. Many of us get so caught up in drama that we fail to realize that we do have a choice over how we perceive things (more on that later).
In Bronnie Ware’s report, “Regrets of the Dying”, the top 5 wish was that people had allowed themselves to be happy:
“Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits… Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again”
One very simple way to choose to be happy is to practice daily gratitude. Focusing on what we have rather than what we don’t changes our perspective from feelings of deprivation and dissatisfaction to appreciation and contentment.