I want to preface this post by stating that there are exceptions to choosing happiness. I don’t expect people to be able to choose happiness all the time (trauma, loss, depression, etc).
Happiness is a choice…
I first heard this phrase from a YouTuber called ShayCarl Butler. He makes family vlogs and has done so for many many years (you can watch ‘The Shaytards‘ here). I have been watching him and his family on YouTube since the end of 2011. It may seem like an odd thing to watch; an America family’s day to day life. But I enjoy it, and each to their own! Anyway, back to the point. Happiness is a choice. This is a phrase I heard from him and it struck a chord with me straight away. All my life I have generally been seen as a very positive, happy person, as a child my headmistress at primary school even nicknamed me ‘Smiler’. I have always been happy and positive, that’s not to say I don’t have my down days, everyone does, but it means that I just tend focus on the positives. So when I heard ShayCarl say ‘Happiness is a choice‘ I thought about it for a while and I completely agree with him! Of course everyone has days when they are in a bad mood, they have negative thoughts and the day just generally seems rubbish. The only thing that seems worth doing on this sort of day is going back to bed, sleeping and waking up the next morning (hopefully) feeling better. I get it. I have those days too. But, on those days I also try living by ShayCarl’s mantra ‘Happiness is a choice‘.
So I can choose to be happy? How?
To put it simply, find and focus on the positives in your life, in your day, in the current moment. Be grateful for what you have, and for those people around you. Try to gravitate yourself towards more positive people. I recently read that people’s attitudes are contagious. Therefore if you surround yourself with negativity, of course you are going to feel negative and if you surround yourself with positivity you are going to feel positive. I am sure you have seen this working in your day to day life. If you have a friend who is bitching about someone/something and you join in the rant afterwards you will probably feel annoyed, angry, frustrated. Whereas if you were with a friend who had just got some wonderful news and was on cloud nine, you would probably feel elated and happy for a long time after because you have been surrounded by positivity!
Something else to consider is smiling. When you smile or laugh endorphins (a happy chemical to put it really simply) are released into your bloodstream and the stress hormone, cortisol, is reduced. One of the triggers for endorphins to be released is the activation of the muscles in the face that are used when you smile, this means that when you fake smile or laugh using those muscles, the brain is tricked and releases the endorphins, producing the feeling of happiness. So, in theory, if you are feeling a bit low or are in a bad mood, fake smiling or laughing should help you. This, of course, will not work all the time, for example, in times of trauma, chronic stress, loss, etc. But, in times where you seem to be in a bad mood for no reason why not stand in front of a mirror and smile/laugh at yourself, it might help, and you never know, you might feel so silly that you will produce a real smile or laugh. Give it a go! What have you got to lose?
Does this work for me?
I am not going to lie. Not always. Some days are a lot harder than others. But at least I know I am trying. The glass is half full not half empty! I am trying to be positive. And I can honestly say that generally I am a happy person, who has a smile on my face.