Happiness is a choice

Nothing ever works out the way we imagined: sometimes it’s better and sometimes not. The expectations we set on ourselves, on others or even experiences never seem to pan out. We fill our heads with thoughts of “how it should be”, but life does not follow a script. There’s no such thing as “how it should be”.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to realize that people and things are not going to make you happy. That expectation is incredibly unfair and selfish. It’s NOT someone else’s responsibility to give you a sense of fulfillment or happiness.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” -Denis Waitley

Happiness is a deliberate and actionable choice that requires daily practice. And everyone deserves happiness. YOU deserve happiness. Regardless of who you are, where you live, what you have and what you do. Here are a few ways you can begin to experience happiness:

  • Have a positive mindset– Instead of expecting the worst, try expecting the best. So often we create negative situations by simply having a negative mindset. Don’t allow yourself to go there. Even if things don’t go as planned, still enjoy the experience. “Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.”
  • Be in the moment– We’ve heard this advice before but it works! We’re always planning ahead. Yes, it’s important to plan for the future but our obsession detaches us from the life we are living today. Push those thoughts aside and really focus on the task at hand. Regardless of how mundane the task is, it can become something inspiring and calming. A walk to work can be far more pleasurable when you take deep breaths, look at the architecture around you and pay attention to the noises outside. It truly is the simple things that make you happy. Savor life!
  • Live a life of service– In this fast-paced economy, we’re always thinking about how to better ourselves and get ahead. Our focus is mainly about ourselves. Take time out of your day to do something special and unexpected for someone else. It could be something small like thanking your co-worker for their great job, paying for the person’s coffee behind you in line, raising money for a charity run, picking litter off the street, etc. Be selfless and do something good.

There will be times that this daily practice will be harder than others, especially when you are overcoming some difficult challenges in your life. That’s okay. We’re not meant to be happy 24 hours in the day. In fact, embrace those dark moments in your life, express your emotions to the fullest and never harbor any resentment or hate. Just like your phone, you need to recharge and start over. Take the time to heal and get back into your happiness practice.

“Happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living; it is not something to be achieved, it is something to be experienced.”- Dr. Steve Maraboli.

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