Happiness is a choice.

by Jamie Sanford on August 5, 2015

A different topic today, but something I’ve been more and more aware of in recent time.

It’s taken me many years but I know now that happiness, for the most part, is the result of a series of choices.

I have to say for the most part, because of course there are many people in our world who have such major obstacles and problems to overcome, and I cannot imagine the overwhelming nature of something so significant. I’m speaking more to people who, like me, get up, go to a job, come home, watch some TV, sleep, and do it again. I know that a lot of people are miserable in that pursuit, as it seems like the neverending push towards our demise. Which it pretty much is.

However, I know now that you don’t have to sit there and suffer through all of it. I intend on squeezing every last bit of joy I can out of this existence. These are the things that help me focus on what is important, which has led to a happier life.

This is so huge, and so many people don’t seem to get it. Every single thing can be broken down into “will this affect my life in any big way tomorrow” or NOT. So many things that you overreact to right now DO NOT MATTER. So many people waste energy and invite unhappiness into their lives by freaking out over things that are not going to make any impact on them in the future in any significant way. If you only spend time losing it over things that don’t matter, you close yourself off to laughing at something you won’t notice because you’re too busy being aggravated.

An extension of step one. People will disappoint you, do things incorrectly, screw things up. There is a time and place to be upset about that, but take a quick second before you launch into it to think about intent. If you can tell that the person is sorry or upset about what happened, or they simply aren’t malicious, they likely didn’t intend to do something wrong. The next time you get upset with someone for buying the wrong thing at the store or ordering you a regular soda instead of diet, take a moment to stop and realize that it was probably not intentional. If it helps, think about how crappy it makes you feel when someone lays into you about something you didn’t intend to do. It sucks, right?

Forgiveness is divine, when something actually needs to be forgiven. If you only allow yourself to be affected by things that matter, or where someone was intentionally behaving horribly, you will reduce the drama so, so much.

If you do the same thing every day, every weekend, you cannot expect anything to magically change and increase your happiness. It does require work, but the best kind of work. During the week with working, etc, its a bit harder to fit things in, but when I go out on the weekend and do something, even something small like go to the park for a few hours, I am more productive, I sleep better, and am generally in a better mood.

This one is so huge! Gala has been telling me to write a gratitude list for years, and while I’m not good at the actual listmaking, I have trained myself to be present in gratitude. There are many things I could have in life, I would like to own a house, I’d like my retirement fund to be bigger, but my present life is incredibly blessed and I am focused on being aware and grateful for that. I have a job, I have a husband who is a wonderful partner, I have a roof over my head, I am not hungry, and these things make me privileged. There are no guarantees that you will be alive tomorrow, and even if you live until you’re 100, you won’t be on your deathbed saying “I’m really glad that I spent years being miserable instead of being happy with what I had.” (Please read this post on the 5 regrets of the dying.)

Share your happiness tips in the comments!

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