I Choose To Be Happy! Do You?   Leave a comment

Choose Happiness – Then Act To Make It Real!    

Choose Happiness

“I have decided to be happy,” wrote the French writer Voltaire,”because it is good for my health.”
 
Is this true? Can choosing to be happy make you healthier?
 
Apparently so. Especially if you back up that choice with action such as paying attention to what you’re grateful for.
 
 
 
 
 
Gratitude Makes You Healthier

In his book “59 Seconds,” psychologist Richard Wiesman describes an experiment in which some people wrote for 15 minutes a week about things they were grateful for, while others wrote about what annoyed them and still others wrote about neutral topics. 

The results of the study showed that the gratitude group was much happier than the other groups. They were very optimistic about the future. And they were physically healthier!
 
Other studies of people who keep “gratitude journals” show the same kinds of results. And writing seems to increase the effect over simply thinking grateful thoughts. 
 
I do both. I keep a daily gratitude notebook and, at the end of each day, write down a half-dozen things for which I’m grateful that day. They’re not often big things. More often they’re small things that have a big effect such as “sunshine,” “birdsong,” “a delicious meal,” “a letter from a friend,” “a good book.”
 
I also go for “like walks” during the day. Going for a 10 minute walk about every 90 minutes can prevent stress hormones from accumulating. It can energize you. And, if you focus on things you like as you walk, it can tilt your positivity ratio in toward the healthy range where you feel happy, confident and optimistic.
 
 
 

Healthy Self-Talk Makes You Happier

“The happiness of your life,” said the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius, depends on the quality of your thoughts.”
 
 We’re always chattering away to ourselves in our minds, but are often unaware what we’re saying to ourselves.  Another way to choose happiness is to pay attention to your own self-talk — to the thoughts, beliefs and stories you tell yourself.
 
If your self-talk includes many negative thoughts such as “this will never work,” “I always screw up,” “nothing will come of this effort” you will feel negative, pessimistic. 
 
But, if you catch those negative “trigger words” and soften them and make them more realistic — “this might not work first time,” “I succeed as much as I fail and learn from my mistakes,” or “there’s a chance that nothing will come from this, but at least I’ll know and can try something else — you’ll feel much better.
 
As well, much unhappiness stems from “shoulding” on yourself, others or the world. Shoulding turns normal desires into hard-to-live-up-to demands. Instead of “I’d like to do well,” we say “I should do well.” If we don’t do well, we judge ourself negatively. And feel down. 
 
But, if you can catch your “shoulds” and turn them into desires — preferences — it makes a huge difference. 
 
If you prefer to do well and don’t do so, you can say, “okay, that didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. So how can I fix it? What can I do next?” 
 
Again, you’ll feel better, more energized to act, and happier with yourself.
 
 
 

 

We Are Happier Creating Desired Results Than When Solving Problems

Many of the “problems” we focus on and take action to “solve” are not really problems and are not solvable by conventional problem-solving strategies. 
 
They are, rather, challenges to rise to and opportunities to create what matters. They are life’s normal limits and inevitabilities. They’re not problems to overcome but rather realities to accept and work with.
 
“By accepting life’s limits and inevitabilities,” said Greek philosopher and teacher Epictetus, “and working with them rather than fighting them, we become free.”
 
Problem solving focuses primarily on what we don’t like and don’t want and on action to get rid of it or get relief from it. 
 
Creating, on the other hand, focuses on what we like or love and action to bring it into being. 
 
Whereas most problem-solving at best promises only relief, creating promises real and lasting results — and the good feelings that accompany the creation of such results.
 
 
 

Choose To Be Happy

So, yes, you can choose to be happy and it’ll work — if you take the right kind of action to back up your choice on a daily basis.
 
Expressing gratitude, monitoring and changing negative self-talk to more positive self-talk and shifting from a problem focused life stance to the stance of the creator will all help you become energized, feel freer and happier.
 
There are many other ways to make choosing happiness work for you, but these three are a good place to start.
 
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.”
 
 
 
 

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