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Happiness is a choice

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Today is International Happiness Day. The United Nations designated 20th March World Happiness Day in 2013 in recognition of every human being’s right to happiness.

The desire to be happy is probably the one goal that most of us humans have in common – consciously or not.

There is no one clear definition of happiness. Because it’s not a clearly defined state such as health or wealth. Happiness is more of a feeling.

The most important thing about happiness that we need to know, is that it doesn’t come from outside of ourselves. It really is an inside job.

Of course it’s normal to feel low and sad from time to time. Life happens and it’s normal to be affected by circumstances and setbacks.

But what makes some people bounce back more easily than others? What makes some people seem just more content with life than others, even if their circumstances may be more challenging?

1. Mindset. We have control over our mind, no matter what. Choosing to find some glimmer of positive in a challenging situation is key to a positive mindset. Reminding ourselves that every situation, every state that we experience, is impermanent can be helpful when faced with difficulty.

How could you choose to strengthen your mindset? Maybe try reading some positive psychology articles or listen to an inspiring Ted Talk. Perhaps seeking the support of a professional psychologist or a coach will set you on the right path.

2. Relationships. We need each other. To live a happy and healthy life, social support networks are vital. The quality of our relationships is what counts here. Especially when the going gets tough in life, we need to feel connected. We don’t do well living in isolation. Getting involved with your community, volunteering, creating social networks, joining a group of like-minded people, helping a friend who needs support, building good relationships with colleagues, etc. Find your supporters – those who can recognise and appreciate your strengths and boost you up when you need it.

Maybe there’s one step that you could take today to reach out to somebody or enhance an important relationship?

3. Purpose. To be happy, we all need to have a sense of purpose or meaning in life. This can often take some digging deep, but without this, life can seem pretty pointless. Our purpose can change with time and circumstances too. We need to be clear about what’s most important to us in life – our values. If we’re not living a life that’s aligned with what’s most important to us – our no-compromise areas – we can’t be happy. It’s that simple.

Ask yourself what is most important to you right now. If you’re a people person and you’re working alone, maybe it’s time to change your work or working environment. If you’re an outdoors person but you’re stuck indoors most days, how could you ensure you get your fix of the great outdoors regularly? Can you make this a priority to support your state of mind.

If kindness and fun are two of your values, how can you integrate these qualities more into your everyday? Could you associate more with others that reflect these qualities? Maybe you could demonstrate these qualities more in your everyday work or home environment.

Happiness is a choice. Can you step just a bit closer to happiness today and help spread the word?

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