I know this can be a sensitive topic for some people. That is why I want to start off by saying that depression and anxiety are not a choice. These are actual chemical imbalances in the brain that you can’t just simply “get over”. However, today I want to talk about the people who choose to be unhappy. I know they’re out there, I’ve been one of them.
I’m willing to bet everyone, at some point, has been through the cycle of wake up, get ready, go to work, take care of your responsibilities etc.. You end up going through the same cycles day in and day out completely devoid of emotion. Meanwhile, there are people out there who are out there laughing, smiling, and living their best life. These are the people who are legitimately happy 99% of the time (everyone still has their moments).
In life there are always going to be inevitable low points. There will be times where you feel like you don’t have control over everything or you feel like you’re lost and empty. But these feelings and these moments are not supposed to be your entire life or your whole existence. When these times happen they are meant to be felt, exprienced, and learnt from. But, when it’s all said and done, it’s YOUR LIFE and you can be whatever you choose to be. However, you can’t just want to be happy and wait to be happy. Telling yourself that you’ll be happy once you get that promotion or when you’ve reached your goal weight is complete bullish*t. You have to actively choose to be happy. I’m sorry, but if you’re waiting to be happy, it’s not going to happen. Being happy is a choice.
Again, let me reiterate that there are some things that are completely out of your control. Sadness, grief, death, and trauma that arise from life’s circumstances are entirely out of your control. You can’t will these moments to just be over. This type of sadness has much deeper roots than the unhappiness I’m talking about. When I say that happiness is a choice, I’m talking to the people who are just letting life happen, looking forward to some future event, and just existing. These people will often blame someone or something for their lack of happiness. They refuse to take responsibility for what happens in their lives and, as a result, fail to take responsibility of their own happiness. Your state of mind is your own choice. When some everyday event happens to you, you can choose how you react to it and how you let it affect you. I’ve seen people lose their minds about something as trivial as getting four quarters instead of a loonie (Canadian $1 coin). Obviously they weren’t in the best mindset.
We’ve all heard the saying “wake up and choose to be happy”. Yes, being happy is simple but, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Being happy takes work. We’ve also all heard the saying “nothing worth having comes easy”.
This is your only life. Personally, I want to make it count for something. I don’t want to just be passively existing and watching things happen. I want to be happy, I want to enjoy my time. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. So how do you find this groove of choosing to be happy? Here are some of the things that have helped me:
- Change Your Environment. Is there something around you that makes you unhappy? Maybe you feel down every time you go on social media or whatever is on TV is bumming you out. I’m a huge advocate of reducing screen time. Stop watching so much TV and stop spending so much time on social media. These things don’t contribute to your happiness. Try reading a book instead or getting outside.
- Surround Yourself With Positivity. Are there people in your life that aren’t positive or who bring you down? As cheesy as it is, your happiness is like a plant and those people are like a diseased branch. They need to be pruned or they’ll make the whole plant sick. Sure, cutting family out of the picture isn’t really an option for most people, but you can certainly limit the time spent with them. As for those two faced friend and bad relationships, they aren’t easy to prune, but once they’ve been removed, you’ll feel like a huge burden has been lifted.
- Stay Physically Active. Exercising makes me happy. For me there is no better feeling than coming home in the morning after hitting the gym or going for a walk/run. Maybe exercising isn’t really your thing. Maybe your thing is crafts, cooking, or music. If that’s the case, then do more of that. Always do more of what makes you happy! Sure, you might be busy, who isn’t? It’s about making time for things that matter. If no one had extra time then Netflix wouldn’t be so damn successful.
- Focus On Growth. Growing as a person contributes to your happiness. Think about it, when you focus on improving part of your life, it will get better. Setting and achieving goals can be a great way to contribute to personal growth. I like to spend time everyday assessing my goals. Reading, adventuring, trying new things, and taking classes are all great ways of contributing to your personal growth as well. Personal Growth = Happiness
Choosing to be happy means doing something about your situation. If you find yourself to just be existing, then don’t keep doing what you’ve been doing. Do something new. You can’t expect your life to change if you don’t change it. Grow as a person. Do more of what you love. Stop going through life mindlessly. Be present. Most importantly, choose to be happy.