Happiness is something that everyone desires and strives for, but is it true that being happy is a choice?
When it feels as though your world is spiraling out of control, you may find this difficult to believe.
Indeed, you can’t always control the situations and events in your life, but you can choose how to think and feel about your circumstances and how you respond to them.
Being happy is a choice, and choosing to be happy benefits your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
In this guide, we examine the concept of happiness as a choice and how to make this life-altering choice for yourself every day.
Is Being Happy Within Your Control?
Is being happy a choice that is under your control? Yes, being happy is a choice that is always within your control!
No one can decide for you whether you can be happy or not. No one can decide what makes you happy or why it does so. And no one can stop you from going after what makes you happy.
Most of the time, when you feel you have no say in your happiness, it is because you think you can’t. But you don’t need permission from anyone to be happy!
There is a world of joyful opportunities awaiting each one of us. Find the ones that resonate with you.
Can Happiness Be Out Of Your Control?
Being happy is a choice that is always within your control though you may perceive it as outside your control.
No matter how much you try, some things are out of your control. For instance, you can’t always choose your job or where you live, and you can’t change other people’s behavior.
You may be influenced by external factors such as social and cultural norms. You may feel obligated to adhere to what others expect you to do, including feeling pressure to choose a particular path or make certain decisions.
You likely have obligations too. You have to please your employer, your partner, and your family. You may have a spouse or partner relying on you and have children to support. You may be working extra hours at a job you don’t particularly like to pay the bills.
But even when faced with external factors you don’t have control over, you can still choose to be happy.
You can shift your perspective and focus on the things you do have control over, such as how you think about and respond to stressful situations.
You can choose what hobbies or activities to do during your leisure time.
You can decide which causes or organizations to support.
You can care for yourself and keep in touch with people who make you feel safe and accepted.
Happiness is a habit that needs to be worked on – harder by some than others due to life circumstances. Allow yourself to be happy by prioritizing your happiness and making choices that lead you to it.
Happiness Can Be Found Anywhere & Everywhere
Even the poorest neighborhoods, the most war-torn environments, and ascetic monastic communities all contain happy people. How is this possible?
These people choose to be happy despite what some may see as situations that cannot include happiness. Their attitude to life keeps them calm and content, despite any material lack or negative outside influences.
The point is that the freedom to choose happiness is always within your control. No matter what life throws at you, you can always find a way to be happy—if you choose it.
How To Choose Happiness
Below are our top ideas for choosing happiness. These are just a few possibilities for introducing more happiness into your daily routine.
If you can think of other ways, that’s wonderful! Add them to this list.
Even if you can’t tackle all the ideas on the list right now, try at least one.
1. Seek Out Meaningful Connections
Unhappy people are often also lonely people. It may seem like the solution is to surround yourself with other people, but this isn’t necessarily true. Loneliness can be due to a lack of meaningful connections and conversations. There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone!
While it is possible to be happy alone, having meaningful relationships are essential for long-term happiness.
This is something that you have to seek out actively. These relationships will not fall into your lap. You need to engage in social interactions to build healthy friendships.
Introverts may have a more challenging time making friends, but they also need friends! If this rings true for you, read up on how to make friends as an introvert.
Making friends as an adult can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Try joining a club or taking a class in something that interests you. Volunteer with a local organization and make connections that way. Spend more time on the activities you’re already involved in, and try to build relationships there. Strike up conversations with people you encounter daily. Look for a shared interest, common goal, or compatible values.
It’s also important to cultivate relationships with your existing friends. Spend time with them, confide in them, and tell them what’s happening in your life. These people will be there for you when you need them.
With a little effort, you can develop the meaningful connections you need to be happy.
How Friendships Make You Happy
Friendships are not only great for developing social skills and passing the time in a fun way. Studies have shown that friendships can help us deal with traumas, handle stress, and lead healthier lives.
Don’t forget about family, either. They may not be our best friends, but they’re the people who have known us the longest. They can be a great source of support, love, and guidance.
2. Give Something Back
Happiness research has shown that one of the best ways to become happier is by bringing happiness to others. So give something back to your community!
There are many options for giving back to the community. How you get involved is up to you.
Put your business skills to use by helping with a fundraising campaign. Utilize your social skills and give a talk at your local community center to drum up support for a local charity. Or give your time by helping at a soup kitchen, women’s shelter, or retirement home.
You can even start small by being polite and friendly with your neighbors. Small acts of kindness can go a long way toward helping build a sense of community and bringing joy to others.
There are many ways to be kind!
How Giving Back Makes You Happy
Giving back not only helps others, but it also makes you feel good. Seeing how you are helping others lead better lives will make you feel happy no matter what your circumstances are.
Taking the time to help the less fortunate will help you become more appreciative of everything you have. It will also give you a sense of purpose and add meaning to your life.
Choosing which charities, organizations, or causes to support is also a great way to express your values and make a difference in the world.
3. Discover A New Interest Or Hobby
Don’t underestimate the amount of happiness a fulfilling hobby can bring you. There are so many possibilities to choose from! Be sure to find the right one(s) for you. Consider your personality, talents, and interests for the best fit.
Do you love nature but lack the free time to go outdoors? If you live in an apartment, don’t let that stop you. Indoor plants and windowsill gardening can bring just as much joy! Bring the outdoors home by creating a garden you can care for on the weekends.
Are you more technologically inclined? Have you considered building model ships or planes? If you’re creative, try your hand at art. With so many online courses available these days, you can master any new skill from the comfort of your own home.
Do you want to experience the earth’s natural beauty while strengthening your physical body? Try joining a hiking group. You’ll make friends with like-minded individuals while getting some great exercise and improving your physical health.
How A Hobby Makes You Happy
Indulging in leisure activities is an effective way to choose happiness. By focusing your mind on one calming or interesting activity, you divert your mind away from any stress you may be experiencing.
For a scientific example, scientists in the UK found that a bacterium inhaled while gardening can improve your emotional and mental health.
Pursuing a hobby gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment and an outlet for your creativity. It can also give you a sense of control over your life and the freedom to express yourself unapologetically.
It is also a great way to meet new people who share the same interests as you.
4. Look For That Silver Lining
Have you ever had a day when things just seem to go wrong? You’re not alone – we all experience such days. But have you heard the old saying that “every cloud has a silver lining”? You can become immediately happier by adjusting how you look at things!
The car wouldn’t start, and you need to get to work? That’s certainly an annoyance. But now the car will be fixed before the upcoming winter, and you won’t have to worry about it breaking down in the cold weather.
Your big screen TV stopped working? Ditch the monotonous series and re-runs. Enjoy an evening of board games and laughter with your family. There are so many fun things you can do!
Make a conscious decision to see each problematic event as an opportunity to do things differently. Look at the bright side of every situation and change your negative emotions to positive ones.
Choose an attitude of gratitude to focus on what you do have rather than worrying about what you don’t have. Little things like being thankful for your health, the people around you, and the beauty of the world can help you cultivate a truly happy life.
Learn to keep a positive attitude, and the little things that used to annoy you so much will not seem as bad as they once did. Before long, you’ll no longer experience happiness as a fleeting emotion but as an established habit!
How Positive Thoughts Make You Happy
Even the darkest cloud often has a silver lining. You just have to take a closer look. You are not changing the event but rather your perception of it. This way, every obstacle can become an opportunity to learn, grow, and become happier.
By learning to think more positively, you can develop an increased sense of well-being and contentment with your life. Positive thinking helps you to appreciate the good in any situation, even in those circumstances that might not seem so perfect.
Cultivating gratitude helps you to remember that no matter how bad a situation may seem, there is always something to be thankful for. This simple shift in perspective helps you to be more accepting and at peace with the world around you.
5. Practice Psychological Self-Care
This may sound like quite a momentous task, but it isn’t. All it means is that you should do things that are good for you and your emotional and mental health. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is through mindfulness activities.
This can include meditation, yoga, and affirmations. Everyone, from the corporate employee to the stay-at-home parent, can benefit from these mindfulness practices. Best of all, they are easy to learn and can all be done at home.
By consistently practicing self-love and self-care, you will reap the rewards of increased happiness. The goal is to be kinder to yourself and work on being content with who you are.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to perfect your meditation practice or other self-care activities. It is not about the skill but rather the attempt. In time, you will find that mindfulness comes naturally and easily.
How Mindfulness Activities Make You Happy
Mindfulness activities can help improve your mood and outlook on life by teaching you how to focus on the present moment. When practicing mindfulness, you learn to pay attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
When you look within and focus on your inner peace, you automatically become more receptive to happiness in your life. This allows you to appreciate the good moments and gracefully work through the tough ones.
6. Focus On The Freedom Of Choice
A 2011 study on autonomy across 63 societies showed that people prize the freedom to choose above material wealth. Autonomy, the freedom to be one’s own person and make decisions about one’s own life, improves well-being.
Therefore, when you feel helpless or powerless, focus on your freedom of choice and use it to your advantage. There are always opportunities for growth, exploration, and creative expression. You can learn something new every day.
Take a few moments to step back and reflect on what you have control over in your life and the choices that are available to you. This can help you find joy in the mundane and keep your spirit alive despite any challenges or struggles that come your way.
How The Freedom To Choose Makes You Happy
The freedom to choose is a powerful tool for finding happiness. When you make conscious decisions about how to spend your time, where to focus your attention, and how to use your energy, you create an environment ripe for thriving.
This freedom gives you the power to shape your life in meaningful ways, helping us to reach your goals, learn new skills, and take advantage of opportunities for growth. Even when you don’t have complete control over external circumstances or outside events, you can still make choices that honor who you are and what matters most to you.
Why Is It So Hard To Choose Your Own Happiness?
Let us reassure you that it is hard for many people to choose happiness. You are certainly not alone in this feeling.
Why is this inability to choose happiness so prevalent in our society? We have made such strides in technology, logic, and reasoning, haven’t we? So, why can’t we seem to choose joy? There are many reasons, but three are especially common.
Let’s examine these most common stumbling blocks to choosing happiness.
1. Fear Of Upsetting The Status Quo
As strange as it may sound, many people are hesitant to choose to be happy for fear of upsetting the status quo. This can be due to their deep-seated beliefs about self-determination or their peers’ beliefs about what is considered acceptable for their community.
Deciding to have a purpose-led life filled with happiness is not selfish. It’s also not a strange path or a new-age way of thinking.
True happiness is available to and is the right of everyone on the planet.
It should never be subject to the opinions of others. Our social groups, religious communities, and political parties play a significant role in our lives, but they should not separate us from joy and happiness!
See these entities for what they are – helpful support structures. Ultimately, you need to live your own life and make choices that are right for you.
2. Fear Of The Unknown
When you’re stuck in a rut, doing things the same way every day for years, you may be afraid of change. This is perfectly normal, and nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, unhealthy.
This fear of change becomes a wall that you build around yourself to feel safe. But although this wall may make you feel safe, it is not your friend.
Fear of the unknown is the archenemy of happiness.
Change is good for the mind and the soul. Change allows us to grow as individuals, and learn more about ourselves. Stepping outside our comfort zones is what allows us to find what makes us happy in life. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back from finding happiness.
If you need help breaking down that wall and starting your journey to a more fulfilling life, speak to a licensed therapist or counselor.
3. Feeling That You Don’t Deserve It
This issue is far more common than you might think. Perhaps you, too, are struggling with this barrier to choosing happiness. How can you choose to be happy when you feel that you don’t deserve it?
Let’s deal with that right away. Everyone deserves to be happy! Let’s say that again, together: everyone deserves to be happy.
No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do, you deserve happiness. Whatever you feel is holding you back, it’s time to let it go.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself for past errors. Forgiving yourself is the best way to overcome any mistakes you might have made. Make amends where and if possible, and move on. But, move on to what? Move on to a happier life, that’s what!
Allow yourself to rise above whatever happened in your past. Choose to start with a fresh slate and create happiness for yourself.
Being Happy Is A Choice
In life, you don’t always get to choose everything that happens to and around you. Unfortunately, not everything is under your control. Yet a lot of things are. Your happiness is one of them. Happiness is a choice!
It is a choice that you need to make every day to stay calm and centered in a chaotic world.
While it may seem impossible to find opportunities to be happy, especially if you have a family and a career, it truly isn’t. You can seek happiness and contentment in any situation, no matter your life circumstances, age, experiences, or responsibilities.
Easy Ways To Choose Happiness
If you need a bit more help cultivating happiness for yourself, here are some ideas to try:
- Practice powerful affirmations of self-love.
- Journal daily.
- Take time to be mindful each day.
- Make self-care a priority.
- Listen to happy music.
- Create an accountability calendar.
- Choose happiness quotes that resonate with you and read them often.
- Install one of the best happiness apps on your mobile device.
- Review our list of happiness hacks and try some of them out!
So, can a person choose to be happy? Yes!
Prioritize your happiness, and you will see that it benefits your home and work life. Happier people are more productive and enjoy better relationships. Now those are some great reasons to choose happiness!
Being happy is a choice, so choose happiness today! Stay positive, and let your happiness radiate to those around you. Life is too short to be anything but happy.