Can You Live a Happy Life Just by Choosing Happiness?

People like to say that happiness is a choice, but that’s only partly true. It’s not as simple as telling yourself, “I’m going to be happy!” and suddenly waves of happiness wash over you and your entire life is transformed. Would be nice, yes? 

Here’s the scoop: Attitude matters but happiness is an emotion, and we don’t always choose our emotions. We choose our actions and experiences, and the outcomes are emotions (like happiness, misery and a whole range in-between.)

Before you jump on me to suggest that shit happens, and it’s not something we choose, I agree. You have things happen to you that make you happy, and things happen to you that drive you to levels of frustration never before known to humankind. Still, that’s not choosing your experience, and that’s what we’re talking about. It’s a layer beyond the uncontrollable where you are driving and not only along for the ride. 

I’ve spoken to groups and worked with coaching clients for years about the concept of choosing happiness. I’ll let you in on a little secret; I don’t help them flick some hidden switch, I empower them to stop waiting and take action. That’s it. That’s choosing happiness. When we choose to do things and be with people who bring us closer to the life we most want to live, we’re choosing happiness.  

You don’t live a happy life simply by thinking happy thoughts (although positivity is a cornerstone). You create a happy life by taking action. 

Once people buy into the idea of choosing action instead of choosing an emotion, the next question I’m often asked is, “Ok, so what do I need to do?” That’s definitely a question that does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. However, over the course of my work, I’ve discovered 13 essentials to choosing a happy life. By taking action that is authentic to you, you’re honoring the life you want to lead… and choosing happiness.  

Ask yourself:

Are you taking actions that are moving you closer to the life you want, further away, or keeping you stuck, treading water, and waiting?

Yes, good things that make you feel happy can, do, and will happen to you, but why wait?

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