The decision to be happy is actually the decision to stop being unhappy.
~Barry Neil Kaufman~
When was the last time you gave some thought to your level of happiness? Is it something that you think about often, or is it a fleeting thought as you continue to run on the hamster wheel of life? Do you believe that you can experience a greater sense of happiness, or are you at a point where you feel that your happiness is at a set point in life? Are you like many people searching for their happiness in external factors, when the truth is happiness is all in your head?
That’s right. It’s all in your head. Stephan M. Pollan and Mark Levine authors of It’s All in Your Head: Thinking Your Way to Happiness writes, “You’ve already got everything you need to be happy. [T]he phrase “it’s all in your head” is intended as a condescending comment: that whatever it is you’re feeling isn’t real, that it’s a figment of your imagination.” They say, “The key to a fulfilled joyous life…comes not from material, or external factors, but from psychological, or internal factors.” “Happiness” he authors write, “is a mental, not a physical state.”
Choosing to Be Happy
Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections of life.
I learned that as long as I allowed my happiness to be based on external factors, when those factors changed, i.e. loss of job, relocating to a new city, having to build new relationships, starting a new job, building my writing business, I needed to have a core belief about happiness that wouldn’t change because of circumstances. When I allowed my happiness to be controlled by forces outside of myself, I was setting myself up to be unhappy. Now that I have transformed my way of thinking about happiness, I feel that I am in control of the level of happiness that I experience in life.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t have not-so good days, I’m human. But this change in my thinking about happiness has actually helped me to better manage the frustrations in my everyday life. I prefer to be in a positive and upbeat mood, so I am more decisive in the handling of circumstances that I can control. And I’m more likely to pray about and release any attachment to that which I have no control.
In my research on happiness, I came across the following quotes by M.J. Ryan author of the Happiness Makeover. They will help "give your mind somewhere good to go."
- Focusing on what is wrong doesn’t help us move toward anything, nor does it create the uprush of positive emotions that we experience as happiness. Focusing on what’s wrong demoralizes de-energies and depresses.
- Focusing on what’s right is so powerful an agent for positive change. Our life moves in the direction of our most dominant thoughts and beliefs, the more positive our thoughts and beliefs the more positive our lives tend to be.
- The energy of noticing what’s right creates excitement to move forward, like plants turning toward the light.
- Happiness is when everything we do feeds into sharing ourselves with others, in ways that enrich our life and their life.
- Research into happy people reveals that a key component of happiness is the ability to identify our true needs and then make it a priority to pursue them.
It is my hope that these quotes nurture the seeds of happiness dwelling within you desiring to take root in your heart so that they bear fruit of a greater sense of happiness in your life. Start your own happiness project. Take the time out today to think about how you can begin to cultivate a core foundation of happiness that is controlled by you and not your circumstances. I promise you, you’ll experience a greater level of happiness when it is dependent on what you can control.
It’s Your Move ~ Aspire Higher