This post was updated on 13/06/23
All of us have met people who just seem to be happy most of the time. Perhaps you have assumed that these people are just naturally happy, or that they are the lucky people who have an easy life. It might be people in your friendship circle, you see whilst out shopping or on social media. However being happy isn’t about having an easy life, you may be surprised to hear that you can make specific choices in relation to your thinking and behaviour to improve your happiness.
This might seem controversial to say, but happiness is a choice; you can consciously choose to think and behave in ways that result in happiness. The key word there is consciously, and you have to work at it but it is possible. I am all about living intentionally and owning your mindset. So let’s explore 5 specific choices that you can make to be happy.
Happy people see the glass as half full, while unhappy people choose to be pessimistic – to see the glass as half empty. Optimistic thinking does not just happen – it is a choice regarding how you see life. Be optimistic because you CHOOSE to be optimistic and see the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer. Thinking happy thoughts is the first step to creating a life that you love.
Another way to improve your happiness is to choose to be kind and compassionate towards yourself and others. It will have a direct affect on how you feel about yourself. Do not wait to be happy before being kind. Realise that happiness is the result of your behaviour, not the cause of it. Choose to be kind, caring and compassionate, whether you initially feel like it or not. The result will be happiness.
To improve your happiness, you need to learn to forgive yourself and others. Resentment will keep you stuck in a negative place and you will be punishing yourself over and over again-which is only going to lead to unhappiness. Other people’s behaviour (even towards you) is a reflection on them rather than something that you need to take personally. Equally important is self-forgiveness. Try telling yourself that that there is no such thing as mistakes, instead learn from life’s challenges and empower you to move forward.
Learn to accept what you can control and what you can’t. If you are constantly trying to change people and things you cannot change, it will leave you feeling frustrated and out of control-the opposite of contentment. Instead focus on what you can control, your thinking and behaviour included. Hello happiness and inner peace. One way to do this is to follow the principles in The Prayer of Serenity.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Create an attitude of gratitude! Be grateful for what you have, rather than complaining about what you don’t have. The magical thing about gratitude is that once you start this practice, you are reprogramming you brain to be open to the other blessings all around you. Be as specific as possible, for better results; I am grateful for the delicious soup I had for lunch, I am grateful the sun was shining on my walk this afternoon, that sort of thing.
Download The Essential Self-Love Journaling Guide, which includes prompts for gratitude
So the first step to improve your happiness is recognising that it is a result of your thinking and behaviour. If you choose to focus on becoming intentionally happy person, it will happen regardless of your current circumstances. So which area are you going to start working on first? Let me know in the comments.