If happiness were simply a choice, who wouldn’t choose it? Studies have confirmed happy people live longer, are healthier and more successful than their unhappy counterparts. Happiness is an emotion, a state of being of mind. It does take more than just deciding to be happy. It takes deciding to focus on those things in our environment that we can be grateful for and that we can use and enjoy. So, why would anybody choose to be miserable?
Unhappiness is often rewarded. Being unhappy, others are always trying to cheer us up. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Children learn at an early age that when they cry their parents will buy them things. Choosing happiness is a more mature and adult way of interacting with life and those around us.
Our prime instinct is self preservation which means we automatically are focusing on the danger or potential danger in our environment … what might be wrong or bad. To be happy, we have to continually choose to go beyond looking for danger, for what is wrong and to look for what is right, what is good, what is useful, etc.
By practicing daily and in non-threatening situations the searching for the good, the positive, the safe or enjoyable, we can improve our ability to overcome our ingrained and primitive habit of only looking for danger. By constantly reminding ourselves to ask “What is good about this?” we can become happier, healthier and more successful at life.
Copyright © 2020 Linda Levy Harley, MSW, LCSW, PLLC - All Rights Reserved.