Happiness is a Choice, So Choose It!

Happiness is a Choice, So Choose It!

There are some people who seem to think that happiness is the result of all the right wheels turning at just the right time. You’re walking down the street, find twenty dollars, get a compliment from a stranger, meet the perfect guy or girl (and don’t totally make a fool of yourself), go to your favorite store and get 50% off, etc., etc.

It’s easy to be happy when everything seems to be going your way, but I think that defining happiness that way reduces it to a by-product of luck, or an accident, which it is not. In fact, I might even argue that luck is a byproduct of happiness, if I was in a particularly feisty mood.

Happiness doesn’t just happen.

Some days are good, but there are probably more days that are just mediocre or plain bad, and it’s on those days that the true nature of happiness is revealed. Have you ever met someone who stayed positive, even when they’re having a bad day, and everything that can go wrong seems to be going wrong? If you’re having a bad day, too, just being near someone like that can be uplifting (although for others it is annoying, but that usually just stems from jealousy).

People who are able to smile even through the worst of times have learned a very important lesson, the same lesson I stated above: Happiness doesn’t just happen.

Happiness is choice.

That’s right, a choice. Not an accident, not a charitable gift from the universe. Of course, it’s nice to receive those gifts, and easy to be happy when you do, but happiness is about choosing to see the adventure in every moment, choosing to understand that there will always be a light after the dark, that there is always good in every situation and every person, no matter how grim things may seem.

That’s the key to happiness: choosing it. It’s not an easy choice all the time, and it very well may be the last thing you want to do sometimes. When grief strikes, or when you just can’t seem to catch a break, sometimes you just want to sulk and stay upset, perpetuate the sadness. It’s a natural response, but it isn’t a required behavior, it’s a choice. And choosing to be happy will make you a better, stronger, wiser, more longsuffering person.

We always have the choice to be happy. Learning to change our attitude is frustrating, but worth it in the end. When we choose to be happy, things tend to work in our favor, and luck seems to be on our side; and even if things don’t happen the way you want them to, if you choose to be happy, you can accept situations for what they are and make the most of life, no matter the hand it deals you.

Photo by Jack Batchelor

Mariana Ashley

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

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50 Comments

  1. This is such an important message that everyone needs to understand! My wife and I have been talking to our kids about it lately. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we choose how we respond to those circumstances.

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  2. Great post, happiness is a choice…its not the easiest it takes hard work to be happy and even thought i don’t like using the term hardwork…once you view it as a choice it is empowering!!

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  3. Mariana – beautifully written and expressed – you make some amazing points – YES happiness is a choice and sometimes I feel as if people rather stay in their roles of being victim, martyr instead of choosing happiness. Don’t understand but that’s the games people play.

    As for myself I choose “happiness”….even in the midst of a painful divorce, I moved myself to California and decided to start living and be happy! What a difference that made – I could have complained, cried, whined and on and on – not that I didn’t at times but overall it was the happiness of my new adventure that made it all worth while.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Nancy

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  4. I’ve always remained and reminded myself to stay in the state of compassion and bliss. I simply just ignore everything that puts me into distress. Not that there are not situations and I am all happy that they are, or how would I know that the state of that happiness is incomparable.?!

    All I know is that happiness is not for the lousy souls. It is for the courageous, the care takers, the ignorant, the selfless, the focused, the decisive and the vigorous. You can’t be happy without being these. You’ve to be you first and then let go & Breathe.

    That’s when you find true happiness. That’s when you are said to have chosen happiness. Great post Mariana!

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    • ” … happiness is not for the lousy souls. It is for the courageous, the care takers, the ignorant, the selfless, the focused, the decisive and the vigorous.”

      Excellent insight. Best to you.

      Reply
  5. I agree Happiness is a conscious choice, a personal choice to either be happy or miserable and it isn’t the responsibility of another to make a person feel “happy.” (there are exceptions of course) I also believe that whatever trials and tribulations a person crosses on their life journey could mold a person to become stronger because life isn’t a walk in the park. A person in their lifetime will face some obstacles, one time or another and will need to adjust or change accordingly. However, not many people have that mindset. Unfortunately, some people may stay stuck; becoming bitter, angry & depressed and repetitively continuing the vicious cycle that brought them their original unhappy state of mind. I know a few people who fall in this category. I tried to reach out to help them but my happiness & success made them lash out in jealousy. So, by personal choice I cut them out of my life. It was the best decision I ever made and I am happier today for doing so because it’s suffocating being in the same vicinity of such miserable people. It is better to be surrounded by happy people to be happy.

    I shared your blog on my facebook and twitter.

    Have a great day.

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  6. Thanks Mariana, for a great post. Being miserable is also a choice so why not choose to deal with things as powerfully as possible? First we need to wake up to the fact that we are choosing our reactions to whatever is going on. After the “aha” come the hard work of choosing joy even when things aren’t so fabulous.

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  7. Happiness is achieved by doing changes that will reflect on the long run. But I agree when you say that it’s a choice more than anything else. No matter how much improvement we are doing in our lives, learning to be happy is completely a separate thing. Nice point of view.

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  8. Thankyou for this.

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  9. Great post Love it!!!

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  10. i agree with parts of this article, but i think if people ignored “feelings” and walked around all the time like everything is great (ignoring their feelings), i think they will explode at some point.

    life is simple, if your happy, great keep doing what your doing, if your not happy then change your life, to put yourself in a better place to be happy.

    example: if someone is cheating or not treating you right, don’t ignore it. do something about it. of course this wouldnt make someone happy to be in this situation. its ok to feel unhappiness. you get through it bad feelings and all, and change things so that your not in this position again. thus in the future you can be happy. dont focus on being unhappy, thats just stupid. focus on changing things to be happier, but dont forget to feel the feelings that come along in life, and in this situation.

    you cant force yourself to be happy all the time, its not logical. it stops you from feeling “feelings”. feelings are important to growth as a person, all of them are. happiness, sadness, regret, madness, love, hate, and all the others. i think people should feel them as they come along in their life, and deal with them. not sweep them under the rug, as this article suggests.

    just dont let a certain “one” feeling run your life, thats stupid too…

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  11. This is a fantastic article. My boyfriend always told me this and i never understood. I see that it is a choice even in the midst of a horrible break up. But I dont want to choose to be happy without him when he says he’s coming back. I choose to be happy about missing him instead… and maybe that doesnt make sense, and maybe i should give up. But I choose to be happy in other ways.

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  12. This is a great post! I say this all the time but usually have a hard time explaining to people what I mean. You literally took the thoughts right out my head! Thank you for this!

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  13. Fantastic post! Have been feel down these days, really enlighten me on my direction of handling people! It is a choice which we can choose to be happy than allowing other to control our happiness, so long one resolve to choose ways to stay happy, we will be happy. Thanks and have a great day.

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  14. Thank you for posting this up. It helped me with my essay for my English class.

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  15. I am well known for the fact that I ALWAYS choose happiness. But one day, I had a very, very bad day. One thing after another went wrong. Nothing seemed to work out. I cried, I threw a hissy fit, I fell into hysterical, if-I-don’t-laugh-right-now-I’ll-have-a-nervous-breakdown laughter, and then cried some more. It was one heck of a day.

    I couldn’t seem to choose happiness that day. I tried, but it didn’t work. And the coworkers who told me how they always depended on me to cheer up their day only made me feel worse.

    But I was laughing about the whole thing by the next day.

    To me, that is the meaning of choosing happiness. Sometimes, you’re going to get angry. Sometimes, things are going to go so wrong you cry. But you get up and get back on the horse anyway.

    Because why would you want to choose to be miserable?

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  16. that’s so right
    we need to do some effort in order to be happy
    choosing to be happy is the first step

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  17. I don’t think that we necessarily can choose happiness. But I know that we can choose to try to do something about our own happiness.

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  18. Personally, in my own life I have discovered that happiness is a lot like a habit. The more you practice it and the more you become self-aware at how you are feeling. The easier it becomes to feel happiness automatically.

    Anybody feel the same?

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  19. Happiness is a fleeting emotion. It comes and goes.

    I believe what this article is really talking about (especially towards the end) is acceptance. Presence of the mind. Appreciation.

    From this perspective, I’ve learned to have deep appreciation for my experiences, good or bad. It’s been tough building a brand, for instance, but it matters not what I “feel” along this process. Behind this is a soothing, sublime feeling that tells me whatever I’m doing is the right thing.

    Because I’m the one doing it.

    Thanks for this article.

    – Danny

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  20. I couldn’t agree more. Well written, concise article. I remember the day my life drastically changed for the better was when I learned that our patterns of thought are just habits. We are what we consistently think about. Because of this simple truth, in order to change your life, you just have to change your thinking habits. Depression is a habit, but so is happiness. Thanks for the article, well said!

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  21. So well written. Happiness is a choice that we tend not to choose. I know someone who has gone though so much, yet that person still has a smile and is the most positive person i have known in my entire life.

    It is very very hard but we ought to give it a try rather than sulking and making things worse for our own self.

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  22. There are two steps when faced with a difficult situation. Step 1: Mental decide to be happy. This doesn’t mean to ignore the problem. But to do what you can and accept the outcome. Step 2: Decide to be happy physically. This means, stand up straight, walk quickly, and smile. Following those two steps will always keep you in a good mood.

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  23. You make a very good point about choosing to be happy. Choosing not to be happy is almost like choosing to be miserable. I also like what you said about being around other people who are all chipper when you are not in a good mood; it does lift your spirits. -John

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  24. Mariana,
    You’re so right, because happiness is a choice. If it weren’t so, all those who suffered some kind of personal tragedy such as the loss of a loved one, would never get over the pain. If we wait for all that we want in life to be happy, that may never happen. Happiness is the choice to appreciate the good things we have.

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  25. Good message. Happiness is definitely a choice. This choice changes everything, our thought process, our lifestyle, our relationship with people, and ultimately our life.

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  26. Happiness is a choice – as is everything in our lives! Thank you for this post, love it =)

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  27. Love this post. It’s true tho that happiness is a choice. Most people are blind to that and assume that happiness is something that “happens” when “things go their way”. By choosing to be happy, thing DO go your way…most of the time anyway :)

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  28. So true that happiness is a choice. We can choose it moment by moment. We can also develop habits that contribute to our happiness, so that happiness becomes our “default” mode. As your article points out, though, we have to take responsibility, and stop playing the victim/blame game.

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  29. Reading your post and some of the answers I can’t help but feel that lot of people have given a great deal of thought to .. being happy. As in all of life’s complexities I think that BALANCE is the key; one must choose to be happy but not be blind to the things that are making them unhappy. I hope not to sound too corny but honestly the thing that “does it” for me is trying to do whatever I am doing with Love.. it is impossible to have a heart full of love and be miserable!

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  30. I love this sentence in your blog. “People who are able to smile even through the worst of times have learned a very important lesson, the same lesson I stated above: Happiness doesn’t just happen.” Happiness can be a result of practice. :)

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  31. Well said! Happiness is most definitely a conscious choice of perspective.

    – In absolute measures it doesn’t matter if you perceive the glass as half full or half empty.
    However, the consequence (resulting course of action) will be the polar opposite.
    Implicitly –

    Additionally, we need to be able to (emotionally) deal with periods of misfortune.
    The ability to conclude and correctly archive miseries, so that the subconscious mind doesn’t overwrite positive intentions.

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  32. I couldn’t agree more – Happiness is a choice. We have all had difficult pasts (to varying degrees) and we all have challenges to face in our daily lives.

    The real trick is to CHOOSE how we want to react and feel now, every day.

    “When you woke up this morning, on a scale of 1-10, how happy did you decide to be”?

    With love,
    Jess

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  33. I agree with this 100%. Happiness – as with everything in our lives – come down to choice. Love it, thank you =) x

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  34. Happiness makes so many things more possible in life and career. It allows us to think more clearly. I do agree it is a choice. Everyone has to deal with ups and downs and we all choose our own behavior so it’s about choosing to be positive over negative!

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  35. What if everything you do fails? Not just like say a few times in a row, but every single time over the course of a decade?

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  36. I wonder why it’s not more intuitive for us to realize that light follows dark, as you say. For whatever reason people (myself included) seem to focus and fixate on the bad and it makes things significantly more difficult for us.
    I thank you for writing this article and helping spread your positive message, it is really important that more people start speaking this truth!

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  37. Very true. Happiness is linked to thankfulness. Being thankful on a daily basis is a conscious decision that one can take or not!

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  38. This is a great post and highly valuable! Happiness must and will always be rooted within your inner being. Taking the time to nurture your being on a consistent basis will keep your happiness tank full. When you allow external factors such as materialistic possessions to influence your happiness, it’s time to self reflect and figure out what truly makes you happy.

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  39. Your right, happiness is a choice, and we all have the option to make that choice, long term happiness cannot be found on the outside it is something that has to come from within once we choose thoughts of comfort that make us feel good, I think we should also focus on the physical body to find complete bliss.

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  40. Great post. Love this quote, “We always have the choice to be happy. Learning to change our attitude is frustrating, but worth it in the end.”

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  41. Every day we make choices in our lives. But the most important choice is to be happy and always look for ways to make others around us happy too. That’s what I think of happiness. I think positive attitude in life is the key to being happy. I think people should not live in the past and should look for ways to improve who they are. No matter where a person comes from or how successful or rich, having happiness in life is priceless and the most cherish able thing that a person can have. The most important thing is to choose happiness and pass it to everyone else that is around you to make life more beautiful and enjoyable. Never wait for happiness instead choose it and keep it.

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  42. Thanks Mariana for this great article!
    I absolutely agree that happiness is a choice! My life is just so much better since I understood that! Being accountable for everything that happens in my life made a tremendous difference in my happiness! I still have ups and downs, but the ups are higher and last longer while the downs are also higher than before and vanish quicker!
    Cheers!
    Martin

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  43. Yes! And, for me, the best thing are the consequences of chosing happiness: because happiness leads to more happiness.

    Think of a smile, for example. A smile will lead to more smiles around you, the relationships will deepen etc.

    Thank you for the inspiring post.

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  44. Are you kidding me? Happiness is not a choice. Have you ever known someone diagnosed with depression or severe anxiety? It’s the chemicals inside us that control how we feel. We can’t help it. Everyone does not have the option of that choice and it’s incredibly naïve to assume that. People suffering with depression DO NOT CHOOSE to be miserable.

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  45. i do agree that you can choose happiness throughout your day, but how could someone maintain that happiness, because the smallest things can just ruin all that.Making the whole day feel worst then before ,Yeah you can wake up and say today am gonna be happy and every thing is gonna change, and then you trip ,you get a phone call you didn’t want ,or etc by then your whole day just seems to go down form there .

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  46. I do not consider HAPPINESS is one thing to get reached then had. Closest aspect to happiness might be a mindset toward lifestyle.

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  47. Yes! Love this! Completely agree that happiness is 100% a choice – an important lesson.

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  48. ‘Happiness is a choice’ Such a true statement and a great post Mariana. If more people realised that happiness is a choice the world would be a happier more positive place. Many people tend to associate happiness with things, seeing it as an outside force, where as the truth is that it comes from the inside, we cannot obtain happiness from anywhere but within ourselves.

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  49. Exactly…happiness is a choice, we may not be able to choose our emotions but we can chose how we react to them. I make it a daily habit the “equanimity game” as Marcus Aureilius called it, that when I’m feeling down I try to change my attitude to a more positive one…happiness.

    Reply

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