Happiness is a Choice . . . Really!

I once worked with a colleague, an elder gentleman, who seemed to be blissfully happy each day. I asked him, “Bill, aren’t you ever down or feeling unhappy?”Bill answered that when he awoke in the morning he figured he could choose to be happy, or not. And, of course, he said “so every morning I choose to be happy”, and he lived that way throughout the day.


Making that choice, at least for me, has been hard to come by. For many years it felt like I was captured in a fog of confusion and had no choice but to be bounced around by hope and despair. Today is different, but moving from despair to sunny skies may require a commitment to bust through the fog—although we know that fog isn’t all that strong if we want to walk into the sunlight.


Sometimes, upon awakening, I can be inundated by feelings from highly charged winds of thought blowing in the direction toward things not being OK, or thoughts that elicit feelings of fear, unworthiness, or negativity. “OK”, I say, “I hear you~ but please go sit in the corner while I choose some different thoughts and feelings that empower me.”


It’s not always quite that easy, so I take a few steps (like the ones below) to make the transition back to my taking charge of my thoughts. Here are some strategies you might try as a way to reclaim authority over your thoughts and feelings:


  1. Interrupt the stream of thoughts that seem to be thinking you.The best way I have found to do this is to reconnect to my body by taking some breaths, feeling the tingle in my hands or feet, and get “back” to the present moment of here and now. Often it is as easy as putting my feet on the floor and standing up.


  1. Accept the thinking-feeling experience in which you find yourself, and make the distinction whether it is actually who you are or not.Accept your experience as a “clarifying moment”, not as an indictment that you have done anything wrong. Say to yourself, “OK, this is what’s going on, but it is not actually who I am. Even though I may now be thinking and feeling this way, I love and accept myself completely.”


  1. Think about and choose the reality you want.It helps to ask myself questions like these: “Is this where I want to stay all day? “How do I want my day to be? How do I want to feel?” This step begins the process of putting you back into alignment with the Source energy of goodness flowing in and through you.


  1. Take charge and reclaim your power with more self-talk.This step sometimes takes inner conviction to make my way through the fog and back into the sunlight.  To make a different choice, especially if I feel like I am being held prisoner by my mind-run-wild, I begin by saying (out loud is best) something like“I now take authority over these thoughts. I am free to do this. It is my choice to choose what I want to think, feel, and do.”


  1. Fill your mind with a series of thoughts and feelings you want to experience. The most effective way for me to do this is to sing affirmations to myself!  As I do this, my energy automatically shifts from upset to joy, and I feel back in alignment with the goodness of Source energy. If numerous affirmations don’t work for you, begin by first imagining a situation in which you felt powerful, full of goodness, and really happy. That can’t help but to shift the experience!


The bottom line, at least for me, is to “take the bull by the horns” in order to reclaim my power and put me back in charge of my life. And to further cement the achievement and make it easier to do this the next time I acknowledge my having taken charge. Like saying, “Well done, good buddy!” Every time you acknowledge and claim the accomplishment of taking charge of your life your positive self-esteem and personal power will grow and blossom, making it easier and easier to place yourself into the experience of being happy until it becomes ‘second nature’.


Finally, here’s a preventative strategy for waking up happy: choose to meditate before going to bed to “clear out the day” and realign to Source energy and feeling good. When you wake up in the morning, you will find yourself right back where you left off the night before, feeling happy!


So, you see, happiness IS just a choice away . . . Really!

About Jim

Jim’s innovative and influential style of coaching and facilitation stems from over 15 years of Management experience in Human Resource and Organization Development. He has written two books, and has coached others in the area of Personal Development for the past 20 years.