Make Happiness Your Choice | Psychology Today United Kingdom

We place many conditions on our happiness. We tell ourselves that when we get that dream job, find love, can afford our dream house, have kids, travel the world, have enough money saved for a comfortable retirement, we’ll be happy – the list can seem endless, and we can spend our lives waiting for the perfect conditions for our happiness.

But the reality is that happiness is not about having, achieving, acquiring or arriving. Happiness is a choice. And we can choose to be happy right here and now by seeing the good in challenges.

What exactly are we talking about when we talk about happiness? Happiness can be defined as “a state of well-being that encompasses a good life with meaning and deep contentment.” Happiness brings not only a positive mental attitude, but also physiological benefits such as: B. a longer lifespan, better cardiovascular health and a stronger, more resilient and robust immune system. We are also more personable, more likely to succeed, and enjoy greater satisfaction in life. A longitudinal study of determining what makes people happy and healthy, begun by Harvard University in the 1930s, found that happiness in one’s relationships was a big factor in good health and longevity.

Put happiness on hold

If happiness is so good for us, how come we put it on hold?

When we were children we lived in the moment, fully alive and awake in the present. Ask anyone who spends time with young children and they will tell you that the goal is always to have a good time. But as we grow and take on more responsibility, we take on roles, responsibilities, and duties to meet the expectations of others. We learn to postpone gratification and lose the ability to engage in and find joy in life’s small pleasures. Gradually we give up happiness as an integral part of everyday life.

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When we reach adulthood we have life goals and dreams, and we get used to working and striving to build the life we ​​want. Being exhausted and overworked at the end of each day can become a way of life. We start putting off our happiness: once we pass that exam, get the position we want, take the vacation, find the perfect partner, the house, the car…

But happiness postponed can be happiness lost, and life can become a series of missed opportunities. We spend a lot of time in our heads, brooding, worrying and catastrophizing. We put ourselves in an unhappy hold or focus on what we’re missing. We are like passengers on an airplane, cut off from the world, waiting for happiness to land on earth.

The case for living in the moment

Instead of waiting for the perfect conditions for happiness, we can consciously choose to be happy in the present, in the moment. When we do this, we open ourselves to a world of increased happiness. We begin to perceive and enjoy the many pleasant moments that appear throughout the day. We begin to take advantage of and appreciate people and the many good things we already have in our lives. Instead of thinking about worst-case scenarios, we begin to confront our negative thoughts and self-talk and begin to think more positively about our prospects and goals.

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When we live in the moment, we also become more aware and in tune with those around us. We’ve all felt the powerful connection of speaking to someone who is really listening, rather than being distracted or preoccupied with thoughts in their own heads. When we are fully present, we relate to others more authentically and feel more connected, both to others and to ourselves. In short, when we allow ourselves to live in the present, we show ourselves not only to others, but to ourselves .

show yourself

Showing yourself means just that: making a conscious decision to be happy, not sometime in the future, but now. Showing yourself means caring for yourself, standing up for yourself when the demands of life are overwhelming and threaten to affect your well-being. You choose healthier choices for yourself. You slow down, refresh, or regroup when you need a break. you start saying no Requests that sap your limited resources of time and energy and prevent you from doing things you enjoy. You seek help when you need it, challenge negative self-talk, and seek relationships that align with what makes you happy.

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No time like the present

Your life takes place in the present. In the present we connect with ourselves and others. The past is nothing but memories and the future is just our imagination. In the present you interact with others, seize new opportunities, learn to trust your abilities and qualities, and make decisions that positively impact your life.

Happiness is a choice. Here and now you can choose happiness. Allow yourself to be happy. Realize that you don’t have to wait for your ideal life to be happy. Happiness is something you can have every day, starting here and now. Here are five steps you can take today to bring happiness into your life’s equation:

  • Remove the conditions you place on your happiness.
  • Think positive and enthusiastic about your prospects, no matter how far away your goals are.
  • Be polite, not just for others, but for yourself.
  • challenge negative self-talk and self-doubt, and trust and expand your abilities to get better.
  • Connect with yourself every day by spending time doing something you love and enjoy.