You know that person. The one who is always happy. Nothing seems to get them down. They are successful, have good friends, exude confidence and are just fun to be with.
Is this you?
Everybody wants to be happy. It seems pretty simple doesn’t it? But the reality is different. Happiness is a choice. A few choices actually. And it’s totally within reach for everyone. So what can you choose?
#1 – Choose truth.
You know those decisions that make your stomach hurt. The ones that you make because your brain tells you it’s the “right” thing to do, not because it’s what you really want.
Yes. Those decisions. You probably made one today.
Those decisions are not based on your truth. They are based on some truth outside of yourself, some truth that is based on what everyone else says is “right.” These decisions are not good for you.
Making decisions based on what you really want, what will truly be good for you, are decisions based on your truth. These kind of decisions feel good in your body. These decisions allow you to sleep at night.
Decisions not based on our truth can actually make us sick and definitely interfere with our happiness.
How do we stop making these unhealthy choices? We listen to our bodies.
Next time, when presented with a decision that needs to be made, pause and check how each potential decision makes your body feel. Our bodies will only tell us the truth. If the decision makes you feel slightly nauseous then it’s probably not a good one. If it makes your head hurt, the same. If it makes your heart leap, then that’s it. That’s the healthy decision.
Listen to your body. Unlike your brain, it will never lie to you!
# 2 – Choose love.
Everyone wants to love and be loved.
And ideally everyone would share their life with that ONE person. The one you curl up with at night and eat cereal with in the morning. The one whose hand you hold on the subway and with whom you binge watch “Sons of Anarchy” at night. You know the person. The one who makes your heart sing.
If you have a person, don’t let them go. And if you don’t, believe that you will. Especially if you are happy.
If you don’t have that person right now you know that you have other people in your life who love you: your sister, your best friend, your neighbor. Make sure that you have contact with someone who loves you every day. In person, on the phone or via text (last choice).
And don’t forget to love yourself. You are awesome. Tell yourself as often as you can. Because you are.
#3 – Choose yourself.
You know how you choose to make everyone else happy first?
You go to that raunchy movie with your kids instead of that historical drama you want to see. Or you visit your mother in law with your husband instead of working in the garden? We all do it. And it undermines our happiness.
Sometimes we do have to put someone else’s needs above our own but, really, it’s important to put ourselves first more often than not. Nobody else is going to take care of us and it’s important that we do so.
If you always put yourself last you will truly come to believe that you are last. Being last will definitely not make you happy. Think back to that fight you had with your husband while driving home from his mother’s house.
#4 – Choose kindness.
Did you know being kind to someone else is one of the best ways to feel happy? Think about the look on that woman’s face when you raced after her to return the wallet that she left in the store. Or the way the barista reacted this morning when, after dealing with customer after customer who had not yet had their coffee, you thanked them with a big smile and a compliment.
Being kind is not hard to do but so many of us forget to be in this crazy, jam packed and exhausting world that we live in. Making that small effort to make someone else happy can go a long way to making you feel happy too.
#5 – Choose to believe.
A key ingredient in being happy is believing that you can be. Really. It’s not an easy thing.
When you are unhappy it’s almost impossible to believe that you ever could be happy.
When you are unhappy and you look ahead you are doing so with that unhappy feeling in your gut. Your future life seems hopeless because you are unhappy right now. But you gotta believe. Believing in anything is the best way to manifest it. Believe that you will get that job and you will. Believe that you will find that love and you will. Believe that you will be happy and you will.
How to believe? Visualize that job. Feel how it will feel to have it. Store that feeling in your body and summon it when you have doubt. The same with love. Picture that perfect someone. Feel how it will feel to be loved by them. Picture yourself happy and do the same.
It really works. Try it and see.
Happiness is a state of mind. A state of being. If you make choices that cause physical pain, that keep you from sleeping, that make you feel hopeless, you will never find it.
Try it. Try putting yourself first, loving yourself and those around you, being kind, being truthful. Believing. What a difference it will make. I promise.
If you’ve made it this far you must really be struggling with how to be happy.
Let me help get you there, NOW, before you get even more stuck.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.