Happiness: A Daily Choice

In the midst of a bout of depression have you ever been able to experience a moment of joy? Perhaps it was as you lifted your morning cup of coffee to your lips, or when you saw your daughter laughing in the rain?

In the midst of anxious head tripping have you ever been able to give thanks for having clothes to wear? Food to eat? A computer and access to the Internet that is allowing you to read this?

These mini-reprieves within the storm of depression or anxiety may seem fleeting. Yet what if you were to view them as mini-choices? Choices that you make to enjoy the gift of the present moment, and what is, no matter what? What if you could build upon those mini-choices to create more happiness for yourself on a daily basis?

“Happiness is choosing just for the fun of it.”

In my early 20s, I didn’t think life was ever going to get any better. I didn’t believe I would ever be happy. I thought happiness was only available to others.

When I graduated college I knew I couldn’t return to the house I grew up in. I knew that would kill me. I knew that it was a guarantee for unhappiness; given the first couple decades of my life while living there were filled with intense abuse. But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

Inspired by my college professor, I decided to move to Arizona and work at a Youth Crisis Shelter. I chose to be in an environment where I knew I could make a difference.

Through the shelter, I worked with Child Protective Services to provide safe housing, education and meals for children who were removed from violent homes. I also got to counsel these children.

I wanted every child to know they were safe, loved and cared for. I wanted them to be able to lay their head on the pillow at night without any worries or fears.

Helping these children gave me happiness; as I was an ally for them I became an ally for myself. As I gave myself the love and care I never had growing up, I discovered I could make different choices for myself.

All the ways I had been living and relating that were causing me pain? I could choose something different. I could make choices based on what I now wanted to be and do, not what I had been doing. Rather than trying to escape (by drinking or snorting) I could choose things that felt good. This meant I could actually choose happiness.

You have a choice, too. What do you choose?

You can choose happiness by bringing something into your life that is fun, something that lights you up, that brings you happiness, just like I did.

What is this for you?
A hobby? Going to the gym? Taking a dance class? Volunteering?

What’s the thing in the back of your mind that makes no sense to do yet you know would bring you happiness?

It may be something you did as a child, or it may be something you’ve never done before (or imagined you would do).

Whatever it is, it could be the doorway to your happiness. Choose it. Choose happiness.

Those mini-moments of joy or gratitude don’t need to be fleeting. Not when you consciously choose to have more of them and cultivate your own happiness.
For more articles on happiness, check out:
The Handcuffs of Unhappiness


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