It was the International Day of Happiness recently and it made me think, we should celebrate happiness every day.
People often comment that I’m a happy person, and I am. There is an element of your natural disposition of course but you can decide to be happy – it is literally a decision – and it has nothing to do with your situation.
I believe one single thing is the key to happiness, and that is focusing on what you have, instead of what you don’t have. Focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
The brain is programmed to remember unpleasant things, in order to avoid them next time. It’s a mechanism to stop you hurting yourself but unfortunately it also makes you focus on the one criticism you received, rather than the ten compliments, on what you haven’t done and haven’t got.
Lots of people choose to be unhappy, to be a victim. Of course stuff happens to everyone but some people blame everything else from the weather and the economy to the boss, husband or children.
Deciding to be happy has nothing to do with your situation. You could be divorced, have health problems, no money – and you can still be happy. So if you feel unhappy and nothing is going right, ask yourself what is right.
Good things to focus on are friendships, health, freedom, home, relationships and family. You may not have all but you will have some. We live in a free country, most of us have a home even if we don’t own it, we may not have a relationship but a good friend is worth a lot.
I’m not saying we should ignore feelings of unhappiness or grief. We need to grieve and to feel the range of emotions.
Focusing is a technique though. We all have selective perception and see what we are focusing on. For example when you buy a new car that you hadn’t often seen, suddenly you see it all the time; if you quit smoking suddenly everyone seems to be smoking or trying to quit.
In just the same way, there are always going to be positive and negative things in your life. There is always something you haven’t achieved or don’t have. Why focus on that if you can choose to focus on something positive? That is the secret to happiness.