By in Personal

Is Happiness A Choice?

I've been sat watching a daytime TV show here in the UK, for the past week their focus or theme has been on the issue of 'Happiness.' Throughout the week, we have seen and heard what 'happiness' means for different people, and we've heard from psychologists, therapists etc on tips or ways to be happier.

One of the therapists on the show mentioned that they believe happiness is a choice and this got me thinking - is an emotion like this, really something we can choose?

I'd be inclined to say that yes, of course we can make an effort every day to be happier - to notice the little things, to show gratitude to others and for what we have, to improve areas of our life etc. However, as someone who has also suffered from poor mental health at times, I can also say, sometimes no amount of wanting to be happy works. Quite simply, I believe that yes, everyday we can try to be a happier, brighter person, however the operative word there is 'Try.' We can put in the groundwork, however sometimes it's just simply impossible or more difficult to encourage or arouse feelings of happiness and positivity.

Happiness for me is simply a feeling - one I find very difficult to describe. For me, I am happy when I am present in the moment, when I am not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, when I am fully immersed in whatever I am doing and am able to enjoy it. I am happier when I am in a better frame of mind - I am happy when I have an improved lifestyle, when I am eating healthier and adopting a better approach to exercise. Happiness for me is in all the little things around me and all the things I do have rather than what I don't. I try to 'choose' happiness at every turn, but ultimately I sometimes feel like it's not always ours to choose.

What do you think? Is happiness a choice? What does it mean for you?

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Louemham wrote on January 13, 2015, 9:32 AM

Yes, to me, happiness is a choice. Life can throw whatever it wants at us, but it's our choice to make the best of it and lead happy lives.

Del23 wrote on January 13, 2015, 9:38 AM

Yes, I guess you are right. It is not what happens to us, or what we are given, rather how we react to things and how we use our resources. I do agree with you that your attitude and perspective does shape any situation or event, if you think positively, you are going to have a more positive experience for sure. It's just that sometimes I do feel some of these 'experts' are so quick to say, you can choose to be happy and if you aren't feeling that way, it's your own choice. I guess in a sense, we can say yes, that's true, but sometimes I think it is more difficult and complex than that. I heard someone once say that Love is a verb - and that without action, it is just that: a word. I guess if we thought of happiness in the same way, it would make sense!

luisga814 wrote on January 13, 2015, 9:42 AM

of course we do have a choice but it seems there are seems we do not have just like me.

Del23 wrote on January 13, 2015, 9:48 AM

I guess everyone is different and goes through different things, sometimes that can affect our mood. I do believe it is how we look at the situation and it is important to keep a positive outlook - everything always seems better when you are positive about it.

BeadDoodler wrote on January 13, 2015, 10:03 AM

While it's true that most people can simply choose to be happy, to focus on the positive etc. it is also true that if you have mental health problems that can seriously hamper your choice to be happy. I, too am happy under all the conditions you mentioned. Good healthy food and exercise has been shown to improve, if not alleviate, even clinical depression.

Del23 wrote on January 13, 2015, 10:31 AM

Yes I am inclined to agree with you on this. I feel that having a mental health issue can cloud your judgement and view on the world, but ultimately it is in our hands to find our own kind of happiness. I think it's the small things, not always the big things that make the most difference - we tend to focus on the large scale events to look for our happiness, but if we choose to stop and take in all the smaller things around us, we would probably realise just how much we have to be grateful for. I agree that in times of my depression, exercise and a balanced nutritionally beneficial diet has always helped me to get out of my slump.

Janey1966 wrote on January 13, 2015, 5:35 PM

I don't think anyone is truly happy (with the exception..possibly..of Richard Branson, he always looks happy, but there again, he bought Necker Island so he can escape to it whenever he wants to) but I tell you when I WAS happy..and that was on my wedding day. All the distractions of my annoying in-laws paled into comparison with marrying John. It was quite a moment for me as I'd had disastrous relationships in the past and marrying relatively late on in life (42) in Las Vegas (not Elvis as Minister) well, it was lovely. I always hang on to that day whenever I feel blue as I think to myself..well, it could've been a LOT worse. I know this too as my clairvoyant told me last year that if I'd stayed with Blobby (a particularly nasty piece of work in the early 90s) it would have been 'disastrous' as he put it. When I was with Blobby I wasn't happy for the whole 2 years I stayed with him. With John - yes - we have had testing times on occasion but I can honestly say, I'm happy more than I'm unhappy. I wouldn't be here, otherwise.

Del23 wrote on January 15, 2015, 8:27 AM

Ahh that is lovely Jane. What a lovely memory to have and to think back on whenever you are in need of cheering up. I am very glad you found the happiness you deserve, oh my a Vegas wedding sounds absolutely amazing and so fun! xx

Janey1966 wrote on January 15, 2015, 10:13 AM

We stayed in the Planet Hollywood (previously another name..Aladdin I think) and we were one of the first weddings after the re-vamp of the hotel. We plumped for the basic one but at least I had my ace wedding dress on and John was relatively dressed up (for him anyway) lol. The Minister was lovely as he had a smiley face which put us at ease and the ceremony was a mix of traditional and modern. We also got engaged in Vegas as well. That would be New Year's Eve watching the fireworks 2005. We stayed in the Luxor that year and I believe that's been re-vamped as well since our visit. They tend to do this now rather than blowing them up and starting again like they used to. I'd love to go back one day but money is tight so it's a long way off. Our 10th anniversary in 2018 would be a good year to aim for but that's dependant on two things. Me finding work, the house being sold, savings in the bank and settled into a new place. Do you think we could do all that before 2018? Possibly. Something to aim for anyway!

UK_Writer wrote on February 13, 2015, 7:35 PM

The answer is yes and no. Happiness can be a choice, but it's not as simple as that. I can choose to be happy with what I've got, but when I see what I haven't got that others take for granted, then it takes the shine off the happiness. People who have everything often say people should be happy with what they've got, as if we've all already got what they've got. And I don't mean designer shoes, I mean the basics and simple things.