This conversation is fascinating to have with people, there are so many different opinions out there about it. Some say yes, some say no, and some are in-between. I have always been on the yes side of the debate, however as time goes on I start to understand it a little more deeply and realise it is not as simple as a yes or no answer.
Is happiness always a choice? No, sometimes I do not actually think it is. I think that sometimes you can get so run down, so caught up and stuck on different thinking patterns that making that jump from everything is awful to I choose happiness isn’t easy or maybe possible. When mental health concerns are factored in, sometimes your mindset can be in such a funk, you can try everything to try and flip it and you can still be stuck in an unhappy state.
So, I do not think choosing to feel happy is always a choice. What I do think though, is your actions are always a choice and your focus is always a choice. You may find yourself in a serious funk and really struggling to shift your way out mentally. What you can choose are things that you know are going to nourish your mind and body. Sitting in the sun and getting some Vitamin D is a choice. Going outside for a 10-minute walk to light yourself up is a choice. Eating a fresher diet of foods that are going to help nourish you is a choice. Mindfulness and mediation are a choice. Finding things in your life to be grateful for, is a choice. So, even when you cannot make that mental jump to decide to feel happy, you can start to do things that you know are going to help generate positive emotions.
This is where I think some people can get it quite wrong, They see someone struggling, they tell them they just are not thinking positive enough, and that they need to focus on the better things. Yes, I can see your point, and yes sometimes that is the solution. But sometimes, you can try your best to focus on all of the positives but what is weighing you down is so heavy that trying to solely shift your thought patterns isn’t going to do the trick.
These are the times when it is important to remember that health and wellness is a holistic approach. How are you working to resolve the things weighing you down? How are you moving your body? How are you fuelling your body? How are you taking care of your mind? Are you addressing what the stress factors are in your life? Going from, my life is awful, to everything is sunshine and rainbows can take a lot of different parts all working together.
So, if you have been in a funk if you have been trying to shift your mindset but it is not working. What other parts of your life do you need to start addressing? Are you acknowledging what areas of life you do have a choice in? Are you focusing on what you can have control over? Happiness can be a choice, but it may not be the choice you thought it was. What areas of your life is it time for you to choose to start incorporating a different approach, to help your mind and body generate the right environment to help foster the feelings of happiness? What is one small change you can start to make today? If you are struggling to make those shifts on your own, perhaps it is time for you to reach out and seek professional guidance.
Remember that what you focus on expands, so, if you are spending your days always focusing on how terrible you feel, how hard things are, and how impossible it feels to make a difference, those feelings are only going to grow. Be careful not to make the mistake of trying to make changes by trying to solely focus on removing what you do not want. It only makes it more obvious. What I invite you to focus on is the things you want to add in, and what they are going to bring you. It is the simple little mindset shifts that can make the biggest difference. There is no pressure to always feel ecstatic about life, it is okay just to feel content. Life is going to involve an array of different emotions and finding a balance with those is the key.