choose happiness

How to Choose to Be Happy


As humans, one of our most important desires is to be happy.  That is why we strive for things like a romantic partner, friends, and a career we love.  We certainly do not seek out things that make us sad or angry.

Of course, it is inevitable that we will not always be happy in life.  We will experience many emotions, including our own share of grief and sadness.  It is how we handle these situations that makes the difference.  We can choose to let these situations control our life.  We can choose to not recover from them.  Or we can choose to move through as best we can.  We can ultimately choose to be happy, despite what life throws at us.

It sounds so simple.  If you can choose to be happy, why is it that we are not happy all the time?  Choosing happiness does not mean we never have sad moments.  It simply means that we are able to be strong and move forward.  It means that we are doing our best to make a bad situation better.

how to choose to be happy

how to choose to be happyhow to choose to be happy

Feelings Buried Alive Never Die

Many of us tend to push the negative feelings down.  Maybe you find it uncomfortable to feel sadness or to feel anger.  The solution?  Repressing the feelings, so that we do not have to feel them.  It sounds good in theory.  However, these feelings do not go away simply because you do not want to feel them.  Instead, they tend to pop up and we are sometimes left to deal with them unexpectedly.

One of the best ways that you can really choose to be happy, is by dealing with these feelings.  It may be uncomfortable and it may be emotionally draining.  By working through the feelings, you are able to move forward.  If you continue to repress the feelings, they will always linger there and hold you back.

Burying the feelings means they will never go away.  They will continually come back until you finally deal with them.  Burying the feelings keeps you from being able to choose to be happy.

How do you deal with the feelings?

There are so many different ways you can deal with and accept these feelings. First, you need to identify the feeling.  Is it Anger?  Sadness?  Confusion?  Think about it to pinpoint exactly what the feeling is, so you know how to properly deal with it.

Once you have identified the feeling, you can approach working through it.  You can talk to a therapist, a family member, or a friend.  You can write out and journal your feelings.  You can paint or draw a picture.  The most important thing is that you FEEL the feelings.

Often, dealing with one emotion will lead you into feeling another.  Perhaps you started with sadness and it then turns into anger.  Maybe you felt anger first and then it led to confusion.  To properly move through the feelings, you have to move through each one that pops up.  If you work through the sadness, but not the anger, you will not be able to fully choose happiness.  That feeling you have not worked through will sit there like a chip on your shoulder.



Don’t Set Up Camp

When something bad happens in your life, do not decide you are going to stay there and be stuck.  Allow yourself time to be sad, or angry, or hurt.  Then, decide you are ready to move forward.

We lost Jasmine in 2018.  (Read more of Jasmine’s story.) It was one of the worst experiences in my life.  I thought I would never be able to get over losing my daughter.  After the loss, I joined several loss groups.  Through these groups, I learned that everyone does experience grief differently.  I was one of the ones who moved forward quickly.  I went back to work after a week and I just wanted to feel “normal” again.

The option to take more time off was available to me, but I knew I could not sit home and be sad all the time.  This did not mean I was not feeling sad and angry.  I chose to take these feelings and move forward with them.  The feelings and experience shaped me and helped me grow.

I was extremely angry at the doctors at the time, for not helping when I thought they could have done more.  I finally let go of these feelings.  Being angry at them would not bring her back.  It was really only hurting me.  It was holding me back and keeping me from truly being happy.  A weight was lifted off my shoulders when I properly worked through and released this feeling.


Remind Yourself Why You Are Grateful

It is all too easy to continually focus on the negative things in our life.  Write down the things you are grateful for.  Write it in a journal or notebook where you are able to easily access it.  You can write it on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror.  Read through the list whenever you need a reminder.  Add new things to the list when you think of them.

You can be grateful for big things and small things.  I recently made a list of 20 things I am grateful for.  While I did include things like my husband, my children, and my family, I also included things like Amazon, chocolate, and hot water.  You would be surprised sometimes how hard it is to write out all the things you are grateful for.  I highly suggest you try it out.

Choosing happiness comes from focusing on the things we are grateful for.  You cannot be happy if you continually focus only on the negative things in your life.



Find the Good, Even in the Bad Situations

This is one you may have to practice.  It takes time to shift your focus and mindset.  Keep in mind that sometimes, you will not be able to see anything good when you are in the midst of a terrible situation.

I saw absolutely nothing good about the loss of Jasmine.  How could there possibly have been anything good that came out of losing a child?  Now, two years later, I recognize that it led me down a path to help other women who had a loss.  It inspired me to start Project Finding Your Rainbow.  It inspired me to bring more awareness to pregnancy and infant loss.

While I would never believe that the loss happening to me was a good thing, I do recognize that it led to me doing a good thing.  It did not happen right away.  Good things can come out of bad things, even when we do not see it right away.  Think of all the charities that were started because someone had, or knew someone who had, a particular disease.  The charities go on to research and try to find cures.  Be open to the good that can come from the bad.  By doing so, you are choosing to be happy.


Spend Time Doing Things That Make You Happy

Making time for ourselves can be difficult.  We all have obligations we must meet with our family, friends, and work.  If we do not schedule time to do the things we love, we can get caught up in the burdens of every day life.  Spend 30 minutes a day, if possible, doing something you truly love.  Read a book, write a story, paint a picture, play the guitar, or do anything that brings you happiness.  By making time for this, you are putting yourself first.  Doing things we enjoy helps bring us happiness.


Final Thoughts

No one else is responsible for your happiness.  You are the only one that can make the choice.  Do not go through life relying on others to make you happy.  You will constantly be disappointed and let down.  Take control now because it is never too late to choose to be happy.

Stop and enjoy the things that make you happy.  Spend time with people who make you laugh and who support you.  Remind yourself why you are grateful and focus on these things.  Allow yourself to feel the negative feelings and work through them, without letting them overpower you.

You can choose to be happy.  Take it one day at a time and work towards making the choices that will lead to more happiness in your life.  We may not always be able to choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we handle them.


23 thoughts on “How to Choose to Be Happy”

  1. As someone who struggles to make time for myself/doing what I love, this is so helpful to read! Especially the final point!

  2. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I definitely tend to “set up camp” and I needed the reminder to not allowing sadness or disappointment to make me feel stuck.

  3. This is an amazing post. I love everything you incorporated in the post especially about making time for yourself to do what you love and dont set up camp section. It was a very good read, thank you.

  4. This is so well written jasmine. I have a gard time communicating my feelings and often bottle them uo. Only to find it all pour out suddenly out of nowhere in myriad situations. Sometimes its really embarrassing. But i am slowly trying to learn to talk about them. Thanks to my husband for helping me with these😇

  5. This post is really well-written! Thank you for sharing all this wisdom, as I’m sure these tips will help many people.

  6. For me – mindset is everything, why choose to think “unhappy” thoughts when you can turn your life around? Great wholesome post!

  7. These are such extremely powerful tips, I especially loved finding the good in the bad as well as giving gratitude. Such a small action but so powerful! 🙂

  8. Love these tips! Especially when you talk about gratitude! It is so easy to focus on the negative that we often forget what we do have! Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Love this! Gratitude and identifying feelings are key for me. You are a product of your environment and if you are creating a negative environment for yourself by focusing on the bad you are doomed.

  10. I think I unknowingly push back feelings and tell myself that everything is fine just to save face. It’s something I have to work on for sure or else it does get pent up.

  11. This was such a beautifully written and inspiring post. I loved the point you made of not getting stuck in a negative emotion; to let yourself feel it then move on. Thank you for these words!

  12. Such a great post! I struggle to make time for myself and what I would like to do and that leads to not so happy state of mind. However, practicing gratitude is great in seeing things from different perspective and appreciating all the small things around me

  13. mysticalauthoress

    These are very helpful tips. I struggle with moving on past the bad times especially, out of all of these insights. This definitely will remind me to try not to stay stuck in them and move forwards. Thank you for sharing this!

  14. These are some great ideas Sarah, I think spending time doing things that make you happy and being grateful really does a lot for me

  15. brittshedhappens

    This is incredibly inspiring. I have found that most of the people who have figured this out (that we, ultimately, have the power to CHOOSE to be happy) are the people who have faced something serious in their lives. Thank you for taking the time to explain this clearly for those that may not have heard of this concept before as well as in a way that serves as an important reminder for those of us who have, but may have slacked off on applying it. I know that I could be better at that!

  16. Great advice. I find that gratitude has had a huge positive influence on my life. Over the last few months I got into a routine of writing down three gratitudes every night before I go to sleep. It feels very uplifting to go to bed thinking of the positive things that happened that day (even if it sucked 🙂 )

  17. Love reading this! Great points. Too many of us, myself included don’t hear often enough we do have a choice, choosing happiness through gratitude is the most direct path. I seldom lose sleep or worry these days and it felt like a huge weight was lifted once I made that choice.

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