If Happiness Is A Choice Why Are So Many People Miserable?

if happiness is a choice why are so many people miserable

What Are Other Causes Of Not Being Able To Choose Happiness?

So, what if you’re miserable, yet don’t have depression? What if you’re more often dissatisfied than not, yet live in a safe home with a fairly low-stress level? What if you simply feel as if you can’t be happy because you WANT more for your life?  And the guilt of seeming ungrateful for all your blessings makes you feel as if asking for more is “greedy”?

It’s possible you’re addicted to negativity. According to the book Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, our brains are wired to look for the bad. Hanson says that the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for good ones.

This negativity bias causes the brain to react intensively to bad news compared to how the brain responds to good news.

And unfortunately, this becomes a habit. An addition of sorts. And like all addictions, change demands you decide you’re no longer going to live a particular way.

That doesn’t mean you can’t change that, though. But we can counter the brain’s negativity bias — which triggers us to form stronger bad memories than good ones — by appreciating and lingering on those tiny, positive moments. Kind of like soaking your brain in pleasant, positive emotions.

This is why gratitude works on the brain. You’re rinsing and repeating good experiences for your brain.

How Do You Choose To Be Happy?

Making the decision to be happy (or at least happier) is important. According to two small studies published in the Journal of Positive Psychology in 2013 found that simply trying to BE happier can elevate your experiences. In the experiment, those who tried to be happier after listening to happy music were actually happier.

When you decide you’re going to choose to be happy, you begin looking for evidence that you can be happy.

In Hardwiring Happiness, Hanson also says “We’re surrounded by opportunities — 10 seconds here or 20 seconds there — to just register useful experiences and learn from them. People don’t do that when they could.”  Registering these fleeting experiences as happy ones proves to your brain you can choose happiness.

Again, this is why a gratitude practice is important. Because you will actively seek the good things in your average, ordinary days.

You can also rig things in the favor of seeing that happiness is a choice for you by taking actions in your life that are helpful to experiencing more positive emotions. This can range from dancing in the kitchen to listening to happy music to playing with a pet. All these actions allow you to access feel-good emotions, right?

Folks also tend to be happier when they feel accomplished. And when you’ve already decided you’re going to be happy, then you can put your attention on pursuing a goal that’s important to you. And accomplishing at least one important task each day can allow you to feel pride in yourself.

Because how our mornings begin can set the tone for the whole day, getting up earlier helps set yourself up to begin the day on a positive note.

Empowering and meaningful morning routines allow you to begin the day on your terms.

Related: 4 Steps To Let Go Of The Hurt That’s Holding You Back From Happiness

What Is The True Key To Happiness?

When you decide that you’re going to do your best to see happiness as a choice, you open the door to true happiness. In order to do that, my dear, that demands that you define what happiness means for you. Dig into all the layers of emotions that you see as positive and meaningful. And seek to sprinkle your daily life with experiences that allow you to access those various emoticons.

Happiness Is A Choice That Most Of You Can Make.

And you deserve to live a life that is loving and nourishing. And sometimes, that means that you must do the work to pave the way for that.


If Happiness is a Choice You Want to Make, I can help.

I spent many years of my life just moving from moment to moment. I believed that loving life was something that happened for others. They had luck or good connections. Until that is, I learned that shifting my mindset and creating some new habits empowered me to go from dreaming and thinking to do. Best of all, step by step, my life began to blossom.

I’m sharing some of my favorite life hacks to help you make that happen for you in my new (free) ebook: Make Your Life Blossom: Life Hacks to Help You Fall in Love with Your Life

Because when you learn a variety of tricks to love your life, happiness is a side effect. Click here to read more articles that will encourage you – and give you ways – to love your life.


Written by Debra Smouse
Originally appeared in Debra Smouse
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If Happiness Is A Choice Why Are So Many People Miserable?
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