Choose happiness? We may ask, “But there were traffic delays driving to work today or those chirping frogs kept me up all night?” Yes, happiness is a choice.
Happiness is a choice that is not based on circumstances but on our reaction. If a situation causes us to be annoyed, upset, or impatient, whether or not we realize it, we have chosen the response. And once we have made the choice, then our feelings will follow our thoughts. We are in control of our response, not someone else or the situation.
Humans have a tendency to want to put blame on something external instead of looking inward. We say “Someone did me wrong” or “I tripped because the ground was uneven.” I’ve said these things to myself. But when I realize I’m in control of my response to any situation in my life, I try to choose better thoughts. And when I do, I feel less stress and anger and more joy and peace.
When we realize our reaction comes from our inside us, and not the external environment, then the external no longer has control of our emotions and thoughts. If we get annoyed or upset at those chirping frogs, it is because we are choosing to do so.
“When you react, you let other control you. When you respond, you are in control.”—Bodhi Sanders
I use the chirping frogs as an example because I used to hear chirping frogs at night at my old house. Even with the windows shut, I could still hear them. At first I became annoyed that they wouldn’t shut up so I could sleep. But then I realized I was not helping myself and I was giving my power away to the frogs and become a victim. So I changed my focus and thought about their chirping sound as nature’s lullaby and then they no longer bothered me. In fact, I don’t even think about them until it is bedtime.
Programming The Response
Many times we make the choice unconsciously and it is based on our past experience. If every time we encounter a traffic delay and we get upset, we strengthen the neural pathways in our brain to default to this emotion for future delays. We have literally programed our current response based on the past.
But we can program our mind to change the reaction. Next time we get mad at a traffic delay, try to change the response to be more positive or neutral. Listen to a book on tape or a favorite song and change the negative emotion into something more joyful.
When we choose a more beneficial response, we can lower our stress levels and we may find our impatience or anger goes away. We are in control of our thoughts, so use them wisely. So choose happiness!
“Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read Happiness is Found in Ordinary Moments. https://lynnlokpayne.com/happiness-is-found-in-ordinary-moments/
Photo by Denise Jones on Unsplash