Happiness is a choice? You may ask yourself “But there were traffic delays driving to work today or those chirping frogs kept me up all night?”
Happiness is a choice that is not based on circumstances. It comes from how you react to a situation. If a situation causes you to be annoyed, upset, or impatient, whether you realize it or not, you have chosen your response to it. And once you have made the choice, then your feelings will follow your thoughts. Like it or not, you are in complete control of your 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 cement was uneven.” Yes, I have thought these things myself. But when I realized that I was in control of my response to any situation in my life, I chose better thoughts. And when you choose better, then you feel less stress and anger and more joyful.
When we realize everything reaction comes from our internal, and not the external environment, then the external environment 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 for about 9 months a year I have chirping frogs for most the night outside my bedroom window that come from the nature area next to me. Even with the windows shut, I can still hear them. At first I became annoyed and angry that they would not shut up so I could go to sleep. But then I realized that I was not helping myself and I was giving my power away to the frogs and become a victim. So I started thinking about their chirping sound as nature’s lullaby and they no longer bother me. In fact I don’t even think about it until it is bedtime.
Many times we make the choice unconsciously and it is based on our past experience. If we get mad every time there are traffic delays we are making neural pathways in our brains and so when we experience a delay, then our thoughts followed by emotions go to angry. We have literally programed our current response based on past experience. But you can program your mind to change the response. Next time you get mad from a traffic delay, try to change to a positive or neutral response. Listen to a book on tape or your favorite music and change your anger into something more joyful.
Choose a response that is positive or at least neutral. When you do, your stress levels will decrease and you may just find your impatience or anger goes away. You are in control of your thoughts, so use them wisely.
“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