5 Steps to Choosing Happiness When Life Gets You Down

By Published On: December 6, 20204.6 min readCategories: PositivityTags: , ,

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You matter, and your happiness matters. You only get one life to live, and you are 100% allowed to make that life exactly the kind of life you want. One of the most valuable lessons you can learn in life is how to choose positivity when challenges come your way.

What Choosing Happiness Does Not Mean.

Choosing happiness isn’t forcing a smile on your face no matter what, and going through life acting as if nothing is ever wrong. Life is hard and we can’t always control what happens to us. Inevitably, we all suffer hardships in one form or another. Ignoring and denying the unpleasant aspects of life, is never going to make you happy at the end of the day.

Choosing Happiness Means Choosing Positivity.

When something bad happens, it’s easy to let your emotions take the lead. It’s much harder to compose yourself and proceed in a calculated way towards the most positive possible outcome. 

Positivity is a choice that you can make for yourself at any point in time, no matter the situation you are faced with. This can be hard to believe, and for many of us it doesn’t come naturally. The key is allowing yourself the space and time to work through your thoughts and emotions, to carefully consider your options, and to make choices that serve your wellbeing the best.

Next time you face adversity and you feel stuck, anxious, sad, or upset, follow the steps below help you choose positivity and refocus on what you can do to affect a positive outcome – that is, make the choice to accept and face the challenge you are faced with, and handle it in a way that steers you towards a resolution and acceptance, ultimately contributing to your happiness.

Five Steps To Be More Positive:

1. Pause. Hardly any challenge that presents itself to you requires immediate action. Allow yourself some time to process. If you can, step away from what’s happening. Sometimes literally removing yourself from a situation automatically creates the distance and space you need to think things through. Ask for more time. More often than not, “’Hmm, let me give that some thought and get back to you,” is a perfectly acceptable response to any request somebody might make of you. Breathe. Get your bearings.

2. Analyze. Map out your situation and get the full picture. As yourself “what’s happening?”, “Who are the parties involved?”, “How am I feeling?”, “What am I thinking?”, “Are my thoughts contributing to me feeling better or worse?”, “What have I tried?”, “What advice have I been given by people that love me?”, and “What do I need for myself right now?” While you’re at it, consider some things that are bringing you joy and happiness right now, regardless of what’s going on.

3. Differentiate between things you can control, and things you cannot. Try to take a step back and take an objective look at what’s really happening. Imagine making two columns and placing each contributing factor in one or the other – make a column for “things I can control”, and one for “things I have no possible control over”.

4. Show yourself some compassion. Take a look at your “things I have no possible control over” column. Remind yourself that you are allowed to feel upset about these things. If these were things that were happening to a friend, would you feel compassionate towards them? Then why wouldn’t you extend that same courtesy to yourself? Sometimes the “things I have no possible control over” column is full of things that are simply lousy. That’s a bummer and you can be mad about it, feel sad, or cry, if that’s what you need to do to process.

5. Act in your best interest. Now take a look at your “things I can control” column. This is where the magic happens. This is where you have the power to make the conscious decision to affect positive change. Focus your attention and efforts on the things you have the power to change, and choose to do what will truly bring you comfort, joy, and clarity.

• Instead of staying in bed with the curtains drawn, get up, take a shower, get dressed, and go for a walk.
• Instead of ruminating and getting stuck in thought patterns that only make you feel worse, distract yourself with self-care.
• Instead of talking to your friend or family member who is gaslighting you, turn to the people who help you feel centered and optimistic.

Choosing positivity can be hard, but as you go through these steps more and more, it’ll become easier to take this approach each time. Along the way, you may find there are many more things that you can control than you ever realized. You may come to realize that you tend to engage in thought patterns and behaviors that make you feel worse instead of better, or that there are certain people in your life you probably shouldn’t turn to for support in times of adversity. You’ll understand more about what truly makes you happy, and you will be able to choose to prioritize these things over things that don’t bring you as much joy and comfort.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. You won’t get a second shot. There are no do-overs. When you choose positivity, you choose happiness for yourself. And you deserve to be happy.

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