In pursuit of happiness

We all have our struggles and choosing to be happy can actually be intentionally practised. [iStockphoto]

Choose happiness, they will tell you. But is it that simple? Although it comes from within, happiness just does not happen to you. It takes a lot to make the right changes towards this positive, feeling especially when you are going through situations that cause negative thoughts.

Loss, trauma and disappointment are some of the things we will all encounter in our lifetime. How you react and move forward will determine your state of mind.

According to behavioural scientists, we tend to focus more on bad experiences than positive ones. You will be tempted to force yourself to stop thinking about them but the more you do that the more you actually ruminate on those negative thoughts.

Instead, acknowledge what you are going through. That could be a toxic work environment or money problems. Own your worries and look for ways you can manage them in a healthy way. If that means quitting, do so; if you need to start an extra side job or business, take action.

We all have our struggles and choosing to be happy can actually be intentionally practised. Although many think of happiness as an emotional state such as joy, it is also a state of well-being that comes with contentment.

You need to understand that you will face challenges every day and your current circumstances should not determine the outcome of your feelings. Are there exceptions?

Of course. Some days will be harder but you must learn how to get out of the trap of thinking that certain things need to change first for you to be happy.

Despite what you are going through you do not really need to look that hard to find something good in your life. You are alive and healthy, you have something to do, you have loved ones, you can walk, and the list is endless. Happiness as they say is about perspective and you can always find reasons to be happy.