Is Happiness a Choice? Here’s Why the Answer is “Yes”

Many people think that happiness comes from having the best things in the world. Others feel happy when they are surrounded by loved ones, or able to fulfill their needs without worries. What if you are told that happiness is a choice? That it roots from your own view and perspective toward your surroundings?

“Happiness as a choice” may sound like a cliché, but it roots in the real psychological state. If you want to experience long-term content, you must change what’s inside you, because your surroundings change frequently.

Redefining Happiness and Its Effects

Why do people think that “happiness” means having more?

Because of misunderstanding about what happiness really means.

Happiness is not a goal in life, because it is a complex concept that may be different for each person. When people focus on achieving happiness, they tend to think about success, financial excess, recognition, fame, and sexual fulfillment. When they fail to achieve these things, they become depressed and think that they are unhappy.

To feel happy, you must think of happiness as a combination of purpose and pleasure. Purpose means you have a feeling that your daily life has meaning. Pleasure means experiencing positive emotions, such as amusement, contentment, pleasure, delight, mirth, and joy. This combination happens on a daily basis, which means that it cannot be placed as a single life goal.

By being mindful of this combination, you will welcome each day with excitement and a lighter heart. When you experience hardship, you can still hold on purpose and pleasure to go through the challenges.

How to Experience Happiness in Daily Life

You can have a fulfilling life by experiencing small but constant happiness every day. Switching your mind and emotion to healthier states can help you to live a happy life. Here are practical things you can do:

  • Appreciate small pleasures

Start focusing your attention on small pleasures you often overlook. Things such as delicious breakfast, a smooth trip to work, your spouse overtaking your daily task, or coworker offering some snacks to you can make your day brighter. When the day is over, recount those small joys before going to sleep in a good mood.

  • Pay more attention to your loved one

Feeling too busy lately? Try focusing on people close to you: families, friends, coworkers. Show extra attentions by asking about their health, praising their outfits, or treating them some snacks. Their positive responses will make you happier and feel appreciated.

  • List things that make you grateful

Complaining makes us forget the good things that we have. Try recounting everyday things that make you grateful, such as your working limbs, your stable paychecks, your ability to eat and experience small pleasure, or your family. Think about people who don’t have those things, and you will feel lucky and happier.

  • Create variations in your routine

If you have a stable routine, try breaking it up occasionally. For example, try a new lunch option, a different route from work to home, or weekend routine. Breaking from routine will ignite your curiosity, refresh your mind, and renew your daily experience.

  • Practice small kindness

Practicing kindness or altruistic acts can bring positive feeling. This is because altruistic acts can ignite the part of the brain that gets pleasure from sex or food. Say thank you with a smile to servers. Buy lunch for coworkers. Open the door for someone. Volunteer when you have time. These acts will bring positive changes in your life.

Finally, try to conduct “social media detox”. Many negative emotions such as envy, anger, and anxiety are caused by overexposure to social media. Cut down your use from eight hours to three, for example (or just log off for a day). You will feel the effect immediately.

Physical Activities, Health, and Happiness

There are connections between physical activities, health, and psychological state. By being active and healthy, your body responds better to stress. Physical activities can also encourage the production of dopamine, a hormone that creates a “happy” feeling in your brain.

There are several nice ways to feel happy through healthy or physical activities, such as:

  • Start walking

Never do sport before? Try taking up walking for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Pick a nice route, such as a friendly neighborhood route, beachside, or backyard hills. Morning walk (and sweat) will make you feel fresher and happier.

  • Sleep more regularly

Arrange your schedule so you can sleep for six to eight hours every night. Good night sleep will reduce the stress level and keep your hormones in balance. You will also feel more refreshed when starting your day.

  • Try breathing exercise, yoga, and meditation

Breathing exercise, yoga, and meditation help you to achieve “mindfulness”. Breathing regularly and feeling your muscle movements help to bring your mind to the “present”. They are good exercises to prevent bad habits, like dwelling in the past or anxious about the future.

Teaching yourself to be happy is the first step to have a good life. Happiness is a choice, and you have the control to improve your life.

5 Steps to Fall Out of Love and Heal Your Broken Heart

Many people welcome the feeling of falling in love, but they don’t always know how to fall out of love. Unable to let go the person you love is difficult because it stops you to find a better option. What if you fall in love with an abusive person, or someone who doesn’t appreciate you?

Falling out of love can be hurtful, and you may face psychological difficulties in letting go. However, taking slow but sure steps will help you release the burdening emotion. Once you let go, you are free to explore other options, or simply heal and relax.

Here are five steps to take if you want to fall out of love.

1. Find social supports

Taking the first step to “let go” can make you feel vulnerable. Finding reliable support is necessary at this point. The support can be your family members or friends you can trust. Be honest with them and say that you need support, encouragement, and strength to go through this.

Some people may be afraid to go through mental hurdles when they need to deliver bad news. However, once you pass this step, your loved ones will be willing to help. They may also know the best way to help since they have fresh “outsider perspectives”.

2. Remove all the reminders

Physically removing all reminders of your relationship or love toward the person can help you heal faster. They can be his or her belongings, love letters, photographs, or social media connections. If you still need their contacts for formal purposes (such as work), keep work email address and the main phone number.

If the process is too hard, ask your friends or family members to help. Ask them to send or deliver your ex’s belongings. Have them with you when you are erasing photographs and removing social media connections. These acts create physical symbols of “falling out of love”.

3. Ask for professional help

If you try to fall out of love after an abusive relationship, consider visiting a professional. There are several cases why cutting off personal feeling requires professional help. They are:

  • Abusive relationship

An abusive relationship is harmful, but some people with the twisted idea of love find it hard to leave their abusers. You need to break the state of mind that keeps you from leaving the abusive person. Professionals such as psychiatrist or psychologist will help you look at the reality better.

  • Separation by death

Death is inevitable, but it can happen when you are not ready. Bereavement can cause psychological problems if you cannot handle it well, especially if the deceased person is someone you love. Professionals will help you going through the tough times, which is important if you plan to have a new relationship in the future.

  • Existing psychological problems

If you have an existing psychological problem, such as depression or bipolar disorder, being dumped/left/abused by a loved one can make it worse. Professionals know the best strategy to prevent you from falling deeper into your symptoms.

Professionals keep your information private and offer a nonjudgmental view, so don’t feel self-conscious about asking for their help.

4. Focus on “the present”

It is easy to drown in nostalgia or daydream about far-fetched possibilities. However, they will prevent you from falling out of love. Keeping your perspective in the “present” is important to erase the love burden completely. There are several ways to do it, for example:

  • Take guided meditation or yoga class

Yoga and guided meditation teach you to center your mind and release pressure. Connecting your breath and muscles with your mind can also help to remind you to be “present”.

  • Take scheduled walk

The rhythmic pace of walking can help “connecting” your mind with body movement, creating a sense of real presence. Walking in a scenic route or casual spots (such as in the park or neighborhood street) can also bring your mind to the real world.

  • Write a goodbye letter to your ex/unrequited love

Create a symbolic goodbye by writing a letter to your ex or unrequited love. Explain things that made you love him/her, along with all the hurts you experience. Be honest about what you really feel before ending the letter with goodbye words. Rip the letter apart or burn it as a physical symbol of goodbye.

By focusing on the “now”, you can feel confident enough to leave your old “love”. You are free to continue your life, find a new person, or just heal.

5. Take care of yourself

Finally, after all the ordeals, you have the right to relax and treat yourself. Start doing things you love, such as reading favorite novels, cooking, gardening, or making crafts. Take time for leisure, such as going to the spa or shopping. Try something you always want to do, such as traveling, having a pet, or something as simple as trying a new restaurant.

Falling in love may be beautiful, but there are times when leaving it is the best option, especially if it damages you. Knowing how to fall out of love is important to help you heal and facing the future.