Just sitting here pondering why would people not choose to be happy?? It is a question that baffles me frequently. I know many people that are just generally unhappy. They feel distressed with the worries of life, joyless in their daily interactions, and just feel like they got stuck with the “short end of the stick.” Why would someone choose that wretched path of life??
If you were to ask someone what they most want out of life?? I would suspect that majority of people would give answers like, “to be successful,” “to make a lot of money,” and “to be happy.” So why when given the notion they choose unhappiness?? By being happy, you can make more money, find a better job and be better motivated to reach those goals that will make you successful in your life.
Why make the change:
So why aren’t people happy?? If you look around there are loads of books about happiness, the sermons at church are about being feel good and happy, you find magazine articles about the art of happiness. Even in our US Constitution it says “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” So why is it so hard to make that decision to be happy?
Happiness is based on 50% of our genetics, 10% based on how much you earn from income, living conditions, and your job. The other 40% is based on intentional actions– what we choose to do to make us happy.
At about the time you hit the teenage age, your brain starts losing part of its chemical makeup that helps us be happy it is called dopamine. Dopamine is what our brain makes when it is happy. Depending upon circumstances and how you choose to react to situations, your brain either makes dopamine, or the cells slowly start to die off. If you don’t use them by being happy, they will slowly start to whither away. Research has shown that the cells do not regenerate. So it is a use it or lose it situation.
One way to help use the cells and make dopamine is through physical activity. Being on the move, exercising, doing things out of the “norm” to stimulate our brains in a positive way, are all good things to help dopamine growth.
People believe that if good things happen you will be happier, or if you have bad things happen your life will be bad forever. But the reality is when you go through bad things people generally bounce back and do move on with their life in happiness. Sometimes a bad thing needs to happen in order for us to learn from it and put things in perspective in our lives.
What made us happy before internet, television, cars, etc? Go back 80 years or go to remote village tribes who are void to all of our modernized world and their happiness is based on community. Belonging to a “family”, helping each other out, being responsible for others in every aspect of their lives is what made and still makes people genuinely happier.
Compassion and love for one another is a lost art in our society. Most of us, don’t even know our own neighbors.
How to make the change:
So what is the most effective in achieving happiness in life?
Having gratitude, counting your blessings, and acts of kindness. These are all great ways to achieving happiness. Things that help you look at something bigger than yourself so to say. If you only seek your own happiness in life it is kind of selfish. But once you worry about the well-being of the world your life grows. You care about something bigger than yourself. In a way you can transcend your life, your death by caring about these things that are bigger than yourself.
If each of us spent a smidgen of time each day practicing happiness or other virtuous qualities like compassion etc, our world would really be a better place. We should really be looking at happiness as a skill. Like we want to learn to play piano, or to cook, we should really want to learn to be happier.
Formula for happiness is not the same for everyone. But the things we do are the building blocks of our life. Play, having new experiences, friends and family, doing things that are meaningful, and appreciating what we have, these are what makes us happy and they are free. And with happiness the more we have the more everyone has.
So I ask you………Do you choose happiness??