Karla’s Korner: Happiness is a Choice
Happiness is a Choice
Throughout the past several days I have read numerous articles about happiness and joy. Carolyn Gregorie, writing contributor for The Huffington Post recently wrote that there is scientific proof that happiness is a choice. Citing that there are eight ways to take control of your own happiness, I found myself questioning her theory and wondering if it is truly possibly to choose to be happy. Posing the question to my panel of experts (my social media friends) several of them believe that happiness is a result of circumstances and how we react while others believe that happiness is based on our perspective and how we see life events. According Gregorie, humans have a “set point” or center to which our happiness level revolves. We circle around this set point, becoming happier when good things happen or the opposite when unfavorable things happen. After the up or down time she believes that we return to the equilibrium or the starting point; we become neutral again.
After reading the article I find myself wondering if choosing happiness is do-able. Is it possible to be happy while muddling through the struggles that life throws our way? Can we really be happy when we have unpaid bills, sick children, broken down cars, lost jobs or failing and broken relationships? According to Gregorie, it is not only possible but necessary. Citing eight ways to take control of your own happiness Gregorie makes it a point to focus on positive attitude, mindfulness and compassion to name a few.
All too often we find ourselves facing troubles that overwhelm and drain us. Admitting that I have not always chosen happiness, I know that I am far from successful in this area; I am a work in progress. My friend, Connie, however is a true example of the choosing happiness theory. Connie’s life has brought about struggle, sadness and loss on numerous occasions and yet, somehow she is able to shine her joy, hope and happiness to the world around her. No matter the situation or struggle, Connie finds the inner strength to move forward, relying on her deep Christian faith, accepting the struggle as a life lesson to learn and then share her experience with others so that they too may learn. She chooses happiness in spite of her struggles.
Another example is my friend Sweetie, whom I’ve written about previously. Silently suffering from Parkinson’s disease for the past 15 or more years she embraces each day with her infectious smile, quick wit and grace. She accepts the difficulties brought on by the Parkinson’s with a smile on her face, peace in her heart and an attitude of gratitude. Sharing her wisdom, wit and heart with me during our Friday afternoon phone calls it becomes apparent that choosing happiness is not only possible but beneficial to her and those she shares her life with. She chooses to be happy; she also chooses to spread her happiness to those around her. Her happiness becomes an opportunity for others to choose happiness as well.
All too often when we are faced with obstacles in our life journey we allow negativity to creep in and hold us back. I wonder what would happen if we turn our tragedies into a story all the while choosing happiness as the foundation of everything we do. I remember an elderly lady in my church. She was bound to a wheelchair having to rely on her daughter to care for her completely. Mildred was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met. She was an average lady modestly dressed and always carried a song on her lips ready to sing. Watching Brenda care for her dear mother with a purposeful peace often with a song and a smile it was apparent that both chose happiness. Mildred, overcome with issues that affected her mobility and health chose to sing as loud and as often as she could. Brenda never complained about taking care of her mother, she just did what was needed and did so with a song on her lips and joy in her heart. Sadly Mildred died a few months ago, leaving Brenda sad and for the first time ever alone; she misses Mildred but chooses to move forward. She chooses to be happy in the midst of heart ache, loss and a new life without her momma.
All three ladies could allow themselves to wallow in their grief and struggles, however, they choose to accept the challenges of life and move on in happiness. I encourage you to search within yourself and seek happiness in spite of the struggles you face. According to Gregorie, taking control of your own happiness is proven to improve the quality of your life and health. Famed author and poet Mildred Barthel once said “Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.” Make the choice. Be happy.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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