Happiness is a mindset.
Conventional wisdom tells us that happiness is a byproduct of circumstances, but that’s not entirely true.
I’ve known too many happy people that are poor and miserable people that are rich to believe that happiness is completely circumstantial.
Happiness is a choice.
Even on your worst days, you can still choose to be happy – it just might be challenging.
Life is tough for everyone. Although some people may have it worse than others, problems always seem more serious when they are ours.
We have all gone through rough patches and low points. Sometimes the situations are genuinely out of our control. No one asks to get side swiped by another car or to be randomly diagnosed with cancer.
However, the one thing that we can always control is our reaction to these situations.
Having experienced many highs and lows, I believe that one of the most important things we can do is to have control of our mental state. It’s absolutely crucial, in my opinion.
Everyday is Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving was last week and that’s actually what inspired this article. I love the family time and all of the delicious food, but it’s also nice to have a day that we reflect on what we’re thankful for.
Although, if you see how many people start their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving night, you’d probably think that most people are more concerned with what they don’t have than what they do have.
The most effective way for me to create a mental state of happiness is a simple exercise that I try to do every morning. I can’t remember where I first heard of this, but I know it’s something that I’ve seen suggested more than once. The exercise is to spend your first 5 minutes or so after waking up thinking about everything that you are grateful for.
I know, it sounds corny. But the truth is, it works for me. It’s hard to be genuinely thankful for the life you have and be unhappy at the same time.
When I do this, I think of anything that comes to mind that I might normally take for granted:
- My health and simple things like having 2 legs to walk on
- My family and friends that care about me
- My wonderful girlfriend
- Having a roof over my head with electricity and running water
- My dog
- Having a nice, reliable car
You get the idea.
As bad as things might seem, there is always someone else who is worse off. Being thankful for what we already have is the first step to creating an abundance mindset and also causes us to be happy.
Try it and see for yourself.
Shift in Mindset
Maybe you don’t take very much for granted, but you’re just in a bad situation. There are a lot of times when we are down, but we know it will pass. Such as after a breakup or the loss of a loved one.
It’s still important to focus on being happy, because all of the stress, anxiety and depression clouds the mind and holds us back.
How do you stay happy when everything is crumbling around you? Just like with everything, it starts with mindset.
How to Be Happy After a Breakup
I remember my first real breakup. It hurt, a lot.
I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I didn’t have an appetite to eat. It was pitiful.
Of course I eventually got over it, but it took me longer than it should have.
When a relationship ends, you just have to let it go. Be thankful for the good times and let go of the rest.
I have a personal rule that I never date an ex. I’m not saying it won’t work, but it never did for me. I’ve also never seen people break up and get back together and seem genuinely happy. Once one or both of you are willing to end the relationship, there’s just no going back to how it was before.
So how do you be happy after a painful breakup?
Accept it and move on.
Easier said than done, right? Well, it depends how you look at it. The way I see it is like this:
- If I decide to break up with a girl and then get back with her, I’m settling.
- If she breaks up with me and then we get back together, she’s settling.
I don’t want to settle or be settled on. So for me, when it’s done it really is done. I could waste time pouting and playing the what if game, but what’s the point? Looking at it that way, it’s actually pretty easy to just accept it.
It’s a choice and happiness is always a choice.
If you can’t get your mindset adjusted, there’s one guaranteed solution to get over an ex – start dating other people.
“The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” – Not sure who said that, but it’s the truth!
We like to think of ourselves as great multi-taskers, but we’re not. You’ll quickly forget about your ex once you start enjoying the company of other girls and the thrill of the hunt is reignited.
One thing an older coworker told me when I was 18 is that every time things don’t work out with one girl, you always find a better one afterwards. To my surprise, this has always been true for me.
How to Be Happy After Losing a Loved One
I’ve never lost anyone close to me to a major tragedy, so I’m not going to pretend to know what that’s like or discuss how you be happy in that situation. However, I have lost several loved ones earlier than I expected.
Losing a loved one is tough and it’s normal to go through a grieving phase.
Some people might say that it is selfish to want to be happy and not grieve for very long, but I disagree.
The reason why I feel that way is because if I died today I wouldn’t want my family and friends to be depressed over me. I would want them to move on and be happy. When I say “move on” I mean move on from the sadness of a loss, not move on from that person.
The mindset shift that I use in these situations is to focus on celebrating the life of that person, rather than focusing on the loss.
I often notice that talking about someone who recently passed if sort of off limits with many people. They don’t want to think about their loved one who passed because it makes them sad. To me, that’s a bad way to look at it.
I experienced this a couple of years ago when my grandparents on my mom’s side both passed away. I was very close with them growing up. They were like second parents to me. So when they passed away it was a big loss.
I miss them a lot and it bothers me that they will never get to meet my future wife and kids.
However, I didn’t go through a depression or long grievance like I thought I would. In fact, something different happened. I thought to myself that I could be sad and try to not think about it or I could think about them even more and be happy for the time we shared.
They were such great people that it felt wrong to avoid thinking about them because it might make me sad. They did so much for me while they were here that I think they deserve to be celebrated.
Losing a loved one is very personal and what helps me might not help you at all, but it will likely help someone.
Like any other negative event in life, my first response is always to come to acceptance of what has happened. I accept that there’s nothing I can do to go back in time and change the outcome. Then I look for the positive side and try my best to only focus on that. In the case of a loved one passing away, the positive side for me is celebrating the good memories and qualities of that person. I don’t try to avoid being sad, I just try to focus on being happy. It’s a small shift in mindset that makes a big difference.
Every situation is unique, but the choices remain the same.
You can choose to let it get the best of you or you can choose to be happy.
You can choose to focus on solutions instead of focusing on the problems.
You can choose to be grateful for what you do have instead of complaining about what you don’t.
Take responsibility for your life and own it. It’s no one else’s job to make you happy.
To be happy or not – the choice is always yours. Which one are you going to choose today?
Until Next Time,
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What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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