During the holidays the illusion that people are happy and family gatherings are a joyous time is the ideal that sells. It’s all over social media and marketers capitalize on it. Although there are many fortunate people for whom this is true, this is not the reality for a large number of people who experience the holidays with anxiety, stress and sadness. We’ve come to believe that our happiness is dependent on our circumstances and being happy is beyond our reach.
I’d like to devote the next few weeks discussing the state of Happiness as being a choice. We don’t have to wait for our circumstances to be ‘holiday’ perfect before we’re happy. I invite you over the next few weeks to open your heart and mind to the possibility of happiness being a choice that is within your control.
This is part 1 in the 3-part series on The Choice of Happiness by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.To become happier, you must intentionally apply effort every day of your life. Click To Tweet
The King of Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, has decided that the best way to foster economic development in his country is to shift the focus from GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to GDH: Gross Domestic Happiness.
While most people in this tiny country between India and China are subsistence farmers, they enjoy food, shelter, and universal health care. They refuse to make money from commercial ventures that could compromise their nation’s health, environment, and egalitarian principles.
So, can an entire country—or even one individual—raise happiness levels?
Being in choice with our state of mind is something I focus on with my coaching clients. Many have never considered being in choice even an option. Logically, we know we must devote considerable time and effort to master a sport, hone our professional skills or successfully rear a child. We have a blind spot regarding exerting control over our emotional or mental lives and most often we haven’t paused to consider that we have a choice in the matter.
With sports, there’s a correlation between practice and mastery. As it turns out, the same applies to attaining greater happiness. You need to be intentional, mindful and practice what it is you are seeking.
To become happier, you must intentionally apply effort every day of your life. It can be hard work, but it’s the most rewarding assignment you will ever undertake.
Why Be Intentional About Achieving Happiness?
Researchers who study happiness have found compelling reasons to achieve it. Happier people are:
- Better leaders
- More flexible and innovative
- More resilient when faced with hardships
- More productive at work
- More sociable
- More energetic
- More charitable and cooperative
- Better liked by others
- Better negotiators
- Higher earners
- Physically healthier (stronger immune systems)
- Likely to live longer
Happiness bolsters and sustains self-confidence and self-esteem. We come to believe in ourselves as worthy human beings, deserving of respect—a mindset that facilitates positive behaviors and outcomes leaving us feeling more fulfilled.
As we become happier, it benefits not only ourselves, but also our partners, families, communities and society at large.
How will you pursue happiness this holiday season?