Let’s face it, we all have those days when we don't feel happy. Sure, circumstances and certain events in your life can change emotions for the worse in an instant, but the outcome of whether you are miserable or happy all comes down to you.
The power of choice is one of the most extraordinary things that human beings have. We have the choice whether to be happy or sad, and that choice is in front of us to make every single minute of every day.
I learned the power of choice when I was recently walking in downtown Chicago. As I came around a corner, I saw a homeless man lying on the side of the street with a huge smile on his face. What was different about this man is that he wasn’t asking for money or even food. He was just smiling.
As I began talking to him, he said that people think he is crazy, not because he is homeless and has no shoes on his feet, but because he always has a huge smile on his face. He then went on to explain that he has a choice to either be happy or miserable, and he promised himself that he will always choose to smile and be happy no matter how tough his life may be.
This short story leads me to three ways to instantly increase your happiness levels:
1. Choose to be happy.
It sounds so easy and cliché, but as I stated before, the power of choice is extraordinary. A lot of us take it for granted. I wanted to share the above story to give you a clear example of a man who has nothing but still chooses to be happy.
I have seen hundreds of examples of men and women who don’t have as much success, materialistic possessions or status as others but still manage to be incredibly happy. How is this so? The power of choice. They choose to be happy and not let their circumstances or another person dictate whether they are going to be happy or not.
First, you must choose to be happy before you can ever be happy. It's not an event or level of achievement that brings real and lasting happiness -- it's a choice that does.
2. Live in a constant state of gratitude.
One of the most efficient and easiest ways to increase your happiness levels is to constantly think, express and write down all that you are grateful for. I know your next statement may be, “I don’t have much to be grateful for in my life right now.” I beg to differ.
Every single one of us that is alive and breathing right now has a whole lot to be thankful for. It can be some of the most simplest things that you take for granted every single day, like having the chance to take your child to school, the beauty of mother nature or to just be alive and experience life.
It’s impossible to be stressed, miserable and unhappy when you are constantly paying attention to all that you are grateful for, and nothing is ever too small to be grateful for.
3. Get in tune with your long-range goals and vision.
This is very important because most people’s unhappiness comes from short-term disappointments. This is why creating a grand vision for your life and having not only short-term goals but long-range and lifetime goals is vitally important.
When I experience short-term disappointments, I don't let them bother me as much because I quickly get in tune with my long-range vision. That excites me and helps me to realize that, hey, this outcome that has me down right now won't last. I have something way bigger in store for me in the future.
The next time that you are feeling down, get in tune with your long-range goals and vision. If that doesn’t change your state in an instant, they're not big enough.
Every single one of us wants to be happy. I hope these three easy-to-implement steps can help increase your happiness levels the next time you are feeling down.
Related: The Simple Secret to a Happy Life