Many people spend their lives in the pursuit of happiness… constantly trying to find new ways to attain a permanent state of this seemingly elusive emotion. We are driven by societal pressure to be happy and are made to believe that we require something outside of ourselves to complete us and make us happy. Think of the fairy tales from our childhood declaring that the hero and heroine found each other and then lived happily ever after. In reality though, no one external factor will ensure a permanent state of happiness, getting married or finding the perfect job doesn’t guarantee that you are going to wake up happy each day.

“Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands.”
– Roy T. Bennett,The Light in the Heart

A number of factors may influence your happiness – your personality and nature; your upbringing, health and finances, all play a small part. Ultimately though, your happiness is an internal choice. You have the ability to create lasting happiness for yourself, it just requires sincere work and making conscious choices to live a good life, to thrive and be joyful even when faced with adversity.

Sometimes if you are stuck in a particularly negative situation, it is more about finding balance or an outlet which allows you to make your own happiness. By doing things that you enjoy or being with people you love and by focusing your mind on the good rather than drowning yourself by lingering on unpleasant thoughts. Happiness is not something that you can just turn on – you need to actively choose to build and practice new habits, routines and patterns which will foster a lasting feeling of happiness.

Remember that life is meant to have its ups and downs – you don’t need to pretend that the stress or negative situation isn’t there, rather you need to find healthy ways to balance the good and the bad in your life. It isn’t healthy to ignore pain or bury your negative emotions… Let’s face it, if you were super happy and unaffected in spite of a loved one dying, I would ask you what you were on! But, knowing those little things that make you smile and bring you happiness, means that in the midst of your turmoil you have an anchor to cling to while you process the heartache or worry, without it overtaking your world.

By Debbie Taylor