Yesterday morning as I drifted in that half-dream space between asleep and awake, my mind was playing around with the idea of happiness.
Then I had a thought that rang so true to me, it jolted me straight from half-asleep to fully awake:
Happiness is an action.
We’ve all heard that saying that “love is a verb,” right? That love isn’t just something we feel; it’s something we do.
I’ve been reading about and studying and chasing the ideas of happiness long enough that I instantly recognized the same is true of happiness. The intense, simple truth:
We are happy when we make the choice to do things that make us happy.
And, by contrast, we are unhappy when we choose to do the things that make us unhappy. (See, for example, yesterday’s post: Seeking Outrage vs. Seeking Peace.)
I need to think on this one a lot more but I wanted to share it here with you.
It’s a small (and almost obvious, once you think about it) shift, but yet a big one. We’ve heard the idea that happiness is a choice, but what does that mean?
Maybe it means that happiness is a choice in that we choose to do the things that make us happy, or we choose to do the things that make us unhappy.
We can choose to write in a gratitude journal (which studies show increases happiness), or we can choose to perseverate (one of my favorite words, by the way) on the things that are frustrating us.
We can choose to go on a walk, or we can choose to sit and watch a show we’re not really interested in.
We can take the time to make a delicious healthy meal, or we can go for the french fries. (Okay, sure, french fries are temporary happy, but you know that feeling of heavy, greasy regret in your gut comes way too soon.)
We can reach out to connect with friends or make the effort to meet new people or we can let ourselves become engulfed by loneliness.
We can work on our own life and dreams, or we can covet someone else’s.
We can choose to do the things that make us happy, or we can choose to do the things that make us unhappy.
Happiness is an action.
This is not, obviously, the end-all be-all one-stop solution on how to be happy, and what’s more I’m undoubtedly not the first person to think this. Happiness is complex and multilayered.
More on this as I think more about it. But for now, don’t try to be happy. Make the choice to do happy.
P.S. Did you know you can read my entire first YA sci-fi adventure book, free, online? And if you’re a parent or educator, or just someone who enjoys activities, check out the free, thought-provoking, skill-building activities at the end of every chapter! The Universes Inside the Lighthouse (and subsequent books in the series) was inspired by my love of books like A Wrinkle In Time or shows like Doctor Who. It’s my own exploration and answer to the deep and sometimes unanswerable questions: what else is out there? What if we could meet aliens from other planets? What if everything were possible? What’s more, through the power of truth-through-fiction, The Universes Inside the Lighthouse addresses issues of loneliness and compassion and gives parents and educators an opening to discuss these challenging but important issues. I love this series so much and I hope you will too! Start reading chapter one here! And feel free to spread the word!
Check out Pam’s books!
- The Universes Inside the Lighthouse—YA sci-fi adventure / first in the Balky Point Adventures
- The Wishing Rock series—women’s fiction / wit, wisdom, and recipes
- The Pam on the Map series—travelogues / wit and wanderlust