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6 Ways To Create Happiness In Your Life

Is happiness a choice?

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln

Is being happy a choice we make or does it just happen? Can we really change our level of “happiness”? Is happiness something you can measure, chart and increase?

Interestingly, according to The Happy Movie,

50% of our happiness is within our genes. Some of us routinely see the glass as ‘half full’ and are more cheery than others. Then, 10% of our happiness is made up of the things that happen that can make us happy. You hear a song that reminds you of a great time in your life or you scratch a ticket and win fifty dollars…you become happy. The other 40% of our happiness we get to create.

6 Ways To Create Happiness In Your Life

  1. Stop the comparisons. – Acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments. The more you judge and compare yourself to others and your fantasies of how you should be, could be, or would be the more likely your expectations will become unrealistic and unattainable.
  2. The past is the past. – Live in the present. You can’t be happy if you’re carrying the burden of the yesterday on your shoulders.  Did you make a mistake?  Did you have a terrible experience?  Whatever it may be, the past is history and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
  3. Count your blessings. – Sometimes we get so caught up in seeing what we don’t have, that we miss out on what is right in front of us. To be happy doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s yet to come.
  4. Inspire others find happiness. – Happiness doesn’t come through selfishness, but through selflessness. The more happiness you help others find, the more happiness you will find.
  5. Think about how far you’ve come. – Focus on your accomplishments rather than on what you didn’t do. In the heat of the moment when you feel like quitting, think about how far you have come and why you started in the first place.
  6. Invest your time in the things you love. – The most important decision you will ever make is what you do with the time that is given to you. Make the most of it.

Do you believe being happy is a choice? What would you add to the list of ways to create happiness?


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  1. I couldn’t agree more!! It’s not easy, but we have a choice in our response to situations, even though we can’t always control the situation ourselves. Great reminder!

    1. You’re right Heather! Focus on what we can control and the uncontrollable seems easier to manage.

  2. I needed to read this post as a reminder Jill. I especially have to remember #6, to do the things I love. Sometimes I get so bogged down in to-do tasks that I neglect to do the things that bring me joy. I started spending 30 minutes a day reading for pleasure and it has completely changed my attitude and mindset. Next up, taking a new creative course to get to my 40%!

    1. It sounds like you’re on your way to even more happiness Kemya. Everyone needs a reminder every now and then 🙂

  3. This is an awesome post, Jill. I love #2, and for me I’ve found that reminding me of this one really does make me a happier person. I’m reading a book right now called “A Buddha Walks Into a Bar” and he talks a lot about living in the present, and how much happiness you can draw from just being present in the moment. Even when it comes to mundane things like doing the dishes. It’s a really great little read.

    1. Hi Gina. Sounds like a great book. I’ve added to my to-read list for my next trip to the bookstore. Living in the present. Such a simple concept that I find so hard to do.

  4. What a great post! this goes along with what I try to share on my blog on a regular basis. I haven’t seen those statistics but it makes sense to me! Now I want to go watch the Happy Movie. I have been wanting to see it. I love your site also. I am currently working on getting “health happi” and will be sharing some of that on my blog in the near future. It’s nice knowing I have your blog to refer to!

    1. Hi Jillene! I will watch for your health happi posts! Will you focus on fitness or nutrition? A little of both?

  5. What a great post! I think happiness is a choice…everything happens for a reason and when I’m having a bad day I try to remember that and focus on the good things and people in my life. It’s hard not to be happy when you do that 🙂

    1. Hi Kara, I agree that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it’s hard to see what that reason is but eventually you know. Thank you for sharing your perspective 🙂

  6. These are great suggestions! Definitely helps us keep choosing to think and treasure the things that bring gratitude, peace, and happy feelings. I will say, though, that I define happiness more narrowly that most and so I do not think it is always choice. I separate happiness and joy, and consider most things that bring happiness are based on what “happens” as opposed to choosing to to see the silver linings when dark clouds are overhead. The selfless happiness you describe is what I would define as joy. So I fully agree, but I use a different word. :-p

    1. Tiffany I love this! Thank you for sharing your perspective and giving me something to think about 🙂

  7. Thanks. This definitely gives me something to think about. It is very interesting that 50% of your happiness comes from genes. I always try my best to be happy with what I have.

    1. Hi Katrina. The 50% gene-happiness connection gave me a lot to think about. Interesting isn’t it.

  8. This post really hit home with me. I’m in a funky mood…I think it may be the weather or lack of exercise but this really helped me look at things quite differently. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Oh the weather. Speaking of things we can’t control! Dreaming of sunshine and blue skies 🙂 Exercise is a must for me! It’s non-negotiable!

  9. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to spend my other 40% creating happiness. I think I would add being in the moment. When you’re truly there, it’s hard to look for anything else.

    1. You’re right Kendra. Slow down and appreciate being in the moment. It makes a big difference 🙂

  10. Great post! I definitely agree – we need to stop comparing ourselves with others and even our former selves and focus on right here and right now. Happy is a choice because you can control how you allow outside factors to affect you.

    1. Hi Julie. You’re right. You might not be able to control outside factors from occurring but you can control how you allow them to affect you.

  11. Great post! This gave me loads of inspiration 🙂

  12. This is a great post! Happiness is what you make it to be.

  13. I love your 6 Ways to Create Happiness! One of the hardest for me is to stop the comparisons. No matter how hard I try to get in shape and eat right, SOMEONE is always doing it “better” and it’s so hard to keep from getting discouraged sometimes!

    1. Been there and done that but not as often! It seems like it has taken me forever to be able to say the “not as often” part 🙂

  14. What a great sentiment! I’m sure I’ve had days where I felt completely unable to control my own happiness. I think a little reminder is just perfect!

  15. Great list, I know worrying about the future is a big one that zaps my happiness. It might be a mom thing though, I always worry about my kids. I make more of an effort to be in the moment though.

  16. Stop the comparison – this one is huge for me. I need to really work on this. I find that I am not comparing myself to others so much as to he past, what I used to be.

  17. Love this post and i agree half is genes and half is our choice to be happy. Your list is great! I would add to avoid negativity and drama, surround yourself with positive people.

    1. Hi Christine! I def should have included surround yourself with pos people. It makes a big difference 🙂

  18. Thanks for a great link up Jill! I look forward to linking with my fitness blogger buddies every Friday!

  19. This is amazing! I love the percentages for what makes up your happiness. So cool that we can create up to 40% of our happiness!

    1. Hi Kristen, I’m a stats person so I love 40% that is our choice. 40% that is in our control 🙂

  20. I really agree with number 6. Even though you obviously can’t spend all your time doing things that you love, it’s important to choose wisely with the time that you have. I’m overall a pretty happy person but definitely notice a difference with hormone levels throughout the month. 😉

    1. Me too Angie. But, once I realize the happiness-hormone connection I changed my mindset. It’s not perfect but it has made a big difference.

  21. LOVE this. Happiness is key! Choosing it is so important to our wellbeing and it will translate to all the other parts of our life as well. Great tips!

    1. You’re right Kimmie! The benefits of realizing happiness is our choice affects everything!

  22. I definitely think it’s a choice. One you have to sometimes work at daily 🙂

    1. True. Some days are tougher than others. That’s when it’s most important to remember happiness can be a choice. Thanks Jennifer 🙂

  23. Great post!!
    I do think that happiness is a choice we make and have to keep making!! And, some days it is easier than others!!

    1. Kim you’re right! Some days it seems impossible. Maybe those are the days that it’s most important to remember happiness is our choice. Interesting.

  24. Happiness is a way of life….This goes perfect with my latest on Kindness also 🙂 Overall just being the best we can be everyday is key 🙂

    1. You’re right Lynda. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but not often 🙂

  25. I heard that same statistic recently and was a little relieved. I have always felt like I had to work a lot harder than most people to “be happy.” My parents (loving and hard-working) were fearful and often negative people. When your little brain is immersed in that your whole life, it’s really difficult to break old patterns.

    I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to retrain my brain for joy. It’s not simply a choice for me–it’s a discipline.

    1. Hi Sandy, I had to retrain my brain and that took the discipline. It didn’t come naturally. Now, I can say it’s a choice. My happiness comes a lot easier 🙂

  26. Happiness is definitely a choice! It’s something I’ve been working on a lot. I actually found a quote yesterday that I really liked. “You being happy and in a state of joy is the best way you can be of service to the rest of us.”

    My biggest tip for finding happiness is to develop a morning routine that gets you in a positive state of mind.

  27. Awesome post. I am a big believer in happiness being a choice. I think everyone can choose to look at the bright or dark sides of things and it isn’t until you choose to be happy that you can actually do so.

    1. Well said Sara! Even when “bad” things happen if we can just change our perspective it will make a big difference all around. Does that make sense?

    1. Hi Annie, I get the impression that is true for a lot of us. Why do you that is? Why do we do it to ourselves?

  28. I LOVE this post, Jill. I talk a lot about how happiness is a choice (except for those struggling with true clinical depression). I try to do the things you list daily, but it’s always a practice! You look great in the picture at the top!

    1. Hi Megan, maybe I should have included a small disclaimer because you’re right. Mental illness and happiness is a whole other ball game. Thanks for the compliment [blushing]!

  29. Those were some interesting stats. I often wonder about it b/c I find that even after a couple of down days, I seem to return to my happy point, regardless. And then I wonder if everyone is like that or if some have to work harder at it than others. (the things I ponder!). Anyhow, I do think you can make choices to be happier and that we all should!

    1. Same here Amanda. Down days happen but something in me doesn’t allow them to stick around too long.

    1. Hi Lora, it took me way too long to realize how your perspective can make all the difference in life!

  30. Jill,
    I think too many of us think of happiness as this thing that we either are, or aren’t, when really it’s something that we hold the power to in our OWN hands. Bad things can occur out of our control, but it’s HOW we react to these events, and other things in life that we can change, and in return, create our own happiness.

    An AWESOME read would be the book Hardwiring Happiness, it talks about how as humans we’re conditioned to hold onto the bad, and forget the good/the happy moments so quickly, and if we can just practice ‘hardwiring’ our happiness through gratitude, we in turn can be happier!

  31. It is definitely a choice- thanks for the reminder– as I think sometimes my heart forgets what my brain knows.

  32. Great list! Happiness is most definitely a choice! I agree that comparison can steal so much from us…we do need to look at what is in front of us and see the blessing in it! I would add to the list doing things for others to show you appreciate them. I love making others feel loved…it makes me happy!

    1. Nancy, I think if we slow down and truly SEE, the comparison isn’t necessary. Easier said than done.

  33. i adore this! and all of them are so crucial. Counting blessings–> WIN WIN in life

    1. Thanks Lindsay. Even when it might not feel like it there are always so many blessings to count.

  34. I really do believe that I have a lot of control over my own happiness, but that doesn’t make it easy. I think I not looking back and not worrying about what’s coming up are what I struggle with.

    1. No, it’s not always easy but just being aware that a lot of it is up to you makes a big difference when it’s tough. Thanks 🙂

    1. I’m working on making myself slow down Amanda. It’s not easy but I’m getting there 🙂

  35. LOVE! while i think itz important to feel real emotions and not push them to the side, i also feel that we can choose happiness as indicated by your six wonderful tips!

    1. I agree Linz. Acknowledge the emotions goes a long way in not allowing them to steal your happiness. In fact, quite the contrary!

  36. Love this, Jill! I’m definitely a glass half full kinda gal and won’t let myself stay in a funk too long. Life’s too short. And too sweet!

    1. Hi Nicole, for way too long I was a glass half empty kind of person and didn’t even realize it. A little funk and move on is all I will allow now 🙂

  37. Awww Jill I love this!!! So so true! I am so very passionate about this subject. Of course there are things that are going to get you down, and some things happen that you are going to struggle with happiness no matter what, but for the most part we control a lot of it!

    Your tips are huge, I find they make a difference not only in happiness, but in confidence too. If you are happy with your life, you are more confident, so you will go after your goals, and bring in more happiness!

    Love this post!

  38. Yes Jill!! Awesome. It took me a little longer than I can to admit to realize happiness is most certainly a choice. Now I chose happiness every day!

  39. Ooh, stop comparisons should be #1…I’m guilty of this! Appreciation begins with yourself!

    1. Amy, I try so hard to not compare myself to others or, maybe even more, to the could should and woulds. Why do we do this to ourselves?

    1. Thanks Angela! It took me way too long to realize how true that is. Better late than never 🙂

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