Is Happiness a Choice?

By Julia Bauer

I’m sure most of us have heard the age-old question: Is the glass half empty or half full? Well, it all depends on how you choose to look at it.

From when we wake up and pick out our clothes to what we eat for dinner, we are constantly making choices. What most people don’t realize is that happiness is a choice, too. Throughout life, we are all dealt different cards, and our mindset is based on how we choose to look at these cards. 

Some people have innately positive mindsets, while others are naturally more negative. However, it doesn’t matter if you feel you were born with the latter. You can choose to change your mindset. 

In my experience, the idea of “fake it until you make it” proves to be true. Whenever I felt insecure or down about life, I started acting the opposite. I started pretending to have a positive mindset. One day, I realized I wasn’t pretending anymore.

I made my decision; I chose to be happy. 

What Exactly Is A Mindset?

A person’s mindset is shaped by their thoughts and experiences. It determines how they respond and process situations, according to an experimental psychology expert with Psychology Today. Some negative mindsets can trap people in “self-defeating cycles.” 

Mindsets exist on a scale from fixed to growth. People with more fixed mindsets believe their abilities and intelligence are unchangeable, while people with growth mindsets believe they can develop these things, according to Psychologist Carol Dweck. Fixed mindsets encourage people to blame themselves for negative situations, but growth mindsets allow people to view how far they’ve come and how much they can continue growing. Similarly, I believe optimism and pessimism are mindsets. Optimism allows people to view the world in a positive light, while pessimism does the opposite. 

How To Change Your Mindset

When I chose to be happy, I chose to become an optimist. I started looking for the bright side in every situation. 

Although it sounds simple, most of us probably know it’s not easy. 

Years ago, I started making the conscious effort to find silver linings every day. It felt silly and weird at first, but it became second nature to me after a few years. I stopped letting my mistakes tear me down and started using them as opportunities to grow. 

Any time I began doubting myself, I would lie and tell myself there was no reason. Well, at the time I thought I was lying. However, I eventually realized it was never a lie. My fixed mindset had me trapped in a self-defeating cycle that convinced me I should have low self-esteem. I transformed by changing my fixed mindset into a growth mindset. 

Making the choice to be happy doesn’t mean you’ll never be sad. Life happens. Although, making the choice to be happy has made me less hard on myself when sad things happen. Having an optimistic mindset will allow you to find a hint of good in any situation. 

Do It For Yourself

You should be one of your own top priorities, and many of us don’t realize that. It’s important to put yourself first at least some of the time. By choosing to be happy, you’re putting yourself first. 

One bad day doesn’t mean your life is bad. Pause for a minute and look at how far you’ve come. Look at how much you’ve learned. Look at how much you’ve grown and how much you will continue to grow. Ultimately, look at the bright side.  

You deserve to be happy, and you can control that. Make the choice to be happy – view the glass as half full.

*If you feel down or sad for an extended period of time (or to an extreme), please seek professional help. While a growth mindset can help with positivity, some people and situations may need additional assistance getting there.


The 6 Best Places to See Manatees in Florida

Ho’oponopono: An Ancient Hawaiian Path to Forgiveness

5 Ways to Best Manage Stress 

Exploring the Benefits of Eggplant