Can You Decide To Be Happy? 

I often call Penn my ‘golden retriever.’ Even on his worst days, he will find something to laugh about and find bits of joy in the madness of our day to day life. Me? Well, that’s entirely different. As I type this, I’m having one of those days that I can feel the anxiety vibrating in my chest. The weather is gloomy but there’s nothing “wrong” per se. I’m healthy and I have a wonderful life, but anxiety seems to find me. That’s why I bristle when I hear someone talk about simply, “deciding to be happy.”   

I think we can all agree that everyone craves more positivity. But is it possible to change your wiring to live a happier life?

Life Happens 

One of our goals for this unique job of ours is to spread joy. Oftentimes when we are thinking about a new script to write or a video to film, we will ask ourselves, “Is this creating joy?” But, honestly, that’s not always as easy as it seems. We all have hard days, there’s often situations beyond our control that aren’t good news, life happens (right now staring at two large holes in our ceiling from a water leak we haven’t been able to identify). So how do we go about being happy when it doesn’t always feel that way? 

On my happiness quest, I recently read a few books by Neil Pasricha, including The Happiness Equation and Our Book of Awesome. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author who focuses on creating a more positive existence. Neil’s happiness journey started out of some tragic circumstances in his life. Intrigued by what he’s learned, we invited him to join us on our podcast. 

On The Right Path 

It didn’t take long into our discussion, for Neil to broaden my perspective with his experience and research on the matter. One thing he said that really stuck with me is that we will always be on the journey of seeking happiness, and we just need to make sure we are on the right path to get there. Thinking about it in those terms, just daily steps on a path, seems much more achievable than reaching this mega-goal in life of ultimate happiness. 

In Neil’s experience, much like my own, it’s often a suite of things that keep you on this path – things like counseling and therapy, journaling, and taking walks outside everyday. All of these intentional daily efforts keep pushing you closer to your goal. 

Even Neil, a happiness expert, says that it’s not always easy. It’s a process for everyone, but one thing you can do is to make your happiness work public. Having the accountability of sharing with someone else helps you to force your practice. 

A Practical Step

We learned some practical tips from Neil on small but impactful things we can change in our daily lives to be sure we are on the right path. For starters, instead of looking at your phone first thing in the morning (guilty!), spend the first two minutes of your day with a piece of paper. Write down the answers to these questions to set your tone for the day: 

  • I will let go of ___________
  • I am grateful for ___________
  • I will focus on ___________

You can hear our full conversation with Neil at any of the podcast links below. Here’s to each of us walking on the path of happiness together, even on the hard days. 

Note: Some of the items in this blog include Amazon Affiliate and other links which earn a small commission.