Article Many people think that if they achieve happiness once they'll be happy forever but that is simply not true. 0 2023 Life coaching Wellness coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Happiness is a Choice not a Result: Examples and Quotes (Printables)

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Happiness is a choice quote

Updated April 6, 2023

Yes, Happiness Takes Work

There’s an old Confucius saying that I’m sure many of you have heard: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s a nice sounding quote and it is what we all dream of.

But has that ever actually happened to anyone? I’m guessing no. Jobs come with ups and downs just like life does. I for one happen to be one of those insanely lucky people who love life, but that doesn’t mean that I can just stop working at it.

Many people have the belief that if they achieve something important to them they will be happy for the rest of their days without having to put any more work into it. This goal could be anything. It could be getting a job, a promotion, a spouse, a kid; the possibilities are endless.

And I’m not saying that achieving these goals won’t make you happy. They can definitely bring you a lot of happiness. But there’s no end point in life where you’ve scored enough happiness points that you’ll never have to work another day at it. But is that so terrible?

Sometimes I like to imagine what I would do if I was a billionaire and one of my ideas was to open up a happiness research lab. This lab would figure out a way for people to be happy simply by taking supplements. I wanted to crack the code to happiness so that everyone could be as happy as me. But even in my imagination this never worked out. 

Making everyone have a healthy brain would make a significant difference in happiness around the world because having a healthy brain is the first step. But it’s not enough on its own.

There are so many people out there that have perfectly healthy brains, but never put any work into being happy and thus stay miserable. Happiness is not something that can be given, but something that must be achieved over and over again.


Happiness is continuous

I realize that this notion might make you feel scared. We’re taught in our society that if we can achieve enough we will be happy for the rest of our lives. But even if we do have many things in our lives to make us happy we still have to work at being grateful for them.

We also still have to work at achieving more happy things because over time we will get bored with what we have and will require new things to make us happy. (To clarify, when I say “things” I don’t necessarily mean material things but just anything that could make us happy.

This includes family, friends, and hobbies.) Now, I must admit that does sound exhausting. And it can be. But the happiness we can derive from hard work at it will be very much worth it.

Allow me to explain by using myself as an example. 2 years ago I was a very unhappy person, I had dealt with mental illness for years and was finally on the right treatment plan which allowed me to no longer be depressed.

But it didn’t make me happy.

However, since I was no longer depressed I had some energy so I decided to put that energy to work by working at achieving happiness.  

Over time I joined different social groups, in order to make friends and have a sense of community, by being more open to new experiences. I joined a church where people were from different backgrounds than me. At first it did take some effort to get used to but over time I came to love it because I met so many interesting people who were all very loving towards me.

A few months later I joined a group for adults with high functioning autism.  I have high functioning autism and at first really did not want to join the group because I felt that I didn’t want to be identified in that way. But with hard work, I overcame that fear and now I am so grateful for all of the friends I have made through the group.

Later, I worked on being happier during my alone time by exercising and doing meditation. It took me a while, but eventually I got to the point where I was walking for 2 hours a day and meditating almost every day.

And to this day I’m still working on adding things to my life to increase happiness. I recently became happier by taking more time to be grateful.  And I must admit: working towards happiness is fun!

happiness is a choice

No one on this planet is happy every second of every day so we could all potentially become happier. There is no maximum level of happiness (at least that has been achieved).

But even if you have achieved a high level you still have to put in the work to stay there. If humans were capable of staying happy forever then they would stop working altogether and society would fall apart.

There have been studies on rats that show that if the rat has the option of pushing a lever that will trigger happy chemicals in its brain it will continue to press the lever until it starves to death.

So it’s a good thing that happiness requires work. Your life may not be a life where you don’t have to work a day in your life, but it can still be a life you love.

Research backs that happiness is a choice not a result

Happiness is a choice not a result 4 Proven Facts

Genetics, upbringing, life circumstances... these all  impact our overall level of happiness. But research suggests that our mindset and our behaviours can also play a significant role in shaping our experience of happiness. Here are some of the most prominent studies in the happiness field:

  1. EXPRESS GRATITUDE. In one study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers discovered that intentionally practicing gratitude and positive thinking increased happiness levels. Participants who wrote letters expressing gratitude to others or wrote about positive experiences in their lives showed significant increases in happiness levels compared to a control group (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
  2. ENGAGE IN POSITIVE ACTIVITIES. If you express gratitude, do acts of kindness and savor positive experiences, you could experience higher levels of happiness, This is what researchers found in a study they published in the Journal of Happiness Studies. (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2014).
  3. A VIRTUOUS CIRCLE. If you have a positive outlook, you're more likely to experience good health and happy relationships. That was the take-away from a longitudinal study published in the journal Emotion. You'll also be better able to cope with negative events (Pressman & Cohen, 2005).
  4. A broad review of studies found that positive thinking, gratitude and mindfulness helps create happiness overall (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).

Research keeps being produced that confirms these findings. Yes, we have our lot in life in terms of genetics, the hand we were dealt when growing up, how things are working out for us these days. But external factors such as these are not the be all and end all of our mood. When in comes to happiness, we have a choice.

Happiness is a choice quotes

  1. "Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai LamaHappiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama Coaching Quote

  2. "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts." - Marcus AureliusThe happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. Marcus Aurelius Coaching Quote

  3. "Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not." - Valerie BertinelliHappiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not.	Valerie Bertinelli Coaching Quote

  4. "Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times." - AeschylusHappiness is a choice that requires effort at times. Aeschylus Coaching Quote

  5. "Happiness is not a destination, it's a journey. Happiness is not tomorrow, it is now. Happiness is not a dependency, it is a decision. Happiness is what you are, not what you have." - Zig Ziglar

Happiness is not a destination, it's a journey. Happiness is not tomorrow, it is now. Happiness is not a dependency, it is a decision. Happiness is what you are, not what you have. Zig Ziglar Coaching Quote

Happiness is a choice examples

Ok so that's a lot of science. Not convinced yet? Are you one of the people who feels like emotions happen TO them? Sort of like a tree being buffetted by the wind? How about considering these examples of how you can, indeed, CHOOSE to be happy.

#1 Choosing to focus on the positive: When you're faced with a difficult situation--maybe you've lost your job or broken up with your partner--you can choose to focus on the negative aspects of the situation, or you can look for the positive. Let's say in the case of the job loss, you could either focus on the opportunities this could present, such as the chance to explore new career paths, or we can focus on the negative aspects, such as the financial stress. When you choose the positive path, you cultivate a more optimistic outlook and increase our overall sense of well-being.

Choose to focus on the positive

#2 Cultivating gratitude: Another way we choose happiness has become quite a la mode and for good reason. It's about creating gratitude. You might make a daily habit of listing things you're thankful for, or just taking time to savor the positive experiences in our lives. This act in itself creates a virtuous circle where we actually create MORE happiness.

Cultivate gratitude

#3 Doing things that make us happy. We can choose happiness by engaging in activities that promote positive emotions in us: stuff we like. This might involve spending time with people we like, spending that extra hour gardening, home brewing or whatever our fav hobby is, or simply taking time to relax and recharge. When we make these activities a priority, we increase our overall sense of happiness and fulfillment in life.

Do Things That Make You Happy

#4 Choosing to forgive: When we choose to forgive others, we let go of negative emotions and create space for more positive emotions like compassion and empathy. In essence, we are choosing happiness.

Choose to forgive

#5 Taking responsibility for our own happiness: Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that external factors like money, relationships, or material possessions will turn on the happy switch in our brains. Only to find it doesn't work, and like in any good Disney movie, true happiness comes from within. By taking responsibility for our own happiness, we can focus on what really matters to us and cultivate a sense of inner peace and contentment.

Take responsibility for your own happiness

#6 Choosing kindness: When we choose to be kind to others, we actually icnrease our own happiness (yes also scientifically proven: Otake, 2007) Acts of kindness, no matter how small, can boost our mood and create a positive feedback loop of happiness and positivity.

Choose kindness

#7 Finding purpose and meaning: Finally, we can choose happiness by finding purpose and meaning in our lives. This might involve pursuing a career that aligns with our values, volunteering for causes we care about, or just finding and doing things that bring us joy. By choosing to live a life that is meaningful to us, we are, indeed, choosing happiness

Find your purpose and meaning

Happiness is a choice

Downloadable Happiness is a Choice Flashcards & Printables

Get your own copy of these cards here; put the up around the home and office and remember you can choose to be happy!



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