Can You Really Make Yourself Feel Happy?

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I posted this graphic on my Facebook fan page the other day…

I received a comment from a reader saying that it was insulting to some – and once she told me WHY she was unhappy?

I felt like a complete a**hole. Considering what she had been through, I could see why it wasn’t as easy as changing something…

It’s not always that simple to make yourself feel happy, is it?

You can’t just wake up and say to yourself, “I choose to be happy today.”

Or can you?

This is something that I think about quite a bit, and has helped me tremendously in my own life. I like the idea of being able to make yourself feel happy, and I think that it is possible…

I know that there are circumstances under which some literally have no choice in whether or not they are happy – clinical depression being the first one that comes to mind. The best of intentions and the fluffiest of kittens can’t compete with science.

But for the rest of us?

I really feel that no matter what has happened, what crappy hand we’ve been dealt in life, we can find ways to make ourselves happier – even if it is just a tiny bit happier.

Find something, anything that makes you feel good and do it.

When my grandmother died in 2010, my mother had a really hard time because she was so close to my grandma – they saw each other almost every day. They were best friends. She was incredibly depressed and she grieved, but she tried to find things to make her feel better to cheer herself up.

Sometimes, finding happiness can be as simple as that – find a little thing that cheers you up!

Will it make your entire life turn around for the better? Will it solve all of your problems?

Of course not.

But if one simple act can bring happiness into your heart for even a moment, why not do it?

Find things that you enjoy, like spending time outdoors, watching funny movies, or baking a decadent dessert. Spend an hour on the phone with an old friend or go out and meet a friend for a cocktail. Just lay in bed and read a book. Pet your cat or dog. Listen to uplifting music.

Find something – anything – that makes you feel good. It may not change your life, but it can help change your day.


Did you know:

  • Psychologists have found that you can instantly feel happier by forcing yourself to smile!
  • Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system.
  • In a study conducted in Sweden, people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other subjects who were smiling!
  • Your body immediately releases endorphin when you smile, even when you force it. This sudden change in mood will help you feel better and release stress.

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  1. says

    Loved this! As someone with mental health issues, I can be a little oversensitive about my emotions not always being in my control. At the same time, every day I get out of bed is a day that I can keep changing, improving and challenging myself in my pursuit of happiness. Wonderful post!

  2. says

    Great post and quotes. I really think it is possible to make a conscious decision to go into each day with a positive attitude. This doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong, but it does mean that you can try your best to see the bright side and choose to enjoy the life you have been given rather than get drug down by the things that go wrong. I say this as a person who has had many many things go horribly wrong.

    • says

      I agree. I’m a generally happy person, I think. But there have been times when it’s been hard to maintain happiness. Life happens sometimes and you can easily get mired down in sadness if it feels like that is all that is around you.

  3. says

    I do believe you can make yourself and chose to be happy, however I also believe there are times when tragedy hits or major unexpected twist in our lives that give us the right and the need to not be happy and to deal with the emotions that come with it.

  4. says

    Having recently been through a huge loss, I have to say that there is some truth here. Without finding some source of comfort, be it, allowing yourself to sleep a bit longer or watch a movie that you enjoy, you can drown in the sadness if it’s big enough.

    I am still grieving, however, I try to find times to talk with friends, watch The Amazing Race, do work that makes me happy or even exercise.

    I have found that it’s very easy for me to choose happiness on any given day, however, the times that really test it like times of great tragedy, are the hardest. Those are also the times that test my faith.

    They also can make us stronger and realize inner resources we didn’t know were there.

    I’ve always thought, it’s so easy to think this way during the good times. But, to find it when all around you is difficult, is true grace.

  5. says

    Loved this post Jenn. It can be hard to smile when things get tough, but sometimes you need to push through. And sometimes you need to cry. It’s a balance. Great post and the photos are beautiful.

  6. says

    This is true. Even when I’m not particularly happy I find things to be grateful for. God’s grace makes me smile even when I’m not sure about what will happen. If we exercise gratitude so many other things will come to pass.

  7. says

    Life will always have its ups and downs. The latter is inevitable. I’ve been through a lot in life, yet I still manage to try to look on the bright of things. Sometimes things happen beyond our reasoning, but we can’t forever dwell on it. Otherwise, we forget to live.

  8. says

    Sometimes life throws curve balls – but I have met women who have Cancer are in chemo and yet they are happy. Do they have down moments – YES, but they put their best foot forward and just make themselves happy.

  9. says

    This is so true. No matter what bad things happen or the way your brain works, you need to make a conscious effort to think positively and react positively to outside forces. Doing this is the key to being happy.

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