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Can a person choose to be happy?

Old 04-20-2015, 05:52 PM
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Can a person choose to be happy?

I am still trucking along, almost two weeks sober. But holy goodness anxiety and depression have really taken hold. Day seven was actually the worst, I stayed up all night worrying about everything totally out of control with impending dread.

Anyway I stayed home today from work because my thoughts are all over the place and I just feel so depressed and have this nagging dread over nothing.

So anyway I saw some trivial daytime television and this pop psychologist was talking about choosing to be happy. Sounds easy doesn't it??!

Maybe after I have the minimum sober time to have my brain settle down that could make sense, but today I was like, "Choose to be happy? SHUT IT!!!!!!"
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:56 PM
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Yes. Even when I was still using/drinking, I had to choose to be happy or I was going to kill myself. I still act as if some days. I'm facing some serious stuff next week and either I act "as if" or I'm going to drive myself off the nearest cliff.
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:59 PM
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That's a very loaded question.

No, I don't believe someone can CHOOSE to be happy. They can however take steps to MAKE themselves happy. I guess sometimes people try to project images and thoughts of happiness, but I don't think that works, and it's just outside fluff. Many times, on the inside they're not happy at all, even though they try to act like it on the outside.

Sometimes you need more exercise and/or a better diet to build serotonin levels up. Sometimes you need a relationship, or a physical connection with a partner. Sometimes you simply have a chemical imbalance, and you need medication. Sometimes you need a change of job, better finances, etc.

Again, loaded question. No, I don't think you can simply choose to be happy, but you can make yourself happy with some work.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:02 PM
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I think it needs more than a decision..it needs action too

D
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:02 PM
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Hi thanos!

Congrats on two weeks! Yay!

So, I know we can change our thoughts which in turn can change our attitudes. We might not be able to choose circumstances in our lives but we can choose how we react to them. I can choose to live my life in a positive light or I can heap on the negative self talk and be miserable. We hold the key, we have the power!
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:11 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys. Yep, I have to start taking some action to make me happy I guess, and trying to be positive. It's been harder than I thought without my artificial "happiness" of getting drunk every single day.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:14 PM
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I often chose to feel miserable, so it makes sense that there is some degree of choice when it comes to happiness. Not for everyone, certainly not the depressed or those suffering grief or profound sadness. But yeah, happiness is within reach for many of us, should we choose to reach.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:19 PM
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I think a lot of it is how you look at things. I am probably too far on the optimism scale and I have had my butt kicked by PAWS and hormones quite a bit. Sometimes it just washes over me and I have to wait it out.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:22 PM
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In my experience, YES!

The power to intentionally choose my thoughts, no matter what is happening around me, is the one absolute power that I have, and the power from which everything else in my life happens.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:01 PM
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I will simply share what I learned in college. Happiness is an emotion, and we don't necessarily choose our emotions. We can choose to deal with them, how to suppress them etc...but when the emotion is there, its there.

For me, when I'm not happy (for no particular reason) eventually I will do something that makes me happy. I'm selfish that way. I will play some stupid game with our dog because he makes me laugh at how goofy he is, go visit a friend, even eating my favorite foods makes me happy. It beats moping around all day.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:06 PM
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Just read the William James quote below, he was no "pop psychologist."
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:06 PM
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In a way, I chose to be happy when I chose gratitude as a way of life. When you count your blessings, you can't help but be happy. At least, that's how it is for me.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:13 PM
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The Power of Choices (Zig Ziglar)

The choice is yours. Question: Do you believe there is something you can do specifically in the next seven days that would make your personal, family, and business life worse? Chances are good you did a double take on that one and rhetorically responded, “What does he mean, ‘make it worse’?”

Okay, next question: Do you honestly believe there is something you can do in the next seven days that would make your personal, family, and business life better? Chances are astronomical that you answered “yes” to that one.

With that in mind, let me pause for a moment and ask you, Do you believe the choice is yours, and do you believe that every choice has an end result?

Now, let’s think it through as I make the observation that if you were serious with your answers, you just made a profound statement. Here’s what you said: “I don’t care how good or bad my past has been; I don’t care how good or bad my circumstances are at this moment. There is something I can specifically do right now that will make my future either better or worse, and the choice is mine.”

That thought is truly profound. Think about it. You can do something about your future. To dramatically improve your odds of making it better, you must accept that responsibility.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
In a way, I chose to be happy when I chose gratitude as a way of life. When you count your blessings, you can't help but be happy. At least, that's how it is for me.
Exactly!!!

When I finally beat a life long depression, my son who has also suffered depression would often say to me when he was really feeling down (and negative), "you've only brainwashed yourself into be happy." I would reply, "and?"
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:24 PM
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I think yes. Life is truly what you make of it. There will be sad time and trouble for all of us, but we can choose how we react to it.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Ultramarathoner View Post
The Power of Choices (Zig Ziglar) The choice is yours. Question: Do you believe there is something you can do specifically in the next seven days that would make your personal, family, and business life worse? Chances are good you did a double take on that one and rhetorically responded, “What does he mean, ‘make it worse’?” Okay, next question: Do you honestly believe there is something you can do in the next seven days that would make your personal, family, and business life better? Chances are astronomical that you answered “yes” to that one. With that in mind, let me pause for a moment and ask you, Do you believe the choice is yours, and do you believe that every choice has an end result? Now, let’s think it through as I make the observation that if you were serious with your answers, you just made a profound statement. Here’s what you said: “I don’t care how good or bad my past has been; I don’t care how good or bad my circumstances are at this moment. There is something I can specifically do right now that will make my future either better or worse, and the choice is mine.” That thought is truly profound. Think about it. You can do something about your future. To dramatically improve your odds of making it better, you must accept that responsibility.
Awesome.
Thank you for sharing.
Worthy of a post it note on the mirror to see every day.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:30 PM
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I choose to be happy whenever I can. When I'm unhappy, I choose to seek happier thoughts, even as I acknowledge my unhappiness.

Which overall seems to contribute to greater happiness.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:32 PM
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Odd question. It is kind of like being a 5-year-old, walking in the sunset with your dad, holding his hand and asking him, 'why are we alive?' Fun question, nonetheless.

Choose happiness? That depends on the person you are asking, especially if you are experiencing crippling depression or you experienced trauma, got fired or lost a person close to you. Everyone will have a different answer according to his/her experiences and body chemistry.

I can choose to be sober. I can choose to go hiking. I can choose to take my medication. Those things will contribute to happiness. I cannot choose whether or not I have a long spell of depression.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:35 PM
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double post
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:15 PM
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Choose to be happy? I imagine that's a question people must answer for themselves.

When I was drinking, some things could make me happy but it tended to occur in passing and was usually coincidental. Mostly, I was tethered to a place in which I just existed. (And happiness as a state is the subject of some debate -- peacefulness, some say, is a more achievable place.) Whatever the case may be, alcoholism meant I regularly drenched my brain in a depressant, making ongoing happiness and/or peace beyond my reach, outside of my choices.

What I could choose -- and did -- was freedom from drinking. Consequently, I am both happier and more at peace.
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