Choosing Happiness, Again

Choosing Happiness

DenaNovember 7, 2018

Choosing Happiness, Again

Thank you BB&T for sponsoring this post.

If you’ve only started reading my blog recently, you might not know that this wasn’t always a blog about motherhood, wellness, and simple living. In fact, this space used to be primarily about my personal journey of overcoming depression and anxiety and my choice to pursue happiness. Up until my early twenties, I was unhealthy, overweight, and suffered from severe anxiety and depression. Then, that all changed when I discovered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and changed my life. If you’re not familiar with CBT, it is a form of therapy which re-trains the way that we think. CBT teaches us how to transform those negative, irrational thoughts into positive, rational thoughts.

It is absolutely incredible how our lives can transform once we learn how to think positively. I am so grateful to be partnering with BB&T today to highlight their BB&T Leadership Series which shares insights on leadership topics from some of today’s best and brightest thought leaders. My favorite video in the series is an interview with Shawn Achor. Shawn Achor is an American happiness researcher, author, and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology. He authored The Happiness Advantage. His most recent book, Big Potential, was published in 2018 and expands his research beyond the individual by looking at how empowering others helps us all reach our fullest potential. Here is a glimpse into the series where Shawn Achor discusses the Happiness Advantage.

In the video, Shawn says, “Change is possible, you don’t have to just be your genes and your environment. You can actually choose a mindset and then be able to correlate it.” I love this so much. The video goes further into depth about advances in the science of psychology that have proven how happiness is achievable for everyone. Hearing this moves my heart because I have learned (and re-learned!) this lesson in my own life. This knowledge has been so precious to me as I have moved through challenging circumstances, time and time again.

Shawn says that practicing gratitude and positive thinking each day is the key to living a happy, fulfilled life. This can be as simple as keeping a journal and writing down three things that we are grateful for each day. When we practice a positive action like this on a daily basis, our brains are trained to not only see the positive around us but to actually scan our surroundings for positivity on a constant basis.

Choosing Happiness, Again

We spend all of our young adulthood chasing relationships, material things, a career but one day we realize that none of that will complete us. We are whole just as we are. Sure, there are lovely and wonderful additions to any life, but there is nothing outside of my self that will make me truly happy. Happiness is a choice.

Choosing Happiness, Again

Every day I must choose to find my own happiness and when I find it, I must cultivate it, like a garden. I have learned that every minute of every hour of every day, we are faced with two choices. These choices are happiness and unhappiness. We cannot choose both. We can only choose one. Bad things will happen. We will grieve. But then, suddenly, we will remember our choices. If we desire peace and love, we will choose happiness. We will understand that sometimes it takes a storm to blow open our doors. Because even when life throws everything it’s got at us, we still have a choice.

Choosing Happiness, Again

In the video above, Shawn Achor recommends not only keeping our own gratitude journals but also taking the conversation into our family life. I love his suggestion where he shares a beautiful way to start a conversation at the dinner table each night. He suggests that each member of the family share a couple of positive things that they were grateful for each day. As a mother, I love this idea. I have been incorporating this practice into my children’s nightly prayers for a while now and it has made such a positive difference in our bedtime routine. Teaching children at a young age to pick out the positive in life and practice gratitude is a wonderful way to set them on a path of happiness.

I am filled with so much joy as I share this post about choosing happiness with you. This topic has been woven through my life like a needle pulling a thread through fabric. It is deeply impressed in my spirit and it has really been on my heart recently. Having the opportunity to share Shawn’s message at this point in my own journey is a gift. You can learn more about Shawn and his work on his website and Facebook page.

Choosing Happiness, Again

The images that I have chosen to include in this post come from my yoga practice. Over this last year, I have started to practice yoga again. My practice has been one of the most critical elements in my journey to choose happiness. Yoga has allowed me to once again, move from darkness toward light. Perhaps you may not love yoga, but there is something that will bring you light & joy. Find that thing and choose it. I hope that this post has inspired you to begin that journey.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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