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How to Choose Your Own Way Even When Things Are Hard

Dec 24, 2020

Which one of these do you think influences your happiness, peace of mind, and self-esteem? Your genes? Your circumstances? Your choices?

If you answered genes, you're right! If you answered circumstances you're right! And if you answered choices you're right! But which one has the potential to impact your happiness and peace of mind the most

Research shows that after our basic needs are met, it is our choices that make the biggest difference in our overall happiness and wellbeing. 

Studies show that 50% of our happiness will be influenced by the choices we make, while only 10% of our subjective happiness comes from the things we have and the circumstances of our lives.

So this means we have a lot more control over our own happiness than we might have once believed. 

I grew up in very challenging conditions. If you've read my book If I'm So Spiritual, Why Am I Still So Anxious? you know a bit about me already. My mom and dad both struggled with alcoholism and my home was filled with chaos, instability, and abuse. A lot of which contributed to the anxiety I experienced in my early life. 

When I began my healing journey I believed I had no control over my past or my life. I thought I was dealt the cards I was dealt and I just had to live with it and deal with it. That viewpoint made me feel hopeless, powerless, and very angry and resentful. 

When I was 26 I met my first spiritual teacher. She helped me begin to see that I could choose to make my life (including my past and my future) mean anything I wanted it to mean. And as I began to change the meaning of things, by choosing new thoughts, new beliefs, new narratives, and taking new actions, little by little my life transformed.

Our choices have more power to shape our lives than even our circumstances. 

Wayne dyer famously said, "change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change". When we frame our life with new choices for ourselves, our life expands and blossoms. 

Viktor Frankl, the author of Man's Search for Meaning wrote, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

And in the words of my positive psychology teacher, "To choose, is to create"

Through our choices, we create our reality. At every moment in our lives, we do have the freedom to choose something. 

• You can choose to be a fault-finder or a Benefit-Finder

• To take for granted or to appreciate the good

• To perceive failure as a catastrophe or to perceive failure as a learning opportunity

• To run away from challenges or courageously face them

• To be cynical or to be open and sincere

• To overlook the potential of something or cultivate it

• To reject emotions or to accept emotions

• To be mean or to be kind

• To overlook treasures or to be mindful of the wonder

Even in the most difficult situations, we have a choice. But we must become mindful that we have a choice.

Day Six, Happiness Booster

Choose to Choose 

Think about what you want to do or feel today? Then, make a choice that supports that experience. For example, I want to have a relaxing afternoon with my son and my husband where I am completely present and focused. So I am choosing to turn off all electronics between 2 pm and 6 pm so we can make cookies and play board games. 

There are things in my life that are not going the way I would like them to. And I am sure that is true for so many of us right now. And even so, we can choose to choose. Choose to do something today that supports how you want to feel. Choose to think in a way that supports how you want to feel. Choose to believe in something that supports how you want to feel.

Choose to love yourself today. Choose to be compassionate toward yourself today. Choose to forgive yourself or someone else today. Choose to move your body or meditate today. Choose to slow down and be present today. 

The choices are endless... 

Day Six, Anxiety Buster

Meditate 

Meditation is THE best way to calm anxiety, and increase our capacity to get clear on our own values and truth and to then make choices that are aligned with our truth. 

Here is a LINK to the guided meditation I created for you.

In this audio meditation, I guide you through simple mindfulness of breath meditation. By practicing this meditation you'll become more skilled at directing your focus and training your mind to be in the moment - where all of your power to choose, respond, and create resides.

*** This blog post is part of a 10-DAY SERIES, Titled "10 DAYS OF JOY"

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