The Tools of Happiness

Happiness is a choice

People who are happy understand this.  People who are not happy often don’t.  Abraham Lincoln once said “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  My dad always says that one of the most important things in life is to have a positive attitude.  My dad and Honest Abe are right.  If you decide to be happy, and take action by focusing on positive thoughts, you will be happy.

Happiness IS a choice.  It’s a simple choice but not always an easy one.  The negative experiences of our lives leave their marks on our thinking as revealed through our self-talk, the constant inner conversation we have with ourselves.

As our inner conversation takes on an ever more negative tone, so do our other thoughts and expectations.  Negativity eventually leads to habitual distortions of our perceptions and thought patterns, in a way that can fuel conditions like anxiety and depression.

In the days to come, I will write more on the topics of anxiety and depression, but for now, I want to introduce the idea that you have control over what goes on in your head and how that makes you feel.

One of the most important tools for cultivating mental health is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).  CBT is a method for learning how to think in realistic ways about the things that trouble us.  Realistic thinking is not negative.  By learning to think in a realistic way, we can develop feelings of self-worth and mastery because we see that we really are equipped to deal with whatever is going on.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you can start the healing process right now by doing two things:

  1. Tell yourself that you are choosing happiness.
  2. Learn more about CBT here.