Happiness Is a Choice

By Ing Sopheap,

I would be happy if I had …

I wish I was living their lives …

How nice would it be if I didn’t have to deal with this?  

Why does life have to be so unfair to me?

I bet almost all of us have definitely experienced these kinds of feelings. Especially in the era of social media, where we are always scrolling through others’ posts of luxury possessions, expensive vacations, impressive achievements and so on. We can’t help but compare our life to others.

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We were taught to say ‘Thank you’ when receiving gifts from others to show our gratitude. Though it might sound like a simple thing to do, not many of us express the same genuine gratitude for what we have in life. Maybe sometimes we forget that life itself is a gift too. We spend time counting the blessings of others while taking ours for granted. And then we wonder why our life is so gloomy.

What about choosing gratitude over comparisons instead?

In 2003, two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, did a research study on the impacts of gratitude. They found that those who had practiced gratitude became more optimistic towards many aspects of their lives.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Happiness comes from within ourselves. Start to notice and be grateful for the little things and moments in life. Focus on the things that you have rather than what are out of your reach. Look at your life through a positive lens, and you’ll realize that your life is not as depressing as you think. You may want to savor every meaningful moment before it becomes a memory.

Being thankful for what you have achieved so far will help you feel better about yourself too. Even though you might face failures or disappointments sometimes, you should appreciate those experiences. Because it’s these that prepare you for your next success.

Gratitude can also help strengthen the bonds between you and other people. When you feel grateful for those who care for you, you’ll value them and treat them better. They may even inspire you to spread the kindness to others. And you will feel happy after doing those caring actions.

Photo by gabrielle cole on Unsplash

You can cultivate gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal. Spare some time each week to reflect and write down several things that you are thankful for. Think about how you can find happiness in those simple things. Or write a thank-you note to yourself to appreciate your own efforts. By doing this, you’ll be less likely to take things for granted and lead a more fulfilling life.

If you think that you’re often pessimistic about life (like me lol), then you should give that practice of gratitude a try!


Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

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