What if I told you that searching for happiness wastes time? You can travel to the ends of the earth and meet thousands of interesting people, but you will not find true happiness in those spaces. Why? Happiness is not something you look for; it’s something you decide to be. Happiness is inside each of us, but as humans, we let life’s challenges get in the way. It’s the job, it’s my partner, it’s the dog, or it’s the kids. There is always something we use to say, “This is why I can’t be happy.” Here is where we are wrong. Happiness is a choice; we all can choose happiness over anything else. We just have to decide.

Let me share a story of a woman named Michelle. She had a rough time with her employer. She was doing excellent work but not reaping the benefits. Michelle learned that team members did not invite her to crucial meetings, and management started to take credit for all her hard work. After several months, she met with upper management to find solutions and request suggestions for improving her performance but from there, Michelle hit a wall, and things got worse. Michelle was miserable. The treatment she was experiencing started to affect her health, and she had never felt like this before. Michelle found herself angry, sad, and sick to the stomach. Michelle didn’t like how she was feeling and decided to find happiness by just being happy. It wasn’t an easy task, but each day Michelle did something that made her smile and warmed her heart. She would walk, run, work out, meditate, or journal first thing in the morning to help set up her day. Michelle started to surround herself with positive people, and soon, it didn’t matter what happened on the job; she knew she was putting her best foot forward and getting happier each day!

Side Note: If you’re experiencing challenges in the workplace, please read our article Workplace Happiness – Your Voice Matters for some tips on how to navigate them

After a few months, she quickly learned that her happiness was always with her, and now she wanted her environment to mirror what she had discovered. Michelle soon let her job go and found a new workplace that embodied outstanding leadership and a positive work environment that embraced her professional input. She was so happy and loved her life again. Michelle was wise to get “happy” in an undesirable climate so that when she landed in a better place, she could fully experience every aspect of happiness.

Here are four ways to increase happiness

  1. Decide to be happy. Happiness is a choice. It is not a gift, a person, or a great pair of shoes. That is temporary satisfaction. Happiness is loving yourself so much that you want to be happy no matter where you are. 
  2. Reprogram your thinking daily. Yes, daily. Control every thought that flows through your head from when you wake up until you go to bed. If it’s a negative thought, throw it AWAY. If it’s a positive thought, embrace, enjoy, and expand. 
  3. Remove outside chatter. Do not engage in gossip, negative people, or any messaging that doesn’t serve you. Keep your mind clear and focused on being happy all the time. 
  4. Engage in happy activities. Just like working out or training for a marathon, you must exercise your mind daily. Don’t allow the weight of the world to get you down. Like Michelle, engage in activities that bring you joy first thing in the morning. Your happiness is the most essential thing in life. Everything else will fall into place. If you can’t control it, let it go and be happy!


Nicol HodgesNicol Hodges

Nicol Hodges is the author of “Time to R.I.S.E. Get Fit and Stay There,” a four-week guide to a healthier lifestyle. Nicol is a life coach, mentor, and fitness expert with over ten years of experience. After years of personal training, Nicol realized that her clients needed to exercise their minds, spirit, and bodies. She put together a goal-setting program to help any reach their goals and have a more fulfilling life. Nicol is also the co-founder of UnityRunners and Black Women Rock 5K Run. Learn more about Nicol at seenicrun.com.