Can one choose to be happy?

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    Greetings! 🙂

    After 22 years on anti-depressants I weaned off at the end of September.  It’s been a rough road but I’ve come out on the other side.  Now I’m in search of non-pharmaceutical ways to mental health.  I’ll take any and all suggestions.

    My question for this post is:  can one choose to be happy?  Is it really as “simple” as choosing an attitude?  And, I’m not talking about for people with mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc.  My diagnosis was low grade depression and anxiety.  Since being off the meds I feel the anxiety more than anything–the pandemic adds a lot to that.

    Thank you in advance for your input!



    Dear Debbie:

    Congratulations for successfully weaning off antidepressants after 22 years of use !

    “can one choose to be happy? Is it really as ‘simple’ as choosing an attitude?”- I am defining “happy”, for the purpose of answering your question, as being overall content, often curious about life, willing to learn new things, and sometimes feeling joy.

    According to this definition, my answer is: if one is not happy, and is not inclined to be happy, then one can choose to become happy, but it will take months and years of making better choices, insight into one’s past and present, learning and practicing new skills (such as Mindfulness, and Assertiveness), and an attitude of endless patience and empathy toward self-  so to accomplish the desired happy.



    I guess it is a decision but like a longer term one. Anita has explained this very well but I wanted to emphasize on the long term thing. We have to choose to be happy over and over again. In time, we’ll start to succeed little by little. I guess it takes practise. I hope and believe that we can get better at it.


    First of all, happiness depends on us. Happiness is the result of our habits and outlook on life, a product of our labor. Only we can create our happiness. Therefore, it is only our choice to choose what makes us happy.



    If we can choose to be happy can we also choose to be sad?  Then their are those that are happy being measurable? Happiness its complicated… or not. We work for that which no work is required

    It is important to define the terms we use. How do you define happy and not happy. How do you know when you are. Then you can go down the rabbit hole and try to answer the question what is choice, what does it mean to choses… free will, fate. For some going down the rabbit hole might leave them feeling happy for others not so much.

    Personally I find the act of measuring such things as happiness is a sure fire way to lose it. Having grasped it once we will attempt to hang on and if we can’t hang on try to recreate. But that like trying to touch the exact same water twice when one steps into a river.

    I like the concept of mindfulness which isn’t exactly choosing to be happy (which would be an attempt to control the moment = hello ego and desire) so much and being open to the moment where things like happiness may be experienced.

    I suspect “Being” in the moment, even those we may rather not be in, one might just be happy.


    I think you can… but I also think it’s a long-term “trend” in thinking that brings it about.

    The old “glass half empty or half full” thing: in actuality, it’s both, and neither.  It can’t be half-empty without also being half-full.  It’s which half you choose to focus on that makes the difference.  I think that long-term, you can develop the tendency to go straight to the more positive outlook, rather than zooming right in on the negative one (which is what I do… then have to drag myself back out of it.)  It’s a process, more than a destination, and it’s not an ‘overnight’ deal.  Progress always seems to come slowly.  Old AA aphorism: “If you walked ten miles into the woods, you’re going to have to walk ten miles to get out of the woods.”  No quick fixes, but it is possible.  I’ve met people who have done it, quite a few of them.  Be persistent, and be patient with yourself.

    Too… I think there’s “emotional happy,” and “outlook happy.”  One is strictly emotional, and therefore entirely beyond our control, the other is mental, and is therefore controllable… to a degree.  Influence might be a better word to use than control.  You can’t control what you feel, only what action you take or do not take based on those feelings.  You can’t really control what you think, either, beyond a certain degree.  Try meditating – – you’ll soon find out that thoughts arise whether you want them to or not; the trick is to not “attach” to those thoughts and follow them wherever they go.  No way to just turn them off.  I like the analogy of surfing: it’s a choice to either paddle like mad and “catch” that wave and let it carry you away, or to just sit quietly and let the wave roll on by.  So, emotionally happy?  Maybe, maybe not.  It’s a matter of chance and circumstances.  You *do* have some ability to choose how you will perceive any given situation, though.  Again, it’s a matter of perspective, on which half you choose to focus on.

    Hope this was of some help… or at least made some sense.  🙂


    Dear Debbie,

    I have faced this question myself over and over again. Will share my take on it with the hope that it gives you a perspective on how to be logical about it.

    Each time I feel low or frustrated, I remind myself little things to be grateful for – basic things like – access to water, a place to stay, eyes to see the beautiful world, nose to smell wonderful fragrances, tongue to taste delicious food! There’s so much to be grateful for!

    Whenever I practice gratitude, it makes me feel better! And the worries fade away!

    Love & Light,



    Thank you Boris1010!  I appreciate your insight and there were several valuable nuggets I can take away and incorporate.


    Thank you M.  🙂

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