happiness is a choice

I’m doing some Spring cleaning of inspiring resources on happiness, navigating the highs and lows in life  and bringing about positive change. If you are ready for a Spring makeover, this is a really good one 🙂

The following principles are simple, and may be familiar to you if you are on a spiritual path. You don’t need to make big changes all at once, a tiny change adhered to is more powerful than a half hearted bigger one!

1. Attend to your life, no one else’s. Instead of focusing outside yourself, trying to control or change other people, pay attention to yourself. The people around us reflect who we are. Our reactions to others tells us that what we need to work on in ourselves– the only thing we really have control over. Every encounter is an opportunity to learn and to help another. Live and let live.

2. Stop focusing on imagined problems and turn to solutions. Stop making a big deal out of ordinary situations. The lows  are just as part of life as the highs. Choose to step back, remain calm and disengage from chaos. Come into the present moment and acknowledge how things are and the feelings that come up. Trust that a solution will show itself and let the anxiety about the unknown slip away.

3. Let go of outcomes and find joy in the present moment. When things don’t go as planned recognize that life is unpredictable and outcomes uncontrollable. We are only responsible for making the effort. Stop worrying about the future. Worry is a state of being that is only possible when we are not living in the present. When we worry we are fortune telling

Change your mind. If you don’t like what you are thinking, you can change it. Whatever thought we harbor, we give power to. Our thoughts determine how we view others and ourselves. The thoughts we are held hostage to are handed down to us from parents, teachers, friends and loved ones. When these thoughts no longer benefit us we can change them. The first step is to be more aware and be willing to change the familiar patterns of thinking.

5. Choose to act rather than react to others. Most of us grow up letting other people’s perceptions of us or actions towards us determine our feelings. We react to them. The opinions of others matters, but when we accept and take responsibility for who we are can choose to act rather than react. The knee jerk reaction is almost always wrong. Don’t let the mood of others determine how we feel.

6. Give up your judgments. Our judgments of others reflect how we feel about ourselves. We project negative things on to others that we want to deny exist in ourselves. Fear is usually behind a negative judgment. e.g. feeling inadequate, we put down others to elevate ourselves. The choice to see the good is always available to us. Every time we choose a positive behavior towards others we increase our self respect and our self worth.

7. Remember you are not in control of other people.  Controlling others is often a way of avoiding our own goals or looking inward to how we are doing. Realizing we are powerless over others is a great gift.

8. Discover your own lessons and cultivate new behaviors. Acknowledge the power we have over our thoughts and the filters through which we see the world. With someone else on our mind we miss our own lessons. Letting go of what other people think relieves a heavy burden and helps up to listen to our own inner voice instead.

9. Do no harm. Harm wears many cloaks – not just physical harm but when someone feels hurt they are being harmed. Do no verbal harm by becoming aware of our words and how they affect others. Avoid reciprocating to a hurtful remark.  Being rude or criticizing is a reflection of our own insecurity. Choosing to be helpful not hurtful is choosing love over fear.

10. Quiet your mind. Whoever you think you are, you are. You are as happy, serene and peaceful as you choose to be. Any thought that doesn’t nurture you can be discarded, so choose another way of looking at things.

11. Find the lesson in every encounter and experience. Understand that the behavior of others reflects how they see themselves and how they feel about themselves. They have little connection with what we say or do. Being offended is an option. Choose to be grateful. If we see ourselves in others accept our frailty.

12. Choose the right voice in your mind. There are two voices in our minds. (Remember the two wolves story) The loud ego one elevates us at the expense of others and keeps us separate from others. It harbors fear, agitation, anger and inferiority. The peaceful voice comes from our heart and belongs to our higher self. Choose to listen to this voice and make peaceful responses. This brings peace to ourselves and others.

There’s a lot here. Why not print the list off and keep it handy. That’s what I’ve done. And then take a moment to choose one to be especially mindful of this week……


*Adapted from  “Change your Mind and Your Life will Follow” by Karen Casey

42 comments on “* 12 Principles for a Happier Life

  1. I like number 6, Give up your judgments, but I have to work on not judging myself. I’m really good at not judging others, but struggle with judging myself! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Kate. There’s always one that seeks our attention in that moment. I’m glad you found the message in the post just for you. Val x


  2. Great tips Val – thank you!
    Diana xo


  3. Great list! When we learn to control our minds . . . we control our life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is great Val. We need to take the control and live in the present.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ajaytao2010

    Nice reading about you

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.


  6. Great post, Val! Thanks so much.


  7. Fabulous! Thanks Val. No 4 made me smile — it’s so true. If I don’t like what I’m thinking… change my thoughts! As Louise Hay writes, “it’s just a thought and a thought can be changed.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really an outstanding list Val.


  9. Thank you Don. I’m being inspired by everything I come across. Its lovely to see things afresh! Val x


  10. In the Stillness of Willow Hill

    Wonderful reference. I feel your heart and soul reaching out in love.


  11. Love this list. I am struggling with # 12 at the moment ie: struggling to listen to the correct voice. The first step is understanding that the peaceful voice can be heard and outshines the loud voice. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Its so good to hear your perspective Elizabeth and what your thoughts are. When I consider which voice to listen to …. I listen for the one that brings me a feeling of warmth, spaciousness, releasing, smiling, and uplifting sensations within me. Its a voice that seems to complete a circle. And there’s the other one that satisfies and also questions my thinking…. it keeps checking in to make sure its the right one.
      Be with the feeling one rather than the thinking one.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I really love the last one- we think our “voices” are so real. we always have a choice though.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “Let go of outcomes and find joy in the present moment.” — This is something I struggle with. Thanks for the reminder to let go!


  14. Hi Val, this is a wonderful list you’ve created. My daughter and I were just talking this morning about your #7 point. We can’t control what other people do, only how we respond to them. It is a great gift, as you said, to just let things go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Denise. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I love the idea of the inspirations sparking a conversation with your daughter too 🙂


  15. Great posting, providing incredible words of wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is very helpful, so thank you. At a time when I’m feeling very bitter about life, it’s nice to get a fresh perspective on my negativity to keep me grounded.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I really appreciate your post. I have issues with quieting my mind and filtering my negative thoughts. It’s not an easy process. Any direct advice?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Ana. Instead of criticizing yourself for having those thoughts, try to accept them as part of you own journey. Negative thoughts are usually a way to protect ourselves… and especially our egos. Where you are in life is right where you are meant to be. The evolving will come. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for your twelve tips !
    I think that’s great !

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Great reminders, step by step.

    Liked by 1 person

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