“You can be happy or you can be unhappy. It's just according to the way you look at things.”
- Walt Disney
Perspective is everything when it comes to our level of happiness in life. Happiness is a subjective term too. People define it differently. Hopefully, everyone can agree that happiness is a feeling. Hopefully, it's a feeling we all want to experience more often. For most of us, we experience happiness in doses. A satisfying meal. A great conversation. An unexpected windfall. Unfortunately, our happiness can easily get interrupted by the slightest of inconveniences like malfunctioning technology or crappy weather. We can choose to get annoyed or frustrated, or we can choose to not let the inconvenience disrupt our happiness.
Happiness is absolutely a choice. There will always be situations that go beyond minor inconveniences where happiness is the wrong mood for the moment, but when it comes to traffic jams and cancelled plans, it helps to have a healthier perspective on things. Something I learned from the "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" movement back when I was a young adult is that I was allowing small stuff like long lines and rude people ruin my mood. I remember thinking how I was intentionally doing this to myself. What a waste of my time and energy!
I made the choice that I was not going to allow little disturbances or inconveniences throughout my day negatively affect my mood. One of the methods I incorporated to determine how much something should bother me is the "How much will this matter?" technique. It's simple. I ask myself, "How much will this matter in an hour? In a day? In a week? In a month?" You get the idea. For me, it turned out that a lot of the stuff I used to get upset about was stuff that wasn't going to really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. I was choosing to stray away from my happiness to get upset over essentially nothing.
Life happens. There is only so much within our control, but we always have control over our response. It's up to us to decide what to do with the lemons life hands us. We have to remember we are always in charge of our mood. We are not being fair to ourselves when we choose to get all sour over minor setbacks or inconveniences. For those of us who choose to make lemonade out of the situation, life can be so much sweeter.
Psychology Today: Choosing Happiness - The science of cultivating happiness