“If you don’t like something, change your mind!”
An old boss of mine would drop this on me when he sensed I was developing an attitude about something at work. It used to piss me off because he was preemptively holding me responsible for my mood and behaviors. He was reminding me that how I felt about something was dependent upon me. Nearly fifteen years later, I discovered how accurate and insightful he was.
I read a great article by Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project in which she shares that she changes her mood by taking action and engaging in behaviors that reflect how she desires to feel, not how she feels.
” ‘Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.’ (William James) By acting as if you feel a certain way, you induce that emotion in yourself.”
When we find ourselves in that emotional place where we are feeling low, anti-social, distant, or mad at the world, the best thing that we can do is engage in behaviors that completely contradict how we feel. By being genuinely and authentically warm, kind, friendly, or funny with someone else, the response we receive reflects the behavior we shared and it moves us to a different place emotionally.
Happiness is choice. If you don’t like something, you can change it or live in it. It is up to you.