It’s up to you to choose happiness

“How are you doing?” they say as we pass on the street or in the hall.
Since a question requires an answer, I usually say, “Just fine! How are you?” And with that, we go our separate ways.
But there is something terribly wrong with that interchange. Often I don’t feel fine! Sometimes I feel like crying.
I feel deeply depressed and I feel like saying, “I’m not doing well at all.”
I wonder what really would happen if I owned my true feelings to other people. It probably depends on a few things–your relationship to the other person, how you express your feelings, how empathetic the other person is, and maybe even the weather.
All of us have days when life is just too much. Days when life seems very hard. Days when we feel like giving up, especially as we get older.
Sometimes you just need a shoulder to cry on.
Our own losses, other people’s losses, disappointments, wars around the world, economic downturns, senseless violence in once-safe neighborhoods. It’s just too much!
As a result, we often are prone to give in to depression and anxiety, which professionals say usually go together.
When those feelings come, it’s time to take charge of our own emotions. It isn’t easy but it is imperative. There are many little and big things you can do that may help.
Go for a brisk walk, for instance. With a friend if possible. Laugh together. Tell a funny story or recall a fun incident from years ago.
And even if you don’t feel like it, make yourself laugh. Fake laughter is good exercise and can help turn your mood around.
Or take your dog for a walk, or even better for a run. You will enjoy it, and your dog will thank you by wagging his tail vigorously.
Take a yoga class, try Tai Chi, or find some other way to relax, such as prayer or mediation.
Change your thinking. Get rid of negative thoughts. Think positive and associate with positive people–people who laugh and say nice things.
And make it a priority to take care of your health. Eat healthy–lots of fruits and veggies, enough healthy proteins, and not too much sugar. But treat yourself with a piece of dark chocolate!
Get adequate sleep, drink plenty of water, and never forget to exercise. If you don’t walk for exercise, why not take a strength-training class or water aerobics class from your local wellness centre.
It always is important to accept personal responsibility for your mood. And if you have major depression, seek out a professional therapist.
Life can be very hard sometimes. That said, don’t make it harder than it has to be with a sour attitude. Wallowing in depression and negativity drains your life energy.
Your attitude is the only thing you have control over. So take charge and turn it around!
It’s up to you to create your own happiness and joy.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at