Choosing Happiness



“We seek happiness when it is actually a choice”, the weathered sign in the gift shop window declared. This sign was surrounded by many others each with its own message, but I have no idea what any of them said.  You may be sensing a pattern here.  Signs like this one seem to jump out in front of me with impeccable timing.  I apply the message and then share my insight with you. There was a time in my life when I missed the “signs” all around me, sometimes resulting in harsh consequences.  I am now more alert to the cues in my world. This one seemed to single me out with its message and the inviting bowl of cherries under its hand painted words.  I began to think about happiness. 

People spend a lot of energy looking for happiness…in relationships, careers, books and consumables.  Yet, when we purchase a new car we quickly learn that happiness did not come along with the sticker price. When we get the coveted promotion from sales to management, we find we were happier  with the excitement of getting the customer to say yes.  In both of these examples, we were seeking happiness from outside of ourselves, rather than choosing it from within, where it resides.

Like a bowl of cherries, when we choose happiness, our world is colorful, refreshing and fun. Our world is better. When we choose happiness, our lives somehow become more appealing and we are no longer envious of others. We like who we are. When we choose happiness we are not talking about “maybe someday”, rather we are enjoying today.

Seeking happiness takes energy. Happiness is energy found within.   

When I am happy, my step is quick, my thoughts are clear, and I am keenly aware of what is going on around me. I smile more. I sing out loud to my ABBA CD. When I am happy, I even take a moment to pick up a piece of litter from the ground. 

I rely on my Top Twenty List to keep happy.  Try this! Create a list of 20 things that make you happy.  I am talking about the little, simple things.  Here are a few from my list to get you started. I add and delete things occasionally, but some have been on my list since 1990 when I created it.

(1)  Laughing out loud

(2)   Eating a Cherry Flip from Publix bakery

(3)   Working out

(4)   Communicating with my kids

(5)  Giving someone an unexpected gift (Note:  my full list is posted on this website)

Even thinking these things makes me happy.  Here’s a formula, tested out over time! If I do 6-8 of the 20 things on my list, EVERY DAMN DAY, I am in a pretty happy place. Care to try it?  Seriously, write your list. Do 6-8 of your top 20 everyday and you will feel happier. Make it a priority; mix it up so you experience each of your 20 during the week.  I think you will be surprised at the result! When we choose happiness, we are energized, feel good about ourselves, and can better maneuver through life.

You may argue that your illness, relationship issues or financial problems keep you from feeling happy.  I would agree that challenges are difficult and can be exhausting. However, knowing happiness is energizing,  choosing it may be just what you need to meet your challenges head on. Women with high successtrogen levels choose happiness, they do not waste energy seeking it.

I love feeling happy and since it is a choice, I am choosing it today.  What choice have you made?

4 responses to “Choosing Happiness

  1. to SMILE as much as I can….and laugh aloud without embarassment !

  2. from D. Ikeda, President-SGI Buddhism…Happiness doesn’t exist on the far side of distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. Not you, however, sitting in idle passivity. It is to be found in the vibrant dynamism of your own life as you struggle to challenge and overcome one obstacle after another, as you clamber up a perilous ridge in pursuit of that which lies beyond

  3. Hi Mary Ann,
    Don’t want any more time to go by before I let you know how I loved meeting you last weekend. Your terrific energy and buoyant spirit were wonderful to be in contact with, along with helping me out when I had forgottten my lanyard thing (i remember you leaving the breakfast table saying to yourself “OK, I’m on a mission”, I thought to keep yourself from getting distracted by somebody else you might run into. I just read a bit of this recent post of yours before I found this way of getting a note to you. I so agree with what I read. i feel pretty lucky to be inherently an optimistic person.
    I found the Conference terrific in many ways…so glad that I went. And am very appreciative of the Foundation. So thank you for what you have given to it.
    Mimi (

  4. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. It is literally a treat for me to see that old friends, new friends and some others I do not even know have enjoyed reading Successtrogen. Mimi, thank you–it was fun for me to meet you as well in San Francisco last weekend, hopefully again next July in Dallas. Yes I was on a mission, and I am happy to say “mission accomplished”. Be well Mimi, and Susan K and Susan Z….and all those who read Successtrogen!

    Mary Ann

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