Ready to change the way you think? Here’s how to choose happiness.

By: Katie Nelson | American Family Insurance Dream Bank

“Happiness is something everyone desires,” says Tina Paulus-Krause. “However, just because we desire it doesn’t mean that we all go about attaining it in the same way.”

As the founder of True You, Tina Paulus-Krause is an expert on the art of choosing happiness. After struggling with her own concept of happiness, she now seeks to empower people to become their best selves.

Now, she’s not talking about momentary fluctuations in mood — there will always be situations that call for us to get angry, sad or frustrated. Instead, the concept of “choosing happy” deals with your overall outlook on life.

“For years I looked externally for the reasons something wasn’t going the way I thought it should. A huge lesson learned for me is that happiness is about inner peace,” says Tina. “In the past, I would work towards a goal thinking ‘when I get that new car or house or promotion, I will be happy.’ However, I learned that if you are not happy on the inside first, external things, people or places will not create the happiness you are looking for.”

So how exactly does one create that internal happiness? While it takes a conscious effort to make the decision to choose to happy, there’s a lot more to it than that.

“You have to commit to a lot of hard work because you will need to be very focused and disciplined in order to change old habits,” says Tina. “You need to make the choice to start loving yourself and to start respecting yourself, breaking old habits and creating new, positive habits that form who you can become.”

So what types of habits can you create? Read on.

Let go of perfectionism. “As a perfectionist, I was constantly stuck with invisible chains that held me back from moving forward and was in a constant struggle of trying to obtain a level of something that doesn’t exist,” says Tina. “But when we get there, are we really happy?”

Loosen your control. “Remember, all you can control is you. When you spend time and energy worrying or being mad or sad, you self-sabotage and hold yourself back,” says Tina. Instead, learn to reflect inward and control your emotions. That way, you’re freed up to spend your energy on bettering yourself.

Go slow. Choosing happy doesn’t happen overnight. “Put a plan together and start by working on one thing at a time until you feel good about the progress, then focus on the next one,” Tina advises. “Allow yourself time, grace and patience, and remember it’s all about the journey.”

Practice daily rituals. Keep your mind, body and soul inspired by focusing on taking care of it. Tina recommends meditating, starting off your day with a self-affirmation and keeping a journal. Kick-start these rituals by simply moving every day, drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep.

Once you begin to make a conscious decision to choose happy, you’ll likely find that your dreams are clearer and easier to pursue than ever before.

“Once you make the choice to choose happy, you let go of worrying about what others think or how you might come off or trying to be perfect,” says Tina. “You simply radiate at your highest power in the best possible version of YOU.”

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