If you chose self-pity, this article is not for you

Happiness is not something you buy; it is something you must create. One step in achieving happiness? Think positive.

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  • I've had a lot of trials in my life; in fact, I am still experiencing trials even at this very moment. But, one thing that has helped me get through them is positive thinking.

  • It is easy to fall into the victim trap. To feel justified in thinking you are okay to be angry, upset, and mad, because what is happening to you is not fair. It probably IS not fair. But, what is better: wallowing in self-pity or being happy?

  • If you chose self-pity, this article is not for you. However, if you choose happiness, here are 5 ways to let positive thinking change your life:

  • 1. Find the good in everything

  • If you are faced with a bad situation, perhaps a job you hate, try to find the good in it. You may hate what you do, not get along with your co-workers, or have to work way more hours than you want, but you are working.

  • You do not have to worry about paying rent this month. You can afford to drive your car. You have mastered a skill. You got 100% on your end of month survey.

  • Whatever it may be, find it. Hold on to it, and remember it. The more you do this, the more good you will find. Soon your mind will start picking out the good things instead of the bad. This will not mean that you all of a sudden love your job, but at least you can see how it is helping you progress.

  • 2. Make a tough situation humorous

  • It can be hard to turn something awful into something funny. When someone is yelling at you, you probably don't find it funny. But think (to yourself) about how irrational they are being. When you start imagining their face turning bright red and steam coming out of their ears, it can actually be quite funny.

  • Laughter can help diffuse a situation, or at least help you feel better about what is happening to you. Humor is a powerful tool; use it to your advantage.

  • 3. Set goals for yourself

  • Are you working towards something? If not, pick something now that you want to do. Whether it is traveling, buying a house, having children, or finishing your education.

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  • When you get discouraged in life, think about those goals. Use them to help motivate you. For example, think: only this many more hours of working before you have enough money to buy your house. Or 12 more days, and you leave on vacation.

  • Even little goals can help motivate you to finish your day. It is easy to think you will never reach your goals, but stay positive. You've made it through another day. You are one step (no matter how small) closer to getting to your goal.

  • If your goal seems unattainable to you, set a different goal. You should have goals that are both attainable in the near future, and something to work on long-term.

  • 4. Make a list of things you are thankful for

  • This may seem juvenile, or even something you only do at Thanksgiving, but it works. When you start listing all of the things you are thankful for, with a sincere attitude, you start to realize how fortunate you are.

  • Even something as small as having internet access in your home, to something as big as having drinkable water available with just the turn of a nob, are great things to consider. Yes, you pay for these things, but that is another thing to be thankful for- money to live.

  • You will start seeing how everything interconnects with each other, and soon your problem may not seem quite so large.

  • 5. Never end a conversation on a down note

  • Do you know people who are always negative? People that like to point out the bad in a situation and how awful life is?

  • It is easy to fall into the pattern of finding the negative in everything, but this is not an enjoyable way to live life. Instead of letting them bring you down, decide to bring them up. Sometimes you are speaking with normally positive people, but the subject is negative.

  • No matter who or what you are talking about, try to end the conversation on a positive note. Pull something from the story, anything that you can learn from, or that was good, and reiterate that. Don't let that negative energy stay with you throughout the day.

  • Ultimately it is up to you to decide to be happy. Unless you choose to change your mindset, you will remain miserable. You can continue to blame others, be the victim, and let darkness fill your life, or you can rise above it. It is a mental change.

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  • No matter the situation you are in, if you decide you will be happy, then you will be. In life, there is always something to learn, always ways we can grow, and there are always trials and tribulations. We can use those challenging situations to become better people and to stay positive.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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