“To be, or not to be, that is the question”, is probably the most famous quoted line from any of Shakespeare’s work. A line spoken by Hamlet in his struggles with whether to live or die. This sounds a little extreme but his struggles were real to him, like many of our struggles are. Please note, this is not a conversation about depression or suicide, but more about the choice “to be, or not to be” sad, mad, or happy… “that is the question”.

My mom tells me that I was the happiest baby, ever!! I never cried, and laughed all the time…simply a first mom’s dream! I would like to say I remember those times but I don’t. I look at pictures of wee little me and she is right, I was always happy. It was in my sixth year of life when I went from happy to sad, evidentially escalating to internal anger. This was the time when bad things started happening to a happy little girl. 

Unfortunately, and sadly, this is not an uncommon story. 

As a little girl, my light of happiness was quickly dimmed by events that seemed far beyond my control. So this is when the happy child in me was overtaken by sadness, grief, and anger.

Fast forward 20 years later, I was just having a bad day – no rhyme or reason – just because I felt like was entitled to have all the bad days I wanted. It wasn’t until a dear friend looked at me and said (which I will never forget), “You have a choice, you know?” 

She continued, “Many of us have been dealt hard hands in life but you ultimately have a choice to be happy, sad, or mad…the choice is yours! Yes, you couldn’t control what happened but you can control how you react. And I can tell you it is a hell of a lot easier to wake up happy than sad or mad.”

You know what, she was right!! 
I may not have been able to control the bad events that happened to me but I was certainly in control of how I chose to feel. 

So often in our lives it seems easier to blame others, or let circumstance dictate how we feel. Now let me insert a caveat here, it is ok to feel mad or sad for moments… but not for years!! 

Those two emotions will continue to cause an open wound to never heal. Imagine having a gash across your leg that gets infected never heals…it got ANGRY, continued to fester and hurt! Now imagine cleaning it, and nurturing it until it heals. 

Make the choice to nurture you and your soul and be happy!! Did you know it takes something like 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown? (NOTE: this is not a completely proven fact but I will say it is a lot easier to smile besides smile lines are way sexier than frown lines)

Food for Thought and Action Tasks:

How do you feel today?

Take time to evaluate how you feel, and why you are feeling a certain way. No one is expecting your every day to be perfect and euphoric, so take time to feel the way you need to…just don’t get stuck in the negative!

Try singing!!! I love singing first thing in the morning…my dogs and partner doesn’t like it as much but it sure puts me in a great mood!

Do YOGA, or stretch.

Grab a light morning snack to kick start your day…you might just be hangry!! 

– This post was written by Stacey Pierce.

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