How do you respond to life when things don’t go your way?

Whatever your response, it is your choice.

I taught Child Care Services several years to high school students. One of the discussion strategies I used was WHIFs.

In that course, we discussed scenarios that could happen when dealing with preschool children and their behavior. Thinking through something before it happens is a good way to predict how you might handle an unfamiliar situation if it occurs and be prepared to help children learn appropriate behavior.

WHIF stands for WHat IF? It means to consider yourself in a specific scenario that required a response from you.

WHat IF you saw a preschooler biting another child? What do you do? As a caregiver, how would you respond in that teachable moment? Or WHat IF you witnessed a bully on the playground? Examining possible situations such as these were opportunities to help my students be prepared to make appropriate decisions for the safety and welfare of all the children in a class.

I think applying a WHIF to life situations is often an appropriate decision-making process for adults. Stopping to think about the consequences of your actions may help you make the best choice. And those choices either contribute to or detract from your personal happiness.

It is especially helpful in potentially negative situations to ask yourself this question:

WHat IF I choose to _________? (Fill in the blank with a choice you could make

in a specific situation.) Would that choice fulfill my needs or add to my peace and

contentment? Or would it hurt someone else unnecessarily?

Or WHat IF I choose to _________? (Fill in the blank with another choice you could make in the same situation.) What would be the likely outcome of that choice?

Your response to your WHIF has the potential to either add to your happiness and move you toward your goals and dreams in life or move you further away from those goals and dreams. It could also possibly help or hurt the people you love the most.

Do any of the following attributes or feelings apply to you? Do any of them define or contribute to your happiness?

  • Your Needs are Met – When a person is happy, their needs are usually being met at the level they want them to be met. It doesn’t mean that someone is not having a hard time, it’s more about how you make what you have fill your needs.


  • You Feel Satisfied – When you are happy, you tend to feel simply satisfied with your life. You think about your life and feel good about it.


  • You Feel Content – A happy person tends to feel content about their life in general. They are not in a constant state of stress. But remember happy people do have stress, they’re just better at feeling content even when things aren’t perfect.


  • You Are at PeacePeace tends to go with contentment. Happy people tend to know that everything will turn out okay and are good at turning negativity into positivity.


The truth is, happiness is how you define it personally for you. It’s not about getting tons of stuff unless you want that. It’s not about finding a spouse unless you want that. It’s not about having kids unless you want that.

It’s all up to you how you define happiness.

Happiness is not a destination where you arrive one day and stay there. It’s a lifelong journey that will have many ups and downs and struggles. But you get to decide how those ups and downs of life affect you. You have it in your power to be happy where you are in your life right now.

So, the next time you’re faced with a potentially negative situation, apply a WHIF to consider the impact of your actions. While you do have to do more than think positively to really and truly feel happy, it does start with your thoughts. Make your choices manifest happiness through your actions.

Consider how your choices impact your happiness level by applying your own WHIF.

Add comments below about your process for making decisions that impact your happiness.


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I’m Vicki Peel, former home economics teacher and educational administrator. If you are not receiving my emails, coupons, and freebies, look for the Subscribe block (below right) and submit your contact information. I will not share your information with anyone, and all the content you will receive as part of our community is free. I may occasionally promote someone else’s paid content, offer a product for your consideration or share an item that I think might be of use to you. However, you are under no obligation to purchase anything – ever. So, sign up now so you won’t miss anything during our July through September focus on LIFESTYLE!