If you do a search right now on Amazon books for the topic of “Happiness,” you will find page after page of titles, all claiming to know the secret to finding it. Why do we have an obsession with happiness? An even better questions is: why does happiness seem so difficult to find for many […]
If you do a search right now on Amazon books for the topic of “Happiness,” you will find page after page of titles, all claiming to know the secret to finding it. Why do we have an obsession with happiness? An even better questions is: why does happiness seem so difficult to find for many people?
At one time, humans were too busy staying alive to be concerned with whether or not they were happy. However, thanks to grocery stores and advances in health care, modern man now has the time to focus on self-growth.
An expanding body of research has also suggested that happiness doesn’t just feel good, it is linked to other benefits, such as better immune-system function and higher earnings. No wonder so many of us strive for it.
But what is happiness exactly? We feel happy when we are with the people we love, when we’re watching a funny movie, or eating our favorite pasta dish. When we say we want happiness, it seems more than just a momentary emotion that we are in search of.
So, what is it then?
Happiness is a state of mind, and as such, can be intentional and strategic. This is good news because it means we can intentionally make choices that lead to a positive state of mind – AKA happiness. We can look to the people who seem naturally happy and copy what they do.
And here’s what they do:
They Understand Growth is Painful
Many people play life safe. They eat at the same restaurants, vacation at the same place every year and spend time with the same people. However, sustained happiness is not about being safe and settled. It’s about discovery and growth, which require life lived outside of your comfort zone.
They Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff and they are not perfectionists. Rather, they possess a devil-may-care attitude about their performance. A review of research literature found that the happiest people, those who scored a 9 or 10 out of 10 on measures of life satisfaction, typically didn’t perform as well as moderately happy people in accomplishments such as grades, class attendance, or work salaries. So, balance is the key.
Keep trying your best for important goals, but allow for mistakes and don’t treat all areas of your life with the same intensity. Give full effort on that big presentation for work, but allow yourself to be mediocre at tennis. As long as you are having fun and getting some exercise, it is still a win!
They Feel Their Feelings
You would think that really happy people are happy all the time, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Psychologically healthy people are those that understand the importance of letting some things roll off their backs, as well as, feeling their genuine emotions. Happy people don’t deny their distasteful or uncomfortable emotions. They instead use their negative emotions as signals that something is wrong or out of balance. They use these negative emotions as motivation for change. This may be taking action now or learning a lesson for future challenges.
For instance, a happy person might feel jealous because a coworker got a promotion and they didn’t. Happy people don’t wallow in the feeling of jealousy. They see this emotion as an indicator that they could have done something differently to achieve a more desirable outcome.
If you don’t think you are as happy as you should be, try to take more risks, don’t sweat the small stuff, and feel your feelings while looking for ways to make better choices.
If you’ve always been someone who turns away from their emotions, it may be difficult to feel your feelings. A therapist can help you get acquainted with your emotional life and offer tools so you can navigate your emotions in the future. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today to schedule a free consultation session.