Beware the Happiness trap
Is true happiness ever a constant in anyone’s universe? Honestly, if we get to touch it for a little while, we are fortunate. Considering the happiness finish line is a moving target and life and our desires are ever-changing, we may have to settle for work/life satisfaction for now.
Let’s face it, we are constantly exposed to smoke and mirrors around the notion of happiness, with no end of advice and quotes from celebrities, life/business coaches, rippling bodies gurus, instafluences…you get the idea. Well, sorry to be a realist and mere mortal, but I’ve dug around and found another more organic view of this unicorn like state of mind that these people speak of.
Being sad because you are not happy is not going to make you feel any better, but being kind and making the lives of others better will.
Could we hold false beliefs about happiness, and could these beliefs actually prevent us from feeling good about ourselves and enjoying life?
What have the experts got to add
Dr Russ Harris, author of ‘The Happiness Trap’ and Anna Box discuss everything happiness and the search for it.
O.K, Here’s the 5 Myths
- “There’s something wrong with me if I’m not happy all the time.”
No, there is nothing wrong with you because no one can be happy all the time. In fact, a temporary feeling of giddiness or being high on life is often mistaken for happiness. True happiness is more of a feeling of inner peace and being at ease, regardless of your external circumstances.
- “If I have, or aim to get, lots of money, I will be happy.”
Money can buy a lot of things, but after your basic needs are taken care of, the upgrades that come with an increase in income really don’t make that much of a difference. A famous Princeton study in 2010 found that emotional well-being did not increase for people making beyond $75,000. Interesting, in ‘Linkedin news’ recently, it was identified that Gen Zer’s would take less money to work for an organisation that provided authentic mental health support and whose values align with their own, over money and status.
- “When I find true love, then I will be happy.”
This is perhaps the most common myth we tell ourselves about happiness, and please trust that nothing could be further from the truth. Love is the best thing on the planet, and it is also the most painful, so brace yourself. What you can control is self-love (self-compassion), which is an endless resource that can be incorporated into your mental fitness habits.
- “If I have a fulfilled life, then I will never be unhappy.”
Everything has a life cycle, we are in a constant state of change, and feelings of fulfillment are no different. You will need to seek different kinds of fulfillment as your life changes and your body ages. As we will probably all know, pineapples can hit the fan sometimes and our mindset dictates how we respond to stress, grief, challenge, and distraction. Mental Toughness can be learnt and it has been called the ‘Penicillin’ of people development.
Remember, unhappiness, like happiness, is only temporary.
- “When life is normal again, then I can be happy again.”
This thinking seems to be a driving force in many people’s lives these days and you may know someone who says this. Unfortunately, things can never be like they were. Case in point…we are going through a period where the entire world is traumatized, and we don’t yet know what normal is going to look like as we come out of it as a community. Is this time about trying to be happy or is it a golden opportunity to slow down and learn to love and enjoy what we have?
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