Posts Tagged happiness

In Regards to Happiness

These are a few things I’ve learned from several self-help books that I’ve never finished (including an audio book!), a TED Talk or two and Shit My Dad Says.  I certainly don’t put it all into practice, but all The Books seem to say the same thing.  They must be on to something, right?  


Don’t Wait to be Happy.  When many of us think of happiness, we think of what will make us happy.  i.e. When X happens, I will be happy.  It can be whatever you’re “waiting” for:  a better job, getting married, retirement, having children (or having those children move out!).  This kind of happiness is a false and moving target, because you’ll perpetually be waiting for the next thing to come along and finally make you happy, but when it does, something else feels lacking, and so on. 

Perspective.  Trying to keep up with someone else’s money/success/[insert admired trait here] is going to make you miserable every time, because you’re REALLY feeling discontent with what you already have, not discontent for the lack of something more.  To help find gratitude, think of those who are 10% worse off than you, in one way or another.   

Also, to gain perspective, think of the impact of your problem a year from now. Will it even matter? 

Feel It and Get Over It.  All the things we do to make ourselves feel better – drugs, alcohol, overeating, compulsive shopping, giving in to some OCD – we do because we don’t think we can survive the discomfort of not doing it.  But no matter how much you eat or drink or _____ you’ll never be satisfied because you’re not scratching the right itch.  The only thing that can make the Feelings go away is to process them instead of trying to avoid them.  You can endure difficult situations.  Like they teach in  exposure therapy, live through it and you’ll prove to yourself that you can survive. 

Living in the Now.  How to we get our Inner Contentment??  By living in the Now, of course!  The voices in your head convincing you that you’re miserable are not telling you your truth.  They are not your own thoughts – they’re just your recollection of lectures from your parents/teachers, old feelings that you haven’t gotten over, futuristic ideals of when things will be “normal”, “just right” even “perfect”.  You’re supposed to live in the present, feel whatever you need to feel, learn from it, and get past it.  You cause yourself to suffer when you relive past events or get hung up on imagining a future that may never happen. (Someone Sensible said, “Worrying about something that may never happen is like paying interest on money you may never borrow.”)  Don’t be a slave to your mind.  This chart sums it up fairly well: 



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