5 Pitfalls Of Searching For Happiness

Why happiness is not what you need to be searching for.

Stress 29th Dec, 2020

Life is full of high and lows, good times and bad. Happiness is part of this rich tapestry, along with many other emotions. It is, in fact, fleeting, no one can, or should be, happy all the time. A well rounded life embraces all emotion. A constant search for happiness can actually lead to stress and mental health issues, because it is not a state of mind, as the advertising agencies lead you to believe. Although many people are afraid to feel the more challenging emotions like sadness, guilt or pain, when you allow these emotions in, your mental health becomes more balanced.

Happiness Is An Emotion Not A Destination:

It is easy to believe that happiness is an achievable goal, as it has been marketed as one for decades. However, happiness is an emotion, like anger, that will pass. For example, when you are so furious that your housemate has left the cleaning to you, again, that you momentarily fantasise about strangling them, you don’t expect the feeling to last. Fury, like joy, is a response to what is happening around you in the moment. Understanding this is the key to a balanced life, where you can enjoy happiness, rather than constantly search for it.

Don’t Look For Happiness In Material Wealth:

You do not need the latest car, biggest house or fanciest toys. When you focus solely on material wealth, you lose sight of some of the most important things in life, like spending time with friends or family. Material objects can not create happiness, working and saving for something might bring a sense of pride, which is lovely, but that is not happiness. When you shift your focus to spending time with people you love and find pleasure in the simple act of a hug, you are more likely to experience moments of happiness.

Pleasure Is Not Happiness:

The pursuit of pleasure is often confused with happiness. For example, a good meal, going to a party, having more time to relax, or see your kids may be pleasurable, which can lead to happiness, but it is not the same thing. Pursuing pleasure can also be just as damaging as chasing happiness. It can even lead to addiction, as one drink at a party turns to several, then another party and another. When you relax and enjoy pleasure in moderation, it is more likely to lead to a moment of happiness.

Change Your Focus:

When you stop chasing happiness you can focus on other goals. It is when you are striving to achieve something that takes effort, like setting up your own business, running a marathon, or indeed raising children, that you experience moments of happiness from your achievements. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, stretch yourself and try new things, that way you can experience life to the full.

Embrace All Emotions:

Express your emotions, when you bottle up that rage, shame, or anything else it will eventually burst out at another time, or be directed inwards. To achieve a good balance you need to communicate. For example, when you feel guilt for forgetting an anniversary, or panic for not feeding the pets, apologise instead of ignoring the emotion. In delicate situations, it is important to do this in a constructive way. Let the first flash of emotion pass, take a breath and then talk about your emotional anger/pain etc. When you tell people how you are feeling, they often respond, bringing you closer together in the long term. In addition, when you verbalise a feeling, rather than bottling it up, you and whoever it is directed at can move on.

Ultimately. while it is lovely to experience happiness, it is not necessary to strive for it every moment of the day. In fact, doing so is more likely to make you unhappy, or feeling like a failure. When you allow all emotion into your life, you may find far more peace than a constant drive for happiness can ever give you.

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