We all want to be happy. It's hardwired into our brains. And for a good reason – happiness is linked to all sorts of benefits, from increased lifespan to better relationships to improved work performance. But often, in our quest for happiness, we can inadvertently fall prey to false or idealistic beliefs about what happiness is, what it should look like, and how we get there someday.
Even with everything we know now – between the self-help industry to literal experts on the topic – our grasp on happiness leaves much to be desired. After all, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to happiness, making our quest for happiness a tricky one – especially when it seems like it's gone missing.
If this seems like the case in your life, don't fret. As contradictory as it may sound, you may find it easier to pinpoint happiness by retracing your steps through life so far and finding where it is not.
Your life is not aligned with what matters to you.
It's easy to go through life without thinking about why we're doing what we're doing. We go to school, get good grades, land a job, and start working our way up the corporate ladder. And there's nothing wrong with that! But sometimes, it can lead to a feeling of disillusionment.
When we're working hard day in and day out without taking the time to think about what we want out of life, it's easy to start feeling like we're just going through the motions. This can be a major source of unhappiness.
If you feel unfulfilled or dissatisfied, it might be worth reflecting on the things that truly matter to you. What are your passions? What makes you feel alive? Or simply, what makes you smile – even a little bit more than you are lately?
Once you've identified this, you can start changing your life to align with those values. That might mean a change as big as seeking a new job or making time for an activity that brings you joy. It could mean watching more videos on YouTube to learn something new or scrolling through TikTok to find what makes you laugh. Whatever it is, making a conscious effort to live a life more aligned with your interests and what excites you is sure to bring you more happiness.
You've become a victim of your circumstances.
Life is full of challenges, and it's only natural that we'll experience periods of sadness and frustration. However, if you feel unhappy more often than not, it may be worth taking a closer look at your life.
Are you facing problems that seem insurmountable? Do you feel like you're a victim of circumstances beyond your control? If so, it's important to remember that you are never completely powerless.
You can't always change your circumstances, but you can change how you respond to them. By taking action and refusing to be defined by your problems, you can regain a sense of control and create more space for joy.
You don't value or believe in yourself enough.
A lot of unhappiness in life can be traced back to low self-esteem. If you believe that your opinions are less valuable than the next person's or that you're incapable of achieving your goals, it will be very hard to be happy.
A lot of times, low self-esteem is the lasting impact of the negative messages you received growing up. If we're constantly being told that we're not good enough or that we'll never amount to anything, it's not hard to see how those messages would start to stick with us.
And even if those messages don't come from other people but instead from our self-talk, they can still be just as damaging to our self-esteem and overall life. It can hold us back in our personal and professional lives and make us more susceptible to depression and anxiety.
If you're struggling with low self-esteem, the first step is identifying your negative self-talk. Once you're aware of the thoughts holding you back, you can start challenging them. It takes effort, consistency, and perseverance, but changing your self-talk is a powerful way to boost your self-esteem. Journaling, meditation, and affirmations are three great practices to start with identifying, accepting, and changing how you think about yourself.
You're caught in a happiness trap.
Does it ever seem like happiness is just out of reach, no matter what you do? Have you ever wondered if the pressure to be happy all the time is contributing to the cause?
So many of us spend a great deal of time and energy searching for advice on how to be happy. We're often told that we need to let go of negative emotions or that we need to control our thoughts to achieve this elusive goal. However, if there's one thing we aren't told enough, it's that this type of thinking is counterproductive.
The truth is control is an illusion. And living life to the fullest means accepting and experiencing all emotions as part of the human experience - even the uncomfortable ones. This doesn't mean that we should dwell on negative emotions or actively try to experience pain. It means we can finally take a breath and release the notion that we should strive for happiness at all costs.
So, if you are caught in a happiness trap, don't worry. It's normal, and it's okay. Remember that happiness is just one emotion – one piece to the puzzle of an authentic, balanced, and, well, happier life. We're here to help you find your own happiness through customized therapies plans designed for YOU.