We all chase happiness. Sometimes it’s elusive, sometimes it leaps out at us, full-force. Overwhelming us.
We’re told we need to be happy. Search for happiness. Accept nothing less than joy.
But do you know what?
I think it’s completely normal not to be happy all the time. Preferable, even. Because, really, happiness wouldn’t be so wonderful if we felt it constantly. It would just be…normal.
But there are times when you should try to boost your happiness. Times when you’re feeling low, lack-lustre, lethargic. These are the times you should seek out your happiness.
And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. But did you know that you could actually be sabotaging your chances of finding happiness by falling into one of these four happiness traps:
1. You’re waiting to feel happiness, so you can be happy.
So often we assume the way we feel comes first, and the way we act comes second.
A person who is exceedingly confident must have sky-high self esteem. Or an outwardly happy person is certain to be full of inward joy. How we act simply reflects how we feel.
But the opposite is true. We feel how we act.
So the exceedingly confident person may be feeling insecure, but has decided to change that by acting with confidence. Or the happy person is battling with an inner sadness, and will defeat it by acting in the way she wishes to feel. That is, she acts happy to help herself feel happy.
Don’t fall into the trap of waiting to feel good before acting that way. Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it.
2. A day vegging out on the lounge is what you really need.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a good day spent vegging out at home. Wearing comfy clothes, no make-up, watching movies, the kids in pyjamas. When I do it at the right time, it’s the mini-break I need.
But if you’re feeling down, sad, frustrated or just plain unhappy, a day spent on the lounge, feeling sorry for yourself, could make you feel much, much worse.
When I was going through the peak of my post-natal depression therapies, I was told by a very wise woman that if I really, really, desparately didn’t want to go out and socialise (which was 90% of the time) that was a sign that I absolutely needed to.
Often we resist what it is that we most need.
Don’t fall into the trap of waiting to feel energetic before you can feel happy. Sometimes you just have to get up, get moving, get out of the house.
3. Letting yourself off the hook because you’re feeling down/sad/angry.
You may feel like being kind to yourself when you’re feeling down. And by all means, show yourself gentleness, but letting yourself off the hook is letting yourself down.
- If you have an appointment, keep it.
- If you’ve organised to have coffee with a friend, go.
- If you go to the gym, go today – even if you want to give yourself the morning off. Especially if you want to give yourself the morning off.
When you go, regardless of how much you don’t want to, you will feel as though you’ve achieved something and your happiness will actually take a boost.
Don’t fall into the trap of skipping out on a committment – the guilt is greater than the pleasure of not going – making you feel worse, not better.
4. Making yourself “feel better” with a treat.
(Are you listening to this one, Brooke??)
The reason we call them treats is because they aren’t something we have every day. They are a sometimes food. Not an “I’m having a terrible day and feel sad and angry and want to be happy so I’ll eat this chocolate” food.
In fact, we need to learn to take the emotions away from food all together. But that’s a whole other post.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking junk food will bring a boost of happiness. Do yourself a kindness and try a healthier option, drink a glass of water or have a cup of coffee.
So four different ways you can sabotage your own happiness. Tell me, do you fall into any of these happiness traps?