Why Happiness Eludes Most People
Are you lacking happiness in your career, relationships or in life? Does happiness keep eluding you regardless of what you do? Would you like to stop seeking happiness and live a happy life?
Many people seek happiness, yet why do they fail to find it? I am regularly asked to help people to be happy in their career/business, relationships and life. Based on my experience in working with thousands of people, below are some thoughts to assist you…
The Top 3 Ways that Most People Sabotage their Happiness
1. They are unclear about what happiness is
Happiness is a positive feeling – a state of contentment. Different people experience happiness at different times. Some people feel happy spending time with their family, others feel it while engaging in a hobby, passion or fun activity, while helping others or simply by being grateful in the moment, etc.
You may have already experienced happiness, yet because you had no way of “measuring” it, it eluded you. It is difficult to know when you have achieved or experienced something if you never put in place a way of knowing when you have it. It is also difficult to find something that you are vague about. Your brain is made to look for specifics – it needs detail so it knows what to focus on so that you can obtain it.
Here are a few questions to help you get clear about what happiness is for you:
- What safe experiences have you had in the past where you felt truly happy?
- How did you know you felt truly happy? What did you see, hear, feel, taste, smell or tell yourself at the time?
- How could you have similar and safe experiences again to feel that happiness more often?
2. They wait for something they can experience now
Many people wait to be happy. They wait for “something” to happen so that they are happy – yet they are unclear about that “something” or how to get there. The goal posts are never defined so it is hard to experience or achieve (as explained above).
Worse still, they compare their life with an ideal/perfect happy moment. They fail to recognise the moments of happiness along the way because they focus too much on the perfect/ideal happy moment that will happen one day. Instead, be grateful for the happy moments each day/week and the sum total of these will build into a series of happy memories, and a more consistent feeling of happiness.
The good news is that you can feel happy now! Because our memories have emotions attached to them, you can feel happiness any time you think of a past happy memory. So there is no need to wait to feel happy because you can feel that emotion right now if you wish. If you have ever felt happy before at any time in your past (e.g. a wedding, birth of baby, any celebration, holiday, a success, etc.) you can feel happy again. Simply think about that time now and you will feel the happiness you felt at that time (unless the third reason below gets in the way).
3. They are disconnected from the moment
Some people are so disconnected that they fail to be fully present and to experience the emotions they feel in the moment. They are distracting themselves from feeling emotions and being happy. Other people are unable to feel positive emotions easily because of their negative emotions, limiting beliefs, self doubts, traumatic experiences, etc. For example, they have too much anger, hurt, resentment, sadness, trauma, fear, grief, depression and other negative emotions preventing them from feeling happy.
Alternatively, they may have limiting beliefs such as “I don’t deserve to be happy” so they deny themselves happiness because of that belief – that belief becomes self-fulfilling and, therefore, they sabotage their happiness.
The World Happiness Report 2017 notes that “Variations in levels of happiness can be explained by economic factors (such as income and employment), social factors (such as education and family life), and health (mental and physical). Mental health explains more of the variance of happiness than income does.” This is what I have observed in working with clients – regardless of economic and social factors, mental and emotional health is a significant contributor to your happiness. After all, happiness is a state of mind.
How to be Truly Happy
To be truly happy, here is a suggested action plan to help you:
1. Define what happiness is to you
2. Decide on how you will know when you feel happy
3. Do things that make you feel happy – enjoy and be in the moment to feel the happiness
4. Give yourself permission to feel happy now
5. Address any negative emotions, limiting beliefs, self doubts, traumas, etc. that sabotage your happiness so can more easily and consistently experience happiness
Here are some free NLP resources to help you to stop sabotaging your happiness so that you can live a happy life. You are also welcome to post your questions below or email me for a confidential reply.
Looking forward to continuing to empower you.
Reference: World Happiness Report 2017
Editors: John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs
Associate Editors: Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Haifang Huang and Shun Wang
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