We all fall victim to this. We think we can only be happy if X happens or if Y comes through, that there’s a special formula for happiness to suddenly fall from the sky when the stars align.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
In actual fact, happiness is a state of being, not a condition or a result of anything. It’s a choice we make every single moment. We often let other things override our decision to be happy, or we over-complicated it so much that it’s impossible to bring it back to basics and understand what happiness really is.
So, in acknowledgement of the fact that I’ve been stuck in a little rut lately with my happiness, here are seven reasons why you may just feel a little less-happy than usual.
You’re in a rut of monotony. Routine is nice but the constant replay of the same things over and over again can lead to boredom. We all experience this in some form but we often rely on other things to get us out of it.
Allow your intuition to guide you instead of overthinking. Listen to your gut and go with your heart – as soppy as that sounds – rather than doing what you “should” do. Even if it fails, you’ll have broken that monotonous chain and hopefully learned something of value along the way.
You’re letting others decide for you
This is likely for anyone who falls into the trap of people-pleasing. You’re letting what others say and do dictate what you say and do, and that’s a recipe for disaster. When you begin to live for other people and not for yourself, your happiness will dwindle and you’ll be left fulfilling other people’s needs but not your own.
Start small and do something for yourself perhaps once a week, and increase it as you go on. Do things that satisfy you and only you, practice regular self-care and know that you are the most important person in your world.
You’re letting external factors affect your mood
Don’t lie, we’ve all been there. We let other’s actions dictate our mood such as, not getting a text back, getting rejection, dropping the ball at work. These are all external factors that can affect how we feel.
You need to focus on you. You do the best you can and be proud of it. Don’t let anyone else’s action or lack of action come in the way of that.
You’re filling the emptiness instead of addressing it
You’re using alcohol, drugs, smoking, comfort eating or even binge-watching to drag yourself away from the real problem. It’s ok to have an escape from reality now again but relying on them to survive can prove detrimental to yourself and everyone else around you.
Choose escapes that are more productive to your health such as exercise, journaling, meditating, etc. They will not only give your brain a break but will also give you the feeling of accomplishment at the end. Cut down on vices you use to simply ‘numb the emptiness’. Going out for a few drinks or serial-watching Netflix can still be good forms of escape but do them in moderation.
You’re focusing on what you don’t have
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you focus on what you don’t have, you’re going to find an abundance of it. So, if you tell yourself you’re worthless or ‘not good enough’, you’re only going to find more and more examples of it ie, being passed over for something at work or being rejected.
You need to change your thinking in order to change your world. If you think good things, good things will come to you. If you tell yourself you are worthy, you will feel worthy, and it will show in your interactions with people and the world.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely – Roald Dahl
You’re not engaged in expressing gratitude
Ok so, you may be having a crappy day – and this isn’t a practice to take away from how crappy it is – but remembering what you are grateful for is a ground for happiness to blossom. If you focus your attention on what you usually take for granted, for the people you have in your life, or even simply for the fact you have a bed to sleep in at night, you will become more intune with happiness as a state of mind rather than a material goal
You believe that you need X, Y, and Z in order to be happy
So having nice things is nice. Everybody agrees with that. You might be de-fucking-lighted that you got that really nice car or bagged that really cool job or that that guy from accounting asked you out. And yes, they can make you happy but happiness is not on condition of these things. There are people out there who don’t have these things and are just as happy. It doesn’t come via a magic formula, happiness doesn’t wait for summer to come around or for Christmas to be over.
Happiness is a state of being, a living-in-the-present-moment vibe, an acknowledgement that it is a choice, a simple “I choose to choose happier thoughts/actions”. It’s the searching for the good in the bad, choosing to see the bright side. It’s not something that will magically fall onto you when everything aligns into place. It’s something you make for yourself.
Try it. I promise you, you will feel happier.