3 Happiness Myths You Mistakenly Live Your Life By
Discover what happiness myths you need to drop to find a more fulfilling, meaningful type of happiness.
I used to think I had to reach certain milestones in my life in order to be happy. I used to think happiness was about being 'happy clappy' and smiling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I used to think there was a magic formula for happiness. All of these myths got completely debunked when I re-trained to become a happiness life coach and positive psychology practitioner. And now I want to share the truth behind these myths with you.
Myth 1: Saying to yourself: "I'll be happy when ___________."
How many times have you said this to yourself with different fillings at the end of the sentence (e.g. I'll be happy when I get married / get that promotion / buy a house)? I bet quite a few. I imagine how you've filled the end of the sentence has also been highly dependant on the life phase you've been in. The reality is that reaching life milestones and goals does bring momentary joy, feelings of pride and a sense of achievement (rightfully so!). They don't however bring you long-term happiness. Why? Because you rarely stop to celebrate your achievement and quicker than you know it you've already set yourself a new goal to aim for. Now don't get me wrong here. Goals are brilliant for setting direction in your life and giving you the drive to progress and move forward. They do not however hand you happiness on a silver platter. So how do you approach goals or life milestones from a more happiness inducing angle?
Truth: Happiness comes from enjoying the journey towards your goals, not from reaching them.
Choose to enjoy every step you take towards your goals. Be sure to celebrate when you reach them but don't limit your experience of happiness to simply when you reach them. Learn to find joy and meaning in your day-to-day as you work towards wherever it is that you're looking to get to.
Myth 2: Happiness is about being happy all the time.
Hell no to this one! If you were happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I'd start to get a bit worried. As fulfilling as happiness is, it also takes up a lot of your energy. You would be insane if you tried to be happy all the time. You would also be limiting your life experience. You can not experience an authentic type of happiness without also experiencing a bit of unhappiness.
Truth: Happiness is about having a full experience of emotions and experiencing more positive emotions than negative ones.
Sadness, stress and frustration are all healthy emotions. Just because they're negative doesn't mean they're always bad for you. Often they help you gain perspective on what's important, appreciate what you have and motivate you to work harder towards the things you truly want. The important thing here is to have balance. Some research has suggested that in order to balance one negative emotion you need to experience three positive emotions. The reason behind this is because as humans we naturally suffer from negativity bias. That means you simply need to work a bit harder to find the good in the bad, see the challenges you're faced with as learning opportunities, and use positive thinking to get out of your down periods. The good news here is that positivity is like a muscle. The more you practice it, the stronger it gets and the easier it is to use it.
Myth 3: There is one magic formula for happiness you should follow.
I'm afraid it's not as simple as that. There is no magic pill or miraculous affirmation that will make you happy. Why? Because you are completely unique. There is no one else exactly like you on this planet and there never will be. That means what makes you happy might not make the person next to you happy. BUT there are certain things you can reflect on in order to discover your own, unique fulfilling happiness.
Truth: The right balance of pleasure and meaning will give you a meaningful type of happiness.
There is a mix of both pleasure and meaning that gives you an all-encompassing type of happiness. Ask yourself, "What activities make you feel positive emotions like joy, excitement and delight?" These are the things which will connect you with half of your happiness by giving you pleasure. The other half comes from asking yourself, "What gives me a sense of purpose in my life? How do I want to contribute to the world? How can I connect to my current life in a more meaningful way?". This will fill you with a meaningful, spiritual type of happiness that truly lifts you and the people around you higher.
I encourage you to drop these three myths and replace them with these new truths. I also encourage you to share this post so that you can help the people around you to achieve a more fulfilling type of happiness. It could be that these same myths are holding them back from it and you could now hold the key to helping them unlock their happiness.
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