We may be blocking our own joy and contentment without even realizing it. These common unhealthy habits can sabotage our happiness, but there are simple ways to stop.
Comparing yourself to others
It’s a natural tendency to compare our biggest flaws to someone else’s strengths. According to a quote by Steven Furtick, “The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our ‘behind the scenes’ with everyone else’s ‘highlight reel.’”
When you look at someone’s Pinterest perfect party or fabulous Facebook photos remember that is a scene from their ‘highlight reel.’ Rejoice with your friends in their strengths, but also remember that they have hidden weaknesses, just like you do. There’s no need to be jealous, don’t forget that you also have strengths and successes. If you still feel the need to compare, do it with yourself. Aim to get happier, healthier, and stronger than you were the day before.
Living in the past
Whether it’s holding onto past regrets, refusing to let go of past failures or reliving hurt, living in the past is a thief of the present.
We all make mistakes and there is no rewind button that will allow you to go back and make different decisions. Perhaps your experiences, although difficult or disappointing, were perfect for you to learn the lessons you needed to learn. As we experience events in our lives, we often unconsciously attach an emotion to that event. Learning to let go of the associated emotion allows us to learn from the past without allowing it to continue to haunt us. One tool to help us let go of those trapped emotions is to write out the things that happened and burn the sheets of paper afterwards, symbolically releasing and letting go of the past. We still get to keep the lessons learned, but release the pain or shame that may have accompanied the event.
Fear of the future
Maybe we’re afraid of failure or afraid of the many ‘what ifs’ that might come our way. Fear can be a paralyzing force that keeps us from living joyfully.
There are a few things we can do to help overcome those feelings of fear. Dale Carnegie once said, “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” This piece of advice is so true. Ruminating over fearful things only makes them grow in our minds, whereas action helps diminishes fear. It’s natural and okay to have fears, but we have the choice to make our fears grow or shrink. Summon the courage to move forward and you will gain in strength and courage and confidence.
I will be happy when…
Many people think that happiness will come when the right circumstances happen. Perhaps it will be after I get a raise, or a new car, or a new relationship, or more money, or more success, etc. Waiting for happiness is a waste of life’s moments.
Whether you like to admit it or not, true happiness is derived from the inside out, rather than the outside in. Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said, “Happiness doesn’t come from external circumstances. It comes from the inside – regardless of what is happening around us.” We have the choice to be happy now. One technique to increase happiness is developing and nurturing a sense of gratitude. Routinely practicing gratitude increases dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain which are key neurotransmitters that make us feel good.