In Pursuit of Happiness

In Pursuit of Happiness

I’ve been working a lot lately with people who weren’t initially sure whether they should come to see me or not.

Their dilemma is that they know they aren’t happy at the moment, but don’t consider that they have anything seriously bad going on in their life to justify coming for “therapy”.

Truth is, we don’t have to have anything wrong with us or tragic in our life to feel bad.

Quite often it just generally creeps up on us over time.

It can often feel like a black cloud is following us round or we just feel stuck.

Maybe a feeling of confusion as to what we want in life or the guilt of not living life like we think we should.

When they have been for their free consultation, or “coffee and a chat” as I like to call it, things become a lot clearer for them.

They’ve put being happy on hold while they pursue “something” external that’s going to make them happy or wait for something to happen “to” them.

We started to discuss in last week’s column that this is generally the wrong way round.


In Pursuit of Happiness - Mark Darlington


Shortcuts are Short-lived

People often try to take shortcuts to happiness, such as alcohol, drugs, eating or even shopping. However the initial “high” doesn’t last.

There is usually a painful downside to the above, like feeling hung-over, tired, bloated or a scary credit card bill.

Most of us actually prefer to “earn” happiness by achieving something so that we feel entitled to it and it sticks around.

Professor Martin Seligman, who is credited with inventing “Positive Psychology”, suggests doing things that take us slightly out of our comfort zones that we can feel exhilarated and proud about.

If abseiling and rock climbing aren’t your thing, how about talking to or helping someone you’ve never met before.

Pay them a compliment or do a good deed for them.

The satisfaction from this builds up our “psychological capital” (like making a deposit in our own Bank of Happiness).

Once the deposit has been made it starts to gather “happiness interest” as you start to notice other things that you can do or the way people react to you in a positive way.

All these start to build up your feelings of wellbeing and happiness from the inside out.

What could you do today to start investing in your own happiness?


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