Stop chasing happiness

Stop chasing happiness

Stop chasing happiness

Tag. You’re It.

Those three words have been the start of some of the most epic chase games of my childhood. We are taught to chase things from a very early age. We start by chasing each other, but pretty soon, we start to chase everything. We chase popularity, money, achievement, status, relationships, power, retirement, and so much more.

But as a culture, there is one thing we seem to chase above all else…happiness. In 2008, happiness was an 11 billion dollar industry. Today, that number is astronomically higher. There are countless books, podcasts, blogs, and articles claiming to teach us how to be happy. But is all of this “happiness” making us any happier?

The Problem with Happiness

The problem with making happiness the goal is that happiness is an emotion. Just like sadness, fear, excitement, doubt, and shame, happiness does not exist in a vacuum, nor is it a constant state of being. Emotions are fleeting, and when we make them the goal, we are destined for failure.

If happiness is the real goal, rather than pursuing a feeling, our time is better spent engaging in habits, activities, and behaviors that have been scientifically proven to improve well-being. These are the strategies that build our resilience buffer zone by serving as resources to boost mental health, combat stress, and beat burnout.

Some of the items on this list seem so simple, it’s easy to dismiss them. Don’t.

– Sleep
– Non-sleep deep rest (deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc.)
– Mindfulness
– Gratitude
– Helping others
– Self-compassion
– Time with friends and family
– Laughter
– Activities that bring you joy
– Self-care
– Exercise
– Healthy food
– Vacation
– Device free time

Each of these activities signal safety for your brain, which is in a constant state of threat detection. Your brain could care less if you are happy, it just wants to keep you alive. That means we have to actively let our brain know it is safe.

Rather than the fleeting feeling of happiness, the goal is to learn how to create an enduring state of well-being, regardless of the context. While it may seem counterintuitive, your time is better spent cultivating positive emotions than reducing negative ones.

This week, pay attention to the activities that improve your feeling of well-being and those that decrease it. Track your activities as well as how you feel after spending time doing them. It helps to write these down over several days or weeks so that you can look for trends.

Don’t forget, happiness happens in micro-moments. Pay attention to these delicious moments and savor them.

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Anne breaks down the daily habits and skills needed to grow and cultivate RESILIENCE.

Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...


Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.

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