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.
– Non-sleep deep rest (deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc.)
– Helping others
– Time with friends and family
– Activities that bring you joy
– Healthy food
– 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.
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.