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  • Writer's pictureMichael McEntee

Measuring Up Happiness

They say that it’s actually good to be negative?! Because, if you then realise what you don’t want in your life, you can then focus on what you truly want in your life - what will make you happy! Healthy Pleasures author, Dr. Sobel acknowledges that, “Momentary periods of sadness are a natural, healthy part of life." But if sadness tips towards depression, it’s time to ask for help. Signs of depression include feeling down or hopeless; changes in sleep, appetite, or energy levels; and a loss of interest in activities, friends, or family for a consistent period of time.

One of the quickest ways to spread the sunny rays of happiness over your life is to directly confront the negative attitudes darkening your doorstep. Here are ten causes and cures for unhappiness:

1. Jealousy: Destroy the green eyed monster by celebrating the successes of others. If your friend succeeds, celebrate his victory as your own; if your enemy succeeds, remind yourself that jealousy is self-defeating, pointless, and merely extends an enemy’s power over you.

2. Persecution Complex: Recognise that persecution is irrelevant, since you (and only you) control the outcome of your life. Every person has a stack of obstacles placed before him; success hinges upon your ability to overcome the obstacles in your path.

3. Lack of Accountability: We may not control every bad thing that happens to us, but we do control how we react to those bad things. Instead of passing the buck, take responsibility for every failure so you can learn and grow.

4. Perfectionism: Stop nit picking. Perfection is rarely attainable and seldom necessary. You’re a person, not a robot.

5. Excessive Reasoning: Man is blessed with a marvellous and astounding ability to reason. At its best, this ability facilitates accomplishment; at its worst, it causes spirals of perfectionism, over- thinking, and paralysis by analysis. If it’s clear you’re in a situation that cannot be improved through logic and reason, learn to let go.

6. Negativism: Remind yourself that there are just as many positive forces in the world as negative ones; your fixation on the negative is a matter of perspective and choice.

7. Assuming the Worst of Others: There is a fine line between guarding against a realistic threat and being needlessly defensive. Make sure you haven’t crossed that line. Whenever possible, give people the benefit of the doubt.

8. Low Self-Esteem: Raise your self-esteem by recognising your accomplishments and positive qualities; further boost it by correcting the problem areas that drag you down.

9. Low Self-Efficacy: Self-efficacy is defined as faith in your ability to achieve a desired outcome. To overcome low self-efficacy, master the skills required to reach your objective. Practice, practice, practice.

10. Feelings of Meaninglessness: Inject meaning into your life by learning to follow your passion: that internal compass, guiding you toward fulfilment.

It’s not our intention to over simply matters for the purpose of this blog post, however, unhappiness is both self-defined and self-imposed, meaning you are the sole creator and contributor to your levels of (un)happiness. If you’re capable of controlling your mental state without examining (over analysing) the various parts that make it up, then you have the freedom to pat yourself on the back, take one step at a time, and congratulate yourself for being the best representation of yourself you can be at this moment in time.

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