I’ve been on a quest to find happiness for quite some time now. As someone who has suffered from depression and mood swings in the past, I’ve spent years of my life trying to figure out how to be happier. Now I’m finally at a place where I feel really emotional stable and am finally starting to enjoy life. So I’ve decided to do a little blog series sharing some of the insights I’ve learned about happiness along the way.
How to be Happier Blog Series
This series will be exploring different topics surrounding happiness. It will hopefully give you some useful tips that you will be able to implement to help you become happier in your day to day life. The first “episode” in this series is going to be about why you need to stop postponing your happiness until later. This is a topic that can benefit anyone even if you’ve never struggled with anything like depression before.
How to know if you are postponing your happiness
As a society, this is something we tend to do a lot. Most people will probably find themselves guilty of this. If you’ve ever found yourself waiting for your next paycheck to finally relax a bit, or even just thought “I can’t wait for work to be over today” then you’ve done this. I’ve been extremely guilty of the last one, and still, sometimes am. It can be hard to change the habit of a lifetime even when you are finally aware of it.
Where I find this habit does the most damage however is attaching our happiness in some big future event. An example of a big future event can be “When I make X amount a month”, “When I finally get that car ” or “When I finally have a family and house of my own”. It can also sneak up on you with something simple like looking forward to certain events such as a family wedding, a holiday or seeing a certain person again. (I’m not saying you can’t look forward to certain events, just try to be aware that if looking forward to that event is taking your happiness out of the current moment or day, or if you are putting much more importance on it than any of the other days in the months before it).
Why you need to stop postponing your happiness until later
You are probably thinking “What’s the harm in looking forward to something or achieving a big goal?”. The majority of the issues I’ve noticed in my own life is when I place a lot more importance on a future event than the current day ahead of me.
This habit ensures that we don’t live the current day to the fullest because we see it as “less important” than other days. Doing this can also put so much pressure and expectations on the future event that we’ve been waiting for, so much that we can’t fully enjoy it when it finally arrives.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself if you’ve ever had a horrible birthday? If you instantly thought “Yes”, then think “why was that?” Sure, there can be other reasons for having horrible birthdays, but a lot of the time, we find ourselves having a bad birthday because our expectations were too high, to begin with. It only comes around once a year so there is a bit more pressure on it to go well and for you to enjoy it more than a regular day.
I would assume the same thing happens with weddings. People spend thousands on their wedding and months planning it so there is an added pressure for it to be perfect on the day. What happens then when you wake up in a bad mood that day or something goes wrong? We get a lot more upset about it than we ever would on a “regular day”.
I will be happy once I achieve “X”
A seemingly miserable realisation I had in the past few months, was the realisation that achieving my goals didn’t actually make me any happier. In the lead up to achieving my goal, I’d, not necessarily consciously think, “I can finally relax and be happy once I get or do “X”, but I’d probably think something along the lines of “I’ll feel better when I have this”.
Then when I finally achieved whatever goal I was trying to do, although I got something that I’d wanted for ages, and I could say “I did this”, my general day to day happiness didn’t improve. I still felt sad and miserable and hopeless and everything else that I had felt before achieving it.
Always moving on to the next thing
Not only does the thing we’ve been waiting so long for not make us happy in the end, but as humans, we tend to move on to the next thing pretty fast anyway. Sure, we might enjoy our car for a few months but then we will start thinking about how we want a house. Then the cycle begins again. “I will be happy when I get a house”.
Also, always putting our happiness in that future moment when we achieved “X” means that we aren’t being grateful for the things we have right now.
If I’m always focusing on current lack, what I want in the future and not being grateful for what I have now, then when I get to that future moment in time when I finally get what I want, I won’t be grateful for it for very long, and I’ll still be unfulfilled waiting for the next thing.
This realisation was very scary at first because it made me feel like I would never be happy no matter what I do, BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE.
The things I do to actually cultivate happiness in my day to day life is what I will be sharing with you in this How To Be Happier series.
The things you can take from this post to improve your happiness is to be aware of when you are attaching your happiness/ fulfilment to a future moment and to make an extra effort each day to be grateful for what you currently do have. This can be as easy and making a list (written or in your head) of 5-10 things you are grateful for in your current life each morning or night (or both if you can).
Working on trying to be as present to the moment can also help a lot, but I know it’s easier said than done.
N.B. Practising this gratitude isn’t to get somewhere or something else. I know in certain parts of the Law of Attraction community, there are teachings of: “feel the feeling you will feel when you have the thing you want and then it will come to you”. I’m not saying that isn’t true but forcing yourself to feel good when you don’t, to get something you don’t have, can make you feel stressed and disappointed.
I’m talking about practising gratitude so you can fully enjoy this moment and your life. Then when you finally get that goal you wanted, you can properly enjoy it because it’s part of who you are to have this gratitude habit and to live in the moment you are currently in. Otherwise, it’s possible you would feel guilty that you don’t feel the way you thought you would when you got it or just start worrying about how to get the next goal.
I know on its own, the above advice doesn’t sound very life-changing, but this with someone of the other tips coming in this series should hopefully make a big difference to you.
(P.S. In terms of gratefulness, if you are suffering from depression or mental illness, I know this is much easier said than done. It can seem impossible to come up with even 1 thing to be grateful for when you are in that state of mind but try your best to think of at least 1. It can be anything.
I remember one day I was trying to be grateful but felt so negative that the only thing I could come up with was “The wood from the table I’m sitting at has a nice pattern”. If your 1 grateful thing is as simple as that then that’s okay. It will get easier with time. Looking back now, I can think of numerous things that I probably could have been grateful for at the time but mental illness can have a way of blocking you from seeing the good. Just try your best.)
If you want to make sure you don’t miss the next episode in this How To Be Happier Series, then make sure to follow my blog on Bloglovin‘ or follow me on Pinterest. All my social media links are on this blog’s navigation bar as well if you really want to make sure you don’t miss it. Below is the other blog post in this series if you want to read that too.
Other blog posts in this series:
I hope this post helped you somewhat. Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.
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