Happiness is often a byproduct of other life experiences. When we try to force it, it often ends up outside of our grasp. When we focus solely on feeling happiness we can end up disappointed and with decreased happiness as a result. It is the expectation that we set up and the result that we feel disappointed by that works against us feeling happy.
Believe it or not, being too cheerful can lead to problems as well. For some people it is so important to be happy that they deny their unhappiness, and as a result they are unable to remedy the underlying sadness. One study followed children from the 1920’s to old age. Researchers found that those that had died younger with the same people rated as very cheerful by their teachers.
Feeling happy inappropriately can also put you on a downer. It shows a level of unhealthy thinking when happiness results from the misfortune of others. This time of inappropriate happiness often occurs in people with mania.
Psychological scientists have discovered that what appears to truly increase happiness, that is the strongest predictor of happiness is not money or external recognition through success or fame. Real happiness comes from meaningful social relationships. The best way to increase happiness is to stop worrying about being happy and direct your focus to the relationships you have with people.
Photo by symphony of love