Are you Falling Victim to the Myths of Happiness?


Happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In general, do you consider yourself a happy person? What would make you even happier? A different job? More money? A different partner? As it turns out, be careful what you wish for. Often the things that we think will make us happier do the opposite.

I recently read the book The Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. In the book, Ms. Lyubomirsky talks about what most consider major accomplishments (marriage, children, wealth, etc.) as well as what are often considered failures (singlehood, divorce, illness, etc.). A main point of the book is that we expect the best or the worst from these situations and place too much weight on our initial emotional responses. If we instead shifted our mindset, we could find true happiness in places or situations that we wouldn’t expect because humans adapt to life experiences, the good and the bad, far more efficiently than we give ourselves credit.

How am I applying this to my life? By asking three TOUGH questions:

1.    Why?
2.    And then what?
3.    How do I think I will feel in one year about this?

I tried this with three different scenarios. Each time, I was able to change my mindset to recognize that I didn’t need anything further to be happy and that I had it pretty good already.

In The Myth of Happiness, Ms. Lyubomirsky states that “exploding the myths of happiness means that there’s no magic formula for happiness and no sure course toward misery. Appreciating this truth can not only liberate us, empower us, and broaden our horizons, but can grant us our best opportunity to choose well.” (p. 251).

Want to read more?  Check out The Myths of Happiness for chapters such as:

I’ll Be Happy When…I’m Married to the Right Person
I Can’t Be Happy When…My Relationship Has Fallen Apart
I’ll Be Happy When…I Find the Right Job
I Can’t Be Happy When…the Best Years of My Life Are Over

Until next time, choose happiness today.
Sources: Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The Myths of Happiness. New York: The Penguin Press, 2013. Print.

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