Ask pretty much anyone what they really want out of life and most will tell you that they simply want to happy. What we often do not realize is that, most often, the biggest barrier to our happiness is none other than ourselves. We often feel like we have little to no control over certain areas of our lives, and believe that ultimately, this is what leads to our unhappiness. What all happy people know is that we have far more control over our lives than we might initially think and that if we really want to, we can focus our efforts of choosing happy.
There are so many ways that we can actually push happiness further away, all the while thinking we are actually working to improve it. What follows are six of the most common mistakes that we make that sabotage our own happiness. By learning the mistakes you are making, and how to avoid them, you can remove these proverbial thorns that stick in the side of our ability to be happy. Read on to learn more about the most common impediments to happiness.
Fear has an evolutionary benefit, but in today’s world, it tends to be more of a limiting factor and hindrance than anything beneficial. It is often said that most hatred and racism stems from fear of the unknown or different. Fear also keeps us in unhealthy relationships, keeps us from taking risks to pursue our dreams, and can really make it almost impossible to find happiness.
Fear is ultimately something that will keep you from living the authentic life that you so want to live. Yes, taking risks can be scary. Yes, learning about something completely new is also scary. It needs to be noted that without discomfort and going outside our area of expertise, we really limit our ability to grow and learn, and, of course, to be happy.
Failure to Stay Positive
There are a lot of sad things in the world and if we want, we can choose to focus our attention only on those things. Constantly having an “I can’t” attitude does, ultimately, mean you won’t, whether you can or not makes no difference. Confidence and positivity start from within. When you begin to cultivate this inside yourself, you will see that you have a positive impact on those around you too. When you aren’t positive, you do still have an impact, but it is not a very good one.
If you want to see the downside, that is exactly what you will see. Negativity is not only rampant, but it is a huge barrier to our own happiness. It is so easy to get mired in the negative all the time – just turn on the news and you have countless reasons to feel negative. Happy people, however, actively work to find the positive, rather than negative in any given situation. Where possible, they remove negative stimulus from their lives. When negative thoughts happen, which they do, happy people acknowledge them and then let them go. Dwelling on negativity only gives it more power over us.
Unhealthy Ways of Relieving Stress
Many, when stressed out, turn to things like drugs, alcohol, or even food as a means to try to get rid of their excessive stress. The problem is, these substances do not actually get rid of stress. Dependence on these substances can lead to a whole host of associated issues that can, in turn, just pile on more stress.
Finding healthy ways to relieve stress is imperative. Whether is is meditation, yoga, some form of exercise, a hobby, positive visualization, there are tons of different ways that you can actually relieve your stress in a healthy and adaptive way.
We all have different obligations and responsibilities that pull us in different directions. Our lives are often fast paced and hectic, often to the max. So many people feel like they are constantly up against the clock, and, in reality, because of all the different areas they are trying to attend to, they really are against the clock.
All of us have room for simplicity in our lives. Most of us do not have the luxury of having one parent stay home and raise the kids, or one half of a couple can quit their job to have more relaxation time. However, most of us do not need to maintain all the obligations we do. There is often a lot of proverbial “fat” that can be removed from our schedules, which simplifies our life and allows us to live at a less breakneck pace.
Hope is our last bastion in some of the darkest proverbial storms. Hope is what keeps us going and working towards a future that will be different or better than today. When we lose hope, we essentially give up on our happiness. Without hope, what do we have to keep us moving forward? Without hope, how do we work towards something that is better than what we have now? For many of us, this is one of the last things we lose, but a lot of us do.
Any truly happy person will tell you that it takes effort and a change in world view to really be able to choose happiness. Life is both great and awful at the same time. Life and death are two sides of the same proverbial coin. What you have to ask yourself is, what side do you want to focus on? When you decide this, you can really begin to choose happiness. It is when you choose happy that the things you are doing to actually negate your own happiness start to become obvious.
Letting go of fear and negativity are two of the most important things that happy people do, and also one of the biggest barriers to unhappy people becoming happy. Fear and negativity are self-imposed mind states at we have it in our power (though it is not easy) to say no to fear and negativity. We can focus on the positive and always look for a silver lining. We can simplify our lives and cultivate hope and gratitude. And since we cannot remove all forms of stress from our lives, we also need to let go of those maladaptive and unhealthy ways we have been using to “relieve stress” and find positive, healthy solutions that actually work.