YES, Happiness is different for everyone, however, there are some traps that we need to be aware of! Our mind can trick us but when we act upon this we are able to find true happiness. A lot of research has been conducted on these Happiness misconceptions and it is astonishing. The fact that we are wired to adapt quickly and that our mind is focused on social comparison is not doing us any favours, right? But there is light at the end of the tunnel! Once we acknowledge and understand these happiness barriers we can implement strategies to live a truly fulfilling life. So Happiness is connected to Personal Growth once again as we need to shape our mind and challenge these happiness misconceptions.
One of the Human characteristics is that we get used to things very quickly. Hedonic Adaptation refers to our ability to quickly return to our normal levels of happiness even after positive or negative experiences. You can compare it to the way our eyes adjust to a dark environment, first you can’t see much while after a while you see things clearer. Hedonic adaptation makes us overpredict what or how long something would make us happy for. Same for when we experience something negative, we often underestimate our own resilience. So, the thought that more money or new gadgets will make us happy, is one of the happiness misconceptions. So let’s be aware that all this won’t affect us as much as we thought because we are wired to adapt quickly.
Solution = Gratitude Attitude / Savouring
The solution to Hedonic adaption is to battle the “Taking it for granted” phenomenon. By taking time each day to list a few things you are grateful for, you are reminding yourself of all the good things you have in your life. Another important habit we should adopt is savouring. We should truly emerge ourselves in the experience as this will lengthen the effect of the positive emotions. Savouring focuses on bringing your full attention to the experience and be truly in the moment, noticing everything. You can bring your savouring to the next level by sharing it with someone else and showing gratitude towards being able to experience this. Take some pictures as you will see the experience in a different light. (Ensure you take the pictures for yourself, to revisit it later and not for social media!!)
We’re all aware of the fact that we compare ourselves to others, especially now we spend so much time on Social Media. We are constantly evaluating our own worth based on the people we admire. So how is this comparison affecting our happiness? Well, it all comes down to our reference point. Who are we comparing ourselves to? There is upward and downward comparison. If your reference point is lower than your current lifestyle, it won’t make a difference in happiness levels however, if you watch the billionaire shows or follow the Victoria models on Instagram, chances are you’re dipping into your happiness bucket. You will always compare yourself to the people in your space so be aware of this and be mindful of your reference point!
Solution = Focussing On Your Strengths
The most important cure to comparison is to be aware that you are doing this. Often this happens unconscious but when you realise this, STOP yourself. Start focussing on the positives in your life, find your strengths and accept your imperfections. Use these positives and strengths as motivation, be inspired to jump on a personal growth journey BUT never talk yourself down. The comparison trap often leads to the happiness misconception of wanting to wrong things just to fit in. So make sure you stay true to yourself.
Hedonic Adaptation and the comparison trap are often the main reasons we want certain things. We think that these “things” will make us happy. But as we learnt, this is wrong. We miswant and mispredict our happiness sources. The new car you want so badly might be influenced by the people in your space and the happiness boost won’t last long as we adapt quickly to this new gadget. Miswanting is so common and we should work on identifying this as we should focus on the true things that make us happy.
Solution = Want Mindfully / Indulge in Experiences
Be mindful next time you want something and think critically with the above misconceptions in mind. For instance, buying Tea for me would boost my Happiness and a car fanatic’s happiness would spike after buying a new car. Because this car will bring meaningful experiences for them and it is not about keeping up with the Joneses! Once you have determined whether this want beats the happiness misconception, you should focus on indulging in experiences. When choosing an experience you will also avoid the comparison trap as everyone has different values. Experiences provide you with anticipation happiness, when savoured happiness will last longer and after the experience when talking about it, it will make you happy again. Talking to others about a vacation vs a purchase also influences how people see you.
The Busy Mindset
We are in this mindset that we have to be busy. Being busy is the new norm. We are constantly thinking about the next thing, our minds are overflowing with information and we get distracted easily. Being in the moment is something we undervalue. We constantly remind ourselves that there are not enough hours in the day, so we multitask, rush and prioritise the wrong things. However, when we prioritise rightly we have more energy, we will focus on the correct things and we will accomplish more. We achieve a greater sense of accomplishment which in turns will bring us happiness.
Solution = Mindfulness / Self-care
I know I talk a lot about self-care but it is so important that we look after ourselves, we need to slow down. When we do this, we can reflect and acknowledge our true needs and ensure we are chasing the things we value. Imagine a life where happy moments happen on a daily basis. Schedule downtime, unplug, journal, plan and most importantly engage in mindfulness. By doing this, quieting our mind, we get clarity and we allow space for creativity. So beat the happiness misconception of being busy and plan your life with moments of true happiness.
Happiness Misconceptions Takeaway
Oh Boy! Isn’t our mind a great joy? It gives us all the wrong information about Happiness, but lucky for us, we can fight back! We can filter through what our mind feeds us and turn it into a powerful tool. Now we know what won’t bring us happiness but we can start to focus on the things that bring us true and lasting happiness. Indulge in happiness habits such as savouring, mindfulness and self-care. Adopting a Happiness mindset where we have a gratitude attitude and focus on our strengths. Emerge yourself in experiences and ensure to stop miswanting. Put this all into practice by creating your happiness action plan. Sign up for access to my library where you can find the prompts in my E-book.
What Brings Happiness Can Be Misleading. Be Mindful And Focus on True HappinessTruthful Tea TAlks