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Thoughts on Happiness

by | May 8, 2024

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Are you happy? 

What does it mean if you are not happy? 

What does it take to make you happy? 

Most of us, without even realizing it, have expectations about happiness, and what it means when we don’t feel happy. Letting go of expectations and the need to “Be Happy” can lower our stress and lighten our load so to speak. Without that pressure or expectation, we may struggle less and find it easier to enjoy the present moment. Accepting the full emotional range of being human can be a relief. Of course we want to be happy some (or most) of the time, but life is stressful, and there are ups and downs. It’s kind of like the weather. Some days are cloudy and rainy, but the sun always comes back.

Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, talks about three “happiness myths”. 

  1. Happiness Should be a Constant State. As discussed above, humans will experience a range of feelings, some pleasant and some difficult. The belief that we should always be happy sets us up for feelings of disappointment and failure. 
  2. Happiness Means Feeling Good. There is more to happiness than just feeling good. Other aspects include living a meaningful life, trying new and interesting things and overcoming challenges. Things an be good and challenging for example. 
  3. If You’re Not Happy, You’re Defective. This perpetuates the belief that not feeling happy is a personal failing. In reality, it just makes you human. Instead, we can learn to accept all of our feelings and still work toward the goals and values that add meaning to our life. 

For more, check out his book or website.

Free Resources from Dr. Russ Harris (thehappinesstrap.com)

While these ideas might sound good, the doing it part is not easy. We are complicated and may need help with our process. If you could use some support, please reach out: [email protected]

10 Ways to Enjoy Summer

  1. Make a summer bucket list. 
  2. Plant flowers, veggies and/or herbs.
  3. Enjoy the sights and sounds of summer. 
  4. Make popsicles, ice cream or a fresh fruit salad. 
  5. Have a BBQ or picnic.
  6. Relax in a lounge chair or hammock with a good book.
  7. Go on a trip – think daytrips and weekend getaways. 
  8. Explore your city – take in a ballgame, go to the zoo or farmer’s market.
  9. Get outside and take advantage of the longer, lighter days. 
  10. Take it easy and just be…

Articles & Resources

Exercise can improve our mood. This is a great time to get outside and walk!

Walking Benefits: 8 Advantages of Walking, According to Experts and Science | Shape

Perfectionism can steel our joy. Letting go and learning new ways of thinking can boost our happiness. 

Understanding and Healing Perfectionism | Psychology Today

A resource for daily happiness tips:

You deserve to be happy — The New Happy

Self-Care Tips: 

Practice Finding Moments –

Look for moments of calmness, peace, joy, ease, contentment, relaxation, happiness, appreciation… Even in a stressful day, it’s possible to find, and enjoy, moments. That’s part of living a perfectly imperfect life. 

Lighten Your Load –

Enhance your happiness potential by releasing what is unhelpful – unhelpful patterns, thoughts, beliefs, and expectations.  Ideas to consider:  

Patterns of thinking, Stories, Comparisons, Worry, Control, Fixing, Peacekeeping, Expectations, Guilt, Judgment, Resentment, Grudges, Criticism. 

Habits and practices that keep us stuck. And last but not least, all that does not really belong to us (other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions). 

Quotes & Inspiration 

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… ―Theodore Roosevelt

Happiness is a warm puppy. ― Charles M. Schulz  

No matter how long the winter is, spring is sure to follow. ―  unknown

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. —Abraham Lincoln

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. — Carl Jung
If you can accept the flow of life and give in to it, you will be accepting what is real. Only when you accept what is real can you live with it in peace and happiness. ― Deepak Chopra

Linda Stiles

LSCSW, LCSW, CFSW, Certified Imago Therapist

I am dedicated to creating an environment where clients feel safe to share and be both supported and challenged in their journey toward self-healing and growth. I specialize in helping people find peace, joy and balance in their relationship with themselves and with others.

Learn more about me