The world can feel like a dark and sad place oftentimes, and yet, most people know someone who is genuinely happy. They have tough days, but their happiness mostly seems steady and untouched by what life throws at them. They can honestly sing with Pharrell,
Here come bad news talking this and that
Yeah, give me all you got, don’t hold back
Yeah, well I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine
Yeah, no offense to you don’t waste your time
Here’s why: Because I’m happy…
How do happy people maintain their joy even when life is hard? The Internet has countless suggestions about which foods to eat, how power poses could help, and the right number of friends to have for optimum happiness. But do these actually work? Can people change how much happiness they feel?
Research has recently shown that people can adjust the amount of happiness they feel. In many ways, happiness is like an emotional muscle: with exercise and time, people can strengthen and increase the joy they feel. The more people train their mind to feel happy, the more they may feel happy.
If people can increase their happiness, how can they distinguish between exercises that boost joy and those that are simply clickbait?
Thriveworks Knoxville has helped many clients increase their happiness, and find a fulfilling, joyful life. Our professionals are experienced and skilled—we know how to guide each client through the emotional work it takes to increase their happiness.
Emotional Habits that Kill Happiness
The vast majority of people look to things outside of their control to find happiness. Did they receive the promotion at work they were expecting? If yes, they are happy. If no, they are unhappy. Did their team win the big game? If yes, they are happy. If no, they are unhappy. Did their friend call to check on them? If yes, they are happy. If no, they are unhappy. And so on with countless other circumstances.
There is no question: circumstances and other people play a part in happiness. However, they play a small part. The biggest role belongs to thoughts, emotions, and actions that people can control.
No one can (or should) control another person, and often, circumstances are also out of people’s control. Boosting personal happiness often begins by identifying habits that are within a person’s control that may be hindering their joy. There are many things people do that undermine their own happiness, and a few of these habits include:
- Comparison: Measuring what one has or does by comparing it to what other have and do is a recipe for unhappiness. Instead, comparison cultivates feelings of superiority or inferiority.
- Entitlement: Sitting back and waiting for joy to appear, as if it is deserved will lead to resentment, not happiness. Delight, cheer, joy, and happiness often come from an active stance as opposed to a passive stance.
- Control: People often allow things outside of their control to determine their happiness. They may think, If I were tall and skinny, I would be so happy. Reality is they can be perfectly happy in their current situation.
- Blame: There is always an excuse not to be happy. Blame disempowers people instead of equipping them to make difference choices and cultivate different thoughts that could truly lead to joy.
Emotional Habits that Promote Happiness
Mental health professionals can help people identify emotional habits that promote happiness. Each person’s emotional life is unique, but many people need to offset their negative habits with positive emotional habits that promote happiness. Little, daily shifts can add up to feeling happier. Habits that may lead to more joy may include…
- Prioritizing thankfulness – Listing just three things to be thankful for can lead to happiness. Thankfulness focuses people’s attention upon what is good and right in the world.
- Practicing mindfulness – Be in the moment. Notice every thought, feeling, and sensation as it arises. Paying attention without judgment may increase a person’s awareness and may lead to more happiness.
- Striving toward a goal – Choose an achievable personal or professional target and work toward it. Being proactive about life often promotes joy.
- Changing one’s mindset – People can learn new skills, habits, knowledge, feelings, and more. Being open to new experiences and new growth often means people are open to being happier.
Happiness does not come easily or quickly—there are no silver bullets, magic potions, or short-cuts that instantaneously produce joy in a person’s life. And yet, it is possible to increase happiness. Small adjustments can make a big difference. Often, a mental health counselor can guide people toward the changes that will be most effective in their lives.
Counseling to Increase Happiness at Thriveworks Knoxville
Life is full of ups and downs, but it is possible to be happy regardless of the rollercoaster. Intentional joy takes intentional effort, and many people are turning to mental health professionals to learn to how cultivate and sustain happiness.
If you want to speak to a counselor about living a happier life, the counselors at Thriveworks Knoxville are ready to listen. When you reach out to our office, know that…
- You will not reach a voicemail or an automatic response, but a person answers our phone.
- Evening and weekend sessions are available.
- We accept many forms of insurance.
- You will never be put on a waitlist.
- Most new clients meet with their counselor the day after their first call to our office.
Call Thriveworks Knoxville to get started.