7 Things That Do Not Make You Happier
Happiness is not a state of permanent pleasure that some privileged people get to experience. Happiness is a conscious position in life, a choice. By the 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Aristotle defined happiness as “the consequence of correct behavior, the result of knowing how to make the best use of our possibilities, our dispositions, our talents and the opportunities that life offers us.” Although we think they do, there are many things that do not make you happier.
Sometimes we think that being happy depends on factors such as luck or material belongings. However, that is not the case. Do not forget that you can be absolutely miserable even if you have everything, and you can be happy having very little.
Make no mistake, a minimum amount of money is important. However, once these minimums have been exceeded, an increase in income has very little to do with perceived satisfaction. Working hard to earn a lot of money does not increase happiness.
Maybe you think that what does bring happiness is to have sufficient financial means and not having to face the arduous task of going to work every day, especially if the work is not to your liking. Well, this is not entirely true either, because the people who have won the lottery do not feel happier than other people once past the first moments of emotion.
Having a lot of leisure time
Excessive free time and lack of responsibilities can induce and intensify a negative state of mind. Thus it is important to find the balance between obligations and rewarding activities. A feeling of emptiness inside, boredom, lack of imagination and the absence of the precious sensation of feeling useful give rise to a life without satisfaction.
Our state of mind can be compared to a scale in which excessive obligations lower one of the sides and gratifying activities lower the other. Enjoying a good mood requires balancing the scales.
Even when the main source of discomfort is work, it is more realistic to learn skills to overcome the difficulties to escape the situations that generate the problem.
It is not proven that professional success contributes to making us happier. If it occurs suddenly, it can cause us to lose a feeling of control over our own existence. We’re not as capable of digesting the new experiences or handling the high expectations, both our own and those of others, that success brings.
Fulfilling the requirements imposed from the outside does not make you feel happier. However, the achievement of your own aspirations does contribute to your happiness.
Dare to savor the success that comes from growing according to your abilities and your principles, no matter how much others do not consider you a successful person in their minds. There are many differences between both types of success, and discovering them will help you acquire the necessary tools to achieve the one that really works: personal and non-transferable success.
Social support: happy people usually have a more satisfying social life
A happy person spends less time alone, maintains good social relationships with friends and is viewed in a positive manner by those friends. What comes first? The chicken or the egg? In other words, do happy people cultivate their social lives more consciously, or are they more attractive and therefore have more friends? In any case, having a good social support network is very important.
In the face of any crisis, having solid supports acts as a buffer cushion. Now, it is also essential to know how to be alone. Unbridled social activity, without time to cultivate hobbies and to be with oneself can become a clear obstacle to authentic happiness. It is also a way to avoid encountering oneself and facing one’s life.
To aspire to a higher social position is natural in humans, but it does not create happiness or contribute to achieving it. White-collar employees and workers are not at all happier than blue-collar workers, confirming that social category is irrelevant in relation to happiness.
In fact, in another study carried out with children and adolescents, those of a lower social class said they were happier. On the other hand, those of the upper classes said they felt more miserable. This is something that clashes with what we would expect in principle.
Misfortunes and joys
Suffering many misfortunes does not prevent happiness. Our greatest joys are sometimes the result of relieving our worst fears. In times of war, there are far fewer psychological problems.
During war, the psychiatric pathology decreases in general and few psychological problems occur. There is a rapid adaptation to survival, and the psychological is an unattainable luxury.
Women experience twice as many emotional problems as men, but they also experience more positive and more intense emotions. Thus, there are mental disorders that occur more frequently in women than in men, and vice versa.
The way women and men fight their sadness is different. Women talk more about it, go to the psychologist more and are more likely to ask for help in general.
So, what can we do to be happier?
External factors make up no more than 15% of the happiness that we can enjoy. One of the great rules to happiness consists of committing to yourself and your goals, as well as finding meaning for your existence. These are both habits that can be learned.
It seems clear, then, that neither money nor social status nor success nor the recognition of others will make us happier. Everything that can make us happier comes from within us, from how we interpret life to how we manage our thoughts.