For the most part, we all have an idea of what might make us happy.
Receiving the promotion you’ve been working overtime for, losing those last 10 pounds, booking a dream vacation with your someone special–some version of these scenarios is likely to make you feel whole, complete, accomplished and ultimately happy.
But what if these monetary gains aren’t necessary?
Imagine being able to feel truly happy before your vacation and while you work toward your career goals. . .
a happiness you carry in all relationships and situations.
That kind of happiness is extremely personal and unique to each person, but psychology and science professionals may have discovered what anyone can do to keep from getting in the way of their own happiness.
Here are 5 habits that are keeping you from happiness, according to science.
#1 Focus on the Negative
There’s a reason reality television is as popular as it is.
Humans love drama–an escape from our own? Even better!
Dr. Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is a pioneer in the study of happiness.
Seligman’s research shows that participating in behavior that accentuates anything negative is very likely to keep a person from feelings of happiness or joy.
This includes listening to negative people, gossiping, negative self-talk, and engaging in media that is perceived as negative.
Therefore, create an environment of happiness.
It’s okay to acknowledge when things are less than perfect.
However, the more you talk about, concentrate on and give energy to negativity the less space you’re allowing for positive feelings to occur.
It’s natural to believe that uncovering your happiness is an internal experience.
Spoiler alert–it’s not!
In fact, research done by psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, shows that we actually receive a greater chemical response (that provides the feeling of happiness) when we give or provide gratitude.
So, sometimes on your journey toward personal development and self-improvement, don’t be afraid to look up.
You’re likely surrounded by people and places that are supportive of you.
Even your local barista who gives you that extra pump of caramel has your back!
Return the favor by showing gratitude.
Remembering who did you right instead of obsessing over who hasn’t is a happiness game-changer.
Have you ever left a charity event, volunteer opportunity, or even just helping your grandmother and felt bad?
It’s emotionally and psychologically rewarding to do good for others.
Without warning, the good often returns ten-fold.
# 3 Inconsistent Schedule or Routine
This is a hard one to hear especially for all the free-spirited “I’ll wing it” crew.
But, data concludes that following a somewhat structured schedule or routine 4-6 days of the week leads to a greater sense of purpose, fulfillment, and happiness.
Remember the times the alarm “didn’t go off” and you’d wake up late to school or work?
The sense of stress and urgency never seemed to wear off throughout the day.
A schedule and routine often leads to productivity and productivity leads to happiness.
It’s a wonderful cycle that allows you to accomplish a lot and claim your happiness.
This measurement doesn’t take into consideration what exactly it is your schedule entails (a miserable job done regularly isn’t going to contribute to happiness) but lies in the stability of creating a plan and seeing it through.
So, whether it’s a gym routine, meeting a friend for coffee or an hour to read for pleasure every day, create a set of plans that become routine.
And even when you think you don’t want to do them, push through and see how you feel afterward.
# 4 Lying
Lying is incredibly crippling to your happiness.
It’s a nasty habit that many aren’t even aware they do so often.
Saying you’ve done something you haven’t, agreeing you’ll go somewhere you know you won’t, or making promises you have no intention of keeping–are all lies.
The worst part about lies is that they usually result in more lying.
Stop trying to keep up and just be honest.
Creating lies means you’re creating secrets about who you are and what you really want.
According to author and professor of psychology Anita Kelly Ph.D., lying can make you emotionally and physically sick and results in not achieving your truest desire (including happiness).
Address the reasons you lie and you’re likely to find what you’re ashamed of.
Ditch shame, pass on the lies and discover a life of honesty and happiness surrounded by people who appreciate the real you.
#5 Holding Grudges
We’ve all been hurt and are likely to hurt again.
Why then should you prolong the suffering by holding a grudge?
According to the Mayo Clinic, holding grudges can lead to.
- Increased likelihood of becoming bitter in other relationships
- Depression or anxiety
- Loss of value in connecting with others
Letting go might not be easy.
In fact, putting a stop to any of these bad habits will be a challenge.
But now you know your happiness is at stake.
And your happiness is nobody else’s responsibility but your own.