Everything is Awesome… So Why Don’t You Feel Happy?

On paper everything is great. You like your job. Sure, it can get tough at times and your workplace has one or two unsavory characters whose presence you can do without, but you find your job rewarding with just the right amount of challenge to stop you from getting bored and just the right amount of familiarity that you don’t feel out of your depth. Your relationship is great, too. You know that you’ve found the one and while you may fight and argue from time to time, you are still completely in love and know that you can’t imagine your life with anyone else. Your kids are happy, healthy and doing well in school and although the challenges of balancing parenthood and professionalism can take their toll every now and then, it’s a dichotomy that you wouldn’t change for all the world. You have a modest selection of wonderful friends and while you don’t get as much time to see them as you did in your younger years, you know that when the chips are down, all it will ever take is a short phone call and they’ll be there for you in a heartbeat.

 

You love your life and on paper, everything is awesome… So why don’t you feel happy?

 

 

You are not alone

Your first instinct may be to ask yourself “what’s wrong with me?”. You’ll assume that you might have an undiagnosed issue with anxiety and / or depression and you may already be considering making an appointment with your doctor. While this may certainly be the case and it’s certainly worth considering as a possibility, you should also factor in other personal and environmental factors that may be impeding your ability to appreciate the enviable life you have right now. It may be that some broad and sweeping changes need to be made to your life, or simply that you need to develop some positive new habits or implement a few changes around the house.

 

Here are some common factors which may be impinging on your happiness…

 

You’re addicted to that honeymoon stages in life

Whenever we’re trying something new for the first time, our brains are at their most active. They’re absorbing and assimilating information at an exponential rate and as our minds are more active, we feel more present and alive. This can cause us to jump headlong into new experiences, new relationships and new jobs and feel bored and unfulfilled as soon as we find our rhythm. While this behavior is understandable, it can be an unwarranted and unwelcome cause of sadness.

 

Your life moves at a breakneck pace

In today’s technologically led era, life moves at an increasingly breakneck pace. We seem in a constant scramble to be more productive and squeeze every moment out of every minute of our free time. We dash from the school run to work to the gym to our kids’ extra curricular activities with just enough time to watch an hour of TV or sleepily scan through a chapter of a book before the lights go out and we repeat the cycle in the morning. Our obsession with living fast may help us to squeeze more into every day, but it may also be slowly killing us. Take some time to take stock of your life or better yet, meditate for a few minutes every day. Try to spare a few minutes out of every day without being bombarded by sensory input from your TV, your tablet, your smartphone or your mp3 player. You might just find that you’re more satisfied and fulfilled even though your life may be fast paced and hectic.

 

You can’t stop comparing yourself to others

Human beings are naturally greedy and covetous creatures and while these attributes may not be conducive to polite society, they have enabled us to evolve over billions of years to become the dominant life form on the planet. We are genetically programmed to acquire more than the people closest to us, and feel jealous when they have more than us. In prehistoric times this would have ensured that we survived and that others would not drain our limited natural resources like food and water. In an age where food and water are largely abundant, we still can’t shake off the reptilian instinct to compare ourselves to others and consider the grass greener on the other side of the fence.

 

Unfortunately, if you can’t kick this primitive impulse, you’ll forever be plagued by a vague feeling of jealousy and inadequacy that will impede your ability to appreciate your lot in life.

 

Your home is unnatural

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your home is haunted or possessed by a malignant presence. But it’s worth remembering that we’re physically and psychologically predisposed towards nature. Proximity to nature makes us feel happier and makes us healthier. The trouble is that all too many of us don’t allow natural materials into our home. For the sake of convenience and cost effectiveness we tend to fill our homes with synthetic materials like plastic, polyester and nylon, little knowing that they’re taking a toll on our mental health.

 

Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can bring the natural world into our home, incorporating stone, wood and natural fabrics like cotton and linen in beautiful and psychologically soothing ways. Whether your budget will extend to a pristine quartz or granite kitchen counter top or a marble bathroom sink from World Stone or a coffee table made out of reclaimed driftwood, all it takes is a little imagination. Even making sure that the home is well stocked with house plants can help us feel stress free, at peace, centered and happy at home. This doesn’t just go for what you can see, either. Eschew cloying plug in room deodorizers and environmentally damaging sprays for diffusers filled with essential oils. Breathing in these natural essential oils can aid mental health and clarity and help you feel happy and centered. Some of the most effective include lavender, tea tree oil, cedarwood, cinnamon leaf, mint and eucalyptus.

 

You’re surrounded by clutter at home and at work

From your jumbled desk at work to the shelves at home that are teeming with the accoutrements we pick up on our journey through life, we have a tendency to amass clutter without considering the psychological toll it can take on us. Clutter can be a source of anxiety, frustration and even depression that’s so subliminal we often don’t even know it’s there. Ditch the clutter by storing it out of sight or better yet by selling it on eBay or in a yard sale. When your home and work spaces clean, tidy and free of clutter, it not only makes your environment more aesthetically pleasing, it makes your life more enjoyable.

 

You aren’t getting enough sleep

Although we’re all aware of how essential sleep is for our physical and mental health, our busy and hectic lives mean that most of us aren’t getting nearly enough of it. Indeed 1 in 3 people in the US aren’t getting enough sleep to function optimally. When this happens our energy levels flag, we struggle to concentrate and everything feels that little bit harder. It can also cause us to be cranky and short tempered, potentially damaging our relationships with those around us. If your life is generally great but you tend to struggle by on 4-6 hours’ sleep a night, it’s little wonder that you don’t feel able to appreciate it. Follow these tips for getting healthy, natural, restful sleep.

 

But remember… We’re not supposed to feel happy all the time

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Life was never supposed to be a rollercoaster of non-stop highs. We’re supposed to experience highs and lows in life. It allows us to properly calibrate our emotions and become well rounded individuals. The trouble is that advertising has made its way into every aspect of our home life and this has skewed our perception and expectations of our own lives. We are bombarded on a daily basis with images of ecstatically happy faces which have been very deliberately arranged, shot and digitally tweaked to want us to buy the products being sold so that we too can achieve this ethereal level of happiness. While we may be able to dismiss this as bunk in our conscious minds, when we’re exposed to this from all angles all the time it can lead us to subconsciously believe that it’s not just our right but our responsibility to be happy all the time.

 

Social media only compounds these matters, further distorting our reality in ways that can be psychologically damaging. It has made everyone the star of their reality TV show and made everyone the bastion of their own personal brand. Thus, we’ve been conditioned to filter out the negative in our lives from the bags under our eyes to the mess in the background. We’ve been programmed to filter, fade and fudge every trace of negativity out of existence in our lives. Of course this is completely unrealistic and utterly unsustainable.

 

When we learn to embrace the negative aspects of our lives, we find that we’re able to enjoy and appreciate the positives that little bit more.

 

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