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Want To Be Happier? Three Surprising Things You Haven’t Tried


 happiness photo


Happiness is, well, elusive. It can feel rooted in our achievements which may make us feel great, until we see someone else who has accomplished more. It can feel material, like when we buy something new. That is, until the novelty wears off, or we see someone like us who has something better. And it can feel connected to our status which, as long as we are where we think we should be, could make us happy, but only until we begin to think that maybe we should be somewhere else.


The point is that we all want to feel happy, and we are probably all a little tired of searching for it. So here are three things that involve no searching, and yet are surprisingly connected to happiness:



Stop Caring So Much About What Other People Think. What other people think is simply what they think. It is not is a barometer of your success, beauty, intelligence, or anything else. It is not your permission to do what you want to or need to do. It is not a reflection of what you should be. It is not a measure of your worth. In fact, it doesn’t matter at all – unless you allow it to. Because when it comes to feeling better right now, what you don’t need is other people to like you, think you are smart, beautiful, or successful. What you do need is to care more about how you feel about yourself, whether or not you have lived up to your own standards – not those of others — whether or not you have accomplished what you wanted to do – not what others thought you should — and whether or not you have lived the life you wanted to – not one that depends on meeting others’ expectations. You see there is a paradox here – the more you do the things that make you happy, the less you need other people to approve of them.


Change Your Currency. Did you know there is more than one way to measure currency? Currency, in fact, has many forms. You have money of course. But you also have the currency of time, which we clearly can place value on. You have the currency of autonomy, which study after study have shown that people value. You have the currency of relationships, which are highly linked to people’s sense of wellbeing. You have the currency of creativity – a much sought after trait. You have the currency of resourcefulness – also clearly valuable. So ask yourself – what’s my currency? What am I rich in? Is it relationships? Generosity? Time? Flexibility? Persistence? Health? All of these currencies have value. So if you are not happy with the currency of money – and many people are not – choose not to measure yourself that way. Because every person has a currency that he/she is rich in – and it is not always the green stuff.


Stop The Brain Drain. Being happy doesn’t just depend on doing the things that make you happy, but also eliminating the things that don’t. When was the last time you remember watching the news and hearing about the latest murder and thinking, “Well now my day is better.” Exactly. Negative news, negative people, negative information – no surprise here – doesn’t make people happier. Yet how often do we make an active effort to eliminate these things from our lives? Seldom, if ever. Instead, what do we do? We allow ourselves to be saturated with endless bad news, we follow a Facebook feed of nauseating political rants, and we read article after article about what’s wrong with that person, relationship, or thing in our lives. What we don’t realize is not just that we don’t have to do these things, but our happiness depends on not doing them. So if you want to feel happier, turn off the bad news. Just turn off anything that doesn’t make you feel better. Instead, treat your happiness as a prized possession – one that should not be marred by negativity.


Photo by simaje

Want To Be Happier? Three Surprising Things You Haven’t Tried

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

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APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2017). Want To Be Happier? Three Surprising Things You Haven’t Tried. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Feb 2017
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