To increase happiness, you may need to think outside the box. What follows are four ways we commonly deprive ourselves of happiness. They usually occur on autopilot, without conscious choice.
Once we understand them, we can take actions to remedy the negative effects.
Here they are:
1. Suppressing Positive Emotions
Squashing positive emotions that naturally surface throughout the day is shockingly common. In fact, research reveals that suppressing positive emotions is a common yet little-known cause of depression.
This is actually good news. It means that you do have spontaneous positive emotions that surface regularly. If you learn to avoid chasing them away, then these uplifting emotions might stick around longer.
Pay attention to when you feel positive emotions wanting to rise. Then allow yourself to feel them!
2. When you are happy, you get nervous.
The late Nathaniel Branden called it happiness anxiety. It happens when you become nervous after a period of feeling happy. Many people subconsciously believe that happiness can never last. Something will always come along to ruin it.
So, they preempt the bad news by ditching happiness before they are inevitably hurt or disappointed. It’s sort of like breaking up with someone because you’re afraid they’re going to break up with you.
When you’re feeling happy, reassure yourself that if bad news comes, you can deal with it. Until then, allow yourself to enjoy it!
3. You keep yourself distracted.
Some of us stay too distracted and busy to enjoy much of anything. Happiness seems to be related to slowing down.
Making too many commitments, endless to-do lists, lack of personal boundaries (can’t say no), obsession with your electronic device – all of these distractions may be direct obstacles to your inner state of happiness.
4. Obliterating Happiness Through Self-Criticism
There’s no better way to destroy happiness than to criticize yourself. And the relentlessness of it for some of us is astounding. Self-criticism prevents happiness. And it obliterates any happiness that might slip through the cracks.
Self-criticism may be the number one symptom of psychic masochism, or self-sabotage. To gain peace of mind, you must deal with the part of you that seems to have it in for you. No way around this one.
Start by calming listening to your self-criticism. They’re just words going off in your mind. As you learn to listen without reacting, the words will have less effect on your emotions.
All of the above are common signs of self-sabotage. To learn more about how self-sabotage works and how to stop it, watch this free and enlightening video.
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