Home » Blogs » Adventures in Positive Psychology » Is Being Overly Serious Clouding Your Joy?

Is Being Overly Serious Clouding Your Joy?

Has anyone ever told you to “lighten up”?

I’ve heard this before, and often the person telling me was right. It took me a while to realize it, but sometimes the smallest things can get to us overly upset.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be situations in life that require us to have serious reflection and take a very responsible and somber perspective.

Though, how many times do we approach life with an overly serious attitude, and make mountains out of mole hills?

When we make things worse than they are it can become a vicious cycle of awfulizing and terribilizing every set-back we experience. We can get worked up and pushed over the edge from even the slightest offense.

Fortunately we can break this cycle.

It’s time to realistically examine the severity of situations in your life and learn to laugh and find humor in these moments of frustration. Stop putting worry and stress in the place of what could be joyful moments.

If you find yourself saying, “I must be perfect,” or “Everyone must like me,” you may want to consider if you’re taking things a little too seriously.

Seriousness can lead us to be a perfectionist and take an overly critical attitude toward ourselves and others.

Take an ‘O Well’ approach

When was the last time you did something that you regretted? How did you deal with it? Did you hold onto the bitterness and shame and ruminated about how stupid you are, or were you able to say O Well, I’ll do better next time and now I know what not to do?

Most of the time, the negativity we hold onto comes from our own irrational thinking. We may hold onto resentment and anger from being treated badly, or we may feel shame about how we treated someone else.

Before we hold onto these negative emotions, we may want to figure out if what’ tripping us up is even slightly impacting the other person. They may be totally free of tension, while we hold onto all the pain.

Learning to forgive and forget can be one of the most effective ways to bring joy back into your life.

Lighten-up and free yourself from sorrow

By taking a lighthearted approach to life everything becomes easier to deal with. You will experience less stress and more moments of peace and serenity. You may even start to find value in the face of obstacles.

Being serious can lead us to focus only on the negative circumstances that face us presently, and to forget about enjoying life.

Living less seriously doesn’t mean we forget responsibilities and are care fee, but it does mean we can find more positivity in life. We can take an optimistic perspective and notice moments of joy and amusement as opposed to dwelling on the negative.

Find more moments to play, be curious, and free yourself from negative energy.

Photo credit: andrea.rose

Is Being Overly Serious Clouding Your Joy?

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

4 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). Is Being Overly Serious Clouding Your Joy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 9, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 May 2011
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.