Finding happiness seems to be what we’re all on the search for. Life is a struggle without it. What’s the point if you don’t feel and experience the joy from time to time?
“How to Achieve Happiness” is a pretty hot topic when it comes to the self-help world. Happiness is what our loved ones want for us. It’s what many of my clients are looking for when seeking my services. I’ve found that underneath many “presenting issues” is a solid desire for more joy and a life that brings happiness.
It’s common for me to hear:
“I’m unhappy.” I don’t know why and I want to become more happy.”
So, the million-dollar question is, “How do you become more happy?”
The human experience is not linear, meaning that happiness will vary to some degree. In the long run, this ebb and flow is helpful because it offers contrast, which helps us appreciate when our reality is rich.
However, when more of our days are filled with racing thoughts, about the future or feeling depressed about the past, that’s a loud signal that there’s a core issue that’s crying for help.
Related: 7 Myths That Stop You From Being Truly Happy
*Our emotions are like fire alarms. Our feelings are communicating with us via how they make us feel. Learning to decode what your emotions are saying will do you wonders.
A major theme in this article is that nothing goes away magically that’s calling for our attention to be dealt with and put to rest. We do NEED to deal with things in our life that are demanding our attention or there will be consequences.
This can be hard to hear, however, it’s really important to stomach, friends. Let’s keep going and get you through this so you can find your path to happy.
According to Jay Shetty, three behaviors tend to block us from feeling fulfilled and happy. We tend to numb, avoid and distract ourselves in life from the situations, people, and issues that we don’t want to face and deal with. When we do this, shocker, a bigger issue is created as a problem only gets bigger if unattended too.
Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at these blocking behaviors in order for you to evaluate what role they might be playing in your world.
3 Behaviors Blocking Your Happiness
Block #1 DISTRACTING yourself from what you don’t want to face.
Here are some ways that we distract ourselves that tend to go under the radar.
- Distraction one – allowing clutter to build up.
- Distraction two – hiding within negativity.
- Distraction three – holding grudges.
- Distraction four – seeking happiness outside of yourself.
- Distraction five – creating a habit of worry.
The thing about “distracting” ourselves from whatever it is that we don’t want to face, is that whatever we don’t confront, just becomes bigger. Distraction is what we do “in the meantime,” although the thing that we’re distracting ourselves from is just sitting there, getting bigger and taking up more space in the room. It will not go away without our acknowledgment.
Block #2 NUMBING yourself from what you don’t want to feel.
The act of numbing our emotions usually entails an external behavior that we do or, rather, “numb out” in. We can numb with things such as food, alcohol, social media, drama, or Netflix. Numbing acts as an escape from what we don’t want to feel, face and deal with.
As you may have guessed it, not coping with difficult emotions creates bigger issues down the road. As whatever we avoid will become bigger.
Related: 21 Habits That Happy People Master
Block #3 AVOIDING what you don’t want to confront.
Just like avoiding an acquaintance in a parking lot whom you don’t want to spark a conversation with, avoiding is the final way in which we block our happiness. If avoiding situations and people becomes our normal “go to” of how to cope, over time, it can feel like we’re carrying a huge, heavyweight on our backs.
Learning To Face Difficult Situations
So, what’s the answer here? If distracting, numbing and avoiding is the road to dissatisfaction, what’s the road to happy?
The obvious truth is: The opposite of not dealing with situations that we deem unpleasant, is dealing with them. The actions that will begin to turn our lives around have to do with facing and working through the situations that are hard for us to face.
It’s amazing how much more life will flow when we get into the habit of dealing with challenges as they appear.
I see clients that have a history of “running” from what’s uncomfortable. As they run, avoid, distract, and numb, I watch the problem gain momentum. When we’re running from the truth, we have to tell false truths in order to keep running. Within these “lies” is where we get cornered into negative behaviors and actions as the walls fall down around us.
Sounds kinda dramatic, but it’s true!
It really is painful to watch. I see good people lose their self-worth and self-respect when they get caught in this cycle of coping. You can argue that loss of self being the biggest downfall of all. It’s like watching a train wreck. However, this can be avoided.
The reality is that the amount of fear that one is facing when they’re engaging in these destructive behaviors is real. There’s a reason, deep at the core, that has created the instinct for one to run, rather than deal with the issue at hand. This is where “the work,” “the therapy,” or “the corrective behaviors” kick in.
Let’s get to that, shall we?
Related: 7 Snoopy Quotes That Redefine The Art Of Being Happy
Two Main Tips Toward Change
Tip 1: Learn How to Start Going Toward the Problem/ Exposure Therapy.
That’s right. Go right to the jugular. The more you face your issues, the less build-up you will have within your life. (I know, obvious.) Also, as facing your issues becomes the “new normal” and gains momentum, that will become your habit of how you cope with difficult emotions and situations over time. In the world of psychology, this strategy is known as exposure therapy.
Tip 2: Gain New Perspectives Around What “Dealing With the Problem” Will Bring
As you sit with uncomfortable feelings by allowing them to be felt and surface, instead of numbing, avoiding, or distracting yourself from them, they will dissipate. Yes, it’s true. As you allow them to surface, they will have the room to be felt, do their thing, and leave.
Anything that we confront in life will, eventually, lose its power over us. We will be able to understand and identify the pain and discomfort as we allow ourselves to stop running and start dealing.
The new thought: “I’m curious about what I might see differently and realize about myself and my life if I give myself the space to think about and feel my emotions.”
All in all, please be kind to yourself. There’s a reason why you’re doing “all the things” to avoid what’s uncomfortable. Perhaps you never were taught how to “cope” with hard emotions or, maybe the discomfort just got too much over time.
Related: How to Stop Being Sad and Start Feeling Happy
Regardless of the reasoning, I feel for you. It can feel impossible to sit with emotions that hurt so deeply. It really can.
*After reading this post, you might feel the desire to begin facing your unique blocks on your own, or you might feel as though you need some support. There are many qualified people out there to help you.
Here’s an article I wrote on “How to Find The Right Therapist” (or Coach) for You.
Below is a youtube video I did about “Getting Unstuck” if you want a bit more motivation.
Written By Kim Egel Originally Appeared On Kim Egel
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