Stop chasing happiness (and you might find it)

Stop chasing happiness

There is a catch in all this happiness business. The more you search for it, the less you get it. Stop looking for it, and you might find it. Why is that? Because hoping for happiness and directing your thoughts and energy to it creates expectations. And expectations lead to discontent. So the more you expect being happy, the less you are.

Happiness is a noble cause, that’s for sure. A nice goal. But we tend to think that being happy is the end of the road, when in fact it isn’t. Happiness is not a perpetual state. I think that the biggest myth about happiness is that when you are happy, you are all of the time. Nothing would be less true. We will all experience hardships, difficulties, negative emotions at one point or the other. Without darkness, how can we know that there is light?

Ok, so we can’t be happy all of the time. And we can’t look for happiness or we’ll lose it. So what can we do to be happier, without trying too hard? Two things.

Build resilience

We already agreed that hardships are and will be a part of our lives. What we can do is learn to get stronger and more resilient to learn how not to let them affect our morale. Resilience is at the core of my ability to remain happy in spite of what life throws at me. It is the foundation of my personal well-being.

Practice gratitude

Life isn’t always about strong emotions or big parties. We must learn to appreciate the little things that makes us happy on a day to day basis. My cuddle session with my kitty Alfred is one of the things that really make me happy in my early mornings. I try to appreciate every second of it. I also like to keep a gratitude journal and write about things that put a smile in my face ; having my morning coffee on the balcony at sunrise, my fiancé bringing me a small gift from his trip to the grocery store… Small stuff, but when they add up, and you really take the time to appreciate them, they can make a real difference in your level of happiness.

“Happiness is how frequently you’re happy, not how intensely.” – Edward Diener, researcher at university of Illinois specialized in happiness

You now have my permission to stop chasing happiness. Don’t expect a result from your efforts. Just appreciate the little things, and learn to deal with the hardships you encounter. As Richard Carlson so eloquently put it, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.”

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