Stop trying to be happy.
Yep. That’s the key to happiness.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but according to Susan David, author of Emotional Agility, people who focus on being happy are less happy over time. Dr. David believes that getting to know ourselves, understanding what is really happening for us, slowing down so we can figure out how we would like to respond to our emotions are skills that help us be happier.
Here are some highlights from an interview Maria Shriver had with Susan David:
“One of the first things is showing up. Instead of trying to push our emotions aside or trying to put on a happy face—what I call bottling and brooding—instead, literally drop any struggle that you have within yourself by ending the battle. Not saying to yourself, “I’m unhappy, but I shouldn’t be unhappy.” Or, “I’m miserable in my job, but at least I’ve got a job.”
Really just open up to the fact that we have a full range of emotions. These emotions have helped us and evolved to enable us to position ourselves effectively in the world.”
Emotions offer us important information regarding what is important to us. In the interview, Dr. David goes on to say:
“It’s important to recognize that our emotions contain data. I’ve never met a mother who’s feeling guilty about her parenting who, at some level, isn’t wanting to be present and connected with her children. Our difficult emotions [point] to the things that we value.
Instead of struggling with whether we should or shouldn’t feel something, it’s important for us to say, “What is the function of this emotion? What is the value? What is this emotion trying to tell me?”
Here’s a link to the interview if you’re interested in reading further:
I know that I am not always happy and positive so reading that my happiness does not depend on me being happy and positive all the time made me happy! I hope it helps you, too.
(professional website: http://www.bethlevinecounseling.com)