Happiness is the only thing we pursue for its own sake. Everything else, we pursue because we think it will make us happier – or at the very least, less sad. But research shows that we are actually poor predictors of what will make us happy. In fact, you might even be sabotaging your happiness. See if any of these sound familiar – four common habits that are sabotaging your happiness:
1. Comparing “up.”
It’s hard not to compare “up.” Just turn on the television and you are bombarded with perfect people in shows and advertisements that send you this message: What you have is not enough. Who you are is not enough. What you do is not enough. When you constantly compare yourself to situations and people who seemingly have more than you, your happiness is bound to decline. Be balanced. In fact, one of the benefits of volunteer work (besides making you happy because you’re helping someone else!) is that it puts your life into perspective by helping you see that you indeed have much to be grateful for.
2. Leaving all your options open.
We are a country that values freedom of choice. The problem is, we’ve come to believe that more choice is always good. Not true. No choice is bad. Some choice is good. Too much choice is overwhelming. Narrow your goals. Stop thinking something better is always going to come along. As Jack Nicholson famously said, sometimes what you have is, “As good as it gets.” Learn to appreciate it. And embrace the idea that even if there is something just a little bit better, it may not be worth the extra time, resources and energy it takes to get it.
3. Living above your means.
Few things are more stressful than living paycheck to paycheck, worried that if something unexpected comes up this week, you don’t know how you’ll handle it. And it is even worse when living on the financial edge is avoidable. It’s one thing to lose your job and plow through your savings. It’s another thing entirely to buy more than you can afford and put yourself into an unnecessary bind. If you want to be happy, live below your means.
4. Keeping your blessings all to yourself.
It is indeed better to give than receive. Jesus said it. Research proves it. If everything you have, you use for your own benefit, you are bound to be miserable. Make a habit of giving. Make it a goal to be generous.
My challenge to you:
Choose to be happy!
Which of the four happiness-sabotaging habits are you guilty of? How does it impact you? I want to hear from you! Post your comments below.