Could you actually choose to be happy? If you peruse the self-help selections in a bookstore or on Amazon, you are going to see many titles related to happiness. How to be happier.Finding your bliss.Out with the negative, in with the positive, etc. All of these hypothetical titles are geared toward helping you find happiness based on books you can buy. Is it truly that easy to find happiness just by reading a book?
That is debatable, but the reason basic happiness seems out of reach to many people is because they let certain things get in the way. The pursuit of happiness isn’t exactly a linear path—life is just naturally full of ups and down, like a speeding roller coaster. Ride it the right way and you’re bound to find some happiness. One of the ways to do this is to let go of certain behaviors. Here are 10 things you should consider giving up if you want to be happy.
1. Limiting Beliefs
When you are so rigid in your beliefs that you aren’t open to new things or ideas, you might have to reevaluate that stance. Limiting your beliefs can be an isolating life. Be aware that your opinion isn’t the absolute correct one. Letting others share ideas with you and being open to them can be a great way to bond with people.
2. Dwelling on the Past
Everyone goes through his or her share of ups and downs. There are also things in your past that can easily get in the way of your future happiness. It’s much better not to dwell on them. Deal with your feelings about past events, and then move on. If you need extra help in letting go, talk to a professional counselor about these feelings. By doing so, you’ll hold onto less resentment about the past and be more optimistic about where your future is going.
3. Worrying About the Future
It’s fine to plan for the future, but when you become obsessed with it turning out a certain way you aren’t living in the moment. That can cause feelings of restlessness if you are solely thinking about what’s next.
4. Negative Self-Talk
Being down on yourself constantly is a total recipe for unhappiness. Think about all your positive attributes and focus on those instead. Enlist a good friend’s help in making a list.
5. The Need to Impress Others
In this world of heavy social media use with people posting all the best things about their lives on Facebook, it can seem like you have to compare yourself to what everyone else is doing. Entertain, love, and impress yourself. That “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality isn’t the way to happiness. Let it go.
Some people view complaining as a sport. But all that negativity isn’t winning you anything, so try to reserve complaining only for very serious situations. Starbucks getting your order wrong isn’t a reason to complain or let it derail your day!
7. The Need to Always Be Right
What would happen if you admit you are wrong? You’ll probably strengthen certain relationships, especially with your significant other, family, and friends. The need to always be right is a lot of hard work! Giving yourself permission to make mistakes once in awhile can breathe some new energy into your life and ultimately make you a happier, much less stressed person.
8. Resistance to Change
Most people aren’t big fans of change. Allowing yourself to roll with life’s punches is going to let you adapt to new situations with more ease. Those who can go with the flow are much happier in life.
9. Blaming Others
Holding onto resentments and blaming others will make you a miserable person. As the old adage goes, To err is human, to forgive divine. Stop blaming others for your problems. Tackling them yourself will give you power over your life, making you happy in the process.
10. The Need for Approval from Others
Again in this modern age, social media and presenting the best selfie is taking up too much space in your life. Work on letting go of the need for approval. You’ll find that standing on your own as a person will allow you to be responsible for your own happiness. It won’t be dependent on others.
Dr. Joy, total wellness advocate, TV show host, author, and motivational speaker, is extremely passionate about health and wellness in all aspects of life and strives to bring that same enthusiasm to others.
By Joy Ohayia, Ph.D.