“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”
Psalm 42:11 from the Bible tells us about the faith we need to have in God to free ourselves from the shackles of distress. But what if you are an aesthist? I dedicate this article to someone very special, who’s happiness matters a lot to me. If you too have somebody struggling to be happy or if you yourself fear losing your happiness you must read and forward this article.
Life, like different seasons, bring different moods. You should be ready to fight against difficult situations and also enjoy happy times. In Psychology Today, David Sack, M.D., an expert in addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine said that people who appear addicted to unhappiness tend to find reasons to be miserable when life gets “too good”, they prefer to take the Victim role and compete with others to see who has it the hardest. “There are several scientific studies indicating that many people have a feeling of being undeserving of happiness.” What adds to this grave situation is you cocooning yourself for a fairly long period of time.
During the happy moments, you may externally show yourself enthusiastic, however, in the inside, you are worried about future unhappiness. “I’m going to be unhappy again after this!” is what comes to your mind. You expect yourself to be sad, whereas you don’t even know what life has in store for you. The future haunts your present which leads to tepid response towards all present activities. It’s also a kind of masochistic feeling. You feel incomplete without it. You hope to get rid of it but secretly pet it inside your subconscious mind because you’ve got used to that pain.
A million dollar question is- What’s the root cause of your unhappiness?
David Sack opines that people who grew up with a parenting style characterized by excessive discipline and unrealistic expectations may have learned to equate unhappiness with love and success.Some people think happiness is something hard to achieve. Unless there’s suffering involved they feel undeserving of any joy in life.Insecurity or lack of self-esteem is yet another reason.
A study by Eduardo Andrade and Joel Cohen, which evaluated why people enjoy horror movies, concluded that some viewers are happy to be unhappy.
Identify the symptoms.
Find reasons to be miserable when life gets “too good.”Prefer to play the victim role and blame others rather than take personal responsibility for their choices.Compete with friends and colleagues to see who has it the hardest.Have difficulty setting and achieving goals.Shrivel rather than bounce back during tough timesDistract, escape or cope by using drugs, alcohol, sex, food, or addictive or compulsive behaviors.Doesn’t take a healthy diet, regular exercise, and have erratic sleep. Face frequent body weight issues.Feel enslaved to your negative emotions.Judge yourself in a harsh wayWorry about things that haven’t happened yetRespond rudely to people who love you though you love them. You think they don’t understand your situation.Experience energy draining out of the body. Lethargic and powerless.Feel dissatisfied even when life is going well.Have dramatic, unfulfilling relationships. Even if the other person is willing to work towards it, you want to destroy it.In an attempt to get rid of the situation you try to replace it with another addiction like watching TV or computer, excessive shopping resulting in clutter.
In India, we have this traditional belief that if you laugh too much you’ll have to cry later. If as a kid, someone stopped you from expressing your happiness by this terrifying statement it is likely that it pinned on your subconscious. You trained your mind that you cannot have a burst of extravagant laughter because it will later cause more pain than pleasure.
Let’s solve the problem
1. Don’t postpone happiness- If you’re happy about something, no matter how small or big, celebrate it with your loved ones. A simple breakfast, a lunch or enjoying a soft serve at your favorite ice-cream parlor with your loved ones can revive your state of happiness.
2. Don’t see yourself as a victim- Not all times are the same. Good times return past bad ones. It’s a cycle. However, you need to accept the tough times and start acting against it rather than being lax.
3. Get up early and schedule your day- Plan an agenda and stick to it throughout the day. Also, ensure to sleep on time and waking up early in the morning.
4. Nothing is stupid- Sing, dance, mimic, play hopscotch or any other thing that you used to enjoy as a kid. Let that spirit come out no matter how stupid it may be!
5. Be Resilient- According to Karan Behl, happiness coach, “People are less unhappy when they are more resilient and have better-coping strategies. They have trained themselves to be happy. They don’t stay in the Victim mode for more than 5 minutes max.”
6. Smile and appreciate- Tell yourself that you’re fighting against the addiction of being unhappy. Smile consciously. Appreciate yourself for being positive. It helps!
7. Focus on what you already have- Don’t push away people who love you. They provide you with opportunities to be happy. Spend time with them, make them feel special. Reciprocate love with love, not rudeness. They are your strength, your assets in life.
8. Stop over-indulgence- Whether it’s your phone, computer, TV, shopping or eating, or alcohol don’t be obsessed with it. The famous study named “Marshmallow Test” conducted by Walter Mischel and Ebbe B. Ebbesen at Stanford University in 1970 proves that the control of delayed gratification helps you achieve greater things in life.
Unhappiness is a choice. We choose our own thoughts and reactions, which impact the way we feel, and can improve our happiness quotient by taking steps to change our thinking. No matter how hard I try I cannot make you happy if you don’t want to be. Ask yourself, do you want to break out from the cage of unhappiness?