Why Is Everyone Blissfully Happy, But Me?
By Debbie Mandel
A gorgeous spring day Ė still in bed, you prop yourself up on your elbows and muster just enough energy to gaze out the window. You see a flourish of activity; people are outdoors enjoying the sun. However, you donít have the energy. You canít blame it on Seasonal Affective Disorder, the cold, or the rain. Somehow you feel pressured to have fun, get out there and be a part of the ecstatic happiness. Ironically, this beautiful day triggers sadness, tiredness and emptiness. You would have preferred it to be a rainy day giving you an excuse to stay home, curl up and watch a movie. Why?
Recognizing and assuming responsibility for feeling unhappy is an upsetting step in its own right Ė but itís necessary to stir up the pot to see whatís in it. First, itís time to stop comparing yourself to all those seemingly happy, frolicking fellow humans. Many of these people are probably living lives of quiet desperation. Next reevaluate your fundamental belief: Is the premise true that we all have to be happy all the time? Is this expectation, a flat line of bliss, realistic? Happiness is subjective, not a physical attribute and therefore is something to be cultivated. It helps to ensure that your environment is conducive to happiness: people you live with, your work and plans for entertainment.
Often we feel depleted because we have a short attention span. We are always scanning for new opportunities and new people. It is like dancing and looking over our dateís shoulder to catch the eye of someone better. Worthy to note, nowadays, itís not just children who are being diagnosed with ADD; many of us are being diagnosed with the adult version. Committing and focusing our attention to people and projects becomes increasingly difficult as we are over-stimulated by so many things vying for our attention. As a result we shut down coming to a grinding halt; we stop committing and focusing on what we already possess.
If you want to sustain happiness, you have to understand yourself, accept yourself and then work on yourself. Vague pictures of where you ought to be will not make you happy. Comparing yourself to other people will not make you happy. Instead training the mind to be happy by deactivating negative, unrealistic thoughts will help you to live a meaningful and calm life. Try to put some effort into revitalizing your routine because the structure of a routine will help you know where to focus your attention. Choose to give your attention to the areas of your life that need to be changed in order to get different, more satisfying results.
A series of small actions can bring you closer to happiness like placing one foot in front of the other, walking out the door and into a beautiful spring day. Put back the spring in your step:
- To paraphrase Seneca you are as miserable as you think you are. Expose the thoughts that trigger unhappiness and have a debate with yourself. Choose to perceive and appreciate the elements in your life that give you happiness.
- Give your fullest attention to whatever you do, and donít think about whatís coming up later.
- Shut down your internal taskmaster that demands that you be: happy at this moment, successful today or currently involved in a romantic relationship. Donít worry about the externals or any past oversights in your life. Look inward. The secret to happiness is getting started.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com