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10 Things We Mistake for Happiness and How to Correct Them

10 Things We Mistake for Happiness and How to Correct Them

Happiness is one of the many things whose meaning can be different for one person from the next. What makes one happy may not exactly be what another person has in mind, and we take different routes to get our share of bliss. Some are fine with delayed gratification while others want happiness right away.

It’s perfectly all right to want happiness now, but to get there, we need to let go of some things or stop doing them altogether. While there are many ways to be happy, we tend to overlook the big picture and bury our toes in the warm sand that is temporary happiness. That part of us that settles is where we trade true happiness for greater joy. Below are ten things we sometimes confuse with happiness and ways to free ourselves from them.

1. A job you don’t like doing.

Sure, paying the bills and keeping a healthy savings account are valid reasons for why you should get a job, but it’s equally important that what you do for a living makes you happy. It’s simple: happiness at work makes you more productive, makes your coworkers and clients like you, and it helps you get closer to success.

Sometimes, however, the same job that you gave an arm and leg to snag becomes the thing you dread doing the next day. To be fair, it’s perfectly normal to grumble a bit about having to work over time all of a sudden, or being given a last-minute deadline on a Friday night, but if you can’t get through the day without whining about your job and still claim that you love it, it’s time to rethink your reasons for why you’re staying in that company. The security of having a job—any job—is not always synonymous to being happy with it.

On the other hand, just because you’ve been feeling downtrodden at work doesn’t always mean you should quit. Sometimes, all you need to do is to move things around. It can be changing your routine into something that will make you more efficient, or maybe a transfer to a different department where you’ll also fit. You can also consider taking a vacation. If none of these work, resort to exploring other career opportunities.

2. A relationship that isn’t working.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but this reason is prone to abuse simply because its truth makes it a convenient excuse. Most relationships, if not all, begins as if it’s the first day of Spring, where the flowers start to bloom and the days are always sunny. However, it is only when you subject it through all four seasons will you know if it can weather anything. Many couples are able to bend with the blows, then again, not all of them manage to make peace with with the hectic waves that comes with a relationship.

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The point is this: though people mature as individuals, there is a chance that this growth will not manifest in the relationship, and even if it does, there is no guarantee that you will enjoy the benefits together. At times, it is those changes that make us realize that we want someone else, not necessarily because what we have isn’t good (although there are times when that is the case), but simply because we need a partner that complements us better. It pays to assess your relationship once in a while, and to do everything you can to save it. But if the relationship is beyond salvation, you have to have enough guts to face the truth, and the integrity to save each other from more pain by calling it quits.

3. The latest in everything.

For the record, there is nothing wrong with being able to afford the latest smartphone, car, or that ridiculously-priced espresso machine, for there can be unparalleled joy in the experience brought to you by the world’s finest. The thing is sometimes we get a little too absorbed by our fear of missing out and believe that the best way to stay relevant is by having everything new behind glass display cases.

It still helps to ask ourselves if we truly need the things we want to blow money on, or if we just want to scratch a temporary itch. Regardless of where your money comes from, it’s important that you get optimal value from the things you pay for. It’s normal to want to buy things that tickle your fancy but if you don’t see yourself maximizing its utility, reconsider the purchase. However, if it does improve the quality of your life, then by all means put it in your cart.

4. Watching too much television.

4 watching too much television

    Television has gotten a lot of flak thanks to programs that capitalize on our insatiable need to be validated at all costs. To be fair, there a lot of good programs out there, ones that will rehydrate your interest in the arts and in science, or teach you how to cook a mean slab of rib eye.

    There are times, however, when we mindlessly flip through channels and indulge ourselves by watching shows without giving what we see and hear much thought. We rely a bit too much on shows to explain everything for us and take this as the ultimate truth. This prevents us from exercising discernment on whether what we’re watching makes sense and how much (or little) value it adds to our lives.

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    As powerful as TV is as a medium, being hooked on it can cause a dent on our imagination by blurring it. There is merit in assessing the kinds of shows we watch and in asking what benefit we’re getting from them. It’s human to find yourself envious of the lives led by people you see on TV but if it’s turning you into a bitter case of couch potato, perhaps it’s time to turn the box off.

    5. An obsession with perfection.

    One of the funny things about pursuing perfection is that no matter how many times we are told that nobody and nothing is perfect (except maybe Emma Watson), it doesn’t stop us from wanting to achieve it. This is a good trait to a degree, but if our fixation on wanting everything to be perfect gets in the way of actually accomplishing things, then we won’t really achieve anything.

    This is where practice comes in, but we also have to remember that the goal of practicing is not just the mastery of a process but also adjusting to changes that are required to attain perfection. Speaking of process, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time. More often than not, it is the criticisms in our work that lead us to the next step to improvement.

    6. Complaining without acting.

    6 complaining without acting

      There is nothing essentially wrong with complaining, and it has its benefits too. It can be a way of pointing out the weaknesses in a system, and that they can be improved. The problem occurs when all people do is to complain as if they’re getting paid to do it.

      You see, complaining is one thing but doing something about it is a different story. The former is easier to do than the latter and a lot of people are comfortable with putting the spotlight on what is wrong in a system that they are a part of. The thing is if we don’t proactively become part of the solution, we just end up whining and annoying everyone else who is willing to listen to us. If you have the nerve to talk to others about what you think is wrong, it’s time to muster the courage to escalate it to more capable hands.

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      7. Putting up with friends who drag you down.

      For many of us, letting go of a friend is harder than breaking up with a significant other. This doesn’t mean that you have to put up with your friends bad habits though. It may be true that as friends, we should accept and love them for who they are, but there are cases where we have to choose between watching them harm themselves and pushing us off the cliff’s edge.

      For instance, some people can be a bit too clingy and make their friends feel bad when they can’t be there for them. However, being dependable is different from coddling. While we expect our buddies to be on our side, we can’t expect them to put their lives on hold every single time. Of course, it’s worthwhile to talk to our friends to iron out misunderstandings and to give them enough room to change, but if all else fails maybe it’s time to bail out on them one last time.

      8. Having too many friends on social media.

      Never has making friends and staying connected been easier until social media happened, but you got to admit that it’s not always the best way. It can be quite flattering to have a lot of followers in your social network until all you see on your dashboard is crazy narcissistic behavior put on display.

      Of course, social media isn’t bad per se. On the other hand, it can be an easy source of angst, frustration even. A lot of people have picked up the habit of posting everything that goes on with their life, and while it can be harmless to find out what your friend had for lunch two hours ago, not everyone is in the mood for fifty versions of a single selfie all the time. There are many other ways social media can drive people into their wits’ end, but the point is you don’t have to bear with them. Unfollow and Unfriend if you must and be ready with an honest explanation.

      9. Pursuing an interest to please someone else.

      Being invited by someone to join a project or to get into a new hobby can be good, especially if you want to become more interesting or you need the distraction, but if you’re only doing it to please someone else, you risk awkwardness and drama when the excitement wears off and you want out.

      To be fair, trying out new things even if you didn’t initially plan on it can turn out well. However, if you find yourself getting less interested by the session, you might want to consider quitting. Explaining it to the person who invited you may be hard, but you owe them your honesty, and you owe yourself the opportunity to pursue things that can really make you happy.

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      10. Making fun of other people.

      10 making fun of other people

        Sense of humor is one of the few things that will never go out of style, and it’s amazing to be funny and to have friends who can crack you up. Sometimes though, we become too comfortable with our funniness. We barely notice that we cross certain lines. The thing is we don’t realize this until someone calls it out or when we start losing friends one by one.

        The ability to make people laugh is a skill, and it is a good sign of creativity and confidence. However, insult-based humor can be offensive and you can’t expect everyone to be a good sport about it. Instead of being defensive when you hurt somebody’s feelings, own up to your mistake and apologize. You can still be funny without rubbing people the wrong way.

        If you think about it, happiness is easy but sometimes it is what we do to achieve it that makes it complicated. Simplifying things can be a good start, and if you find yourself too lazy to change, just remember that life is short to be miserable.

        Featured photo credit: happy pills via c2.staticflickr.com

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        Last Updated on June 18, 2019

        40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

        40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

        Do you have racing thoughts and find yourself constantly worrying? An anxious mind is truly distressing.

        The good news is, there’re simple things you can do to calm your thought.

        If you want to achieve peace of mind and inner calm, try these 40 simple powerful ways:

        1. Listen to Music

        Studies have found that relaxing music can help kids with ADHD to be calmer and focus. But it doesn’t matter what genre of music you want to listen to, as long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel relaxed.

        Music is food for the soul and an instant way to gain peace of mind.

        2. Deep Breathing

        When you focus on your breathing, your mind’s attention is drawn to the life-enhancing process of drawing in air and exhaling.

        Take five long, deep breaths and focus on your lungs and diaphragm as you do this. This is a quick and easy way to instantly feel calm.

        Here’re also 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly).

        3. Go for a Walk

        Getting out in the fresh air can do you a world of good and promote peace of mind. Take a break and get the blood pumping – especially when the sun is shining.

        4. Enjoy Nature

        Too much concrete is never a good thing. Spending time in nature can actually make you feel younger, happier. Here’s why.

        Spend time away from the city. Listen to the birds singing and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

        5. Play with a Pet

        Having a pet to play with is a great way to de-stress. Touch is a powerful sense and can ease tension and promote peace of mind.

        6. Declutter

        Have regular clear-outs. Clutter can add to feelings of tension and a clean, clear home allows a clearer, more peaceful mind.

        Take a look at this article and learn How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster.

        7. Acceptance

        Acceptance is crucial for peace of mind. Accepting that there are few guarantees in the world and learning to tolerate uncertainty is a huge leap in the peace-of-mind stakes. Differentiate between what you can and cannot control.

        8. Mindfulness

        When we are mindful, we are fully present in the moment and acutely aware of our five senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell.

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        Engage your senses. This leaves less time for your mind to worry and think about “what ifs.”

        Here you can learn about The Power of Mindfulness.

        9. Self Love

        The more we like ourselves, the greater our peace of mind. We accept ourselves more and feel at ease in the world, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We experience less insecurity and as a result, our inner peace is heightened.

        Start trying these 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself.

        10. Be True to You

        This is another vital component of peace of mind. When we practice congruency, we behave similarly to the way we feel and think. When the way we see ourselves and the way the world sees us is the same, we are practicing congruency.

        Problems arise when we see ourselves one way (for example, as a loving mother) but behave in ways that are at odds with how we would like to see ourselves (for example, neglect our children because we are too busy). Finding ways to keep our inner ideals and the way we behave similar is one of the keys to peace of mind.

        Find out How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want.

        11. Sense of Humor

        Laugh a lot. The world is instantly a better place when you can see the funny side of life. Laughter is a great antidote for stress and releases hormones that help us relax.

        12. Love Unconditionally

        When you don’t expect anything back, it makes it easier to love without fear. When we love with conditions attached, our unmet expectations can create inner turmoil and feelings of resentment. Insecurities destroy peace of mind.

        13. Go for Regular Health Checks

        It pays to keep checks on your health and look after yourself. Letting ourselves go can indicate a lack of self-respect, and this in turn will affect the way we see the world and the way others interact with us. Be kind to yourself and make the most of what you have.

        14. Take Stock

        Every now and then, it’s a good idea to check whether you’re happy with the quality of your life. Do you like your job? Your relationship? Are you on the right track? Make adjustments if necessary to restore peace of mind.

        15. Have Goals

        This ties in with number 14. Goals keep us going in the right direction and give us a sense of purpose. Make your goals SMART: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

        16. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

        This relates to number 11. Learn to be more flexible in your approach to life. The more rigid our thinking is, the easier it is to experience situations that contradict our rigid ideas.

        17. Live in the Moment

        Instead of worrying about the past or panicking about the future, really enjoy the NOW. It’s all we have — this moment in time.

        When we live in the present, the concerns of the past and future can’t worry us.

        Here’re some tips on How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future.

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        18. Worry Less

        We apparently have somewhere between 30,000 – 75,000 thoughts per day, of which 80% are random “nonsense.”

        Learn to “shelve” worrying by reminding yourself that most of your worries are unproductive and remove any chance of peace of mind.

        Some advice for you who worry often: How to Worry Less: 90% of What You Fear Won’t Happen

        19. Be Assertive

        You have as much right to be here and to have an opinion as anyone else. When we become passive or submissive, we do ourselves a disservice.

        Being assertive isn’t about your needs ahead of others (aggressive) or their needs ahead of yours (passive). Rather, it is about compromise —  a “win-win” situation.

        Learn How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way.

        20. Speak Your Mind

        Don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking. This goes hand in hand with being assertive.

        Ask for what you want in life. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

        21. Enjoy “Me-Time”

        Time out is important. A little bit of selfish time to treat yourself or do exactly as you please sets you up for taking on the constant demands of life. Balance in life is crucial.

        22. Frolic

        The free online dictionary describes the word “frolic” as:

        “To behave playfully and uninhibitedly; romp.”

        All work and no play will stress anyone out. Make time for things you enjoy. Try to inject fun into situations that aren’t particularly enjoyable. Approach life with a playful attitude. When did you last let the child in you come out to play?

        23. Let It Go

        There are some things that you just cannot change, no matter how hard you try. Know when to cut your losses and detach (Just like Elsa does!)

        When you start to let go of your past, these 10 things will happen.

        24. Resist Guilt

        Guilt is a negative emotion that removes peace of mind. Although it can motivate us (in the wrong way), it is still a toxic emotion.

        Challenge the reasons for your guilt to make sure you aren’t placing unnecessary pressure on yourself.

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        25. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

        Focusing on all the things in our lives that we are grateful for promotes peace of mind and reminds us that there are always positives. Sometimes we just have to nudge our awareness.

        Try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

        26. See Failure as a Learning Curve

        Failure has such negative connotations, but actually, everyone fails. How can you improve or learn anything if you never fail?

        A healthy attitude towards failure encourages bravery. It’s not you that is the failure, instead it is what you tried that failed. There is a big difference.

        27. Connect with Others

        One of the true joys of life is sharing life with others and knowing that others “get” you. We feel less alone and feeling understood allows a fantastic sense of well-being.

        28. Test Your Limits

        You’ll never know your true potential if you always stay in your comfort zone. As the old saying goes, it is better to look back and regret what you did than regret all those things you wish you’d tried.

        Learn to step out of your comfort zone: 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

        29. Find Positive Outlets for Negative Emotions

        Sports, online forums, like-minded people, hobbies…whatever takes your fancy. Suppressing negative emotions can lead to ill health. Release tension and frustration in a pro social way and feel a whole lot happier.

        30. Slow Down

        Why does everything need to be accomplished today? Often, we place unrealistic pressure on ourselves when there is no need to.

        Challenge your impatience, be mindful and enjoy life in the moment.

        31. Challenge Your “Shoulds” and “Musts”

        Self-induced pressure never leads to inner tranquility or peace of mind. Replace “should” with “could” and live life more on your own terms.

        32. Be Kind

        It’s free and it makes a difference. When we show kindness, it gives us an inner boost, too.

        You can try these 29 Ways to Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness Every Day.

        33. Don’t Compare

        The more we compare, the more we lose ourselves.

        Forget what everyone else is doing or saying. What do YOU want? We all have our own paths to follow, and we are all learning and going through life at our unique pace.

        Focus on your own journey and lose the stress of comparing yourself to what you think is going on in the lives of others. This is a surefire way to eliminate peace of mind.

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        34. Affirmations

        Talk to yourself positively by using affirmations. A good example of one that encourages peace of mind is: “No matter what comes my way, I will find a way to get through it.”

        Believe in yourself and remind yourself regularly that you will be okay.

        Need some more inspirations to affirm yourself? Here’re 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

        35. Save a Little Money as Often as You Can

        Putting money aside is always a good idea. If you can afford to save money regularly, do it. Start up a regular debit each month, and you won’t even realize it’s gone.

        36. Less Is More

        Money buys choice, but it doesn’t buy us the happiness we crave. Be content with the simpler things in life — that’s where the real long-lasting joy and peace of mind comes from.

        37. Perspective

        Always  keep your eye on the bigger picture. Will you feel this way next week, or a year from now? Will your current experience of life seem as important?

        More often than not, you will be just fine. Foster peace of mind by maintaining perspective in life.

        38. Monitor Your Thoughts

        Our thoughts can make or break our quality of life. Make sure to choose thinking that works for you.

        Talk to yourself as you would a best friend. Self-loathing serves no purpose and will undoubtedly extract joy from your life.

        39. Stand up for What You Believe In

        Whether it’s protecting animals or helping those less fortunate than yourself, follow your heart and your passion. Fight the urge to fit in and do what’s expected.

        When you change yourself to suit others, you give away your peace of mind.

        40. Get Enough Sleep

        When we’re tired and grumpy, nothing goes smoothly. Get eight hours of sleep per night and regenerate your body.

        Final Thoughts

        The most important ways to achieve peace of mind involve being true to yourself, accepting that life is uncertain and watching your thinking. Many of us mentally “torture” ourselves daily with the things we tell ourselves.

        Trust your thoughts less, pay less attention to the negative ones and focus on what you are thankful for in life, and you’ll be well on your way to inner peace of mind.

        Featured photo credit: sean Kong via unsplash.com

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