The path to happiness is not always easy and does not really have a final destination. Joy exists on a spectrum. And thanks to issues with work, life, and relationships – not to mention, you know, an extremely distressing global pandemic – it can be easy to fall on the lower end of the spectrum more frequently.
Lack of contentment is one of the most common general themes people bring up in therapy. Fortunately, mental health experts are full of wisdom and are able to offer advice on how to get there.
While it is best to seek personalized advice from a therapist on your own, it may be helpful to see how therapy has helped people with this particular issue. We asked people to share the best happiness tips they’ve received in therapy. See below for a mood boosting inspiration.
You don’t always have to be OK.
Amber Robinson, a 31-year-old licensed psychotherapist, can help others with their mental health for a living, but she has learned a lot about happiness through therapy on her own.
“The best advice I’ve learned is that it’s okay if you don’t agree,” she said. “It was so powerful for me because I spent so much time resisting negative emotions and feeling like I needed to be happy. In fact, sadness and anger are quite normal and appropriate in some situations. “
Robinson now makes a point of noting whether she is sad or upset and allows herself to have those feelings. “This acceptance made me realize that things are going to be really good and it makes the negative emotion overall less powerful,” she explained.
Valérie Dauphin, life coach and author, struggled to feel happy due to decision fatigue. But she received this valuable advice from her therapist, which made her feel much better about having to choose a path to travel: “The most memorable piece of advice I received was, ‘Whatever decision you make, just line up with it,” ”she explained.
It helped Dauphin take the stress out of decision making by learning that she could be happy with any decision she made, as long as she fully agreed with her reasons – and could get revenge. whatever the outcome.
“I apply this advice whenever I have decisions to make, especially the most important ones,” she said. “I have good self-confidence and I feel solid to navigate the choices. “
“The most memorable piece of advice I received was, ‘Whatever decision you make, just align with it.’ “
– Valérie Dauphin, life coach and author
Accept that sometimes you are wrong.
Ravi Davda, a 32-year-old marketer, found power in the concept of self-acceptance.
“It was difficult because, for me, I always questioned my actions. Am I doing this correctly? Should I proceed otherwise? Is it right to act or feel this way? Is this wrong? ”He said.
Her therapist explained that as humans we are all doing our best. And we have to accept that sometimes we will do things wrong and sometimes we won’t feel our best.
“It resonated with me because for a long time I thought I had to do things differently,” Davda explained. “I thought I had to be a certain way, even though I didn’t want to be. I felt bad whenever I felt weak or depressed.
This advice gave him confidence in himself and his decisions and to believe that he is doing the best he can.
Kristin Runyan, a 30-year-old digital marketer, said she was under constant pressure as she grew up. “I was not allowed to have flaws, and as a stereotypical Type A personality, I am incredibly perfectionist,” she said.
But there are so many things Runyan wants to do in his life that requires him to do new things and when you do something new you will inevitably make mistakes.
“The fear of making mistakes kept me from chasing my dreams,” she said. It wasn’t until her therapist urged her to fail occasionally that she felt so much more inspired. “I am[ed] my dream of starting a business with an environmental mission, [and] I had to accept that sometimes I made mistakes, ”Runyan explained. “Adopting a different mindset allowed me to begin to adopt a growth mindset and find joy in learning. “
Let go of judgment on the things that don’t matter.
Amelia Alvin, a 44-year-old psychiatrist, was struggling to pass judgment.
“I’ve spent half my life judging people on trivial matters and occasional opinions,” she said. Then his therapist told him, “LLife is too short to hold a grudge and hate people.
This, said Alvin, is the best happiness advice she never received. “I was bitter until my therapist made me realize that negativity is not worth holding back,” she explained.
Ask yourself “why? “
Claire Westbrook, 31, founder of an LSAT preparation course, learned the importance of asking questions, especially when something bothered her.
“So many people run away from things just because they create negative feelings, but they don’t bother to wonder why,” she said. “By asking yourself why something is making you sad, upset, angry or uncomfortable, you are able to understand yourself better and weaken its power over you.”
It helped her dig to the root of a problem, solve it, and feel happier after the fact.
“It’s so easy to say ‘I’ll worry about myself later’, but when I finally learned to take my happiness seriously, I also learned to worry about myself now.”
– Jeanine Duval, co-founder of the online resource for tarot and astrology enthusiasts
Start your day with a good attitude towards others.
Chantal Dempsey, a 46-year-old life coach, was so inspired by this advice she learned in therapy that she chose a career to impart this wisdom to others: “Every morning make sure you take action and to appear happy during the first half. -time of day you go to work, school or college, ”she said.
“After half an hour, because you’ve created a beautiful, vibrant energy around you and people are nice to you, it makes you feel better,” she continued. “People are smiling at you, they are happy to see you, which changes your condition and fills your pot with positivity and happiness. “
Take your own happiness seriously.
This powerful statement had a great impact on Jeanine Duval, who co-founded and edits an online resource for tarot and astrology enthusiasts.
“It sounds pretty obvious, but it’s so easy to put your own happiness on the back burner due to external stressors like work, relationships, or just life as a whole,” Duval said. “It’s so easy to say ‘I’ll worry about myself later’, but when I finally learned to take my happiness seriously, I also learned to worry about myself now.”
She also learned that many people think they can have full control over other people’s feelings, but stressed the importance of letting go of that. “You can only control your own feelings, which means you can control the actions that trigger those feelings,” she added. “Don’t ignore what makes you happy, otherwise you hold back. “
Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
Kimberly King, a 51-year-old parenting expert and author, has spent years being a dedicated mother of three, Navy wife and kindergarten teacher. In the process, she got lost.
“I became obsessed with taking care of everyone and everything, and it left me neither the time nor the energy to focus on myself,” she explained.
But then her therapist told her it was important to focus more on herself.
“I guess I needed to hear this from a therapist because I just couldn’t see how bad it was,” she said. “I made therapy night my night. No cooking, no children’s homework, no housework. I went to therapy and then met a girlfriend for dinner.
This led her to prioritize other self-care routines.
“I started doing yoga every day. The friends I made in my yoga studio are my soul mates. I go out every day with walks and runs. I took baths with a locked door. I started to write again and I continued my vocation as an author of children’s books, ”she said.
“The more you make sure of your happiness, existing or not, the more you will end up experiencing the happiness you spoke of.”
– Heather Keita
Speak for yourself.
Mone Symone, a 26-year-old manager, has been in therapy for years to help overcome childhood trauma. She said the best advice she received during the process was: “I am in control of my happiness and my life, and I always have to use my voice no matter what. “
“Hearing this motivated me not to settle for less than I deserve. That if I wanted better in life, I had to get there, ”she said.
It also helped her in her career in the music industry. “People expect me to take a lot of BS or change to take advantage of it, but I always come back to that advice to defend myself and always use my voice,” she said.
Pretend until you get there.
After two years of therapy, Heather Keita, a 36-year-old writer, finally received counseling that ended her cycle of unhappiness.
“The more you make sure of your happiness, existing or not, you will end up experiencing the happiness you referred to,” she said.
She is now thinking to herself, “I’m happy today because I have this delicious food to eat and my car has just been washed and looks great” or “I’m happy today because I went. to work, I earned some money and I have been able to enjoy my free time now.
Doing this on a daily basis allowed Keita to focus on the many reasons she needs to be happy. “They were there all the time, even all the time I spent being miserable,” she said. “Now the only thing I’m really upset about is that it took years of therapy to realize this amazing little thing exists.”