Happiness. How being less happy will make you happier.

This is our prescribed festive time – where the obligation to be merry and celebrate is almost a prerequisite to living in the month of December.  Coaching_Nation_Happiness

It is also a notoriously stressful month, with recorded high levels of anxiety, and domestic and work related conflict. So rather ironically, at the time most of us are supposed to be most happy, we are experiencing less happiness than usual.

Why aren’t we just following orders and doing as we’re told and being merry?

So for a moment lets imagine a scenario where there were no perceived pressures to be happy and it was totally socially accepted that C’mas and New Year was a time to experience the experience of being without happiness. Would you be happier?

Now just to be clear I’m not saying happiness shouldn’t exist or that it isn’t possible to make yourself feel better using a number of established techniques.

What I am saying is that if we fail to accept and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts we are having and only emphasise the end product then we are in for trouble. AND this principle applies the whole year round; in the workplace, at home and within customer relations.

It’s our expectations in relation to happiness that make us less happy. Take those away and bingo! Detect a theme here?

And if you are shouting at this point and saying, ‘what lower my expectations, aim for less !! that’s the opposite of what people are saying I should do – are you mad?” I say, ‘Yes, not to being mad, but to forging ahead with far too much emphasis on the end result.’ Of course, keep reaching for your objectives, just don’t ignore the experiences that you feel on route in order to get there.  Accepting that you might feel unhappy about something can be very motivating.

For those of us who experience this as a DIY period here comes a C’mas DIY metaphor:

  1. If you are scared to build an oak table, that’s fine. It’s difficult. If it wasn’t no one would be shopping for furniture. (If everyone was happy all the time they’d be on medication.)
  2. Know your tools and where to get them from. (Think carefully about all the C’mas advertising messages, for example, ‘come on it’s C’mas, be merry!’)
  3. Before you slap on the varnish remember you need to build the table, or strip it back first. (Accepting that all the steps form part of a process will get you much much closer to your end result and who knows you might even feel happy!)

And for anyone who says ‘people simply don’t want to hear what’s going on, they just want to get to the end result’ remember you don’t need to tell them, you just need to know. So next time you look miserable and someone says to you ‘give us a smile’ you know you can always respond with a ‘No. I don’t want to spoil my day!’



© Copyright 2013 Sharon Kennet at Coaching Nation – all rights reserved