9 Unique Ways to Avoid the Happiness Trap

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things. ~Albert Einstein

The underlying motivating factor for all of us is the illusion of happiness. We act in certain ways because we think it will make us happy or fulfilled.

In reality, happiness doesn’t occur as a result of attaining anything. It is purely an organic emotion. Reverse engineering happiness does not work. However, understanding yourself will help increase the likelihood of happiness.

9 Unique Ways to Avoid the Happiness Trap

You should never chase happiness. Instead, you should actively practice and pursue the following in order to increase your chances of being happy.

1.  Gratitude

I know, it’s easier to take things for granted. Gratitude, after all, does not offer any immediate or tangible benefits. But wise people understand that the power of being genuinely thankful is intrinsic and invaluable. Tell someone that you really appreciate their help, love, or support. Before you go to sleep at night, mentally tick off three quality things you are grateful for.

2. Generosity

Like gratitude, generosity doesn’t really offer immediate and tangible benefits. Giving signifies wealth. No, not monetary wealth, but instead a richness in character. Do something anonymously generous and reap personal benefits.

3. Forgiveness and acceptance

This is hard. To forgive someone means loving yourself. This means seeing yourself in the faults of the other person. You’ve made mistakes before, and you are sure to make them in the future. To forgive involves accepting the past and being able to move on. You will not be able to progress mentally if you still harbor feelings of resentment. Say “I forgive you,” to someone—even to yourself—and mean it.

4. Decisiveness

An indecisive realm is an uncomfortable place to be in. That awkward space between two decisions leaves you feeling uncertain and uncomfortable. Being indecisive is a decision in itself—a passive, poor, and unwise one. Take a stand. If you won’t, someone else will, for you.

5. Being with real people

No, the Internet cannot be your only source of companionship. No, texting, email, and Skype are not sufficient replacements for real interaction. Take the time to have a real conversation with someone you care about. Place the maintenance of quality relationships high on your priority list.

6. Proper work/play balance

You must work. You must play. You must work to feel a sense of contribution. You must play to maintain sanity. Any balance that is off-kilter will result in dissatisfaction and a sense of despair and unhappiness. Every one of us has a different balance they have adapted themselves to. You can alter the ratio of work and play in your life. That is entirely changeable. But you must discover which balance leaves you feeling emotionally healthy and physically alert. Experiment. Work more; work less. Try it out. Find out what works and do everything in your capability to make that lifestyle a reality.

7. Physical health

Adopting a healthy physical lifestyle is really not so difficult. The problem is, many of us try to take on too much at once. Physical health does not have to require pain and sweat, blood and tears. Tiny changes, believe it or not, is the secret to great health. Commit to a very small act to support a healthier you. This might include parking a few blocks farther from work or school. Or try stretching every other day. Spend 5-10 minutes today researching the basics of a sound nutritional diet. Once you have made your tiny change a habit, you can now progress to the next level of health. Commit to a larger change. Before you know it, you’ll be and a much more energetic, happy, and vibrant stage. This is the power of compounded effort.

8. Emotional health

One of the most important skills you can possess is the regulation of emotional health. This means being in touch with how you are feeling and understanding that it directly affects your productivity, finances, health, and literally every part of your life. Emotions create action. Identify the triggers that make you feel negative. Avoid them or find out a strategic way to resolve those issues. Find the triggers that make you feel joy. Intelligently contemplating your emotional triggers puts you in control.

9. Possess the magic ingredient

This is the most important tip. The magic ingredient is something that genuinely excites you—something that challenges you. Passion, some people call it. Purpose, some people call it. Every one of us has a need for excitement and thrill. Perhaps you lost that sense as you grew older and more cautious. Decide to actively recover it! If you are already passionate about something, take it to the next level. Never settle for complacency. You must grow to feel satisfied, challenged, and thus, happy.

Do you find happiness in the little things? What makes you really happy? Share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below 🙂


Connie Shih

Connie Shih is a personal development writer, enjoys modeling, lifting heavy weights and analyzing human motivation.

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