When Happiness Feels Bad

Although millions of people search endlessly and spend copious amounts of money searching for the key to “happiness”, some people find happiness to be a really anxiety-provoking emotion. This is because happiness is an extremely vulnerable emotion. As people review their lives in their head they start to think, “Life is good right now…the family is good right now…the job is good right now… I feel happy… But what bad thing will happen next? When will the next shoe drop?”

These fears can make happiness and joy a really bothersome emotion. Some people even stifle their happiness with hopes of not feeling too hurt when bad things do happen. This is especially true for people who have suffered through a lot of unprocessed chaos and trauma — their brain’s start to rewire to think, “How can I protect myself? FEAR and NUMBING, that’s the trick! (although when we numb painful emotions, the happy/joyful ones get numbed too)”. However, stifling our joy or happiness does not make the messy or sad parts of life any more tolerable, better, or easier to endure — it just kills our ability to really soak in our happiness.

So what can we do if we struggle to fully embrace our happiness without fear that something bad will happen next?

Gratitude. Gratitude puts us back into our emotion and into the moment in an active way. It replaces our fear of happiness with honoring that emotion and thanking it for it’s presence in our lives.

So, the next moment you feel a blip of happiness  — say a little thank you to it, and let yourself enjoy where you are. Bad things will happen, yes. But it’s best to not let that put a damper on the good moments, because it does far less healing of the negative moments when they do arrive (and sometimes may subconsciously chase more negativity into our lives…. and ain’t nobody got time for that). Be happy, be grateful, be well!

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