The road to happiness is not always easy, nor does it have a final destination. Joy is found on a spectrum. And thanks to work, life, and relationship problems – not to mention, you know, an extremely disturbing global pandemic – it can be easy to fall to the lower end of the spectrum more often.
Dissatisfaction is one of the most common overarching themes that people bring up in therapy. Fortunately, mental health experts are filled with wisdom and are able to offer guidance on how to get there.
While it is best to seek tailor-made advice from a therapist for yourself, it may be helpful to see how therapy has helped people with this particular problem. We asked people to share the best advice on happiness they have received in therapy. See below for some mood-enhancing inspiration.
You do not always have to be ok.
Amber Robinson, a 31-year-old licensed psychotherapist, may be able to help others with their mental health, but she learned a lot about happiness by going into therapy herself.
“The best advice I’ve learned is that it’s OK if you’re not ok,” she said. “This was so strong for me because I spent so much time resisting negative emotions and feeling like I needed to be happy. In fact, grief and anger are perfectly normal and appropriate in certain situations. ”
Robinson now makes a point of noticing whether she is upset or upset and allowing herself to feel those feelings. “This acceptance has allowed me to understand that things are really going to be okay, and that makes the negative feeling generally less powerful,” she explained.
Valerie Dauphin, a life coach and author, had a hard time feeling happy due to fatigue in decisions. But she received this valuable advice from her therapist, which has 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 put up with it,'” she explained.
This helped Dauphin remove the stress of decision-making by learning that she could be happy with any decision she made as long as she was completely on board with her causes — and could have her own back whatever the outcome.
“I apply this advice every time I have to make decisions, especially the more comprehensive ones,” she said. “I have a healthy confidence and feel solid navigating elections.”
“The most memorable piece of advice I received was, ‘Whatever decision you make, just put up with it.'”
– Valerie Dauphin, life coach and author
Accept that you will sometimes ruin.
Ravi Davda, a 32-year-old marketer, has found power in the concept of self-acceptance.
“This was difficult because I always questioned my actions. Am I doing it right? Should I do it another way? Is it right to act this way or feel that way? Is it wrong? ” he said.
His therapist explained that we as humans are just trying our best. And we have to accept that sometimes we will do things wrong and that sometimes we will not feel best.
“It resonated with me because I had long thought I had to do things differently,” Davda explained. “I thought I should be a certain way, even if I did not want to be. I felt bad every time I felt low or down. ”
This advice has allowed him to trust himself and his decisions and trust that he is doing his best.
Kristin Runyan, a 30-year-old digital marketer, said she was constantly under pressure when she was growing up. “I must not be mistaken, and as a stereotypical type A personality, I am incredibly perfectionist,” she said.
But there are so many things Runyan wants to do in her life that require her to do new things – and when you do something new, you will inevitably make mistakes.
“Fear of making mistakes has kept me from pursuing my dreams,” she said. It was only when her therapist encouraged her to occasionally fail that she felt so much more inspired. “I follow[ed] my dream of starting a business with an environmental mission, [and] I had to accept sometimes that I made mistakes, ”Runyan explained. “The adoption of a different mindset has allowed me to begin to embrace a growth mindset and find joy in learning.”
Release the judgment on things that do not matter.
Amelia Alvin, a 44-year-old psychiatrist, used to struggle with being judgmental.
“I spent half my life judging people over trifles and casual opinions,” she said. Then her therapist told her, “Lif he is too short to have grudges and hates people. ”
This, Alvin said, is the best advice on happiness she has ever received. “I was bottled up with bitterness until my therapist made me realize that negativity is not worth stopping,” she explained.
Ask yourself “why?”
Claire Westbrook, a 31-year-old founder of an LSAT preparation course, learned the importance of asking herself questions, especially when something bothered her.
“So many people are running away from things, simply because they are creating negative emotions, but they do not bother to ask themselves why,” she said. “By asking yourself why something makes you sad, upset, angry or uncomfortable, you can understand yourself better and weaken its power over you.”
This has helped her drill down to the root of a problem, work through it and then feel happier after that fact.
“It’s so easy to say, ‘I want to 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 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 based on giving this wisdom to others: “Make sure every morning that you act and enjoy the first half -time of the day when you come to work, school or college, ”she said.
“After half an hour, because you have created a wonderful living energy around you and people are nice to you, it makes you feel better,” she continued. “People smile at you, they are happy to see you, which changes your state and fills your positivity and happiness.”
Take your own happiness seriously.
This powerful statement greatly influenced Jeanine Duval, co-founder and editor of an online resource for tarot and astrology enthusiasts.
“It seems pretty obvious, but it’s so easy to put your own happiness on the burner because of external stressors like work, relationships, or just life as a whole,” Duval said. “It’s so easy to say, ‘I want to 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 emotions, but noted the importance of not doing so. “You can only control your own emotions, which means you can control the actions that trigger those emotions,” she added. “Do not ignore what makes you happy, otherwise you will hold yourself back.”
Self-care is not selfish.
Kimberly King, a 51-year-old parenting expert and author, spent years as a dedicated mother of three, a Marine wife and a kindergarten teacher. In the process, she lost herself.
“I became obsessed with taking care of everyone and everything and it left me no time or energy to focus on myself,” she explained.
But then her therapist told her that it was important to focus more on herself.
“I suppose I needed to hear this from a therapist because I just could not see how bad it was,” she said. “I did therapy night my night. No cooking, no children’s homework, no cleaning. I went into therapy and then met up with a boyfriend for dinner. ”
This led her to prioritize other self-care routines.
“I started going to yoga every day. The friends I made in my yoga studio are my soul sisters. I go outside every day with walks and runs. I bathed with a locked door. I started writing again and pursued my calling to be an author of children’s books, ”she said.
“The more you assure yourself of your happiness, existing or not, you will eventually experience the happiness you brought forth.”
– Heather Keita
Speak for yourself.
Mone Symone, a 26-year-old leader, went into therapy for years to help overcome childhood traumas. She said the best advice she received in the process was, “I have control over my happiness and my life, and to always use my voice no matter what.”
“Hearing that helped motivate me not to settle for less than what I deserve. That if I wanted better out of life, I had to make it happen, ”she said.
This has also helped her in her music industry career. “People expect me to take a lot of BS or change myself for the benefit of them, but I always think back to that advice of standing up for myself and always using my voice,” she said.
Fake it until you do.
After two years in therapy, Heather Keita, a 36-year-old editor, finally received some advice that ended her cycle of misfortune.
“The more you assure yourself of your happiness, existing or not, you will eventually experience the happiness you brought forth,” she said.
She now says to herself, “I’m happy today because I have this amazing food to eat and my car has just been washed and looks good,” or “I’m happy today because I went to work, made some money and could enjoy my free time now. ”
Doing this daily has allowed Keita to focus on the many reasons why she should be happy. “They were there all the time, even in all the time I spent wasting on being unhappy,” she said. “Now the only thing I’m really unhappy about is that it took years of therapy to realize that this amazing little trick exists.”