jump to navigation

Personal development: Are we trying too hard to feel happy? January 14, 2018

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Solving Problems.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

When we are in a low mood, a non-happy mood, no amount of will-powered effort is likely to get us out of the low mood. In fact the harder we try to be happy, the more frustrating and pervasive our low mood is likely to become.

This is one of the observations in Dr. Richard Carlson’s book, You Can be Happy no Matter What (1). Dr. Carlson discusses the five principles that he believes can have a significant effect on our happiness and feeling of well-being.

One of the key principles he identifies is that of moods and their influence on our behaviour, and he emphasises:

“…you can’t force your way out of a low mood any more than you can force yourself to have a good time doing something you don’t like. The more force (or thought) you put into it, the lower you sink.”

The big take-away for me in the book is his observation that when looking at our circumstances or problems, which could be difficult, that they will seem bleak and perhaps hopeless when we are in a down mood, but the same circumstances and problems will seem more manageable and solvable when we are in a higher or good mood.

And although that seems self-evident, Dr. Carlson notes that when we are in a down or low mood, we simply cannot see the upside and positives of our situation, no matter how hard we try.

His suggestion is to postpone significant decisions when we are in these low periods and wait to take action until our mood improves, which it generally will, on its own. At that point we will be in a better psychological place to make sound decisions and initiate appropriate actions.

(1) Richard Carlson Ph.D., You Can Be Happy No Matter What, New World Library, Novato, California, 1997, 141 pages


No comments yet — be the first.

Comments are welcome, but comments containing swear-words (profanity) will not be approved

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: