We’ve all read the positive quotes, and have seen captivating pictures on social media that promote happiness. Yet, The National Institute Of Mental Health ( nimhm.nih.gov) has reported in 2015 an, estimated 16.1 Million citizens within the United States whom are 18 or older suffer from depression. Which is one of the most common mental disorders in America. According to the World Health Organization ( Study conducted in 2010) states that major depression carries the heaviest burden of disability among mental and behavior disorders. Specifically, major depression accounts for: 3.7 % of all U.S. Disability within adult lives. Psychiatrist and CEO of Elements Behavioral Health and Promises Treatment centers; David Sack M.D., has suggested on ( psychologytoday.com) that there are a number possibilities for this phenomenon. He believes that one cause could be that many are addicted to unhappiness. He goes on to say that there is deep rooted insecurity or lack of self esteem which may cause people to feel undeserving of happiness. He also states that trauma, negative experiences influence people consciousness. Which means they hold the unconscious desire to return the state of unhappiness. Dr. David Sack M.D., believes the other possibilities could include individuals being fearful to feel joy since positive feelings may be a “setup” for disappointment.
Characteristics Of The Chronically Unhappy: Finding reasons to be unhappy, prefer to play the victim role. Compete with friends and colleagues, have difficulty setting and achieving goals, struggle to bounce back when things don’t go their way. Some may escape or cope by using drugs , alcohol, sex and or food- including other addictive or compulsive behaviors. Some may stop taking care of their basic needs, such as a health diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, have dramatic, unfulfilled relationships- etc. Sack, makes it clear in his article about unhappy people that the reality is many unhappy people refuse to seek out treatment of any kind. While others have no clue what happiness really is. Goodtherapy.org states that “ Happiness is a state of generalized well bell bung associated with feelings of pleasure, joy and satisfaction. The article further elaborates that the common criteria to many definitions of happiness include: Feeling satisfied with the direction of one’s life is going, holding oneself in high regard and being forgiving of your mistakes and short comings, finding satisfaction in simple pleasures and in relationships, having several areas of fulfillment in life and also by having an optimistic disposition and tending to see the glass half full, viewing setbacks as an opportunity for growth. Marianne Williamson Author and spiritual teacher of “ A Course in Miracles” Says that “ The universe is programmed to support your happiness.” “A Return To Love” Williamson’s reflection of A Course In Miracles Believes that we’re completely responsible for our quality of life and well being. She states that: “ You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not what you think. The truth is you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level you can exercise choice. What you do comes from you think.” Williamson also claims that in her Novel, “ All About Love,” “ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be?” Williamson has openly discussed that our thoughts generate and create our lives, our lives are in fact a by-product of our happiness. In an interview conducted in 2012 with Oprah Winfrey OWN NETWORK) Williamson says that “ The universe is interested in your self actualization.” She insinuates that we all have our own curriculum, and doing the work of forgiveness, and thinking with a loving mind we being to lift our spirits and gravitate towards love. She states that when we are accountable for our thoughts by asking ourselves.
We do this by changing our perception from fear to love we then see the miracles in our lives. We then ask ourselves Who am I not forgiving?” “Who am I showing up as?” “ Who do I have a grudge against?” She goes on to say that we often block our ability to recognize miracles because our hearts are blocked, and we suffer because of it.
Eckhart Tolle; Author of “The Power Of Now, A New Earth,” States: “There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all of success and living. “One with Life, being one with life is being one with now. You then realize that you don’t live your life but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” A New Earth, Chapter Chapter 4 pg 115.
Positive psychology is a field of psychology that focuses on happiness, well being this is done by drawing upon people’s strength. Therapy, changing habits, and re framing thoughts can all help alter people to be happier. Most psychological research shows us that happiness is not dependent upon material possessions or even success. Goodtherapy.org states that Happiness seems to be the combination of personality traits such as optimism and happiness- increasing habits such as spending time with loved ones. Goodtherpay.org provides tips for cultivating happiness which include: Having a sense of purpose, Maintain healthy relationships, Live in the present moment, practice gratitude, get support when you need it.
It’s clear that there are many paths to happiness, defining our own happiness. No one shoe fits all, some have taken the road of spirituality, some take modern therapy, and others find other ways within themselves. It’s not the path that counts it’s actually taking the steps to our own happiness and allowing our self the freedom we long for. Take the first step for yourself and allow your life to unfold.