Why Happiness is the Cause Not the Effect

So often we think, “when X happens, then I will be happy.” We wait for our ship to come in to celebrate. We treat happiness as a destination when the truth is that happiness isn’t the place we are going to arrive eventually, it’s the gas in the tank we need to get there. 

Positive psychology research shows us that people who are happy make more money, have longer-lasting relationships, have more satisfying relationships, and have all the outcomes that we think will result in happiness. It’s not that they have those things and then they are happy. They are happier and then those things flow from that happiness. 

So how do you get happy when you don’t yet have the things you think will make you happy? Start with what you have, where you are. Gratitude is what will help you fill your tank with happy, even if you don’t have what you think is going to bring happiness yet. What can you be happy about today? What can you celebrate and delight in? 

Beyond gratitude, the power of happiness now is also rooted in self-efficacy. If you can celebrate and acknowledge what you’re able to achieve at this point, you can build on that success and create the momentum you need to go for the next goal. Before you know it, you’re happily reaching for the things you thought would make you happy. 

The other way happiness keeps you moving is it stops you from stalling out. If you don’t take time to celebrate and mark how far you’ve come, you end up endlessly marching. You burn out because you’re always stretching for the next thing without reveling in your latest success. You don’t get satisfaction if you don’t make the most of your accomplishments. 

Something else to keep in mind is that if you’re always waiting for something to happen before you’re happy, you end up stuck in something called “destination addiction.” The goal is never big enough and there’s always something else that will make you happier. Gratitude can help you break free and appreciate what you’ve accomplished so you can enjoy happiness at every stage of your journey. 

You don’t have to wait for the promotion, the last first date, the last ten pounds to be happy. You can find happiness in the process, not the product, and fuel your tank for the journey to where you really want to go with gratitude for what you have at the moment. You can be happy now, without waiting for your ship to come in and when you find that happiness in the now, it makes celebrating your ultimate achievements even more joyful. Stop waiting for X to be happy, and realize happy is the why! 

Want to quit abandoning yourself for the sake of pleasing others and otherworldly expectations so you can finally be free and create your own joy by living life from the inside out. Get on the waitlist for our Happy Academy, 10 month program that begins in August.

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