Happiness is overrated. Instead, try allowing yourself to be totally miserable. It might make you happier than you have ever been. Browsing social media and being confronted with friends scoring dream jobs, creating perfect families and sunning themselves on beaches can create the impression that everyone else is in some unending state of euphoria. And there you are, laying on the sofa with one hand in a bag of crisps and the other holding your phone, an hour into a scrolling session. But constant happiness is overrated. Not only is it overrated, but it’s totally unachievable.
In fact, says Gina Clarke, a psychotherapist at Click for Therapy, expecting to be constantly happy is harmful. “Everybody’s mood fluctuates, we all have ups and downs and a widen range of emotions,” she says, pointing towards the kids movie Inside Out as an analogy.
“If we expect to be constantly happy, then we judge that to feel any other emotion is wrong and therefore we internalise that we are bad if we feel sad, angry, frustrated, and so on, when in actual fact in order to feel happy, to process the difficult stuff that happens, we need to accept other emotions.” That’s why experiencing sadness or discomfort can be useful. Take running: every second of pain is being invested into a healthier body and better mental health. (*Source: THE INDEPENDENT Wednesday 12th July 2017)
When feelings of sadness and worthlessness are all-consuming, it is vital to visit a doctor and assess your mental health, as these can be symptoms of depression or other serious conditions. But dreading going into work but feeling happy in other aspects of life, or the odd pang of sadness can be a catalyst for trying to unpick what is causing these feelings. In the long term, then unhappiness might just be the key to happiness.