Sometimes achieving our goals/ambitions/dreams does not give us the happiness we expect. There are a few reasons for this:
- It’s human nature to want more. Just like getting a bump in our salary rarely results in more financial savings because we increase our lifestyle to meet our new financial situation, the same is true emotionally. Eventually, the rosy glow of whatever new, positive thing occurred wears off and we find ourselves wanting more.
- It’s easy to get caught in the weeds of life rather than zoom out to get a better perspective on the big picture. Perhaps you’ve taken a new job that is stressing you out. It’s easy to feel worried and overwhelmed by the learning curve that is inevitable—especially if we’re not remembering why we took the job in the first place.
How to find happiness and stay grounded
during times of change:
- Keep lists. If you are the one who made the change, make and keep a list of reasons why you think the change will be good for you. It can serve as a nice reminder when you’re in a tough period.
- Practice gratitude. Most of us do not practice gratitude nearly enough. There are so many ways to do this that it’s relatively easy to find a practice that works for you. You can end your day by writing three things that you felt grateful for that day. You can do a guided meditation that focuses on gratitude and really embodies all of those feelings. Or you can take turns around the dinner table every night sharing something that you feel grateful for. Whatever you decide to do, practicing gratitude on a regular basis is proven to make us happier and healthier.
- Feel your feelings! If you’re stressed, allow that to bubble to the surface! Feeling overwhelmed and want to cry? Let those tears fall. Fighting emotions is kind of like getting caught in quicksand. The harder you fight to get out, the deeper you sink. Acknowledge how you’re feeling and actually deal with it—talk about it with a trusted and supportive family member or friend. Listen to music that will help you emote. Journal about it. The only way to get to the other side of emotions is to go THROUGH them. Trying to go around or push them down may work at the moment, but the emotion will usually come back in a big way or leak out in some sideways, unhelpful way.
Interview: Dr. Colleen Cira
Colleen Cira, Psy.D, received both her Master’s and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois. She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.
She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference,” by Today’s Chicago Woman. Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.
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