One Major Myth About Happiness (and 3 Ways to Be Happier)

November 18, 2021

Video by Drs. Charlotte Howard and Tori Olds

Article by Dr. Kyler Shumway

Are you happy?  If so, why?  

Is it because life gave you a gift?  Did you get a big raise, a new friend, a free cup of coffee?  Is it because you feel grateful for the things life has given?  A loving partner, an awesome therapist, or a job that empowers and values you?  Or maybe it’s something else, and maybe you feel happy because you are feeling good vibes from the universe and loving life.  

Now, let’s ask the hard question – what happens if that happiness goes away?  What if bad things happen and we suffer the slings and arrows of life?  

People tend to assume that happiness is like money in a bank account.  You can build it up with good things over time, and then pay out when the bad things happen.  The account goes up and down, and hopefully more up than down.  

But, that’s not how it works.  

Dr. Tori Olds and Dr. Charlotte Howard, co-founders of Deep Eddy Psychotherapy, talk about the myth of happiness and what the research says about the human experience.

If you struggle with happiness and want to live a better life, we are here for you.  Contact us today to get the help you deserve.

3 Ways to Be Happier Today

As you’ll learn from the Sikes sisters in the video, happiness isn’t like a bank account – it’s just like any other human experience.  Over time, we reach a place of equilibrium, and we adjust to whatever has happened to us, good or bad.  This gives us hope in times of pain, and it grants us humility when we fear losing the good.  

While happiness is fleeting, feeling well and full of joy is not.  Here are five simple ways that you can begin to live a life a better, happier life, today.

#1 – Notice Life’s Awesomeness

We tend to live life in pretty mindless ways.  We go through the motions – wake up, go to work, eat, sleep, repeat.  And yet, there is so much going on in the world around us, in every moment.  

Take a moment to pause, right now, and look around you.  Try to notice the small details.  The way the light shines in the room.  The minute textures, the colors, the shades.  Listen deeply to the sounds around you, and try to pick up on the faintest, tiniest noises you can.  Notice what it’s like to breathe, to smell the air around you, to feel the oxygen flow through your body.  

See that?  Things are happening.  Awesome things.  And what you just did was an act of mindfulness – you slowed yourself down enough to take in the world, and be mindful.  When we are able to mindfully engage in our lives, life feels more like living.  

#2 – Give Away Some Kindness

Most folks like giving gifts more than receiving them.  Why?  Because we love the knowledge and the experience of seeing someone feel positivity and excitement.  

Too many of us wait around for praise to come our way.  We crave compliments and hope that others will notice our awesomeness.  All of us are wandering around waiting for others to give us love and kindness.

There’s a Jewish parable that talks about heaven and hell being the same place.  Everyone is gathered around a humongous bowl of piping hot soup, and each person has a massively long spoon.  In hell, everyone is selfish and they try to feed themselves, but because the spoon is so long they end up spilling hot soup all over themselves.  In heaven, people use their spoons to feed others across the bowl.  

So, instead of waiting for soup to come to you, why don’t you nourish someone else with some kindness?  

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Offer a small compliment – “hey, I like your shirt!”

  • Do a chore or a task that someone else would’ve had to do instead

  • Say “thank you” to someone in your life

  • Donate to a cause or charity

  • Volunteer for an organization that needs helping hands

#3 – Get a Pet

Research shows that having animal companionship is one of the best ways for people to feel a sense of belonging, connection, and joy.  Plus, so many animal shelters are filled with adorable little critters that need a good home.  Even if you can’t have a pet at home, consider visiting a pet shelter and giving the animals there some affection and love – chances are, they’ll love you right back. 

BONUS: Work With a Therapist

Of course, one of the best ways you can learn to feel happier and more fulfilled is to start working with your own therapist.  Therapy can help you learn to overcome barriers to connection, live healthier, and reach the goals that matter most to you. 

All it takes is a willingness to reach out and get started.

Interested in learning more?  Ready to try therapy for the first time?

We are here for you.  All you have to do is reach out.

Want to work with one of our Deep Eddy therapists?