I sometimes think the founding fathers of the United States set the country on the wrong track by including in the Declaration of Independence the words, “the pursuit of happiness.” Pursuing happiness can be problematic because not only are we often not clear on what makes us happy, but it isn’t a permanent state. To my mind, happiness is not a goal. Instead, it is the result of recognizing what the good is in your life most of the time.

In her article on Smart Brief, LaRae Quy, author of Secrets of a Strong Mind, gives 3 Scientific Reasons Why Emotional Wellbeing Equals Success, and how to make each of them work for you. In the opening, Quy states that pursuing happiness didn’t help her. However, when she focused on her emotional wellbeing, she was able to avoid burnout.  In the process, she recognized what happiness truly is.

Here are the reasons and Quy’s advice on making them work:

  1. Rethink HappinessAccording to a report she cites, America’s Happiness Index has been falling since 2008, noting that we tend to think of happiness as an uninterrupted state. Neuroscientists and psychologists believe emotional wellbeing is a better definition than happiness for our mental state. She states, “moments of happiness are necessary, but it should never be your goal in life. We also have to be prepared to handle adverse events and negative emotions.

To make it work for you recognize that happiness is:

  • Temporary – Nothing lasts forever. Whatever is in the current moment will inevitably change.
  • Involves pleasing yourself – You are the one who defines your own happiness.
  • Lacks depth – Again, it is in the moment.
  • Feels good – And isn’t that wonderful. Savor it.
  • Something you chase after – Not because you are pursuing happiness, but because you are passionate and care about it.
  • Full of momentary connections with others – Those moments can create cherished memories, but they happen in moments.
  • 2. Embrace negative emotionsStop trying to put a good face on your feelings. They are signals to you to identify the source. When you are stressed or angry, attempt to recognize what is causing it. This not only minimizes the impact of the negative emotions, but it allows you to move forward.

To make it work for you:

  • Recognize negative emotions as normal and an important barometer of what you’re experiencing in life – We all have them, and there are many good reasons for it.
  • Identify and name your emotions rather than trying to avoid them – Be honest about what you are dealing with. It’s easier to confront them that way.
  • Talk to people you trust about your emotions. Better yet, talk to yourself and write it down in a journal – Venting is healthy. Journaling is a great outlet for many.
  • 3. Practice awareness – Quy notes that when you are aware of the emotions you are feeling, you are less likely to make a decision based on them. You are then more likely to react with less bias and improve relationships – which are the heart of our business.

To make it work for you the suggestions require self-reflection. Taking this pause will help you get to the reality of what is happening. Do this for both positive and negative emotions.

  • What event happened that made me feel this way? Or what person?
  • Where does the emotion show up in my body? Does this emotion express itself in my body language?
  • What was my first response to the emotion? Then, if I had to do it over again, would I repeat myself?
  • Is this an emotion I want to reinforce? If not, when could I have nipped it in the bud? If so, how can I repeat the experience?

The better you become at doing this, the more you will recognize and enjoy the happiness in your life. You, and you alone, define what happiness is to you. And it’s you who recognize it and welcome it into your life. Pursuing emotional wellbeing will allow you to be more resilient and go after the goals that will lead to increased happiness both personally and professionally.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s