Is searching for happiness making you sad?

We run our lives based on many unhelpful and inaccurate beliefs about happiness, it can be what psychologists call the “happiness trap”. This quest for constant happiness can become a vicious cycle that is unattainable, an unreal expectation that is setting us up for failure. Constantly searching for happiness can actually prevent you from being happy. In fact it can make you feel miserable, stressed, anxious and can be a contributor to depression or unhappy relationships.

In Australia we now have a higher standard of living than ever before. Better medical treatment, better food, housing, more welfare services, more money, access to education, travel, entertainment so why are we unhappy?

For many of us it’s about more money, better job, more status, better body, more love. But we are seldom satisfied wanting even more.

Instead of chasing happy thoughts and feelings, maybe think about focussing on creating a rich and meaningful life which will give longer lasting satisfaction. Happiness is not just about feeling good, it’s also about life satisfaction. By all means make the most of pleasant feelings when they come along. We also have to accept we get sick, feel pain, lose valued relationships, have to deal with crises, disappointment and failure which adds up to painful thoughts and feelings. What we have to do is learn to handle these situations that make us unhappy, create a life worth living despite these setbacks.

Tips for long lasting happiness through healthier thinking

  • Avoid excessive expectations.
  • Are your goals or wants too big?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Are you living your life and making decisions based on your personal values?
  • Follow your heart, work out what your values are what you stand for and live by those values.
  • Identify or revisit personal values with regard to family, intimate relationships, friendships, employment, personal development, recreation, fun and leisure, spirituality, community life, environment and nature, health and body.
  • Work with a counselling psychologist or wellness coach to identify those issues that are affecting your emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Someone once wrote, “Happiness can die unless held lightly.” What do you think?

For more information about this subject and getting more out of your life and relationships by looking after your emotional wellbeing visit us at