13 Incredibly Smart Tips To Be Happier From Mental Health Experts
May 9, 2018
It's pretty safe to assume that you want to be happy, because...well, who doesn't? But how to actually make that happen is a little more elusive. BuzzFeed Life talked to a bunch of experts to get their best tips.
Of course, everyone brings their own set of experiences to the table and some people might be living with mental illnesses like depression or anxiety that make things more complicated. But hopefully you might be able to find a few pieces of advice here that can help life feel a little easier.
1. Realize that happiness doesn't mean having everything you want and being problem-free all the time.
"We cannot control everything that happens to us in life, but we can choose how we respond. When we respond with an attitude of 'Why is this happening to me?' and adopt a victim mentality, we suffer. When we choose to respond with an attitude of 'Why is this happening for me and what can I learn?' then we feel a lot more empowered, which impacts our mental state positively.
The biggest misconception about happiness is that we can outsource it — that something external is going to make us happy. Happiness is NOT a constant state. As humans we experience and grow through a variety of emotions. The expectation that we should be happy all the time will leave anyone with an expectation hangover. What we can be is grateful."
—Christine Hassler, empowerment coach and author of Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love, and Life
2. Cut "should" from your vocabulary, because it basically guarantees whatever you think "should" happen, won't.
"When we use the word 'should,' it's like this big, judgmental finger wagging at yourself. 'I should work out more, I should be happier, I should be more grateful.' It causes us to feel guilt and shame. It depletes our happiness. It causes us to engage in behaviors that are completely against what we want.
Instead, replace 'should' with 'I would like.' For example, 'I'd like to lose weight, because I want to have more energy and be a role model.' That is more motivational, it's more based on passion rather than the fear and judgment of ourselves that prevents us from being the people that we want to be."
—Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love.
3. Remember that your negative thoughts are not true. They're just thoughts.
"Sadly, many people make the mistake of believing the negative things that their 'inner voice' tells them, often without even being aware of their right to question whether these things are accurate! When it comes to mental health care, many people still think you will need to spend years exploring your childhood or past in order to get better. That's simply not the case nowadays. Catch, challenge, and change negative thoughts."
—Simon Rego, Psy.D., director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York