Personal Development

9 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness

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You need to stop reading this article right now.

Why, why, why are you reading an article on happiness? Why did you buy your 30th book on happiness? Why are you asking your yoga teacher dude where to find happiness? Why are you listening to a Tedx talk this very minute as you're reading this article on happiness?

You're in a happiness coma. Ok, more like happiness stroke. Happiness paralysis.

Listen, you don't have to search for happiness. It's not like happiness is some exotic sea creature you have to go fishing for.

You don't have to wake up before dawn to go get a glimpse of happiness.

Searching the spiritual texts will NOT make you happy. Delusional and confused, maybe, but happiness, likely not. Happiness isn't to be searched and found like some item on a menu! Happiness isn't something you order for lunch at the happiness café.

Stop searching for happiness! You can't find what isn't lost, people.

Your happiness is here in this moment. It's within you. It's already here. You just have to stop doing a bunch of crap that destroys your happiness daily. Stop sabotaging your happiness. Stop hiding from your own happiness. Stop looking for happiness.

Get off the sofa and 9 other ways to stop sabotaging your happiness.

Get off the sofa.

Stop searching happiness from your sofa. The surest way to be unhappy is to watch Oprah and find out how happiness works. The surest way to be depressed is to feel unhappiness, immerse in unhappiness and feel like happiness is elusive to you. The surest way is to be holed up on your sofa wondering you're why you're not happy.

Get off the sofa and go and do something, anything. Happiness might not be in your heart but it for sure as hell is not on your sofa. It might even be at the happiness café or in your happiness salad but it's not on your sofa, I promise you that.

Anything you do on your sofa will not bring you happiness. Fine, happiness that lasts more than 3 minutes.

Point: Don't be unhappy and sit on the sofa marinating on unhappiness. Go do something. Anything. Ideally, things you enjoy doing and with other humans.

Get off your therapist's couch.

Visit your therapist regularly but don't live your life on your therapist couch. Meaning?

Therapists are great at bringing up all our pain, trauma and every miniscule detail about what's making us unhappy. I'm certain therapists are responsible for more suicides than any other profession but I digress.

If you leave the therapist's office and continue to live your life in that place of pain, you're going to want to jump off a cliff.

We've all gone through sorrow and hurt but we cannot move around in the world focused on that. Leave your therapist's couch behind when you leave the office. Leave your therapist behind. Leave your stories of pain and sorrow behind.

Point: Stop focusing on what makes you unhappy. Unless you're tofu or chicken don't marinate in anything, like unhappiness, for too long.

Get off your friend's Facebook feed.

A sure way to continue misery is to see what others are doing, see what you're doing, compare, complain and feel your life has been rigged from the day you were born.

Look at every Facebook and Instagram post and see how you suck and all your high school friends don't. Compare every wedding to the wedding you're not having. Compare every vacation to your visit home for Thanksgiving.

Point: Keep social media in check. Don't allow other people's fantasy life on social media to ruin your life.

Get off the ledge.

Your life isn't going to end. Hopefully, the world will not end when the new president takes office. Your life isn't over because you're not where you want to be in life. Or because your dreams haven't come true. Or because you haven't met the one.

You're not damaged or broken beyond repair. Notice how your perception gets skewed when you're in a place of negativity. Notice how you feel worse and worse about yourself and your life when your feel like you're on the ledge.

When you're standing on the ledge, it looks scary and like it's going to be one hell of a scary jump down. When you put it in perspective, the ledge might be the jumping point into a scenic river in a tropical paradise.

Point: It's not as bad as you think. Shift your perspective. Look at your life from a different point of view.

Get off the parade route.

Go to parades. Parades usually makes you happy but don't be part of a parade that you didn't sign up for. Meaning?

Life is one big parade. Everyone seems to be going in one direction, hooting and hollering and playing loud instruments. There's floats and signs for big named luxury clothing stores. Everyone is going in one direction and it looks fun unless you're not having fun.

Society creates one parade route for everyone and tells you that you need to join this parade, put on a costume and play a trombone. Screw the trombone and the costume!

Point: Live your own life. Stop following the crowd. Run for your life in the opposite direction towards a life that brings YOU happiness, not one that mimics everyone's else's life.

Get off the people who crush your soul.

Some people in life bring you profound happiness and love. Other people, crush your soul and make you wish you were dead.

Point: Stop spending time with people you hate and spend your time with people who make your soul smile.

Get off living in the past.

I love to replay all the pain in my life over and over and over. Failure. Incompetence. Divorce. Heartbreak. Maybe you do too. Isn't it just grand to sit back and think about what complete and utter failures we are?

Point: Get over your past. It's never coming back. Today's all you've got.

Get off complaining.

You don't like your hotel room. You don't like the freeway noise. You don't like the birds chirping outside. You don't like chirping. You don't like birds.

Point: Complaining focuses on how bad things are. Flip the script and start appreciating what's around you.

Get off yourself!

You're going to a fancy dinner. You got a raise. You got a promotion. You got a new suit. You're going to Burning Man. You're going to save the world. You're going to get happy. You're going to get a latte.

You you you. And for me, it's me, me, me.

Let's get off ourselves.

Point: Do something for someone else. Stop thinking about yourself for 2.5 minutes. Check Facebook.

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About the author


Vishnu Subramaniam is the writer behind the popular self-help blog where he writes about starting over in life. For Vishnu's latest book, Does True Love Exist: 15 Simple Ideas for Finding Your Life Partner, click here.