We are all constantly in pursuit of happiness. Every day, we make choices in life that affect how we feel and think about ourselves.
We usually believe we are making good decisions that will bring us closer to a state of well- being. The only problem is that sometimes the choices we make actually increase our anxiety and despair.
You can stop the negative cycle and begin taking back your happiness by quashing these horrible habits.
The temptation to compare ourselves to others is almost overwhelming. However, constantly comparing ourselves to others will result in dissatisfaction with our own lives.
It is easy to look at someone else and think that they have the perfect career, relationships, make more money or seem more attractive. But comparisons are never fair, because we are all unique human beings, with our own talents, fears, passions and traits.
When comparing yourself with others, try to balance your perception. Remind yourself that we are all humans. No one is perfect. We are all just striving to put our best face forward.
Lack of appreciation
No matter what your circumstances in life, you have so much to be grateful for. Every day you draw breath is an opportunity to work towards your goals, serve others and find all the little joys in life. When we are ungrateful we dismiss the importance and value of all that we have.
Being thankful shifts your focus away from what you don’t have towards how full and wonderful your life truly is.
No matter how successful you are, unless you take time to count your blessings you will never feel you have enough.
Gratitude reduces stress, brings peace of mind and makes you more resilient and caring.
Being controlled by hate or fear
Our brains are hardwired to warn us of real danger and keep us safe, but fear and anxiety can paralyse us. Fear of failure is a barrier to pursuing our dreams. Fear of putting ourselves "out there" influences the choices we are willing to make in life.
The same goes for hate. Allowing ourselves to be consumed by anger just mires us in cynicism and animosity.
Difficult experiences can fill you with pain, but making decisions based on hate steals your ability to focus on what really matters to you.
Focusing on the past or the future
If your consciousness is dominated by the past or focused on the future, you are likely to miss experiences and opportunities right in front of you.
You must live in the present to be engaged with where you are and who you are with. Otherwise, without even realising it, you are letting life pass you.
Dwelling on the past usually means unresolved issues are weighing you down and focusing entirely on the future; it also usually means that you have anxiety about what is to come and your ability to handle it.
Practise mindfulness by focusing your consciousness on the present moment.
Control what you can't
It is frustrating to spend a great deal of time and effort making plans, only to discover life has taken you on an entirely different path.
“This is not how things are supposed to go,” you tell yourself. It seems so unfair, because you had it all worked out.
Too often our desire to control everything is rooted in anxiety and fear - - we believe the worst will happen if we are not behind the wheel.
At a certain point you are just fighting the universe and making yourself extremely unhappy.
Instead of trying to control every detail, allow life to unfold naturally. Feel the freedom that comes from loosening your grip on what you have no control over.
This article was first published in the June 9 - 15, 2017 issue.