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The No. 1 Thing That’s Killing Your Happiness

Posted at 12:05 PM, Sep 18, 2018

Are you standing in the way of your own happiness? David Schramm, Ph.D., CFLE at the Department of Human Development & Family Studies at Utah State University says our own thoughts are the no. 1 thing stopping us from being happy. But he also said there are ways we can overcome that obstacle and others! This is what he has to say about battling the most common obstacles to happiness.

"Many times the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our peace and happiness in life is ourselves. We tend to be our worst critics. The first step to getting rid of the robbers of our inner happiness is awareness that your thoughts actually determine your happiness and recognize that constantly rehearsing negative thoughts brings you down.

For example, let's say you are going to the dentist to get your wisdom teeth out, and the dentist gives you two options: 1. You get the standard procedure with a few days of recovery or 2. You get your wisdom teeth pulled PLUS extra days of lingering pain. Why would you ever choose the second option and suffer when you don't need to? And yet we suffer needlessly when we choose to ruminate over things in our minds.

Here are some ways we let our thoughts rob our happiness:

1. Dwelling on the past - we can easily get stuck staring at the rearview mirror and feel embarrassment, anger, irritation, guilt, shame, or sadness. Those emotions all focus on the past. Once something painful has occurred, we have to stop thinking about it and replace it with something positive, or we easily become imprisoned by our own thoughts.

2. Fear of the future - we can also get stuck by emotions that focus on the future, such as fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, frustration, and pessimism. Many people make themselves sick by fear of the future. If it`s not going to matter 5 years from now then don`t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. It`s often the thought, not the actual event, that makes us unhappy.

3. Comparing ourselves with others - some people compare their weaknesses and worst moments with others strengths and best moments. We compare our looks, bodies, clothing, jobs, financial situation, and even our partner with others. But what you may not realize is that if you constantly compare, you'll never be satisfied with what you have and you`ll just grow resentful, because there will ALWAYS be someone who seems to have it better than you.

4. I'll be happy when... - the truth is nothing in this world can make you happy. It can encourage you but ultimately it's our choice. The happiest people are those who have learned to enjoy their lives and enjoy their day. And it starts with our thoughts. Happiness is a choice.

Here's a closing tip: Remember these three words: Notice, Pause, Appreciate.
Notice what`s going well in your life, notice the good things, then Pause for even a few seconds and soak it in and live in that moment, and Appreciate the good feeling that comes."


You can enjoy more life advice at the Celebrating Women Conference, happening Saturday, September 22, 2018 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Weber State University. Tickets can still be purchased by visiting