Most people strive for happiness in their lives. It is an admirable goal to be happy. Many even hold it as an ultimate ideal, an ultimate goal that will mark your true success. Some may even feel disappointed in themselves when they “drop” some happiness. But is this really a good thing?
The fact is that happiness it was never intended to be a constant emotion. On top of that, you can actually actively damage it if it’s excessive! Here’s how experts reveal 8 reasons why being happy all the time is unhealthy.
1. Not all situations should imply happiness
Being happy all the time is not practical because it is not appropriate to be happy in all situations. Human beings have emotions for a reason: to face challenges, adapt to new opportunities and situations, and respond well to the environment. That cannot be done if you are always happy.
Charles Carver, psychologist, states that positive emotions in general, including happiness, can lead to the act of slowing down and simply “slipping” mentally for a while. This is because happiness is meant to be a sign of fulfilled wishes or goals. Unfortunately, this means that being always happy can lead to decreased performance, especially in challenging or competitive environments. In fact, being angry is likely to increase your performance more than happiness.
Knowing when it’s okay to feel bad is critical to overall health and happiness. If you want to perform well, you don’t need constant, overwhelming, unbalanced positivity, you need realism and emotional balance.
2. It is important to truly feel your feelings
Some people may be tempted to try to dismiss all negative emotions. If that sounds like you, you are actually doing more harm than good. By replacing humans entirely and becoming more positive, you are not getting rid of the bad, just repressing it.
In most cases, someone who feels happy all the time is not being honest about their emotions with themselves, he says Suzannah Weiss, a widely published lifestyle writer with degrees in cognitive neuroscience, gender and sexuality studies, and modern culture and media. It’s a dangerous cycle to get used to suppressing emotions, and those suppressed feelings can come back to bite you later. Here are some reasons why it is important to feel your feelings:
I shouldn’t have to act
Hiding your feelings behind facades of happiness is a kind of performance. Consistently performing this “positivity” prevents you from being human. You are supposed to have ups and downs, and you shouldn’t just go up and down, especially if it’s just because you feel pressured to act happy for those around you.
You want to appreciate happiness
If all you are is happy by force, you stop feeling grateful for that happiness. In fact, happiness is now more negative, since you have to force that emotion. Allowing yourself to feel negative emotions means that you will be more grateful for moments of positivity.
Your emotions they exist for a reason. They are valuable feedback your brain provides for your well-being. Emotions are an opportunity to stop and reflect on why you feel that way, allowing you to learn and grow in difficult times. In other words, feeling negative emotions can make you a stronger person!
Bad feelings can create good memories
Some people think that they need to force happiness, so as not to waste their lives on negativity. While it is true that wallowing is not good, it is also true that good memories do not have to imply happiness. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, allowing negative emotions to exist, and watching yourself come out of negativity again are all wonderful ways to create memories. Part of the human experience is going through ups and downs, and you will remember your strength, the people who helped you, and how you got up again.
3. There is a difference between happiness and purpose
Many people confuse the idea of happiness with meaning. While meaning is necessary to have most of the time in life, happiness is a completely different form. Counseling psychology professor, speaker, and author David B. Feldman, Ph.D. states that there are two common types of experiences that make people feel their lives are worth living:
- Hedonic experiences, which are related to pleasurable activities such as eating sinful foods, watching a sunset, watching your favorite shows, or enjoying intimacy.
- Eudaimonic experiences, which relate to personal purpose, generally related to living by certain values, making a difference, helping others, or completing goals and projects.
- These two experiences are distinct and separate, indicating that what is significant is not always pleasant and what is pleasant is not always significant.
Hedonic experiences are often considered the things that create those moments of positive thinking and happiness, but as you can probably guess, they are not sustainable and cannot, and should not, be done all the time. Having meaning in life is what should sustain you, not have explosions of pleasure.
4. Reduce creativity
Intense experiences of happiness that are unbalanced and disproportionate can lead to decreased levels of creativity. Basically too positive thinking It can kill your ability to think outside the box and have an open mind.
Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson He extends this further by stating that this decline in creativity does not only occur in obvious creative activities, such as art or media. It also means:
- Lack of flexibility in the face of difficulties.
- Inability to find effective, unique or innovative solutions to challenges.
- Difficulty accepting or understanding new perspectives from other people.
- Lack of interest in learning or trying new things.
Happiness is a spectrum. It is not just a term with a definition. There are many different flavors and sources of happiness, each of which provides valuable context for situations. Different happiness has different effects, according to the director of the Yale Laboratory of Psychopathology and Positive Emotions, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology June Gruber, Ph.D., and not all are healthy.
- It makes you feel closer to others.
- Increase energy levels
- It makes you proud of yourself.
- Increase generosity
Even more complex than that, every taste of happiness can have “sub-flavors”! For example, being proud of your accomplishments and patting yourself on the back reinforces positive self-esteem, but being proud to the point of acting above others has social consequences. Understanding the nuances of happiness is important to make sure you keep your emotions in check and stay connected to the real world.
6. Negative emotions can improve your life
It goes without saying that most people would rather never feel anything negative in their lives. But Feldman says this may not actually be very positive, as negative emotions are often crucial in at least some circumstances. For example:
- Fear and anxiety can warn you of threatening situations and circumstances.
- Feeling guilty helps you make the decision to make amends, take responsibility, or acknowledge mistakes.
- Anger motivates you to stand up for yourself and refuse to accept injustice (and in some cases, it can even make you feel more positive results of interactions with others)
- Sadness helps you process difficult situations and makes you more grateful in happier times
- Regret can push you to improve in the future, learn from mistakes, or try to create a better world.
The trick, of course, is not to overdo it with negativity. Anxiety to the point of an anxiety disorder, for example, needs medical attention. Or acting violently and lashing out in anger is not a good thing, as another example. Balancing negative emotions with positive ones allows you to have a more moderate, effective, and overall positive life.
7. Can threaten security
It’s hard to understand why being happy all the time could harm your personal safety, but all you have to do is see what happiness is at its core. Let’s think, for a moment, about what happiness does. That:
- Focus your attention on positive thinking, emotion, and the great things that happen in your world.
- Lowers inhibitions, which means you are likely to take more risks or be open to new possibilities early on
- Try to keep your feelings positive by concentrating only on the good for as long as possible
Now imagine all those great benefits of happiness, but taken to the extreme. You can ignore risks for an extended period of time, stop noticing anything based on reality, and jump in without looking or worrying about what happens next.
Do you think it’s crazy? Science supports it. A study by psychologist Howard S. Friedman found that people who grow up considered extremely happy were more likely to have mortality carried over into adulthood. This is due to a “happiness overload”, in which they would engage in behaviors without worrying about threats. This could lead to:
- Risk behaviors
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Substance abuse
8. Constantly pursuing happiness is bad for you
Everyone wants to be happy, but sometimes it becomes an excessive obsession. It is engraved in our brain that we have to be happy and pursue that goal at all costs, and that being happy is a kind of end goal. This is especially true for Americans, as the Declaration of Independence even includes a line!
But according to social psychologist and expert in emotion regulation Iris Mauss, this is very counterintuitive. This is because:
- The more someone pursues happiness, the more likely they are to set very high goals and standards for that happiness.
- Higher goals and standards mean a lower chance of getting that gold standard happiness they seem to want
- Trying to pursue happiness excessively is essentially setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Those with these lofty goals may not even be able to feel happy in positive circumstances, as their positive thinking hinges on something almost unattainable.
- The pursuit of happiness may be associated with an increased risk of mental disorders, including bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.
Negative emotions they are normal and healthy in moderation. Even the happiest and most successful people you know experience negative emotions. It is just part of the beautiful life that you will live as a human being.
Instead of focusing on achieving consistent happiness, focus on regulating your emotions, balancing your feelings, and addressing your negative emotions. That way you can learn, grow and appreciate yourself even more!