Happiness is…perspective (and 10 key questions)

Happiness is…perspective (and 10 key questions)

Have you ever felt really upset about something and then looked back on it a few days, or maybe a week or even a month later and thought…it wasn’t really that bad?

And did you ever wish you had that day or week back to enjoy more happiness (instead of suffering more pain and sorrow). 

If not, you’re a rarity; if so, then you’re perfectly normal but there is something you can do to reduce the intensity and duration of those negative emotions!

Do you want to know what?

Well, in short, the most powerful strategy involves several stages:

  • first, become more mindful of your reactions so you can, ideally and ultimately, catch your distress sooner rather than later and before it becomes too intense

  • second, recognise that how you respond in these situations is, just that, a response and it is, only one of several possible ways to respond

  • following on from this, it’s important to recognise that not all of our responses are helpful or reasonable or constructive so the third step is learning to assess the utility and validity of our responses as best we can

  • and finally, if our responses are not helpful we can learn to implement more helpful and more positive responses as soon as possible

Now all of that is easier said than done so before moving on, just remember that like much else of which I write and speak the process described above is a skill and so just like any other skill we can, with practice, get better at it’s implementation.

With that in mind, I’d like just for today to focus mostly on the second and third steps of this process and invite you to consider asking yourself the following questions as best you can and as quickly as you can when you first get upset:

  1. Is it really that bad? 

  2. How bad will it seem in 10 minutes, or 10 days or 10 weeks…?

  3. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen? What’s the most realistic thing that will happen?

  4. Is there another way of looking at the situation?

  5. How might your friend (you know the one that copes really well!) respond to this?

  6. Is there anything you can do about?

  7. If you are doing something are you doing the “right” thing?

  8. Do you have to cope with this on your own?

  9. Who can you talk to this about and/or who can help you?

  10. Is there anything you can learn from previous experiences that might help now?


There are numerous other questions you could ask yourself and numerous other ways to respond that could be just as helpful and equally important so let’s keep this conversation going on The Happiness Institute’s Facebook Page (HERE) by posting the questions or comments you make to yourself that you find helpful in terms of keeping things in perspective.