As good as happiness is, life’s not just about feeling good all the time …

As good as happiness is, life’s not just about feeling good all the time …

As the Chief Happiness Officer at The Happiness Officer, and as someone who’s sometimes referred to as Dr Happy, it won’t surprise anyone to hear that I believe happiness is a good thing; no, a great thing!

This belief is based on decades of Positive Psychology research that clearly shows happiness doesn’t just feel good, it’s also good for us. Real happiness is associated with better health and wellbeing, success in the workplace, better quality relationships and so, so much more.

But no one is or should ever expect to be happy all the time. The so called “negative emotions” are normal and appropriate at times.

So what does happiness mean when we’re feeling stressed and anxious, angry or frustrated, sad, grieving etcetera? 

Well, in these instances happiness, for want of a better descriptor, or what we might refer to as thriving, is more about doing the best we can under what may well be trying conditions. It’s about emotional regulation, managing ourselves and our reactions when what we’re experiencing is far from pleasant.

Happiness isn’t about banishing all these forms of distress; it’s not about pushing them away or even distracting ourselves from them. It’s about recognising them for what they are, acknowledging and allowing them to be just what they are, and then giving ourselves the self-care we need in that situation.

What I call happiness, then, in these situations is about doing what’s good even when we don’t feel good. And that’s something we can try to do no matter what’s going on.