How Valuing Happiness Can Make You Depressed…

We all want to be happy .. right?

We all want to feel good more of the time… right?

And wanting to feel that way by valuing joy, elation, and happiness should be high on the priority list, correct?

As with everything, it’s up to you to take what you want from research, but a new study I was reading about in the latest Spirituality & Health Magazine makes some pretty good arguments for how valuing or overemphasizing happiness can actually make you more depressed.

Think about this for a second…

Remember the last party you attended that you were so excited for? You probably expected to feel 10/10 on the happiness scale all night. However, as the night goes on you spill your expensive drink on your dress, the guy or girl you’re crushing on doesn’t show up, and to top it off, the horrible playlist prevented you from wall-twerkin’ your heart out. Many would deem this a “bad night.”

But why is that?

Perhaps it’s because we overvalue happiness. We value happiness so much so that any other emotion or feeling such as shock (when you spill your drink), disappointment (no-show on your crush), or annoyance (at the bad music) causes you to disregard the entire night as ‘bad.’

I think we do this a lot with life, too.

When I first started doing yoga and meditating, I thought I was doing it to feel happier. I thought I would feel happy at all moments of the day – even after a fight or under stress.  I wondered what was wrong with me when I wasn’t ‘happy enough.’

However, i’ve come to realize that although yoga and meditation will increase your overall happiness, it will not take away emotions such as pain, anger, or sadness.  When you feel happy, you will fully feel it in a way you’ve never felt it before. However, you’ll also feel sadness and pain in a new way as well.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop labeling emotions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  Maybe all our feelings can just be neutral. Maybe by reducing the value we put on happiness, we can allow ourselves to enjoy each moment instead of measuring it up to how happy we think we should be feeling.

By consciously doing this, and letting go of the struggle to feel happy when we’re not, we allow ourselves to be authentic. We allow ourselves to experience the wide variety of emotions that we’ve been given, which is a beautiful gift in itself.

I say we start valuing our sadness or frustration as well as our happiness and excitement. What do you say?

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