What makes you unhappy? Most people can answer that question pretty easily. Surly people. Being stuck in traffic. Paying bills. If you know those things make you unhappy, then avoiding them must be a good thing. You should be happier then, right?
Wrong. First of all, avoiding anything takes energy – energy you are focusing in a negative direction. “I have to shop in a different store to avoid that mean check-out guy.” “I have to leave for work two hours early to miss traffic.” “I’m getting dunning notices because I didn’t pay the bills!”
That doesn’t sound like a happiness recipe, and that’s because it isn’t. It’s a way for you to use your creative brain and your limited supply of energy and time on something that won’t pay off in a positive way – ever. Here’s why:
- Brains love patterns. Having a set way of doing things feels good, so when you focus on changing the pattern, like going to a different grocery store, it disrupts more than just the store you shop in. Your energy drops, your concentration can falter, and your confidence can wane. All to try to avoid one human being? I don’t think that’s a great trade-off – do you?
- Leaving for work exceptionally early to get a jump on traffic will backfire in other, sometimes subtle, ways. First, unless you adjust your bedtime, you could suffer from lack of sleep, which makes you cranky. Second, you may resent being in the office so early, when you still have to be there until the end of the day. Third, the thing that annoyed you in the first place – traffic – is now driving your schedule every day you work. You’re putting traffic in control of your life. This kind of avoidance takes a lot out of you!
- Paying bills is a fact of life. Unless you’re wealthy enough to have a secretary, you probably pay them yourself. It can be tedious, and it can also be disheartening if you don’t have as much money as you’d like. But not paying them has some pretty extreme consequences – water shut off, car repossessed, etc. – so avoiding paying them isn’t really a great strategy!
The power is in ignoring what makes you unhappy and working to spend more time with people and things that feed your soul. And when you have to do things you don’t enjoy, try gratitude. Be grateful that you have a choice of where to shop, that you have a car that carries you through bumper-to-bumper traffic, and that you have heat, lights, running water and a cell phone. Claim your power – get happy, even about the not-fun things life hands you! Now, go have a happier day – remember, you’re in charge!
I’d love to hear how you turn an unhappy situation around – please contact me here or on my Facebook page and share your wisdom. And if you’d like a happiness quick tip to show up in your “in” box to start each week off right, sign up and it’s yours. Just scroll to the bottom of any page on my website – the sign-up form is in the footer. Have a happier day!