Why It’s So Hard to Be Happy


An article on the Psychology Today website titled “The Health Benefits of Happiness” tells us that “a steady and varied diet of positive emotional experiences can be a key contributor to a healthy life.”

And yet, happiness is often frustratingly elusive.  Why do we find it so hard to be happy?

As physician and therapist Russ Harris explains in the book The Happiness Trap, evolution has shaped our brains so that we are hardwired to suffer psychologically. Specifically, we:

  • Spend too much time worrying about the possibility of negative future events.
  • Constantly compare ourselves to others.
  • Criticize ourselves or seek out ways to improve ourselves, especially if we fear that we don’t “measure up” in some way.
  • Focus too much on what we don’t have.
  • Rapidly become dissatisfied with what we do have, prompting an ongoing search for “more and better.”

Sound familiar?

By Cynthia Knapp Dlugosz

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