Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Happiness is a sense of well-being and feeling content. It can happen as a passing feeling, or it can be a state of being in your life. When you feel happy, you accept what’s happening in your life, and you embrace the challenges you’re facing. Happiness isn’t about smiling all the time or living in denial. It’s about accepting yourself, embracing the unknown, and being open to what life brings you. Part of being happy means being real about what your flaws are, and embracing what you're good at.
Some people are afraid of happiness. It’s not that they don’t want to be happy, it’s that it’s an unfamiliar concept and they don’t know how to achieve it. Cherophobia is “the fear of happiness.” It’s a relatively new term and isn’t in the DSM yet. However, medical experts including psychiatrists are starting to use the term to describe people who have an aversion to being happy. “Chero” means “to rejoice” in Greek. When someone is afraid of being happy, they are less likely to pursue interests that they enjoy so they can keep themselves in an unhappy cycle. They might be fearful of happiness because they’re used to a routine of being sad. They don’t know themselves as a happy person, and they may be used to being depressed or down. People might feel that they don’t deserve to be happy because of their low self-esteem. These beliefs are false, but they keep people in a feedback loop of sadness.
Research suggests that when you are happy, your physical health improves. Happiness can help regulate your blood pressure, blood sugar, cardiovascular health, and autoimmune issues. Happy people tend to live longer lives than people who are unhappy. When you’re a happy person, you have an incentive to keep going. There’s a lot to live for, they have things they enjoy, and people they love to share their life with, which makes them content.
Social Support System
Human beings are wired to be social. When we’re happy, we have a network of people that love and support us. Social support promotes happiness. When you’re spending time with friends and loved ones, you’ll notice your mood is positive when you feel like they understand and appreciate you. People tend to be happy when they’re involved in activities that make them feel content, and those hobbies are even more enjoyable when you’re doing those activities with friends.
People who exercise experience a lift in their mood. When you are exercising, your brain releases endorphins, which produce “happy chemicals.” You may experience euphoria when you exercise because of the hormones that your brain is creating. Endorphins are the catalyst for the release of norepinephrine (a sexual hormone) which gives your mood a boost, and you’ll likely feel happy. Exercise decreases stress levels, which can contribute to happiness. Cortisol is a stress hormone that interferes with the body’s ability to be happy. When you’re feeling stressed out your cortisol levels are high, and your immune system is compromised, When you exercise, cortisol levels drop, and you’ll likely feel less stressed out and therefore happier. Exercise is a fantastic way to keep your mood up and fight against stress.
If you’re struggling to find happiness in your life, it might be time to seek the help of a mental health professional. Online counseling is an excellent option for people to explore what makes them happy, and work to achieve their goals. Someone people may be struggling with a mental health condition like clinical depression, but they can find a way to manage their illness and still achieve happiness. Being happy doesn’t mean eliminating mental illness. It’s about learning to accept yourself for who you are and finding things you enjoy about life. Online counselors can help you explore what makes you happy, and learn to love yourself. Therapy doesn’t make people happy, but it does provide the resources for you to take inventory of your life and decide what changes to make so you can work towards happiness. Talking to a therapist online can help you to find the reason for your unhappiness. You can learn ways to think more positively, accomplish the goals that make you happy, and learn how to be content with what you have.
Search the extensive network on online counselors at BetterHelp and find one who can support you on your journey to happiness. We all want to be happy.