Self Esteem Answers

How can I recondition myself out of this unhealthy feeling.

Hello Jay, It is very nice to meet you. You ask an excellent question. From what you are describing, it sounds as though you are experiencing low self esteem, often feel self conscious of yourself when you are around others and feel inadequate in groups of people. Family history can certainly affect how we interact as adults, as you mentioned your feeling that this comes from trauma related to your mother.  If you and I were working together in therapy, I would want to know more about your background and what you experienced with your mother as a child. Processing childhood trauma, while often painful, helps a person heal and find a sense of peace and self confidence. I would encourage you to reframe and redirect the negative and intrusive thoughts. Think of it this way - thoughts control feelings and feelings control actions. So, if you are in a group and are thinking that you are too quiet, not good enough, not confident even, etc, then you will feel insecure and uncomfortable and this leads to you showing this physically by slumped shoulders, quiet voice, fidgeting with hands, avoiding eye contact, etc. Work to change these thoughts, that's where it starts. Tell yourself that you are competent and know what you are talking about. When you have confident thoughts, you will feel more confident and then act more confident.  Practice telling yourself that you are qualified for the conversations you are in and that you know what you are talking about. Speak clearly and slowly when talking to others. I know that this can feel very uncomfortable and awkward at first. It will get easier and feel more natural with time. The same way that the unhealthy feelings have almost become normal, natural for you, you can also change them and make new, healthier feelings.  Working with a therapist can certainly help you with these issues you mention. You would be able to further identify healthy strategies for feeling more confident. I hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you all the best moving forward on your journey. 
Answered on 08/09/2022

How to stop food and body focus

Hi there,  Thank you for sharing. You have done well in recognizing that this way of being is potentially becoming unhealthy for you. This is a complex issue, but essentially it sounds like the perfectionism and weight loss is about control. So maybe you could start off by thinking about other areas of your life, such as relationships and work, etc, and see if anything there feels out of control. Likewise, thinking back over your life and childhood and exploring what felt safe and secure and what perhaps felt more chaotic or unstable. Food is so often used to help us manage emotions and to feel in control, or to reflect how out of control we feel. You have lost a lot of weight but do not say if you are now at your target weight or if you have gone too far. However, regardless, you sound unhappy with your body. I wonder how you feel about yourself as a person. Do you have low self esteem? Sometimes if people don't feel good about themselves, this is channeled into how they feel about their bodies, and appearance and weight becomes the focus. It may be helpful to look at what is going well in your life and what you do well. You could make a list of your achievements. These do not need to be huge things, but day to day things, like helping someone out, or even just smiling at a stranger and making them feel seen. You could also think about all the wonderful things your body does for you every day, like keeping you alive, moving you around, digesting food, breathing, and so on. You also mention exercise addiction. I don't know what or how much you are doing but if you feel it is excessive perhaps you could set yourself a small goal here, such as taking an extra rest day, or swapping out a high intensity work out for a long walk instead. Remember that rest and recovery are an important and essential part of any exercise and training program. Hope this helps get you started. Warm regards Corey
(Psychodynamic, Counselor, CBT, therapist)
Answered on 08/03/2022

I’m blind and need help with self esteem and relationship with my husband

  Hello Belze! Thank you for your question. I will try to give you as much of an answer as I can with such limited information. Some things that I would want to ask you if we were working together are ·      How long have you and your husband been together? ·      Did you recently become blind or have you had this condition for a long time? ·      Were you blind when you got married? ·      Has your husband ever been helpful or attentive to you? ·      How do you spend your days? Do you have a job outside the home? Does he have a job outside the home? ·      Do you have children? ·      Do you have family, friends, or hobbies that you like to do? As you can see, there are so many things that – in my mind – are important to know when trying to answer your question. So let me try to answer you in a somewhat general manner. It is important in all relationships – whether spouses, friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or anything else – to communicate openly and honestly. In order to do that, people need to feel “safe” about communicating. This means that people need to know that they can respectfully say what they are thinking and feeling without fear of being criticized or discounted in some way. So, I am wondering if you and your husband have talked about how you feel? Are you able to talk to your husband about your feelings? Do you and your husband provide a safe space to communicate? While we frequently think that other people “should” just know how we are feeling, that is not always the case. Many times, other people are completely oblivious to what seems so obvious to us. Would it be possible for you and your husband to have a conversation about how you feel? Within this conversation, I would hope that you would not only explain how you feel but also what you believe would be helpful. In other words, what do you need him to do so you can start to feel better? Also, within this conversation, I would hope that you would think about things that you could do to help yourself feel better. In other words, could you get involved in some kind of volunteer work or group activities so that you don’t feel isolated and alone. Would these sorts of things help you feel more like you have some purpose to your day? We all have a need to feel like we have a purpose – that we somehow contribute to this world. Another thing that I would want to explore with you is something we call core beliefs. This has to do with what a person comes to believe about him or herself as a child. We learn these core beliefs from our parents or other caregivers who are part of our lives when we are children. These core beliefs tend to follow us into adulthood and they become somewhat like “lenses” through which we filter all of our life experiences. Thus, if a person has a core belief that they do not have much value, then many of their life experiences will be interpreted as “proof” that they don’t have much value. Being able to recognize when our thoughts are not helpful so that we can challenge and change them is extremely important. Thoughts are not facts. We all get hundreds or thousands of thoughts in our heads every day. Sometimes these thoughts are not helpful, but they are reflections of our core beliefs. It is not easy to get rid of them but it is possible if we can remember that thoughts are just thoughts – they are not facts. We can choose to hold on to a thought or we can choose to let go of it and replace it with something more helpful. This is something we would work on if we were working together. There is also the whole topic of self-compassion. We tend to be very good at showing others compassion much more so than we show ourselves compassion. We tend to beat ourselves up in a way that we would never do to another person. So, another important part of what we would do together would be to examine how you “talk” to yourself – what kind of language you use when you have internal dialogue with yourself. Do you say things to yourself that you would never say to another person? Many people do and this can result in a lot of anxiety and depression. Learning to think differently about ourselves, talk to ourselves differently, and look at situations through a different “lens” or perspective are all techniques that people use to feel better. These are all things that people can learn to do. It definitely takes commitment and a willingness to be patient and do the work involved. But at the end of the day, it is possible to feel better regardless of what other people do or don’t do. We all have the ability to choose what kind of a mindset we want to embrace. Sometimes, a place to start is with gratitude. It might sound counter-intuitive since you are saying that you are struggling with self-worth. You might be thinking “What do I have to be grateful for?” And, for sure, sometimes we have to dig deep to find things to be grateful for. There might not be a lot, but it does help to take note of what you do have to be grateful for. These are just a few of the many things we could talk about with regards to both your relationship with your husband and your relationship with yourself. There is much more that we could explore. The bottom line is that you could feel better and I suspect that is really all you want. It is possible. I hope this helps a little! Thank you for reading my answer. Judi
(MA, LMHP, LADC)
Answered on 07/21/2022

my brother have a self-esteem problem. i wanna know what i can do to help him.

Hi Marwa,  Thank you so much for your question. It really says a lot about the relationship you have with your brother that you're reaching out here. It's hard to see the people we care about being so hard on themselves, and especially when those feelings of insecurity result in them giving up! You can't be his therapist (and shouldn't try to be) but there are definitely things you can do to help.  You can offer support. Offering to spend time and truly listen to him could help him feel more connected to you and to the world. I know you said he spends a lot of his time alone and rarely talks to you but are there things that he enjoys doing? Are there activities you could engage in with him that would give you a more informal chance to talk? Extending the invitation and making a point to show care can have a big impact. People with low self-esteem often lack the initiative to make plans with someone. You may have to initiate plans yourself and stick with them. Difficulty in reaching out and following through in social plans is not a slight towards you. Rather, it reflects on the anxiety, fear, or depression a person with low self-esteem may have. You risk alienating the person you are trying to help if you directly tell them how they should think about themselves or how they should act. Instead, support your brother for who he is, and try to encourage him towards and model healthier emotional self-care. You can help him interrogate the negative thoughts by asking questions. When he says "I'm a loser" you can ask "What makes you feel that way?" or "Did something happen to cause you to think that way?" His feelings are valid, and you shouldn't try to tell him directly how he should feel or not feel but you can potentially help him challenge the thinking and find a way out.  If a person has low self-esteem, they may often personalize the issue. The problem is with them, and it is something that seems unable to be solved. It can help to have a person come at it from a fresh angle. Remember that problem-solving usually can only be done after some of the more negative emotion is expressed. If there is something specific getting in your brother's way and he is able to articulate that to you- this gives you an opening to help him create active strategies for change.  It can also be helpful to work with him on recognizing the messages that are coming from his negative "inner voice." We all have one and some are louder or more critical than others. The first step is recognizing where the messages are coming from and how often they are happening- then he can start challenging them with evidence. It can be helpful to model and explain how you manage your own "inner voice." Emphasize that even when things do not work out as you had hoped, you do not blame or berate yourself. Model an inner voice that actually shows the support that you would give a dear friend, not the abuse that you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Lastly- suggest therapy, gently, if you think it will be helpful. If you feel that your brother has deeper issues than you can personally help with, try suggesting that he attend therapy. BetterHelp is a great platform that removes a lot of the barriers to traditional in-person therapy. Ultimately, self-esteem is a personal issue, and people who have low self-esteem have to help themselves to truly get better. You can offer encouragement and support, but you cannot improve other people’s self-esteem.
Answered on 05/21/2021

How can bullying affect child development?

Bullying has been linked to an enormous amount of developmental issues in children, both in those bullied and those who have bullied others. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, bullying has a lifelong impact on children's social and emotional development that puts them at risk for everything from severe mental health issues to stunted professional growth later in life. Children who are involved in bullying experiences (on either side of the situation) are at an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, decreased motivation and ambition, trouble focusing, lower grades, behavioral problems, social and relationship issues, substance abuse later in life, and self-harming behaviors. Bullying can also affect other children who witness the acts – even if they aren’t directly involved – by leaving them feeling insecure in their environments and fearing they could be next. The long-term effects of bullying go well beyond the initial instances and the people at the center of it and can often stay with a person for the remainder of their life. Since bullying can essentially destroy a child’s self-esteem, it can manifest itself in ways that will jeopardize future opportunities for years to come. Bully can oftentimes become traumatic for those who witness the acts or endure the bullying acts.  We know trauma can affect the brain and child development. For those children who experience trauma, their brains and bodies grow differently due to living in situations perceived to be unsafe. This is one of the differences that led researchers to distinguish PTSD from Developmental Trauma Disorder. When traumatic exposure occurs during critical periods of a child’s development, the very core of the person’s being is altered. Their entire sense of the world and themselves is turned upside down by this disorienting and terrifying experience. Children survive the trauma by “accommodating” the trauma in a way that changes them developmentally. Not only do children involved in bullying suffer from mental and behavioral issues throughout childhood, but the research shows it deeply affects their cognitive, emotional, and biological brain development in ways that long outlast the actual incident.
(LMHC, CSAYC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Why happiness is important

Hello! Thank you for reaching out to us at Better Help. My name is Stacey Shine, and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I read over your question and hope that I can help provide some clarity to your thoughts. You asked the question of why happiness is important. I think one really good picture of this is from the movie Inside Out. If you have not seen this movie – I would encourage you to watch it! It does such a great job of talking about emotions in a very elementary way for your children and adults. One concept that is my favorite in that movie is the need to experience all emotions. It shows how if you are joyful all the time, that is not great. It is not appropriate in some situations. If you are happy after a car accident, that is probably not the appropriate emotion to experience. Each emotion has a specific place in our minds, and it also has a specific purpose. You asked why happiness is important, and I think the simple answer is that it is necessary to function fully. Happiness is one of the many emotions needed in life to experience things. Without happiness, are you truly experiencing things? For example, it is appropriate to feel happy when holding a new baby or trying new food that you enjoy. That helps you truly appropriately experience them. However, it is okay for happiness to share space with other emotions like sadness, anger, disgust. They all have their appropriate times in life. Many people may think that their ideal life is only filled with happiness emotion, but I think this would also short them from experiencing life fully as all emotions are needed. Happiness is important, but it is not the only important emotion. I hope this was a helpful answer for you. If you feel like you are not experiencing happiness and joy, I will encourage you to reach out to us for some time with a licensed therapist. You can go through with them and really look at how to find that happiness state for yourself and have a well-rounded experience in life. Best of luck!
(MS, LPC)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Are joy and happiness the same thng?

Joy and happiness are often interchanged with one another. However, these two very similar concepts are not the same, although they sometimes can feel as though they are. Happiness is an emotion that can be fleeting and short-term. It can come from internal and external factors but, it tends to be more motivated and caused by external factors and circumstances. Joy is more of a long-term state of being. It is more driven by internal circumstances such as the achievement of self-actualization (the realization of one’s potential) and self-discovery.  Happiness, in most circumstances, is more easily obtained than joy. Joy often requires intention and concentration. It takes the setting of goals, the organization and self-awareness of one’s thoughts and how those thoughts influence a person’s current ability to function, and internal exploration of how adversities have interfered with one’s ability to achieve a state of joy. Typically, obtaining joy involves investing time and energy into the following areas of one’s life: perspective, gratitude, acceptance of self, acceptance of life circumstances, forgiveness, and compassion. Perspective is very important in achieving joy because of continually reevaluating one’s life and what improvements can be made. It can help a person recognize how they want to be treated by others and make them more mindful of how they treat others. Gratitude can help someone see the positive aspects of their life rather than focusing on the things they “want for.” Someone can experience satisfaction and joy more easily when they are more focused on what they have in their lives and what those contribute to their overall well-being. Acceptance of self is key to joy because it reinforces certain circumstances about oneself that they cannot control and, instead, need to learn how to be in a place of radical acceptance rather than resisting or prolonging suffering.  The same concept applies to the acceptance of life circumstances.  A common theory in various therapy modalities (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) is that acceptance of life circumstances is a key component to recognizing that one is not in control of certain factors and that the pursuit of control only yields suffering.  Forgiveness is sometimes described as a state of being where someone has let go of the possibility of a better past.  This means acknowledging that some of the people who have been harmful in the past need to be forgiven for joy to occur. Finally, compassion is key because it allows people to experience empathy for themselves and others in their life.  Even during times of turmoil, the ability to access compassion can make it easier to let go of aggression and judgments and create a more joyful existence.
(Masters, of, Social, Work)
Answered on 05/03/2021

Loneliness vs solitude?

“In total silence, the mind comes upon the eternal” J. Krishnamurti. Loneliness is a universal feeling that has been felt and avoided by probably every human being at some point in their lifespan. Some might occasionally turn towards and embrace this feeling, and others may try to escape through the countless distractions offered by this modern world. While the feeling of loneliness, emptiness, or uncertainty may be frightening or painful for most individuals, for some, they might see loneliness as an opportunity to connect deeply to themselves, search for spiritual knowledge, or gain creative insight. At the same time, the word loneliness has a negative connotation, which points to this experience as a state of emotional pain that seems to involve less choice. Whereas solitude, which is considered the state of being alone, can have both positive and negative impacts depending on the situation. While many of us may try to avoid or cover up both feelings, throughout history, many artists, writers, philosophers, spiritual and religious leaders, and other great thinkers sought out this state of loneliness or solitude. Existential philosophy and psychotherapy often involve reflecting upon the meaning of life and our inevitable deaths, which each person must face individually. Conscious reflection upon these serious matters has been known to have a transformative effect on an individual’s psyche, often leading to improved perspective, increased feelings of gratitude, empathy, and deeper meaning in daily life. It is also possible to feel lonely within a family, group of friends, or in a crowd of people. This experience of loneliness quite often involves being around others, but feeling unseen, misunderstood, or like an outsider. While social and emotional bonds are important and central to the healthy development of an individual, one might also argue that solitude, reflection, and deep contemplation are also valuable. It is not to deny the negative impact that loneliness can have on an individual’s self-esteem, mental and physical health, but rather reframe loneliness into recognizing some benefits. Doing so can lessen the stigma with loneliness and move towards making room in our society to embrace solitude. The philosopher Frederick Nietzsche wrote about this collective act pathologizing loneliness or solitude, “Already one is ashamed of keeping still; long reflection almost gives people a bad conscience. . . .Living in a constant chase after gain compels people to expend their spirit to the point of exhaustion. . . . Virtue has come to consist of doing something in less time than someone else. Hours in which honesty is permitted have become rare.” (Nietzsche, Gay Science, 2001 pp. 183-184) These insights reveal how changing societal values, magnified by the exponential increase in technology, has begun to elevate values efficiency, busyness, and productivity overvalues solitude, contemplation, reflection, and thinking deeply.
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

How happiness affects the brain

There has been increased scientific focus on the direct impact of happiness on the human brain. When you understand what’s going on in your brain, you can begin to influence it to your benefit. You can stimulate more happy chemicals when you know the job they evolved to do and what causes their release for you. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s created in the brain as well as in the intestines. Once produced, it’s circulated in the blood and throughout the central nervous system. Serotonin is linked to digestion, blood clotting, and bone density, but its most important function in terms of what makes us happy is regulating mood. Some scientists even refer to serotonin as the “happiness chemical” because higher serotonin levels increase feelings of well-being, confidence, and belonging. People with higher serotonin levels report being happier, demonstrating higher self-esteem levels, and having an easier time handling rejection. Humans are social animals, and being around others is what causes happiness for many of us. There’s a scientific reason for that: Serotonin is more free-flowing when you feel important or valued by those around you. When you’re experiencing serotonin happiness, it takes no effort to feel joyful – it just seems to happen naturally. Cuddling with your partner, aerobic exercise, getting out in the sunshine, getting a massage, and even visualizing something that makes you happy can all increase serotonin levels. Dopamine is another neurotransmitter made in the brain and distributed through various pathways to affect bodily functions like heart rate, blood vessel and kidney function, nausea, vomiting, and even pain. It also motivates you to take action and encourages the persistence required to meet your needs, seek reward, or approach a goal. The anticipation of the reward is actually what triggers a dopamine good feeling in your brain, causing it to release the energy you need to move towards the reward. Then, you get another pleasure hit when you successfully meet the need. You can stimulate the good feeling of dopamine by embracing a new goal and breaking it down into achievable steps, rather than only allowing your brain to celebrate when you hit the finish line. Dopamine is a big part of what causes happiness – and like serotonin, you can increase its levels naturally. Exercise plays a part again here, as well as avoiding processed foods, sugar, and caffeine. But the best way to keep dopamine levels high is a good night’s sleep. Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breastfeeding. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm. Oxytocin is released through closeness with another person and helps to create intimacy and trust and build healthy relationships. It is essential for creating and maintaining strong bonds and improved social interactions.
(LMHC, CSAYC)
Answered on 04/30/2021

Will happiness keep me awake?

There are so many topics that keep people awake at night. And the feelings associated with them. Fear of dying, financial worry, marital discord, health issues, work stress, and school concerns surround people at one time or another as they fall to sleep. But what happens when happiness keeps us awake? Happiness can indeed keep people awake, and that happiness can be in the form of so many feelings and experiences. Here are a few ways happiness keeps people up at night. Life milestones can bring about a level of excitement that also feels a lot like happiness and joy. Those experiences include graduating, the prom, a special birthday, an anniversary, purchasing a car or home, getting engaged, being accepted into a college or professional school, winning a game or competition, and the list goes on and on. The endorphins brought on by anticipating these events and the happiness that comes afterward cause the brain to continue the event. Positive images and feelings cause people to stay awake. There is also an added level of energy that comes with feeling happiness which can cause people to feel woken up, thereby needing less sleep. People who travel experience happiness and joy while being stimulated and often report needing less sleep. And new relationships bring about such novel and new happiness and joy that many people find it hard to sleep. Happiness that might be too much? Sometimes people mistake happiness for mania. If the happiness you’re feeling feels like too much or energy that never seems too quiet, it can be a concern for the health and well-being of some clients. Mania, the ‘high’ one experiences from the management of depression, is a concern because it can cause people to make impulsive and even self-destructive choices largely due to feeling really happy, even invincible. So there is nothing wrong with staying awake as a result of happiness brought on by life events or a nice evening, but if the experience is often and begins to impede functioning like getting up, self-care, school, and work, more than a few days in a row talk to a professional about the concerns.
(M.Ed., MA, LPC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Will Happiness Find Me?

We are responsible for our own happiness, and we can achieve it. Our thoughts are responsible for our feelings, and so by changing our thoughts, we can change how we feel. Rather than waiting for happiness to find us, it will serve us better to find happiness. Reframing Happiness It can be helpful to determine for yourself what it means to be happy. What are the components for you of a happy life? We are all well aware of what gives us that temporary feeling of happiness—maybe it’s a food we like or a movie we enjoy or spending time with a loved one. But even those who get frequent satisfaction from activities or wealth do not always have chronic, lingering happiness. A person can find fulfillment without frequently experiencing short-term happiness, and a person can frequently experience short-term happiness and yet have never felt any sense of fulfillment or pride in their lives at all. The people who are truly the happiest are probably those who plan for the future, choosing delayed gratification (making decisions now that will benefit them later) rather than instant gratification (making decisions solely for immediate satisfaction). Choosing Happiness We tell ourselves about situations in our lives, rather than the situations themselves, to determine whether we can be happy or unhappy. For example, if two professional athletes who love their careers both experience the same career-ending injury, which could substantially change the financial future and the reputation of each player, one person could focus on what they do have, while the other could focus on what they do not have. One person could get themselves excited about new opportunities, while the other could resent the missed opportunities. Making Changes It is quite easy to stay stagnant, becoming, while not necessarily happy, somewhat comfortable in mediocre circumstances. Making changes, even ones that we know can benefit us in the long term, can be uncomfortable. We may stay in a job or relationship we no longer enjoy. We may keep postponing signing up for a community activity or postpone for years scheduling the vacation we have been looking forward to. When we accept that we are in control of our happiness, we become empowered to make decisions that, even if they seem frightening at the time and may bring us some temporary unease, can enable us to make decisions that result in long-term happiness.
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Why happiness is overrated?

The most common reason most people come into treatment is they want to be and feel happier. Simple right? It seems as if happiness has become the end all be all. It has also become almost an intangible feeling because people don’t seem to connect other behaviors to happiness anymore. Understandably, people want to be happy, but some don’t know how to get there anymore. When you think of happiness, you think of all the things that create a smile on your face in your heart and mind. This might look like a person, an event, or a specific feeling. Many people associate happiness with things. All of these things we can’t necessarily control. Most people will agree that a huge amount of satisfaction leading to happiness actually emanates from focus, hard work, or exploration of an area of interest. Happiness can be created out of behavior. Though, the idea of happiness can also be overrated because it is a feeling that comes and goes, and the constant chasing of that feeling can set people up to be very discouraged. One of the reasons happiness is overrated is that the feeling is not necessarily fed without the connection to a specific positive behavior. Feeling happiness, joy, or even a sense of contentment can also be developed through a state of mind and creating that mindset to walk through life with a specific set of coping mechanisms and life views. If people are always looking at satisfaction through only the lens of what they might think feels happy, they are missing out on all of the other really positive feelings and some negative ones that can come up helping us grow and shape ourselves into who we are. Some of the most important feelings that a person can experience and behaviors that can get them there outside of happiness would be feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, a healthy challenge, peace, calm, appropriate pain in terms of physical movement, and stimulation from a book, movie, or other activity. Happiness is certainly a great goal to have in terms of what people want to bring to their life. Still, each person can draw from their own experience to figure out what gives them the most satisfaction and sense of happiness, and these things don’t necessarily have to look happy in the traditional sense. To only chase after happiness would be closing the doors to a lot of other opportunities.
(M.Ed., MA, LPC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Why happiness is more important than money?

Happiness being more important than money is something that is often brought up in today’s society.  There are even famous commercials about how purchasing some things can bring happiness, but certain things are priceless.  Those messages usually portray that money can buy moments of happiness but that an actual state of continued happiness cannot be bought.  Money is certainly something that can provide less stress than the alternative of not having money.  However, so many people can become so focused on money that they never allow happiness to sink in.  There are countless examples of people in the world that are extremely wealthy and yet very unhappy in their lives. Feelings can last so much longer than material things that money can buy.  For example, let’s say that you have purchased your dream car.  That car will die out at some point, and the happiness around that purchase will not last.  On the contrary, if that person can pick up on the happiness their car brings them and the other small and big good things in their life, they are more likely to achieve continued happiness. Material possessions are okay to get some happiness from, but it is also important to pick up on the happiness from relationships, friendships, careers, hobbies, experiences, etc.  If you can focus on a balance of happiness in your life rather than only on your monetary possessions, you are more likely to achieve better physical and mental health. That balance comes with less stress and will be better for you long term.  On top of that, having that balance will be better for your finances.  If you are using money to search for happiness, your finances will likely suffer greatly because money will not buy happiness long term.  Try to validate the money you have and have earned in your life, but make sure not to put all of your stock of happiness in your finances.  Happiness is achieved with a balance of outlets rather than just one outlet. 
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Why Happiness is a Choice?

Our Thoughts Control Our Feelings Our feelings may seem at times like they appear out of nowhere, but the reality is that our thoughts control how we feel. It cannot be easy to recognize our thoughts, although therapy often addresses this. For example, if you tell yourself, “I’m a disappointment to my family. I can never get ahead,” these thoughts are probably not going to lead you to feel happiness. However, if you change the way you think, even if the situation remains the same, and tell yourself, “I’m proud of the accomplishments that I have made so far, and I know if I keep working hard, I will be more and more proud of myself,” you are at a much greater chance of experiencing happiness. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy are two treatment modalities that can be especially helpful at changing your thinking patterns (and thus, your feeling patterns). Happiness Comes from Within To understand how happiness comes from within, it may be most helpful to look at it in terms of understanding why someone who feels that they do not have control over their lives may be more likely to be unhappy. If you tell yourself that no matter what you do, something will come along and disrupt your progress, or that you cannot make your own decisions because you are incapable, or bad luck will always find you, etc., this is an example of having an external locus of control. (If you are interested in learning more about this, you may want to research the concept of learned helplessness, which is associated with Depression.) However, if you tell yourself that you are responsible for your success and failure, luck and coincidence play small roles in determining outcomes. You are capable of making good choices. You would have an internal locus of control. Having an internal locus of control does not mean that you are necessarily happy, but it does mean that you feel that you can be happy. Taking an Inventory A great way to track what makes you happy is to keep records as part of self-evaluation. On what days do you feel the happiest—are they days when you spend time with a friend, days you exercise, days that you complete an important task at work, etc.? Journaling can also help us become more aware of patterns associated with our behaviors connected with our thoughts and feelings. Again, the more you can recognize that happiness is a choice (while still recognizing that external factors, such as poverty or systemic racism, can add challenges), the more you can appreciate just how in control of your happiness you really are.
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Why happiness is a bad goal?

Happiness, at face value, is such a positive emotion that many of us are trying to achieve in our day-to-day life.  However, there are components of happiness that can be bad, so those are important to consider and be wary of.  One thing about happiness that is bad is that it is typically fleeting.  Pursuing joy is a long-term goal that can be helpful, but happiness tends to be momentary.  For example, a vacation typically makes someone happy, but vacations end, and the happiness around them wears off at a certain point.  In that way, happiness tends to be more superficial rather than more lasting things, such as joy.  Another reason happiness can be a bad goal is that it can easily cross the line into ignorant optimism.  When someone is only focused on the happy things, they can become ignorant of the natural negatives in life that deserve attention.  Having some negatives in life is only natural, and when someone does not give attention to those, it can lead to other issues down the road.  Happiness does not always fit a situation, so it can be a bad goal to focus on all of the time.  Also, someone who is only focused on happiness will be disappointed because being unhappy is only natural.  Being a blind optimist can also negatively impact those around you if you are not careful.  If someone you care about is going through a rough time and you are focused on just being happy, that could come across as a lack of empathy and make things worse for both of you.  It is also important to point out that there are negative forms of happiness.  For example, someone that is prideful and/or a narcissist will likely be really happy and focused on happiness in their life.  Someone who is prideful will likely only be focused on their own happiness, which can negatively impact those around them in many ways.  It is important to consider the negative forms of happiness to be weary of happiness turning into that in your own life. 
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Where happiness comes from?

Happiness is a state of mind many people are searching for throughout their lives, and that looks different for every person.  There are external sources and internal sources that provide us with happiness that are helpful to consider.  External sources depend from person to person and could be things like hobbies, friends, relationships, food, among other things.  Internal sources also differ from person to person and could include things such as a self-esteem journal, meditation, affirmations, among other things.  Having a balance of external and internal sources can help you to have overall stronger mental health.  Where we get, our happiness is highly influenced by the society and culture that we live in.  For example, what brings someone happiness that lives out in the country will be different from what brings someone happiness in a big city. It can be helpful to think about how the society and culture you live in influence you and if you actually agree with those influences or not.  For example, if the society you live in makes you think there is happiness in money and when you think about that, you actually disagree with it, then admitting that to yourself can be an important shift in how you view happiness in your life.  Happiness will come from a variety of small and big sources and things in between.  Something like a quick snack might bring you some happiness, and then bigger things, such as a vacation, can also bring you happiness.  It can be important to practice consistent gratitude in your life to hopefully help you pick up on the big and small sources of happiness in your own life.  It is best to have various sources of happiness rather than only having one or two sources.  When you only have one or two sources of happiness in your life, you can easily become too dependent on those sources.  Should anything go wrong with those sources of happiness, there will not be much to help you cope with that, leading someone into depression. 
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

Where happiness begins?

We all spend so much time trying to find happiness. Once the next big change or big break happens in our life, we will be happy. Once we get married - we will be happy, once we land that 6-figure job - we will be happy, and once we start a family - we will be happy. Sadly, once we reach all of these life milestones, we choose another milestone and again say, then we will be happy. We can’t find our happiness in all these happy moments in our life because we are looking in the wrong place and direction for our happiness. Happiness begins inside us, through the love we share with others and from looking to and leaning on our higher power.  BEGINS INSIDE The biggest problem with finding happiness is that we look for it from external sources. We expect our parents, spouse, job, money, and children to make us happy. It is not anyone else’s job to make us happy but ours. At any moment in time, the one person that knows what we need to feel fulfilled is ourselves. When we experience heartbreak and realize we need to be reminded that we are worthy of love, we should tell ourselves we are worthy of love and believe it. Waiting for someone to inform us or even show us we are worthy, contrary to popular belief, will not make any difference if we do not believe it ourselves. What we think, how we feel, and how we treat ourselves is the first step to experiencing pure happiness.  BEGINS THROUGH SHARING LOVE Anyone that has shared love or helped another person in need knows and has experienced that feeling of joy. We feel a tingle in our body and spirit by just being a good person. We smile more when we are loving and good to our fellow man. The act of sharing love brings a form of happiness that can last for days, weeks, months, and more. When we focus on ourselves, specifically, everything wrong in our lives, our happiness is taken away. However, focusing on our loved ones or people in need gives us a sense of purpose, pride, and satisfaction. We can see beyond ourselves, see the beauty in the world, and how we can contribute to that beauty. Happiness begins with our contribution to love.  BEGINS FROM OUR HIGHER POWER For religious, faith-based, or spiritual, our happiness is given to us by our higher power. Whether it comes from knowing that we are loved unconditionally and that HE/SHE created all this so that we could be happy. Or knowing when life gets too heavy, we can count on HIM/HER to supernaturally give us the happiness we need to survive. Our happiness begins with our higher power. Our higher power gave us our love for ourselves and others so that we will always find happiness. 
(LPC, LMHC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

What Is the Difference Between Joy and Happiness?

People often mistake joy and happiness as the same thing, when actually they are quite different. Joy comes from within; it Is part of a lifestyle and is a stronger emotion than happiness and much less common than happiness. Happiness is something we experience from someone or an event. It is an emotion that we feel in the moment, and it can range from being content to extreme excitement. Happiness is based on more external factors of life. Happiness is something that happens to us, while joy is something that we do on purpose. Happiness is something we seek out in our lives, but it is not a choice we are really in control of. Happiness does not bring you joy. Joy is bigger than happiness. Joy is about internal peace and comfort within us. Joy is a lifestyle, while happiness is in the moment and temporary. Joy brings meaning to life. It allows the light to shine in the darkness and allows you to have true gratitude when you are going through difficult times. Joy is not an emotion that you can see but rather something you feel. It is with you in every moment of your life. While happiness is momentary, it won’t last forever, it may last a few days or a few weeks, but as fast as it came, it may also go away. Most people are seeking instant gratification, as they believe that will bring you happiness. It may bring happiness, but for how long? If you truly want to seek out joy in your life, then you need to be more purposeful in your life. Some ways to do this is to help quiet your own negative self-talk and focus on your heart rather than your head. Explore what brings you joy. Cut downtime on social media. It is easy to start comparing your life to those perceptions of what we see on social media. Not to mention all the negativity that we scroll through daily. Try and stick to things that are positive and motivate you daily. Last, try and keep a gratitude journal. This allows you to really focus on the simple things you experience throughout each day and helps bring awareness to your own self. Eventually, this helps you understand how simple things can bring more meaning into your life. Small moments tend to be missed in the everyday hustle of life, but if you can slow down and start to appreciate the simple things that life has to offer, you may find that joy you have been looking for.
(M.ED, LPC)
Answered on 04/29/2021

What is happiness?

Happiness is a word that many people use to describe a generally positive, subjective sense of well-being. Researchers and those who work in the mental health field and social sciences have many different definitions and concepts of the word. The majority of those operational definitions culminate in several different emotions and feelings, all being experienced simultaneously. The emotions that have been identified as providing what we have come to know as “happiness,” the general positive state of well-being, our contentment, and joy. Happiness is also characterized by feelings of gratitude, inner peace, satisfaction, pride, and affection for oneself and others. Additionally, the experience of happiness has also been acknowledged as being associated with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Two key components of happiness that have been identified are the balance of emotions and life satisfaction. In regard to the balance of emotions, all human beings experience both positive and negative emotions, moods, and feelings. Happiness is thought to be linked to an individual’s experience of more positive feelings than negative feelings. As for life satisfaction, this refers to how an individual is satisfied with the various areas of one's life, including work, relationships, achievements, health, and any other things that the individual deems to be important. In addition to feeling satisfied with one’s life and feeling more positive emotions than negative, other key signs of happiness that have been identified are feeling like one is living the life that one wanted, feeling that the conditions of one’s life are good, and feeling that one has accomplished or will accomplish what one wants in one’s life. Another way of thinking about happiness comes from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who made a distinguishedn two different types of happiness. The first type of happiness that he identified is what he called Hedonia or the happiness from pleasure. This type of happiness is often related to doing what feels good, such as taking care of oneself (self-care), experiencing enjoyment, fulfilling desires, and feeling a general sense of satisfaction. The other type of happiness that he identified is what he called Eudaimonia, or happiness that derives from seeking virtue and meaning. Eudaimonic well-being includes the components of feeling that one’s life has meaning, purpose, and value. It is more so correlated with fulfilling responsibilities, a general concern for the welfare of others, living up to one’s personal ideals, and investing in long-term goals.
(LMHC, MCAP, TIRF)
Answered on 04/29/2021

What happiness looks like?

Happiness is a human emotion people worldwide are trying to achieve and something that is at the root of a lot of good and a lot of bad.  We all have different paths to happiness that are influenced by our cultures, values, and personalities.  What brings a monk happiness will look a lot different from what brings a stockbroker happiness.  Therefore, what happiness looks like will be in the eye of the beholder.  At a scientific level, happiness is a state of mind in which certain stimuli have activated the happy hormones in our bodies.  The path in which we get our minds to produce those hormones looks very different from person to person.  There are several different types of stimuli that can trigger happiness in us.  Due to this, there are varying degrees of happiness with each stimulus.  Some things might bring us a little happiness, and some might bring a lot of happiness.  Again, two people could experience the same stimuli and have differing degrees of happiness.  On that same note, each person’s experience with happiness will have varying lengths as well.  Some things might bring us immediate happiness and not last as long as other things come with lasting happiness.  For example, vacations are universally a pretty happy experience, but for a lot of us, vacations are limited and not long-lasting.  As you think about what triggers happiness for you, it is important to think through having various things.  When we become dependent on one thing, in particular, that can be really dangerous because if that thing goes away, the person will be left without much happiness in their life.  Some people do really well with putting a number scale to the things that bring them happiness.  Rating different things in your life on a scale can help you have a good toolkit of things to pull from.  Try to keep in mind accessibility to the things in your toolkit.  For example, going to a concert might be something that brings you happiness but will be less accessible than something like listening to music. 
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 04/29/2021