If you’re only pursuing joy, you’re doing this wrong.

  1. Could chasing happiness actually be making me sad?


We are always reminded of the benefits of being happy: Happy people are more effective, have sex, have more friends, and have lifestyles that were better –the list continues. While evidence confirms the advantages of happiness, research shows that the more people think about happiness and how to pursue it, the less likely we are to find it.


For starters, being told how important it is to be happy can result in feelings of disappointment. Continuous analysis of how happy you’re undermines the capability to really experience it. Regular moments that don’t deliver joy feel like a failure. Another downside of pursuing happiness is that it makes people lonely. A focus on the individual and on gain damages our relations. As author Parker Palmer once pointed out, “nobody ever died saying, ‘I am sure glad for the self-centered, self-serving, and self-protective life I’ve lived. ”’


It is when we are of service to others we discover something far more significant than happiness: a feeling of meaning and purpose and contribute to the planet. Nowadays, social pressure to feel happy (and broadcast it on societal media) is intense. Patients worried something is wrong with them as they are not happy or all the time and I’ve met. What I tell them is to concentrate less about the pursuit of goodness and also on the pursuit of joy.