When the Pursuit of Happiness Seems Elusive, Can Therapy Help?

When the Pursuit of Happiness Seems Elusive, Can Therapy Help?

“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle. 

Aristotle knew how to spin a thought! And he was so on point. Humans seek happiness; that is what we do. Sadly, some of us must overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on our journey toward bliss. However, you are the only one who can find your happiness. Please do not rule out therapies and other channels toward your goal, as they can certainly aid in your plight. Infinite definitions of happiness exist, but it lies within us, so it is unique for each person. This article will address our eternal quest to be happy, how we approach our search, and why some fail. We will also talk about therapists, therapies, and self-care.

How Do We Get To Happiness?

Perhaps the key to being happy lies with expectations. Are your expectations for happiness high or low, reachable or unrealistic? You may observe many of us blindly reaching for the unattainable to find our joy. We can dream lofty dreams yet be willing to accept a lesser prize. 

Happiness can be philosophized and theorized for days, but our best selves make it happen. Prepare yourself to be happy by first caring for your mind and body. It is difficult to be happy if you are unwell. If healing for you means seeking therapy for anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, it may be a good consideration.

The SMART Recovery website gives us a wealth of information on all things recovery, plus some useful tips on happiness. A few are listed below:

  • Only you are responsible for your happiness
  • Allow yourself to be happy, even if others do not agree
  • Find the time to do things that bring you joy
  • Be accepting of others’ faults
  • Perform selfless acts for others
  • Take a healthy risk now and then

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga

Many believe the true way to find happiness is to find your center and peace with yourself. This may allow you to accept new experiences, which can pave the way to a happier existence. How might you accomplish such a mission? One way to begin is by trying mindfulness meditation. Focusing on being in the moment makes you distinctly aware of your surroundings. Combining meditation and mindfulness allows you to recognize and feel your feelings and thoughts without judgment. This form of therapy is known to be effective in pain management.

Mindfulness awareness creates an acute focus on whatever you are doing at a particular moment. Mindful yoga, a physical exercise and a type of meditation, is often the lead-in to a formal meditation session. During these mindfulness exercises and meditation, a person may be able to sort thoughts without judgment, which can help with clearer thinking and decision-making.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Stress is not a friend of happiness and can cause anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for stress. CBT is a psychological treatment also effective for several issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, mood disorders, and other mental health conditions. The belief is that stressful events in our life are not causing the stress, but rather how we think about them. Relieving stress might go a long way in helping us find happiness.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular and proven type of psychotherapy effective in various treatment plans. It is a therapeutic technique combining cognitive and behavioral therapy that relies on research-driven evidence. CBT can help a person recognize their negative thinking patterns and beliefs and change them.

Other Ways to Allow For Happiness

Some other methods to consider include the following:

  • Psychotherapy: Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy is a family-based therapy. This form is effective for families to connect with the therapist and their loved ones during the treatment and recovery of eating disorders, substance use disorders, and non-substance use disorders. Recovery paves the way for a happier life and benefits the entire family.
  • Nutrition therapy: You may also consider nutritional therapy, as it is an important therapy for eating disorders and promotes healthy eating habits. 
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) combines acceptance and mindfulness with commitment and behavior modification methods to enhance psychological flexibility. 

All of the therapies above help people with their mental health issues in some way, allowing them to pursue happiness.

Consequently, the answer to the question, “When the pursuit of happiness seems elusive, can therapy help?” is yes, if a person cannot ease their unhappiness with self-care. Communication with others is always optimal, especially in matters of your well-being. We are social creatures and are not meant to solve everything alone. If you are excessively unhappy and depressed and things seem out of control, talk with a loved one or seek professional help. It is a positive step toward the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness is the ultimate goal of us all. Our physical and mental health play a significant role in maintaining the happiness we so covet. Sometimes obstacles get in our way, and we experience emotional turmoil or loss of control in some behaviors. Therapy aids in our journey toward happiness but also helps relieve mental health symptoms that may be blocking our joy. If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health issues or feeling out of control from excessive alcohol or substance consumption, you are not alone. Our programs at SoCal Mental Health are designed to recognize your needs and follow through with supportive treatment and recovery. Call (949) 502-2041 for information.

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