When was the last time you felt really and truly happy? Are you already looking for your general excuse, bills, dissatisfaction at work, family concerns, and so on? Here are the top five excuses for not seeking happiness and satisfaction in our lives and what you might change.
1. No time. Get in line. That’s the excuse everyone gives for putting off even pleasurable activities. And why do we do that? Do we get some kind of bonus points for always being busy? You might want to ask yourself what you’re actually getting done while you’re so busy. Americans in particular put a great deal of importance on being busy. We wear it like some kind of badge of glory. We have allowed ourselves to become so busy with the minutiae of our lives that it has completely consumed us, body, mind, and soul. I once decided to do an experiment and force myself to have one mental health afternoon a week. The only stipulation was that I could not work, think about work, talk about work, be connected to work in any way. At first, I demonstrated all the traits of an addict. Once I figured out that my addiction to “being busy” was preventing me from getting things done, I gained a whole new perspective of work and play.
2. It’s too expensive. Looking for activities that provide happiness don’t all have to come with a high price tag. But if you’re looking for guidance, at least choose activities over things. Studies have demonstrated greater satisfaction and happiness when we spend money on experiences. Look for opportunities to spend time in nature, go to a musical performance, or save for that trip of a lifetime. Happy memories of such events last longer than those related to the purchase of tangible items.
3. Not Enough Vacation Time. Sorry, but if you’re giving up vacation days to keep working, you’re headed to serious burnout and eventual depression. Everyone needs to take time off each week and a longer break from work a couple of times a year will help to recharge you. You will return to work with a new perspective, insight, and productivity. You can’t afford to NOT take time off.
4. The How of Happy. Happiness isn’t a thing. It can’t be bought. But it is something that can be found. Practices such as mindfulness and gratitude both demonstrate great results in respondents who track their personal feelings of happiness and general satisfaction in their life.
5. I’ll Be Happy Later. And I’ll take that crystal ball. No one knows how much time they have, and by deferring your dreams indefinitely you will be the one with great regrets at the end of your career or your life. We all laugh at the joke that says, “No one on their deathbed ever says they wish they had worked harder in life.” But there is an underlying truth in the joke.
What will be your regrets?