When You’re Struggling To Hold Onto Happiness, Read This

At the root of all things, whether we know it or not, we are all always searching for happiness. This could be in the form of working for a promotion, buying a new home, or searching for a partner. At the core of all these things, what we really are hoping for is for it to bring us happiness. 

The problem with this is that it is all fleeting. You get the new promotion but then a few months go by and you find yourself feeling just as stressed, if not more, than your last position, or you buy the beautiful house, but slowly it becomes just a house. Or you finally get the relationship of your dreams, but the butterflies wear off. The reason for this is that after the initial joy of the adventure, you return to your baseline. 

This is what I call the yoyo effect—in one season of your life you feel like everything is going your way, you are happy and hope this feeling lasts forever. But then suddenly you wake up one day and realize the last few weeks have been just okay and you wonder how you can get back to the feeling of happiness. But the truth is If we always felt happy and never mundane then we would take happiness for granted.

So how do we hold onto happiness? Well, we can’t, but we can learn how to raise our baseline so that we can feel more moments of happiness. Our baselines are different from person to person—someone who struggles with depression most likely has a lower baseline than someone who does not. But not all hope is lost. The truth is we are all worthy of feeling happiness. Worthiness is not something you earn, yet something we are all born with. We are the only ones who are deciding whether we deserve happiness or not, and it is a human belief that we must let go of it.

So how do we raise our baseline? We do this by cultivating a few techniques. First, we decide what our baseline is. How do you feel when you are alone in your room on a Sunday afternoon cleaning your house or when you’re alone driving in your car? Do you feel sad and alone? Do you feel neutral? Or do you feel content and even happy? If this is too hard to establish, I recommend downloading a mood-tracking app—this will prompt you several times a day to rate your mood, and after a week you can see where your average mood is.

Once you have an idea where your baseline lies, ask yourself: What am I holding on to that is allowing me to feel this way? If my baseline is stress, is this because I deeply believe I must live up to hustle culture in order to prove myself? Or if my baseline is boredom, am I doing enough things that light me up or just floating through each day? We need to ask ourselves where this programming comes from and if it is truly beneficial for us to hold onto.