The "I'll be happy when..." syndrome

Do you have the “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome ?

When was the last time you told yourself I’ll be happy when… ? Probably last Monday morning when you felt the blues of starting a new week at work, or last night when you were glancing at all these perfectly polished photos of happy-ever-after people on Instagram. Right?

Many of us think we will feel fulfilled when we get a promotion, when we have a boyfriend/girlfriend, when we move houses, when our body looks more like this (or like that), when we have a baby, when... when... when...
Well, if you are guilty of saying “I’ll be happier when…”, then we’re sorry to let you know that all you’re doing is essentially postponing happiness by basing it on a future outcome.

We visited the Body Worlds exhibition in London last month, and we stumbled across a simple pie chart that surprised us with the stats! 50% of our ability to be happy depends on our genetics. Only 10% comes from circumstances (a successful career, your appearance, your marital status, etc. Everything that you finish your sentence with when you say, “I’ll be happy when…”!). The remaining 40% of your ability to be happy is determined by your thoughts, actions or behaviours! Yep, 40%! We’re sure you have figured it out by now, your thoughts, actions or behaviours are the only things that sit within your control.

You have the choice to be happy right now!

1. Be grateful and appreciative of what you DO have. The big things like your family, a home, good health…also the little things like the great coffee you had this morning or the supportive text you got from that friend.

2. Do what makes you happy and that is accessible. If you want to relax reading a book with a hot cup of your favourite tea, go for it. But, also keep your long-term goals in mind and do things that actively contribute towards them. It can be baby steps! Celebrate each step of the way. Be happy in the moment, moving forwards towards your bigger goal.

3. Get some perspective. Thoughts are within our control, so change them. Think about what you consider unpleasant situations and try to change your thoughts about them. This will automatically change how you also feel about them.
Meditate. Calm your body and mind. Find the best way to meditate for you, there are so many to choose from, whether it’s passive or more active!

4. Make your life more surprising. Don’t get caught in your routine. Start exercise, learn a new skill, get to know the neighbour. Do something new!

5. Contribute unconditionally. It’s like magic. You’ll instantly lift your mood by genuinely caring for someone else, without expecting anything in return. So, go on and give your snowed-under coworker a hand, give your lonely nan a call and give a big smile to the person behind the counter. You’ll also spread happiness around you!

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