Do You Have an Aversion to Happiness?

A new study from New Zealand shows that society may be blocking our willingness to feel good

Ask yourself this question, but take a moment before answering it: Are you uncomfortable with the idea of being happy? If your response is yes, there’s nothing to be ashamed of — it's most likely not your fault. A recent article published in the Journal of Happiness Studies discovered that cultural beliefs may be the reason why people avoid feelings of joy and contentment.

According to the researchers from University of Wellington in New Zealand, a number of cultures (mainly non-Western cultures in the Middle East) hold the idea that positive feelings can actually lead to less than positive outcomes. Other non-Western cultures, like those in East Asia, do not embrace the notion of happiness because they feel it is an inappropriate emotion to express. And, people in both Western and non-Western cultures may turn away from thinking optimistically because they believe others may view them as selfish, boring or shallow.

As for the American way of thinking…”it is almost taken for granted that happiness is one of the most important values guiding people's lives,” stated the researchers, as reported by Science Daily. “Western cultures are more driven by an urge to maximize happiness and minimize sadness. “ Is that such a bad thing?!

Anyway, if you really do feel like you have an aversion to happiness, there are little ways to improve your mood throughout the day and eventually teach you to let happiness in. For example:

Start daydreaming. Researchers from Britain say that taking a few minutes a day to visualize your worries away can stimulate the release of dopamine, a mood-elevating hormone that is naturally produced by the brain.

Stop analyzing the bad stuff. Focusing on an upsetting situation will only stir up feelings of anger, frustration, etc. You’ve already spent countless hours trying to figure out why it happened—and has all of this overthinking gotten you anywhere? Exactly. So when these moments creep up, do yourself a favor and distract yourself by doing something you enjoy, like listening to music or gossiping with a friend.

Join the happy website. The Day of Happiness campaign is a global celebration to mark the UN International Day of Happiness.

And yes, it’s that simple.

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