How to stop chasing happiness?

When we chase happiness, we end up unhappy.

It seems like everywhere we turn, somebody is telling us to be happy. We’re told that if we just had this new car or this bigger house, or if we could only lose those last 10 pounds, then we would finally be happy.

But chasing happiness never works. We always end up disappointed because we can never quite catch up to it.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will evade you, but if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.”

And this is so true.

We have to finally understand that chasing happiness is a state of being. Do you want to always chase happiness? Do you want to always live in the future without enjoying life and in the end, you get nothing but the opposite of happiness?

It’s time to stop chasing happiness and start living.

What does it mean to chase happiness?

Chasing happiness is the never-ending pursuit of an emotion that’s just out of reach. It’s the belief that if we could only achieve this one thing, or get to this one place, then we would finally be happy.

Also, chasing happiness is often about trying to escape from pain or discomfort. We believe that if we could just make our lives perfect, then we would never have to feel pain again.

But the problem is that life is never perfect.

There will always be ups and downs, no matter what we do. And even if we could achieve that perfect life, it would only be temporary. Sooner or later, something would happen to upset the equilibrium.

Why do we chase happiness?

There are a few reasons why we chase happiness.

1. We live in a culture that tells us we need to be happy. For instance, commercials, social media, and even some songs tell us that we need to be happy. This can put a lot of pressure on us to feel happy all the time.

2. We think happiness will make our lives better. We often believe that if we just achieve this or get that, we’ll finally be happy. But chasing after things rarely leads to lasting happiness.

3. We think that if we are happy, we will be more successful. This is a myth that needs to be put to rest. Success comes from hard work and dedication, not from happiness.

Why is chasing happiness a problem?

The main problem with chasing happiness is that it keeps us from enjoying the present moment. We’re so focused on trying to achieve this future goal that we don’t take the time to appreciate what we have right now.

And even if we do achieve our goal, we’re never really satisfied because we always think that there’s something else we need to be happy. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Another problem with chasing happiness is that it can lead to unhealthy behaviors. We might become obsessed with our diet or exercise regimen in our quest for happiness.

Also, a study shows that chasing happiness actually leads to the opposite – sadness. Which makes sense, although it is so paradoxical!

Ultimately, chasing happiness is a fruitless endeavor. It’s an endless cycle that keeps us from enjoying the life we have right now.

A general guide on how to stop chasing happiness

The moment you realize that you chase happiness, do this:

  • Acknowledge it: the first step is always becoming aware of the fact that you are chasing happiness. Say “Hi” to the thought that needs a new car in order to be happy for example. Doing so already creates some distance between you and the thought.
  • Examine the thought: Now it’s time to examine the thought. Why do you believe that you need a new car in order to be happy? Is it because of something someone said? Or because you saw a commercial where everyone was driving a new car and looked happy? Or is it because you think that having a new car will make your life better in some way?
  • Challenge the thought: After you’ve examined the thought, it’s time to challenge it. This is where you ask yourself if the thought is really true. For example, “Just because everyone in the commercial was driving a new car doesn’t mean that they were actually happy.” Or “I don’t need a new car to be happy, I can be happy with the car I have.”
  • Realize that you can be happy at this moment if you would like to. Happiness is inside of us all the time. It’s not something that we need to chase after. Just think that some people don’t have a car at all or even a home. You are so lucky that you were born this way, as you are and where you are.
  • Move on. Now that you’ve challenged the thought, you can let it go and move on. It’s not worth your time and energy to chase after something that isn’t real. Happiness is something that we create from the inside out, not from the outside in.
a guide of how to stop chasing happiness

Ways to Stop chasing happiness

You know that you should stop chasing happiness, we all know it. But it’s easier said than done. So how do you actually stop chasing happiness?

There are ways that can help you to stop doing it. But remember, that it is a slow process, and you should be patient.

Here are some ways to stop chasing happiness:

Be mindful of your thoughts

Mindfulness means being aware of your thoughts and emotions in the present moment. When you’re mindful, you can observe your thoughts without judging them or getting caught up in them. By being mindful and practicing meditation, you can learn to control your thoughts and stop chasing happiness.

For example, let’s say you’re thinking, “I can’t way to have my own house! I will be so much happier!” Instead of getting caught up in that thought, you can observe it without getting caught up in it. Probably short after you will have that house, you will be thinking about something else you want, or about another bigger house, and the cycle starts again.

Be grateful for what you have

A lot of times, we chase happiness because we think that if we just had this one thing, our lives would be perfect. But the truth is, we often take for granted the things we have. So instead of chasing happiness, be grateful for what you already have.

For example, be grateful for having a car. Some people don’t have it, but you want a newer one. Or be grateful for your health. Some people are sick, but you want to be thinner.

Here is a list of 101 things to be grateful for.

Focus on your journey, not the destination.

Often, we chase happiness because we think it’s at the end of a long journey. When in reality, happiness is the journey itself. So instead of chasing happiness, focus on your journey and enjoy the ride.

The journey takes 99% of your time, do you want to spend it on chasing happiness? Would be wiser to spend it on the journey, and enjoy the process, even if it’s hard! Think about the journey as life itself. The whole life is a journey, seize every moment.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Comparison is the thief of joy. When you compare yourself to others, you’re not only setting yourself up for disappointment, but you’re also missing out on the beauty of your own journey. So instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own journey!

There might be people who have more than you, but there are also people who have less! So, instead of complaining about what you don’t have, be grateful for what you do have.

Accept yourself for who you are

This doesn’t mean that you should like everything about yourself. But it does mean that you should accept yourself as a work in progress. By accepting yourself, you can stop chasing happiness and start enjoying your life.

You are imperfect, and that is okay! You are not supposed to be perfect. No one is!

Just because you’re not perfect, doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. You are good enough, just the way you are.

By accepting yourself, flaws and all, you will be able to find true happiness.

Live in the present moment

The past is gone, and the future is not guaranteed. All you have is right now, so make the most of it!

Don’t think that tomorrow you are going to be happier, or that today is a bad day. Every day is your day because luckily you are alive.

So don’t think that you will be happier when you achieve your goals. Because again, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.

Give without expecting anything in return

One of the ways to stop chasing happiness is to give without expecting anything in return. When you give selflessly, you will be amazed at how much happiness comes back to you.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big. It can be as simple as giving a compliment or helping someone with their groceries.

Giving doesn’t just make the other person happy, it makes you happy too. And if you don’t expect anything in return, you will be truly happy.

Do what you love

When you do what you love, you will never feel like you’re working a day in your life. And that’s because you’re not! You’re doing what you love, so it doesn’t feel like work.

You probably know this feeling when you are waiting for the day to pass by, so the working hours are over and you can finally be happy. But what if you could just do what you love all the time?

This means that there are no end results because you’re doing it for the sake of doing it. And not because you are expecting something to happen in the far future. And that is true happiness.

I know that this is easier said than done, but if you are lucky to have this type of job, I am so glad for you!

Realize that you were chasing happiness before but in vain

Think about events in the past that you were thinking will make you happy. And ask yourself, did they?

  • You were probably thinking that getting a new job will make you happy. But after some time, you realize that it’s not the job that you wanted.
  • You were thinking that moving to a new city will make you happy. But after some time, you realize that you miss your old friends and the familiar places.
  • You were thinking that getting married will make you happy. But after some time, you realize that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

The list goes on, but I think you get the point.

The point is, that the things you thought will make you happy, didn’t. And again, that’s because happiness is not a destination. It’s a journey.

Understand that happiness comes from within, not from things

This is probably the most important thing to understand if you want to stop chasing happiness.

External things will never make you truly happy. They might make you happy for a while, but the happiness will eventually fade away.

And that’s because happiness comes from within. It comes from your own thoughts and emotions.

If you want to be truly happy, you need to find a way to be happy from within. You need to find a way to be happy with yourself, just the way you are.

Don’t expect other people or some items to control you. You are in control of your life, and you are the only one who can make yourself happy.

Final thoughts

Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination. And no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to find true happiness if you are constantly chasing it.

The only way to be truly happy is to understand that happiness comes from within. It comes from your own thoughts and emotions.

So if you want to stop chasing happiness, start by changing the way you think. Start by accepting yourself for who you are.

And once you do that, happiness will find its way to you.

I hope this article was helpful in some way. If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy day! Cheers!

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