By: Joy Twesigye MS, NP, Women’s Health Editor *
Happiness is important. So important, that the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) created the Better Life Index, a neat interactive tool that allows you to compare countries across 11 topics of wellbeing (i.e. education, work-life balance, housing) as well as outcomes by gender. Per OECD’s research:
“In general; Americans are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 76% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 72%.”
I was inspired the other day by another blogger’s post about ways to become unhappy. It made me think about how women often struggle with multiple roles in their lives be it peacemakers, bankers, chauffeurs, seamstresses, chefs, mothers, daughters, significant others, cheerleaders and wives. Sometimes while we are juggling our roles, we forget to keep our eyes on our drishti as we learned in yoga or something still and as a result, things/decisions become warped because we stop seeing the world as it really is.
This is not good for our personal or business life.
What keeps you from living in a constant state of happiness? What adds to your daily irritation?
Based on experience and in no particular order are my tips on how to add to unhappiness or practices to stop that can lead to a flood of consistent daily happiness:
Procrastination. It is one of the best ways to induce unhappiness and anxiety. I feel restless and guilty because I am not doing the thing I should be doing. I’ve learned that I especially procrastinate doing the things I really want to do a good job on or where I am worried about the outcome. One day I will learn to embrace the unknown and just do it already!
- Biz example: Procrastinating getting an accountant for your business because you are afraid of the potentially expensive outcome so you pretend you can do this on your own.
Not returning clothes/shoes that don’t fit. My husband laughed at this one. This trick allows me to punish myself over and over again about a failed purchase. Usually the ill-fitting item stays in my closet because I missed the window of time in the store’s return policy, lost the receipt, or just am mad that by bringing it home it didn’t miraculously fit better. Then there is the notion that losing 10 pounds will make a mistaken purchase fit just fine.
- Biz example: Fire the bad hire. You are not doing anyone any favors. You both know a bad match was made.
Living in the past. Who needs the present? This is another way in which I punish myself for past decisions. I still mourn bowls I didn’t purchase in 1996. Life could be worse I know. I also lecture my younger self on decisions I should have made differently. I need to give my 7th grade self a break.
- Biz example: You backed Friendster instead of Facebook. Get over it.
Following bad advice when it was evident that it was bad advice at the start. I owned glasses with lenses the size of UFOs as a child because my mom thought I looked good and because she was preoccupied with peripheral vision. I should have stuck my ground and got the glasses with a picture of Annie on the sides.
- Biz example: You get talked into leasing space in the most expensive and high profile part of town even though you know you could get a better deal elsewhere and elsewhere is closer to your target market.
Resisting reality. Occasionally, I waste valuable time and energy avoiding truths about where I am in life, my health status and the real amount of exercising that occurs. All the time and effort avoiding reality can create unhappiness and can extend it as well. One-day years ago, I accepted how unhappy I was with my job. I accepted that I had tried everything I could do to make it better. With that acceptance, months of stress and guilt lifted and I was able to make rational decisions about my future, which created a strategic framework for where I am today.
- Biz example: Your favorite product is not selling. You keep selling it at a loss without doing any research as to why expectations are not meeting reality.
Not accepting people where they are. This is tied to resisting reality. Sometimes I see things in people that they have yet to see in themselves and I become their mentor. Sometimes I project onto people traits that serve my own purpose. Sometimes, people communicate clearly where they stand on an issue and because I want their stance to be something else I immediately forget what was communicated. All of these shenanigans can create confusion, disappointment and conflict.
- Biz example: Your biggest client is an ardent non-user of technology. You purchase a new cloud-based project management tool for their project. Guess how this turns out.
I might be projecting, but I imagine there are many of you who have done some of these things. These behaviors raise blood pressure, increase stress, usurp time and are unnecessary.
I would love to hear from you below on other ways people make themselves unhappy, because the more we are aware of the traps, the easier it is to sidestep them on our way to glorious health and entrepreneurial happiness.
Joy Twesigye, MS, MPP, WHNP-BC has a diverse background in health care that equals over 10 years of direct care delivery, working with government agencies/programs, public and private payers, and health care institutions. While living in Colorado, she was the Clinical Supervisor and Chief Operating Officer for a non-profit women’s health clinic and a health plan manager for Colorado’s Child Health Plan Plus. She received her undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, masters in science from The Ohio State University and masters of public policy from Johns Hopkins University. Continuing her quest for answers, she also completed the Bighorn Leadership Program as a Health Policy Fellow and was a Paul G. Rogers Memorial Scholar with the National Coalition on Health Care. Joy is a fervent believer in social entrepreneurship and loves being at the intersection of health innovation, tech, and business. She also blogs at Pitchforks Optional.
*Nothing in this article should be considered a replacement for personalized medical advice/treatment from a health care professional. MyCity4Her does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.