Everyone wants to be happy and for their loved ones to be happy. The quest for this Holy Grail has exercised the minds of philosophers, priests and poets throughout the centuries.
“I’m terrified of waking up in mid-life and discovering that I’m not happy” is a theme I hear often from my clients. The anxiety about negative feelings seems to be a dark twin of shame – a sense that it is somehow a sign of inadequacy and weakness to be feeling unhappiness.
And this discomfort about harbouring negative feelings is strengthened by a tsunami of information from the positive psychology movement. We have happiness coaches, happiness courses, a staggering number of happiness titles on amazon.com, let alone a plethora of nuggets of information, all just a click away and offering advice about generosity, about not sweating the small stuff, five tips for thinking positive thoughts, and the biochemistry of smiling. All of which can inspire us – briefly.