You’ve heard of burnout but have you heard of destination happiness syndrome? It’s the notion of never being content with life in the present and thinking instead about the ‘ifs’: if I get a new job I’ll be happy, if I lose five pounds I’ll be happy – and so on. It’s detrimental, and here’s how we can work on it…
What it entails
“Happiness destination syndrome is pretty common. What we have is never enough, we will always want more and we will always want it to be better. It’s a never ending treadmill but also we are refusing to sit in the present tense which is where we want to be,” says Milla Lascelles, wellness coach at Bamford Spa.
“Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to better what we have and nothing wrong with setting the next achievable goal. However, when we sit in the mindset that happiness is only reachable when we reach the next step, we will find when we actually reach ‘that next step’ it’s actually an anticlimax and we feel dissatisfied and deflated. Onto the next.”
How can I work on it?
Happiness is a practice, not a destination
“I really recommend that clients practise happiness everyday. Our brains are velcro for negative experiences and teflon for the good so it’s important we take in the food. When we rest our attention on positive experiences we are increasing our ability to deal with stressful situations, which leads us to greater overall happiness. I tell my clients to spend 30 seconds allowing their attention to focus on an experience that made them happy, bringing their attention to the sense of smell/feel/sound/taste and so on of that particular experience,” Milla says.
Keep a gratitude diary
“Keep up a disciplined daily diary of Dr Chatterjee’s 3 P’s, which is writing down a person, pleasure and a promise that you were grateful for that day.”
Try not to compare yourself to others
“I think we have this obsession with achievement and I think social media is a huge catalyst for this. Where we are and what we have is never enough. We could be more successful, we could be more insta famous, we could be prettier or skinnier.
On Instagram we can live in this imaginary bubble. We set an unrealistic high bar for our own personal success, we’re told to reach for the stars and when we don’t make it we blame ourselves and our failures entirely on ourselves. The truth is you’re another person living another life.”
Plus, Milla says, “write a list of achievements in the last year to see how far you’ve come. Switch your self talk. Whatever negative message you’re saying to yourself, say the opposite. So if you’re saying ‘I will never be successful at this job’ switch it to ‘ I am successful’. Say these affirmations everyday, the more emotional charge you give them the more your brain will take note.”
Remember – you are your own worst critic. Everyone’s journey is different and living in the present, rather than the past or the future, and appreciating what you have can aid feeling content in the moment.
Join Milla on a wellness retreat at Vanners Farm, Newbury.
This article was originally written in May 2019
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