We Can't Always Be Happy.....And That's OK

I sometimes hear people say that their goal is to "just be happy." I think it's useful to think of happiness as just one emotion that, like good weather, will come and go. We can't always be happy, and it's ok to feel sad or angry or anxious every now and then. The issue is when an intense, negative emotion lingers to the point of impacting our mood. In this sense, while emotions are like constantly changing weather, our mood is more like the climate, slowly changing over time. Anyone who's experienced a depressed mood knows that it can take a while for it to pass. It can also be helpful to realize that happiness is not just one thing. We experience different types of happiness, which are not always complementary. For example, we may be happy that we have a good job and earn a decent living, but working hard may mean less time for fun activities. While it's impossible to have happiness in all aspects of life, understanding this can help you enjoy the happiness that has touched you. And recognizing that no one "has it all" can cut down on the one thing we know impedes happiness: envy.