What Habits Put The Brakes On Your Happiness?

Have you ever been somewhere that you know is really, really good like on vacation or at a party, only to be frustrated that you couldn’t enjoy it because you were so focused on worrying about something?

I sure have!  Fretting about whether I had locked my car doors frequently distracted me at times when I wanted to be having fun.  Or I should say that I LET the profoundly uninteresting experience of worrying about whether or not I had locked my car doors spoil many potentially amazing experiences for me.  (I did this even before I owned a car.  I would worry about whether or not my parents had locked their car doors. Kind of pathetic!)

In thinking about whether or NOT my car doors were locked, I was trying to prevent the possible very hypothetical idea of someone taking stuff from my car or stealing it.   All the while, I was actually inflicting DEFINITE pain and distraction on myself in the present moment.  (From a common sense standpoint, this approach to life didn’t have much common sense.)

Not only was I inflicting pain and distraction on myself in the moment, I was missing the good stuff AND being a drag on others as they were trying to enjoy the moment.  (In fact, I was being a royal party-pooper!)

Now is locking your car doors a good idea?  Yes!  It’s an idea that now with automatic door locks takes a second of attention to implement.

But by walking away from the car and beginning to worry about whether or not I had locked the car doors, I was turning a good idea into A HABIT THAT PUT BRAKES ON MY HAPPINESS.  

My old Did-I-Lock-The-Car-Doors-Worry is what I like to call a REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT.  A REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT is a habit that keeps us focused in the opposite direction of our happiness.

The great news is that when we realize the direction that our REVERSE HAPPINESS HABITS are leading us, we can begin to take steps to focus on going in a new direction.

For example, with my car “Did-I-Lock-The-Car-Doors” REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT (Wow that is a mouth full!), I finally made the rule for myself that I would pay close attention for the seconds when I was locking the doors.  Then when I walked away from the car, I would focus on what I was doing and where I was going, instead of repeatedly badgering myself about whether or not I locked my car doors.  This easy solution took a great deal of discipline to follow when I first implemented it.  But now I lock my cars doors with confidence and move on in the direction of my happiness.  This simple solution makes a world of difference in the quality of my life.

Game of the Day

Do you find that you have a REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT?

When do you notice it?

How does it distract you when you want to be having fun?

Is there a truth that it’s trying to tell you?   (The truth in my example was, “It’s good to spend a few seconds to focus on locking your car doors.”)

How can you give this truth a little focus and then move back to focusing on having a great time?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com


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