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Happy young woman with smart phone sitting in doorway thinking of how to be happy

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Everybody wants to be happy. That is an indisputable fact. Some might try to argue, “No, I want to be successful” or “No, I want to be healthy.” But ultimately, the underlying reason they want those things is because those things would make them feel happy. Whatever you’re pursuing right now in your career, in your relationships, in your health – you name it – you are pursuing so that you can unlock more feelings of happiness. Sometimes, you do that by adding good things to your life, and sometimes you do it by removing negative things. Either way, the pursuit of happiness is the universal and constant task of human beings.

Get this: research reported on in ScienceDirect found that most people don’t even know what would make them happy. Perhaps you’ve experienced this firsthand. You put a lot of time, energy, money into something you thought would make you happy, only to find that it didn’t. It’s a huge letdown. And a lot of those moments can be attributed to the fact that we’ve been lied to. Our families, society, the universe and beyond have all lied to us about what really makes a person happy. And sometimes, we lie to ourselves about it. Here are the lies we tell ourselves about how to be happy.


1.) A Leisure Life Is The Key To Happiness

A lot of people complain of needing more free time, and believe that if they just didn’t have to do so much, they’d be happy. But it’s not that simple. First of all, the sweet spot for free time is between two and three hours a day, says the American Psychological Association. More than that and people start to deal with listlessness and depression. In fact, it’s the reason many people experience retirement blues. Humans need structure and purpose to feel happy.

How you spend free time matters, too. One survey published in PLOS ONE showed that people are happiest when they’re in something called “flow.” This describes a state of being completely absorbed in a task that you find challenging yet rewarding. In no way does watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta fit that description. So, in other words, free time only makes you happy if you convert it into doing something you find rewarding. And then it’s not even technically free time anymore.

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