Updated: Dec 23, 2021
There are lots of myths about happiness that exist in the world and some of these can be damaging. These myths can damage our mental health but our social connections as well, so in this episode we’re going to be looking at happiness and the myths around it. You’ll learn something!
This episode has been sponsored by Social Psychology: A Guide to Social and Cultural Psychology Third Edition. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback, large print and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Social Psychology: Myths About Happiness
Also I wanted to mention the reason why I’m talking about this on a podcast that’s mainly for psychology students and psychology professions is because being a student and professional can be stressful jobs. Therefore, our happiness can be a roller coaster and when this happens I don’t want you to fall for any of these myths that can end up making you feel worse than you might already be feeling.
“If I have lots of money, I’ll never be sad,”
I’ve never ever understood this myth because we’ve all heard stories of millionaires being sad and feeling alone. But happiness isn’t made from tangible as well as once the basic needs of a person are taken care of, the luxuries that money can buy don’t make much of a difference.
In addition, a study from Princeton in 2010 found after $75,000 a person’s happiness isn’t affected by money.
So please don’t obsess about money and this myth about happiness.
“When I find true love, I’ll be happy,”
Whatever your beliefs about love, this is possibly the most common myth that humankind believes because love is great and it can make you feel wonderful. Equalling happiness.
But it can hurt too, it can be extremely painful so just because you find love, doesn’t mean happiness is a certainty. Anyone who’s had a breakup can sympathise with this point.
“If I have a fulfilled life, I can never be unhappy,”
Now this myth is a bit more complicated because whilst having a fulfilled life can stave off mental health difficulties and other negative outcomes for the person. It’s when we get into the nitty-gritty of this myth that problems start to appear.
Mainly because everything has a life cycle and enjoyment is no different. So it’s normal for what made your life fulfilled to not bring you as much enjoy as before. That’s why doing new interesting things is important in life and keeping things varied.
Again, that’s another relationship point, I’ve heard of lots of relationships that died because nothing new and exciting was happening in them.
Drawing on a personal example, there have been lots of activities over the years that I started to find boring after a while (and other activities involved painful memories). Which is why I now make sure I do different things from time to time.
For example, in my personal life, I cook new things, I go to different places with friends and family and I make sure I learn about new things.
In my psychology life, I make sure I learn about new areas of psychology, I read things by different psychologists and so on.
Overall, yes definitely try and have a fulfilled life to be happy and to keep your mental health. But be prepared to find new things to love if the old activities aren’t as fun as they use to.
Dealing With Two Myths In One:
There are two myths I want to combine and these are myths about “I have to be more than okay to be happy,” and “If you’re not happy, I’m sad,”. These are two interesting myths because on the surface we always think of them as being true but they aren’t.
At least not at first, because you might not be happy when you’re just okay but you might be content with life and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong than being okay with your life and enjoying it. Since when your content, you aren’t feeling sad, depressed and your mental health is okay.
So what’s wrong with that?
The problem with this myth is when people feel they need to always be happy and I understand why, feeling happy is amazing and we all want it. But when you’re always seeking to be happy this can be taxing and probably leading you to feel sad and like a failure for not being happy.
Overall, happy is very strange concept that you won’t always feel but being content is enough. Think of it as a “happy” middle ground between sadness that affects your mental health and happiness where you feel amazing.
Therefore, I want to end this psychology episode by saying: being sad that you aren’t happy won’t make you feel any better. However, if you enjoy your life, be content, make the lives of other people better as well as being kind. Then that will definitely help you feel better.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s social psychology episode.
If you want to learn more, please check out:
Social Psychology: A Guide to Social and Cultural Psychology Third Edition. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback, large print and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
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