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The 3 Happiness Assassins and What You Can Do to Control Them

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We all have those nights when we are suddenly wide awake and thinking about a problem or something we fear may happen. Fear is the ringleader of the gang of three known as the Happiness Assassins: Doubt. Worry. Circumstantial evidence. It is not just in our sleep we must watch out for this group of hoodlums. They lurk around corners waiting to pounce at all hours of the day.

The “assassins” are simply a part of our thought process. It takes some self-awareness to realize that our thoughts are not necessarily the truth, but we go through life mostly presuming what we think is true. Beliefs are nothing more than firmly held opinions born out of a thought – yours or someone else’s.

Unsupervised, our mind is like a big foster home taking in anyone who knocks on the door. I’d like you to consider that not all thoughts deserve our full attention. We have every right to pass on the ones that don’t serve us. Too often, we invite them in way past their usefulness. My rule of thumb is if you don’t play nice, go away.

We are rarely without thought. People who claim to have trouble meditating often refer to the issue as having a “monkey mind.” Meditation is not being without thought. Thoughts are as automatic as breathing or digestion. The idea is to control them when they come knocking.

Before we take those assassins out, one by one, know that there is nothing that is not subject to individual interpretation. A tree doesn’t occur to a painter as it does to an expert on rainforests, or even a firefighter. A squirrel has an entirely different take on the subject. Nevermind art, music, politics, and law. Interpretation is rampant. To recognize it as such is to relax the need to be right on most subjects.

Below are the three happiness assassins:

1. Worry

Worry is a future based version of interpretation. It takes us out of the present moment and is powerful enough to change our moods, cause us to miss out on the present moment, react defensively, and make us sick. It is hope turned inside out. It dresses itself in gloom. Our antidote to worry is to use your imagination. Imagine the best outcome. Or if you can’t let it go, put your mind somewhere else entirely.

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” – Dale Carnegie

2. Doubt

A common question many of us have asked ourselves at one time or another is “Am I good enough?” That is a question filled with doubt and so unspecific as to be unanswerable. We inherit not trusting ourselves based on other people’s opinions or a past experience. But at some point, we must take control of our lives, our self-talk.

Confidence isn’t a real thing. It’s a stand we take. It’s as easy to take a leap of faith as it is a leap of doubt. Doubt makes us curl inward, not trusting our path or ourselves. Kill off doubt with action. If you doubt something you want to happen will come to pass, do something to make it happen. If I think my boss is going to berate me because of this month’s metrics, I could proactively come up with a plan on how we will excel in the future.

Confidence and proactivity are what moves the needle. How do you become confident?  Act thusly. Ask any actor who is freaking out before walking on stage.

3. Circumstantial Evidence

Also known as acting “out of context,” we jump to conclusions based on partial information.  Some of it is silly and some is very harmful. Silly: I thought the man in the mirror was flirting with me in an exercise class. It turns out his weights were too heavy. He was grimacing.  Harmful: A police officer shoots someone in a red jacket moving quickly away from the scene of a crime because the officer was told the suspect was in a bright color coat.

“As you think, so you become…..Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren’t there.” – Epictetus

If You Are Going to Lie Awake

I hope what keeps you up at night is joyful anticipation. I hope what keeps you up at night is crafting solutions and knowing that you can be freer than you have ever known by being in positive action and showing the assassins the way out before they get in.

How do you overcome constant worry, doubt, and jumping to conclusions? Share your tips with us below!

Known throughout her career as the happiness expert, Nanci Sherman was raised in New York City and earned a B.S in Journalism and Communications at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Nanci revolutionized the industry and consulted on leadership and motivation on three continents. Nanci raises the bar on happiness. Her personal quest has been "How do I live an extraordinary life?" Nanci studied with some of the greatest experts in the field of self-development and personal growth. She synthesized their teachings, expanded upon them, and translated this into her work success and life. You could say she is “terminally” happy and wants to pass that recipe for joy onto you. You will find her enthusiasm to be infectious, and her insights to be profound. She is a Happiness and Leadership Coach, Hotel Revolutionary and an established Author.

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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