Conditional happiness is a joy thief. It’s likely that most of us have held our happiness hostage at some point as it is very easy to fall into the trap. Therefore, this article will discuss conditional happiness and provide you with 6 things that you can do to avoid it.

You may have reassured yourself that you’ll be happy when you land that new job, buy a new car, overhaul your wardrobe, get into a relationship or achieve a certain number of followers, for example.

Nowadays we put so much emphasis on these external signs of success, to the extent where some of us believe that we won’t truly be happy until we are able to show them off.

Constantly telling yourself ‘I’ll be happy when…’ isn’t healthy.

Placing Conditions on Happiness

In the short term, these types of thoughts can be useful for motivation and obviously, a lot of these things would be great to have.

However, in the long term, they can rob us of our ultimate happiness and be absolutely detrimental to our self-worth and mental health.

If we were to only allow ourselves to feel joy when we’ve achieved or changed something, we’ll end up putting untold amounts of pressure on ourselves and potentially building up a lot of unnecessary stress.

And where would it end? For how long would we hold our happiness hostage? Who knows, but it doesn’t sound great.

So how do we stop putting conditions on our happiness? Here are 6 things you can do that will help you to change this behaviour.

Notice Your Happiness Hostage-ing

First of all, you need to catch yourself in the act. This is the first step to changing many behaviours.

Next time you think that you might be holding your happiness hostage (for example: feeling disappointed when you see a nicer car than yours), stop yourself by counting to 5.

Recognise that you’re effectively damaging your happiness.

Once you’ve caught yourself, you may want to intentionally throw a more positive thought in there too. Perhaps you could think of something that you have to be grateful for!

Take Responsibility for Your Happiness

There are going to be times where life deals us with an awful hand and there is very little that we can do about that. However, what we can control is how we respond to certain situations and manage the manageable aspects of our lives.

Recognising that we can only control what we can control is a great way to take responsibility for our happiness. Our happiness is also way beyond the control of anyone or anything else. So why would we place it in the hands of other people/ things?

You are the only person on this earth that has the power to make you happy!

Realising this can help to destroy the conditions on your happiness.

Learn to Live in the Present

We hold the firm belief that the present is a gift. Us humans can get so wrapped up in the future or spend too much time fretting over the past. Whilst this is okay because it can happen for loads of reasons, it is an absolute must that we find time to focus on the present.

We challenge you to take a step back, shift your full concentration to the current surroundings and consciously spend time in that exact moment.

Doing this more often will help you to avoid putting conditions on your happiness, because you will learn to gain enjoyment from your surroundings.

Practise Gratitude

This one is quite straightforward and it involves a conscious effort to remind yourself of the things that you have to be grateful for. A good time to do this is just before you go to sleep – try and think of at least 3 things.

You could start by asking yourself ‘what made today a good day?’ and challenging yourself to pick out even the smallest of things.

Through this, you will again train yourself to find happiness in your surroundings and daily lives, leaving you less likely to rely on the external stuff.


Be Mindful of Your Social Media Use

As I’m sure you’re aware, social media gives us everyone’s highlight reel, whilst it is great to see other people doing so well, it can sometimes leave us feeling a bit empty because we have the tendency to base our self-worth on the same measures as everyone else.

Meaning that if we are without those same external signs of success we can end up feeling worse than we did before logging on. This might be why we place such conditions on our happiness in the first place.

So whilst you are scrolling through, it is worth noting that these are everyone’s highlight reels and that it is best to avoid comparing yourself to them.

Expect more from us on avoiding the comparison trap soon!

Evaluate Your Core Values

If you had to rank every single thing in the world based on their importance to you, what would be at the top? What type of person are you? What really drives you?

These core values can guide you and unlock a greater sense of fulfilment in your life. If you have these figured out then no matter what happens or where you end up, you will always have these to retreat to.

Discovering your core values is a great way to build up your confidence and self-esteem. Both of which can help you to realise that you deserve happiness, regardless of the conditions that you try to place on it.

Especially as low self-esteem can be one of the reasons that you place these conditions on your happiness in the first place.

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Do you often find yourself putting needless conditions on your happiness? You can find more on creating your own happiness by clicking here!

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