ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The downsides of happiness

Updated on September 1, 2016

Too Much Happiness Can Actually Harm Us

Happiness is often seen as a positive emotion. Even large corporations are implementing policies to ensure that their employees are happy. But the reality is that like other emotions happiness must be done in moderation. For example studies have shown that being too happy can actually make people less focused and unsuccessful. The reason for this is that when people are consistently happy, irrespective of their failures, they become complacent. This is in stark contrast to the the more frustrating periods of life. It is when we are experiencing angst that we tamper with new ideas and attempt to improve ourselves. According to psychologist Edward Diener, people who rarely feel anxiety and sadness are less likely to feel dissatisfied with their jobs. Therefore these persons rarely improve themselves professionally or enter more rewarding fields. Additionally research also shows that being excessively happy can induce risky behavior. Such a finding is not hard to believe, because if we are too happy we may not weigh the negative implications of some actions. Also happiness is simply not appropriate for every situation. For example when engaging in a negotiation, a level of seriousness is required. In this context happiness can be a distraction and may seem unprofessional.


Striving For Happiness Will Make Us Sad

Although many people acknowledge the importance of being happy, a large number of people are still unhappy. One of the reasons for this is that too many of us believe, that there is one clear route to happiness. However happiness is quite personal and what makes Person A happy, may make Person B unhappy. But unfortunately we are taught that we all need the same things to become happy. Therefore if we all believe that fame and fortune make us happy, we strive for it. Unfortunately it is a real tragedy to strive for riches, only to find out that money doesn't make you happy. According to Iris Mauss this is the main problem with striving for happiness. Whenever we achieve one goal, we set the standard higher and as a result, we end up unhappy. Presently, the happiness industry is evolving. As a result of this new targets are always being set. One minute we are told that being successful makes us happy, and at another time it is the quality of our relationships. Hence people are so busy consuming the product of happiness, that they do not get the time to find out what makes them happy. The commercialization of happiness forces us to want to be happy. However the downside is that it allows us to treat happiness as a luxury product. For example it is often repeated that mindfulness makes us happy and there is an app for that. But like other emotions happiness is fluid, we can feel happy at any time. It is not something we can just get up and create. No one ever said that there is something wrong with being happy. Yet our present culture treats happiness like a luxury good and this will definitely not make us happy.

The Upside Of Negative Emotions

In addition the emphasis placed on happiness can cause us to forget that emotion are adaptive. Happiness may be a positive emotion, but negative emotions also serve a purpose. Research has shown that people are more likely to make bad judgments, due to biases when they are happy. However being in a sad mood can reduce common errors. When we are in a negative mood we make better decisions, by promoting a more analytical thinking style. In contrast being in a happy mood can result in superficial thinking. It must also be noted that being in a negative mood makes us more skeptical of others. Hence we are less likely to be deceived. Furthermore happiness brings contentment. Sadness on the other hand motivates us to solve challenges in our environment. According to groundbreaking research led by Dr.Brock Bastian at the University of Queensland in Australia, avoiding sadness has several disadvantages. According to the findings, when people are expected to not show sadness, they experience depression and have more negative emotions. They are also more likely to report lower levels of satisfaction with their lives. Likewise fear is also seen as a negative emotion. But had it not been for fear we would not know how to react to danger. It is a known fact that excessive happiness can make one susceptible to engaging in risky activities like unsafe sex and binge drinking. While anger often regarded as destructive can be used to indicate that we deserve better treatment, according to psychologists. Without anger social change would be impossible. No one would be irritated enough to demand better. Also not all types of happiness are beneficial. For example pride, a feeling correlated with achievement, may make us aggressive and arrogant. While being overly optimistic may make us disappointed. Nothing is wrong with wanting to be happy, but it is not a luxury product to be bought. Further by focusing so much on happiness, we can forget that all emotions serve a purpose. This will only make us unhappy and unable to deal with the challenges of our lives.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)