6 Reasons to Stop Trying to Be Happy

6 Reasons to Stop Trying to Be Happy

It seems that the search for happiness has gotten out of hand. Back in the day, getting a good job, marriage, kids and house were enough of a goal to keep people satisfied. It was a simpler time of obtaining simple things without the outside stress of so much other static. 

Today, it seems that there is a huge amount of peripheral “noise” surrounding us that it is almost impossible to focus on the little things. This has perpetrated a whirlwind of subliminal confusion that is making many people question their “happiness” when in reality none of it means anything at all. 

Although much of your daily lens may consider otherwise, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate what is really meaningful and what is not. These 6 reasons to stop trying to be happy might help you re-assess some things you might not have considered and truly tap into what is ‘real happy’ and ‘unreal happy’.

Don’t Believe Faux Social Media Happiness

According to a report by Psychology Today,

“…an estimated 2 billion people around the globe use social networking sites and 80 percent of Americans have at least one social media profile. The average American has five social media accounts and spends an hour and twenty minutes a day browsing their networks. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are among the most popular social media sites,”

It may come as no surprise that most of your friend’s and family posts on Facebook, Instagram and the like are skewed. These are ‘soundbites’ of a single moment in life which pose as happiness. Yet, the psychological effect of constantly seeing “happy, perfect, joyous” posts on a daily basis has created a society of unhappy people. 

The most concerning negative impacts of seeing these ‘skewed happy posts’ include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Body image worries
  • Cyberbullying
  • FoMO – Fear of Missing Out
  • Lack of sleep
  • Interpersonal relationship issues
  • Social reclusiveness

The Royal Society for Public Health conducted a study in 2017 which found that, 

“Britons aged 14-24 believe that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter have detrimental effects on their well being. On average, they reported that these social networks gave them extra scope for self-expression and community-building….Academic studies have found that these problems tend to be particularly severe among frequent users.”

These are some posts from the study:

Anonymous – 20-24 y/o

“….it has increased my level of anxiety and social anxiety… I’m constantly worried about what others think of my posts and pictures.” 

Anonymous – 14-16 y/o

“This [social media] resulted in me not eating properly and losing a lot of weight and becoming very depressed, I finally recovered which was hard for myself to be bullied online again in year 8. Overall I would say social media has caused me many issues and has caused me to be depressed many times. 

Anonymous – 14-16 y/o

“…the time you can spend on some of these apps – they can be very addictive. I lose time to revise, can’t do homework, can’t interact with family/friends and lose a lot of sleep at night time.” 

Anonymous – 20-24 y/o

“Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’.” 

Anonymous – 20-24 y/o

“I was bullied in person and then on Facebook by a group of girls from school… I began to stop eating, hardly slept and became extremely anxious leaving the house and going to school… it has definitely affected my mental health and well being.”

Take a break from social media and learn how to use it to your advantage.

Use Social Media To Your Advantage

On the other hand, social media has many positive attributes you can use to your advantage. Some of the most positive effects of social media on health as reported by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) with stats and public posts include: 

  • Access to other people’s health experiences and expert health information – Anonymous – 17-19 y/o – “I have anxiety and on many occasions I have found videos that put how I feel into words and explain it, and this benefits me a lot making me feel more confident.”
  • Emotional support and community building – Nearly seven in 10 teens report receiving support on social media during tough or challenging times. Anonymous – 20-24 y/o – “When I was feeling alone at university with no real friends I saw every day, having access to the support network provided by friends from home over Facebook was more valuable than I can possibly express.”
  • Self-expression and self-identity – Anonymous – 14-16 y/o – “Social media allows me to post and express myself in a way I can’t do in everyday life. I can use it as a place to vent my feelings when I have no one to talk to.”
  • Making, maintaining and building upon relationships – Anonymous – 14-16 y/o Southern – “Social media has made me able to stay in touch with family and friends whom I would not speak to otherwise. It allows me to keep in contact with my friends on a daily basis.

Learn how to sift through sweet saccharine posts and those that can enhance your life. You may not need to give up social media but, according to these studies, you may want to look at it less and more realistically. This may enhance your happiness and reduce unnecessary sadness that, over time could be detrimental to your health. 

Connect in Real Time

Social media and the digital age has created a thirst for instant gratification that has shackled many people into falsely believing they are connected to friends and loved ones. So much so that even parents and children communicate in their own home through texting or even social media limiting physical, emotional contact. This can lead to unhappiness without even knowing it as yourself and those around you motor through life on a fake platform and realize, years later, you are further away from everyone than ever before. 

The collective structure is in collapse and the only way to claw our way out of it is to make a concerted effort to become physically close to people again. Connecting with people in real time has shown to effectively enhance our happiness. This has been found in a study regarding who we feel close enough to and trust enough to confide in. 

From the book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions 

“…social scientists have been asking a cross-section of U.S. citizens a simple question for years: “How many confidants do you have?” They wanted to know how many people you could turn to in a crisis, or when something really good happens to you. When they started doing the study several decades ago, the average number of close friends an American had was three. By 2004, the most common answer was none.”

Go out and connect any way you can. In a conclusion of a study by German researchers published in Applied Research in Quality of Life (3/17) it was stated that,

“Our results indicate that meeting with friends, doing sports, and going on vacation contributes positively to life satisfaction whereas internet use for personal purposes and TV consumption are negatively related to life satisfaction.”

A Few Others to Consider

Reducing your online presence and increasing your human connection are the benchmarks for harvesting more joy in your life without trying. These are a few other ideas you can consider as well.

Give back – It has always been known that giving is better than receiving. Yet, only a few take the time to do it. Your stress levels and possible empty feelings may be alleviated by volunteering, donating or just plain supporting those around you in need. Be sure to do it from the heart though and not a yearning for approval. 

Rediscover Nature – In such a rapidly moving, digital society it is easy to lose sight of the advantage of nature around us. Put down your electronics and venture back into nature any way you can. Scores of studies have shown that hiking, swimming, camping, or just plain walking through nature can significantly increase happiness levels.

Find A Furry Friend – Sharing your life with an animal easily lifts foul moods and has even been shown to decrease depression. If it is a dog, chances are you will inevitably connect with other dog owners on your daily walk. 


These 6 reasons to stop trying to be happy are ways to realize how to be happy. It seems confusing at first but once you sift through the static and focus on the here and now you will realize it is possible.