Ten Myths about Happiness — Which Do You Believe?

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.
This Wednesday: 10 widespread myths about happiness.

Each day for two weeks, I posted about Ten Happiness Myths. Today, for your reading convenience, I’m posting the entire list, with links.

No. 1: Happy people are annoying and stupid.

No. 2: Nothing changes a person’s happiness level much.

No. 3: Venting anger relieves it.

No. 4: You’ll be happier if you insist on “the best.”

No. 5: A “treat” will cheer you up.

No. 6: Money can’t buy happiness.

No. 7: Doing “random acts of kindness” brings happiness.

No. 8: You’ll be happy as soon as you…

No. 9: Spending some time alone will make you feel better.

No. 10: The biggest myth: It’s selfish to try to be happier.

Agree? Disagree? Am I missing an important myth?

A kind reader send me the link to Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish which features a very interesting U.S. map showing how happy each state is. I’m from Missouri, and I was surprised to see that it’s on the low end. New York is near the high end.

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Other posts you might be interested in . . .

  • I think most people are as happy as they decide to be. There are many outside things in life that can bring temporary pleasure but that’s not the same as happiness. I think feeling content and that your life has meaning brings happiness. That meaning in life is different for everyone and we all get to decide for ourselves.

  • One from my childhood that I find creeping into the present moment at times is, ‘If I’m happy, something bad will happen.’

    • xoxocarmieee

      me too! :)) or maybe im just paranoid but somehow it does happen.. weird and sad at the same time. i just try to be more positive and remind myself that some things are just OUT OF MY CONTROL. 

  • PS. Just found your website and I’m enjoying it and the links very much. Thank you!

  • jen

    I have the same thoughts as Holly. Sad! But I am much more aware and try to dispell those negativethoughts!

  • HapiStitcher

    Happiness is definitely an inside job. It starts and ends with the way we think about, and respect, ourselves, and others. It is seeking, but not grasping, It is the calm assurance that there is always a way through and beyond every difficulty.

  • Yoga Gal

    Money can’t buy happiness is a myth? I guess I have to read the full post.

  • SolW0lf

    Great article! Sometimes I’ve found myself that our own miseries make us happy paradoxically. We become so attached to our misery that in a way it provides comfort for us, as opposed to some unknown attempt to leave our miserable comfort zone and have to deal with the unknown. http://lonerwolf.com/misery-makes-you-happy/

  • Brainwavelove

    I believe the whole ‘happiness’ thing is a myth 🙂 If we let go of the idea to pursue happiness, but rather perceive everything as a great opportunity to learn and grow. To understand that life is a huge roller coaster with ups and downs, and instill the belief that we need to learn to enjoy and be grateful for both… Then we don’t need to feel unhappy from this tiring pursuit of ‘happiness’ 🙂

  • This is a beautiful list. It inspires me and makes me ponder as I go through it. I think my favorite of the 10 were “You’ll be happy as soon as you…” I think it’s easy to think that happiness can be found in a 3 step formula but in my opinion that isn’t how life works. It’s more complex than that. We’re too dynamic.

    Initially I thought to myself “I’m not sure if I agree with number 9” but then I went and read that post and realized you specifically meant that it’s not good to be alone when we are feeling down. So, now I can say I agree with all of them :).

    Really Awesome Gretchin! :).

  • Money can’t buy happiness. It is true that money cannot buy real happiness. It can buy material things and comforts that may be a source to happiness, but the real happiness lies in leading a life that is peaceful and with your loved ones around.

  • HolmanRW

    A personal story about Myth #1. Years ago I worked for Southwest Airlines which is known for its fun culture and flights. I was on a flight on day when a customer sitting next to me asked if I worked for Southwest (since she saw my employee ID). I happily said yes and we started a conversation. She replied that she was on the road frequently and usually flew American and Southwest. After a brief pause she said “There is one thing about flying Southwest that bothers me.” I asked, assuming it was going to be the old perceived boarding issue – “it’s like herding cattle”. But to my surprise she said “When I am in a grumpy mood, I hate flying Southwest because the crew and passengers always seem to be so happy.” She was annoyed by happy people. So calmly I told her that I hope she wasn’t grumpy too often, but when she was feel free to fly American.

    So for grumpy people, #1 may not be a myth.

  • A few years ago I got into a disagreement with a wise friend who was insisting that money CAN buy happiness. I said, no way. But then she asked, “The last time you were on vacation, were you happy?” Of course I said yes. So she replied, “Money can buy experiences. And experiences create moments and memories. And moments and memories create happiness.” I no longer disagreed with her! 🙂

  • Phillip Dobson

    Happiness is a state of mind, or, if you like, an attitude. It has many different shapes and colors. If you are beating off creditors, your partner is sick with huge medical bills, and your child will have to drop out of college if you can’t help with the tuition, extreme happiness is winning the lottery! If you are an author, happiness is curling up with your laptop and immersing yourself in your imagination. I accept that everyone can be happy, but not everyone wants to be!