The Pursuit of Happiness

Does Trying Too Hard to be Happy Actually Make You Feel Worse?


Emily Dugan

Setting happiness as a goal to be achieved is not a healthy way to get happier. Instead, Senior Nour Rajha finds things that will make her happier in the long run naturally.

Almost everybody wants to be happy. With all of the stress, work, politics, and news constantly surrounding the world, people just want to be able to close themselves off from the public and spend some time for themselves. However, it is very difficult to do that today. With all of the constant negativity in the world, people try extremely hard to be happy, but what most people do not realize is the negative consequences that come along with it.

Setting happiness as something to be achieved will almost always fail. Senior Nour Rajha provides a good example of one of the few ways to set happiness as a goal. “I set happiness as a goal, but not in the way people usually do. I like to find things that genuinely make me feel happier overall.” If people set happiness as a goal purely by itself, it causes people to think about how unhappy they are and can cause them to feel worse. When people focus too hard on happiness, they are more likely to remember all of their negative emotions and failures.

So what can people do to avoid negativity? Rajha provides some insight on how she feels. “It is always okay to be sad, but if no solution is found for the root of what is making us sad then we can end up putting ourselves in neverending negative cycles.” She continues, “We would be the ultimate source of our own sadness.” Instead of focusing on becoming happy, people should instead try accepting temporary feelings of unhappiness as a part of everyday life.

It is always okay to be sad, but if no solution is found for the root of what is making us sad then we can end up putting ourselves in never-ending negative cycles.”

— Nour Rajha

However, a common misconception that people often have is that feeling sad all the time is normal. Yes, it is normal to feel negative emotions every now and then, but giving in to the negative emotions ultimately makes it more difficult to overcome them. Allowing unhappiness to take over will make it increasingly more difficult to attain natural happiness.

Instead of focusing so much on avoiding negative emotions, it is better to learn how to cope with those feelings and understand why they are happening. By not avoiding problems and emotions, people respond to these emotions better and it is easier for them to move on and become happier naturally.