Clear Path Counselling & Therapy Clinic Toronto

The Negative Path to Happiness

The Globe and Mail recently featured an article about the pressure attaining happiness being the precise thing that leads to unhappiness

In the article, Professor Daniel Wegner of Harvard University coined the term “ironic process theory” to explain this phenomenon, which ends up meaning “unhappiness makes itself known when we ignore its presence.” Facing the facts and not being fearful of what consumes our unhappiness can actually lead to happiness, ironic isn’t it?

This “problem of achieve happiness arises when we try to shut out negative thoughts because it elides suffering.” The pressure to start each day with a smile and look on the “bright side” lends itself to be impossible without facing and combating what makes us unhappy.

Plain and simple, getting happy is tiring. Things that are supposed to make us feel happy actually do the opposite, they make us feel inadequate.

A study was conducted by Gabriele Oettingen, a psychologist at New York University. The study was performed to show the negative effects of removing obstacles through positive thinking and how it can trick people into a false sensation that they’ve reached success.

During his study, Oettingen encouraged participants to acknowledge problems ahead while picturing the end result, instead of picturing only the end result. This proposal was termed “mental contrasting.”

Suffering, struggling and being under pressure are all natural aspects of live. Ignoring them can be detrimental to overcome obstacles. “Trying to control negativity is actually worse than negativity itself.” Work to confront difficulties rather than ignoring them.

“Acknowledging unhappiness may be seen by many as a negative thing, but it may actually be used as a positive tool.” Reaching out, seeking help can prove to be useful in accomplishing ultimate happiness.

If you need to reach out and seek help, we offer professional therapy at our Toronto offices.

Categories: Blog.

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123 Edward Street, Suite 703 Toronto, ON M5G 1E2
Phone: 416-597-2614