Why am I still not happy

Written on Monday 19th August 2019

You've ticked all the boxes you thought were needed for a 'happy' life.  Successful career, house, car, partner/kids all ticked off. Over the years you've kept thinking “When I just …, then I'll be happy and able to enjoy my life”.

But you're now at that point in your life.
You've achieved the goals.
But you don't feel happy…

In fact, you feel like you're on a hamster wheel.
You feel like you are existing rather than living.

***

This is a scenario I hear time and time again in my therapy room.
“I have everything I ever wanted; I shouldn't be depressed”.
But that isn't how depression works.

Yes of course there will be people that are depressed due to terrible life events.
However, there are also many people that are experiencing depression because they are living the life they thought they wanted, but now realise it isn't all it was cracked up to be.

Society gives us lots of false ideas of what SHOULD make us happy. Our friends and family can further reinforce these ideas.
But when did you last stop and think about what you really want from your life, what would truly make you happy?

***

Do you have poor sleeping and eating?
Are you feeling exhausted?
Have you lost your mojo?
Struggling to motivate yourself to do anything other than the essentials?
Feeling fed up and irritable?
Feeling lost?
Confused as to why you are still not happy?

If you've answered yes to the above, you likely are suffering with depression.

***

One of the initial exercises I do with clients just like this is an exercise called values assessment. It is taken from part of my training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Firstly we need to identify the main areas in our lives. A common list includes:
* Health/wellbeing
* Work/education
* Leisure/hobbies
* Intimate relationships
* Social relationships
* Family relationships
* Parenting
* Personal growth
* Community & environment
* Spirituality

Next we need to provide 2 sets of scores for these areas.
1 - on a scale of 0-10 how important these values are to you, at this point in your life: 0= no importance, 10= extremely important

2 - mark on a scale of 0-10 how effectively you are living by these values right now. 0= not at all 10= living by them fully

The greater the difference between the 2 sets of scores, the higher the likelihood of unhappiness.
This is why you are still unhappy. Without realising it, you are not living your life in line with your values.

***

If you recognise yourself in the descriptions above, therapy approaches could provide a real benefit.
Rather than existing, it can start to help you to learn to live again.

Here is a link to a great range of free self-help resources for ACT:
https://www.actmindfully.com.au/

If you would like to find out more about how I can help, you can get in touch here.

Stop existing. Start living.


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