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Trevor E. S. Smith | 5 Causes Of Unhappiness and How To Respond

Published:Monday | August 14, 2017 | 12:00 AMTrevor E.S. Smith

Are you truly happy?

On a scale of one to 10 - with 10 being joyful, happy, and contented, and one being sad, miserable and frustrated - where would you score?

How much time have you spent implementing an action plan to increase or sustain your joy or happiness?

We seem to be more willing to view our state of joy and happiness as fate and just accept it. We celebrate long-suffering. That is good, but we are also admonished to be joyful ... always.

Can we really influence our state of joy or sadness, or is that totally out of our hands?




1 Finance: Money worries is a major cause of sadness. The inability to meet financial obligations and to satisfy needs tend to put a damper on everything.

Financial issues are real and have far-reaching implications. Easy solutions are not usually available. Avoid getting ahead of the situation. Being without money for food today is not the same as dying of hunger.

Response: However, it is useful to force yourself to imagine the worst that could happen in the final analysis. Amazingly, that has a calming effect. Dealing with the unknown tends to be more frightening than confronting known consequences.

Avoid being crippled by the situation. Take logical actions to address the situation or to prepare for what might happen. Reflect on issues that you have had in the past, that you have overcome. Get to a place of inner peace with the thought that at some point this, too, will pass.

2 Relationships: Romantic relationships can be a source of surreal joy and happiness. They are also the source of untold pain and notorious joy killers.

Response: Recognise that engaging in romantic love is a risky endeavour. Nothing is guaranteed, and you are not in control. You become voluntarily vulnerable.

Having accepted vulnerability, recognise that the relationship might not work out. Ignore the love songs about not being able to live without him or her. You can! A failed relationship is not a matter of life or death, and should not be.

Evaluate the relationship (with your partner and/or a counsellor) and make rational decisions for a way forward. Be willing to move on.

Remember you are a child of God - the source of all the love you need. Be joyful in Him.

3 Career: Lack of progress in our careers, including not being able to find employment, is a potentially depressing situation.

Response: Comparing yourself with others makes the situation worse. Comparisons are useful to establish standards and to motivate us. However, they can cause us unnecessary pain. Chart your own course based on your realities and goals; prepare a developmental plan; work on your personal growth and acquire new skills.

Patiently implement the plan and retain your joy by focusing on the end result.

4 Environment: Sometimes we find ourselves in toxic environments. We are in constant interaction with people who are always negative and they just suck all the energy out of the room. Stealing your joy is their objective.

Response: The first rule in dealing with any form of toxicity is separation. Eliminate or reduce contact. Insulate yourself, and refuse to let their actions negatively influence you or your actions.

5 Self-esteem: Unfortunately, some of us willingly surrender our joy because of how we view ourselves. Failing to love yourself is a major cause of unhappiness.

Response: The fact that you are unique makes you special. Reflect on the source of your uniqueness - make that connection and rejoice in it.

Bottom line: Joy comes from within. Avoid surrendering it to external events.

- Trevor E. S. Smith is a director of the Success with People Academy, home of the SHRM-accredited 3-D team leader certification: leading difficult, dominant and diverse personalities and

certified behavioural coach award (next cohort September). The Success with People Academy applies DISCerning communication while improving recruitment, leadership and team performance. It prepares personal and team behavioural DNA analyses and 360 surveys on the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC.