I have always wondered why, during a concentrated effort on becoming happier, I become less happy and more irritable. That was until I heard this theory on a Buddhist podcast*.
When we are working towards happiness we are placing our thoughts and efforts towards a singular goal. We are creating a sense of attachment to this goal. Then, as a result of this attachment, we experience suffering because we have created a scarcity mindset behind our current existence.
This cycle of thinking would, therefore, play out like this:
I am not happy. I am going to focus on being happy. I can’t find happiness and this makes me think there is never going to be enough happiness (scarcity). I become fixated on finding happiness (attachment). I try even harder to gather happiness because I am attached to the end goal. The result is that I only find frustration.
Turns out happiness is found in the acceptance of the present and a sense of gratitude in having enough.
*Sorry, I didn’t write down the name of the podcast.