5 common beliefs that undermine our happiness

  1. I should be concerned about my fears and dwell on the possibility of them occurring.
  2. It is easier and best to avoid my life’s difficulties, than it is to face them.
  3. I must be loved, or well liked, by almost everybody in my life.
  4. I must achieve, be or have this for me to be worthy, adequate or loveable.
  5. It is always bad when things are not the way I would have liked them to be.

Notice it is not the external events, doings of others or our own shortcomings that directly result in our unhappiness.

Rather, it is how we perceive and understand these to be, that is the primary problem.

5 responses

  1. Very true Tim. The question is why this is. It seems to be something that naturally develops within human character. Of course it can be exacerbated by our upbringing, environment and some personalities are affected more intensely than others, but why do we seem to have these similar traits? Are they as dominating in Eastern culture and less-wealthy civilisations?
    It seems even less conscious animals such as birds, canines and felines seem to at times be occupied with others view of them by presenting with emotions of shyness, embarrassment or simply preening during ‘mating season’ to appear more attractive…
    Perhaps it’s just an aspect of being part of a ‘conscious’ part of evolution but these internal focuses can be dangerous if they become a preoccupation.
    Just my thoughts anyway…
    Thanks for the post ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Lisa for the fantastic builds, ideas and thought-provoking questions! Where these irrational beliefs come from is an interesting one indeed.

      Evolutionary psychology suggests that the mind is not born as a blank sheet of paper, but rather with standard circuits in place that strongly shape the way we organise and interpret our experiences. Our minds have likely evolved this way to help give our experiences meaning and aid in the understanding of the actions and intents of others. This evolutionary perspective explains why irrational beliefs are universal and occur in the minds of all people.

      Whilst these irrational beliefs are present in all of us, and are a significant cause of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, the good news is they are easily modifiable. We have much control over how we think about the world. Personally, I think there is a significant opportunity for preventative mental health programs in schools that help to teach more productive beliefs, as this is the age where much of our thinking is shaped and solidified.


      • I concur with most of your perspectives on this topic, however I don’t think reprogramming our brains is ‘easy’.
        Absolutely neuropathways can be redirected and recreated, but so many complexities interfere with our success at reshaping our minds and hence and thoughts and cognition.
        Hormones are just one factor. If they are even slightly out of balance we will respond to emotions, foods and the environment differently. It has been proven that many ‘addictive personalities’ lack dopamine and thus require more stimulation to reach the ‘reward’ effect. Eating disorders patients often lack Oxytocins, the love chemical. Our reactions are not simply cultural or instinctive responses, they’re natural mechanisms. Our evolution is almost leading us to psychological self-destruction.
        As for teaching kids are school, I’m saddened the Ethics subject got scrapped before it even started and I don’t understand why we spend more time teaching our kids British history and advanced geography when we aren’t even addressing basic psychology or life skills….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I very much agree, reprogramming our brains is not always easy.
    My comment was overly simplistic, but based on the fact that the efficacy for cognitive therapy in the treatment of depression is very good: scientific reviews suggest the efficacy is equal to that of medication. But yes, it is influenced by numerous factors, and best done of course with the support of a qualified health professional.

    And yes, I’m sure many would agree that the very essence of how our school system is structured is in urgent need of review, me included.

    Thanks so much for the insightful comments and ideas, they are really appreciated and valued! Please keep them coming!


  3. Pingback: The magic of simply sharing you « Tim Cassettari

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