Everyone wants to be happy at all costs. But is that pressure we put on ourselves healthy? And how do we deal with this? Bedrock’s Rosa and Lisanne spoke in their podcast to happiness psychologist Josje Smeets about the quarterlife crisis and the search for happiness.
Smeets teaches psychology at Maastricht University and coaches people and companies in their search for happiness.
Are we more happy today in 2020 than before?
“No, we just gave it a nice name. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians were already busy with the meaning of life. How can we grow and develop ourselves? But also take a look at Indonesia, where they have been engaged in meditation for much longer. Nowadays we stick to the term happiness. Fifty years ago, meaning was perhaps mainly derived from religion. Now that is less and we have to get our meaning from elsewhere. And that is now ‘being happy’. ”
Why is the pressure to be happy so great?
“First, you feel better when the happiness hormones are running at full speed. You then experience a feeling of a high or a flow and that is nice. But we also copy others. You can see through social media that everyone has a top life. Then you have to, because otherwise you do not belong. And that social connectedness is something we are very much looking for. That comes from prehistoric times, but you don’t survive. We call it that in psychology the need to belong. That social comparison plays a major role in the daily pressure to feel happy. ”
How do we influence happiness ourselves?
“Happiness is 50 percent genetically determined. You are born with a basic amount happiness. You are more likely to have depression if it runs in your family. 10 percent is in circumstances. That cool new car, that nice dress, that nice relationship. 40 percent is between the ears and that is your mindset. What you can change. For example, by teaching yourself to think more positively. You can compare your brain to a muscle. The moment you train it, you develop neural pathways that are more positive. ”
What is your personal happiness hack?
“For me, that is sports quick fix for a feeling of happiness. Every morning, seven days a week. To whip up all the goodies. I’m just doing it to clear my head and go through my day. Without a greater purpose. The moment I have to perform, if I would participate in a competition, for example, it becomes a must and I no longer enjoy it. ”
Curious about the whole conversation? Listen to the Bedrock Talks podcast on Spotify or iTunes.