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Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

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Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


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The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

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A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

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PsychNotes April 2016

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April 12, 2016       

Why You Don't Need to Be Happy

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
We are bombarded daily with messages that we should be happy. Commercials and ads always show people living the good life. Even the health messages we receive are that happiness is associated with better health, both emotional and physical. Such messages teach us that we should be happy. Otherwise, something must be wrong with us and we need to correct it with medication or therapy. As a culture we have come to prize happiness and seek it desperately.

However, the relationship between happiness and health may not be so simple. Researchers Luong and colleagues (2016) found that the relationship depends upon how moods are valued. If someone sees negative moods as valuable too, then lack of happiness is not as likely to affect their health. (Read: Sadness is a State of Happiness).

Why is this not surprising? Because happiness and seeking happiness has become a “should” as in “I should be happy.” For those of you familiar with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) you know that a “should” is an irrational demand and can lead to poorer psychological and physical health. Therefore, when someone places a demand on happiness they are more likely to suffer poor health when they are not happy. However, someone who accepts both negative and positive mood states are not likely to be affected when they are not happy.

So, how can you find the balance? The key is to not value emotional states as good or bad but to accept them as they are. You don't NEED to be happy but it is okay if you are. It is also okay if you are sad or anxious or frustrated or bored. These emotional states are just messages to provide information to you. They are no different from the message from your body about whether you are hot or cold. If you feel cold, it is a message that you can decide to act upon, or not.

Learn to listen to the message without judging it as good or bad.

For more, read: The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Luong, G., Wrzus, C., Wagner, G.G. And Riediger, M. (2016). When Bad Moods May Not Be So Bad: Valuing Negative Affect Is Associated With Weakened Affect–Health Links. Emotion, 16, 387– 401. DOI: 10.1037/emo0000132


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