When happiness is the goal

When I feel certain emotions, specifically restless, frustrated, & bored, I notice that I turn to snacks to feel better. All the snacks. Sour cream and onion chips, cookies, chocolate almonds, Pepsi Max, all the things. 

I’ve started observing this and wondering why I do it. 

I don’t often feel that great after and I can put on a few extra pounds by doing it too. So why do I become a cookie monster when I am feeling bored? 

What I have found is that I am trying to feel positive, feel better, feel happier, instead of feeling the restlessness, the frustration and the boredom.

And it makes sense why. 

We have been taught that happiness is the goal, and not just happiness once in a while, but happiness pretty much all of the time. 

And that in order to get this happiness we need to look for it outside of us. 


So today I want to teach you something. 

When we feel an emotion we don’t like, and we believe we should be feeling happy instead, we look for things to make us happy. 

And when we use external things to change how we feel emotionally, we call it ‘buffering’.







… are just some of the things we might turn to. 

And when we respond to the negative emotion by consuming all the things, we get a dopamine hit which is a huge reward for our brain and then obviously we want to do it again, and again and then again. 

Until it’s almost like it feels as if it’s happening beyond our control. Like the cookie just ends up in my mouth without me putting it there. As if I can’t stop it before it happens. 

And that’s how the cycle begins. 

Now this isn’t a problem, until you start noticing effects of the ‘buffering’ that you don’t really want. 

I like to believe that our emotions are an indicator of what is going on for us. And in order to have a true relationship with ourselves and our lives, we need to be willing to experience negative emotions 50% of the time. 

When we do this and no longer try to distract ourselves from feeling these feelings, we will remove the buffers and at the same time, remove the negative consequences that come with them. 

Now, when you give up using external things to feel better, you’ll still get upset, but you will deal with it differently. You won’t head to the treat cupboard to get some chips. Instead, you will allow your body to feel the way it is feeling, you will tune into how it feels, knowing that nothing has gone wrong, and then investigate your beautiful brain to see what is going on for you. 

Win win if you ask me. 

Notice yourself this week. Notice when you feel upset, stressed, angry, sad, etc. And notice if you allow those emotions to be there, notice if you can describe what they feel like in your body or if you go looking outside of you for something to fix it. 

Do you grab those chocolates in your desk drawer? Scroll on Facebook to distract yourself? Head on over to Amazon to buy lots of cool things for your family for Christmas? 

And if so, do you like these actions? Or would you prefer a different outcome?

With the holidays around the corner emotions can be heightened. So why not think of this as a great time to practise being present with yourself - your body and your mind. 

And if you need any help with this, I’ve got you.


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