I am a lifestyle enthusiast. I believe that with few positive changes in lifestyle we can improve the quality of our life and health.
What is Happiness Anxiety
Anxiety after a good event, occasion or news is seem more often nowadays. In most cases the anxiety is because of a past experience of a traumatic or untoward incident following a happy event or news. But now the pandemic has intensified these feelings. Many happy occasions like birthdays, anniversaries etc., were ruined with news of loss of someone’s near and dear ones. This impacted not only the family members but everyone around them. Basically, anxiety is meant to protect us against anticipated unhappiness. Then why does happiness cause anxiety? This incident about my friend’s daughter is an example of this type of anxiety.
Happy Events Trigger Anxiety Attacks
When I met my close friend Sarika after a long time, she seemed distressed. When I asked about it, she revealed that her daughter was having panic attacks. The youngster had moved to the US for higher studies two years back. She was planning to meet her fiancée in India in March 2020, when the second wave led to lockdown. She had to cancel her tickets. She had not met him from two years but their relationship continued smoothly.
In spite of the time difference, her study schedules, they managed to be constantly in touch. She could not have asked for more. But anxious thoughts kept her awake at nights. She wondered whether it was all not too good to be true. After being so happy, she was scared that either of them would mess things up. These feelings were so intense that she would end up panicking and feeling breathless. Though she knew that she should not be worried about something that had not yet happened, she could not seem to help herself.
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
— Maya Angelou
If it is due to the pandemic induced anxiety, it can be overcome with counselling and mental exercises. If it starts interfering with normal activities, or gives one a prolonged feeling of hopelessness, and helplessness, then the individual should immediately opt for expert diagnosis. Because it could be ‘Cherophobia’ which is an irrational fear of happiness or an aversion to being happy. A feeling that by being happy they are being selfish and lack compassion for their friends who are less fortunate than them. In my friend’s daughter’s case, mindfulness sessions helped. According to the law of manifestation, if one focuses on the negatives, then only bad things will happen. She shifted her focus more on the positives of life which helped her slowly to overcome the anxiety and panic attacks.
Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.
— Kahlil Gibran
Happiness Anxiety Explained
Psychologists have opinioned that many people have consulted them for anxiety following a joyous occasion. Online counselling therapists say that clients often call them, confused about the anxiety they feel after being happy for a while. They feel that they either do not deserve it or that it will be snatched away from them. Beside that there is the guilt of being happy at a time when people around have been experiencing loss. More often than not, these people turn into introverts, refusing to socialize. Traumatic events often overpower the happy events and the person starts to feel the happy events are always followed by bad events.
Turn Anxiety into Excitement
Anxiety and Excitement feel the same psychologically though they stem from two different emotional states. the physical symptoms of Sweating, elevated heart rate, butterflies in the stomach are the same in both the cases. The body is preparing itself for action. You can turn anxiety into excitement by repeating to yourself that you are excited with the good news, the good things that are happening in your life. You will notice that your body will move from an anxious state to a more positive state. As the excitement builds, it will be easier to repeat the positive affirmations that help you conquer the anxiety. This reappraisal technique has proved to be more effective than suppression strategies to control anxiety.
Since the nervous system is stimulated during an anxiety attack, it is not easy to suddenly switch to a calm state. The first step in this reframing technique is to accept your anxious state. Indulging in positive self-talk can help in coping with the stressful situation. It also helps in reducing depression and helps in improving overall health and wellbeing. With practice you can turn these feelings as a sign opportunity rather than obstacles to overcome.
Gratitude and Loving Oneself
Positive psychology experts strongly recommend gratitude as a tool to address anxiety. Research in this field proves that people who practice gratitude feel happier, enjoy good experiences, good health, deal with adversities better, and have strong relationships. They also sleep well are more kind, feel more alive and have stronger immune systems. Writing gratitude notes or maintaining a gratitude journal and writing in it every day helps to a great extent.
The feeling that you are complete and whole and have everything you need to be happy within yourself is quite liberating. When you remember that you are responsible for yourself, you will have mental stability. When you start loving and caring for yourself, remove negative thoughts and develop habits directed towards positivity, you can lead a stress-free life. Listen to what your body tells you. It knows best what it needs and when you need to slow down. Develop a loving relationship with yourself and learn to care for yourself first. Begin each day visualizing yourself in the happy place you wish to be. At the end of the day, share the good or funny experiences of the day with your near and dear ones because you can build positive memories of happy times.
Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle
— Christian D. Larson
Tips to Deal With Happiness Anxiety
Behavioral experts are of the opinion that this anxiety can be dealt with by some positive changes.
So how does one deal with this kind of anxiety. Some tips to deal with happiness anxiety and stay happy:
- Acknowledging and accepting the anxiety is the best option. Avoiding only worsens the condition.
- Slow down, focus on breathing, take in the surroundings, make slow movements.
- Think about the happy moments again, what you have achieved, created, or received. Express gratitude by telling someone about it.
- Make a list of the happy moments that are not followed by disastrous events,
- Reward yourself for the achievement, so that it will be a memory of a good experience for the next time.
- Mindfully celebrate the success with family and close friends who understand you well
- If you are not able to manage the anxiety, speak to a therapist.
Mindful Sharing of Personal Milestones During Tough Ttimes.
It is natural that we love to share good news of promotions, or new achievements with close friends and family. Now more than ever it is important not to come across as boastful or a braggart, especially if the relatives or friends have been going through a difficult time.
In the current situation, it is important for people to be emotionally intelligent and be careful while sharing our good news of promotion or new achievement with friends. If we are aware that our friend or relative is going through a difficult time or facing a loss or tragedy, we need to be careful when we share our happy events with them. We should not come across as boastful or braggart. We can share our achievements only if we are sure that sharing can motivate them or boost their morale. A few points to consider before sharing the good news.
Work Related Successes
While sharing the work-related achievements, it is important to stress the hard work that you have done. Using phrases like ’things are falling into place finally; I am sure things will improve for everyone’ will be more inclusive.
News about a new home
When you share the news about this accomplishment, comparisons and bragging about buying a house at such a young age etc., should be avoided.
Marriage or Expecting a Child
The pandemic has led to many marriages being cancelled and plans on extending the family put on hold. So one needs to be sensitive while sharing such news. Mentioning the support and help of other members of the family would look good. People are always interested in hearing success stories when acknowledgement is given where it is due. Self-disclosure is always better than self-praise.
Before sharing the news
We always have to ask about the person’s well-being and evaluate their mood before we proceed in sharing our good news. It should be shared only if everything is normal at their end.
Most of the times we get emotionally divested and end up being bad communicators. So it is best to jot down the points that are to be conveyed before making the call and divulging the news. Keeping the sentences short and sweet and being objective helps.
Points to remember
- Authentic-struggles along with the achievements should be shared.
- Responsible sharing personal achievements that have the potential to trigger should be avoided.
- Thoughtful articulation: We should match our tone with the person we are speaking with and listen to them.
- Making the news personal, like telling them that you wanted to share the news with them because they are special would make them feel important.
- Avoid self-aggrandizement- sentences like ‘ I am the best in my office, so I got the promotion’ or ‘ I bought a house at such a young age’.
Anxiety following a joyous occasion has increased during the pandemic. It is mostly a feeling that people experience that either they do not deserve it or there are chances of it being snatched away from them. As a result, they feel frightened to share their good or happy events, occasions and achievements with others and turn into introverts. Psychologists term this the 'Happiness Anxiety'. And if it is not addressed early it could spiral into a series of what if’s, focusing on all the negative outcomes and destroy the person’s peace of mind and affect his or her physical and mental health.
By practicing gratitude, loving and caring for oneself and turning the anxiety into excitement are some of the best methods to overcome happiness anxiety. Along with this the person who has some good news to share has to be mindful of the emotional state and situation of his or her listeners. It should be shared in such a way as to not to seem boastful or braggart and the hard work and effort that went in to the achievement should be emphasized.
Aversion to Happness
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 VIDYA D SAGAR
VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 13, 2021:
Exactly Flourish. That's why we need to be careful when we share our good news with others. So many people are struggling with their grief and loss that one feels guilty to be even happy nowadays. Thanks for the visit and kind comments my friend, stay blessed.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 13, 2021:
Especially if others are struggling with illness and death in their family it may be hard to believe that good things can still happen to you and you may feel guilty about sharing good news.
VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 12, 2021:
Thanks Liz, for the visit and kind comments. Yes when everything is going fine, we sometimes feel apprehensive or anxious that something bad might follow. It has got a new term now as 'happiness anxiety' and it is good that there are ways to deal with it. Have a great day and stay blessed.
Liz Westwood from UK on August 11, 2021:
You make some interesting points in this timely article. It sheds light on a conversation I had many years ago about how when everything is going well it is possible to start worrying about what might go wrong.
VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 11, 2021:
Thanks Manatita. I appreciate your visit and comments. Strategies to cope are much needed at this time. Practicing gratitude and self care help a lot in addressing anxiety. I practice meditation and yoga for calmness.Take care my friend, stay blessed.
manatita44 from london on August 11, 2021:
Interesting write. Humans worry about their marriages at the best of times so Covid 19 getting in the way does not help.
We can all try to be more sensitive but ultimately it is the individual concerned who needs to develop coping strategies. Excellent article!
VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 11, 2021:
Thanks Pamela for your kind words. I am glad you liked the article Yes gratitude is a very good moto. I have a gratitude journal in which I write every day. It's great that you are cheerful always. Helps in taking health problems in your stride. Have a great day, stay blessed.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 11, 2021:
This is such a very good article, Vidya. It touches on so many good points.his is a very good article, I also like your points to remember.
I have had some positive times during this pandemic, but not often enough. Practicing gratitude is my motto. Everyone around me wonders why I am cheerful with all my health problems, even my doctor. LOL
VIDYA D SAGAR (author) on August 11, 2021:
Thanks Bill for the correction. Yes that's exactly what I meant. I have actually felt this emotion a few times after one or two untoward incidents following joyous festival celebrations. Subsequently after that festival, I would feel, not exactly panic attacks, but a sense of foreboding. But got over it now, thank God for that. Have a great day my friend. Stay blessed.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 11, 2021:
I'm going to assume you meant "wary" instead of "vary" in the title.
Interesting article! I have heard of this but never experienced it. I can see where something like the pandemic could trigger this. Great information! Thank you for sharing, my friend.