five obstacles to happiness (and how to overcome them)

five obstacles to happiness (and how to overcome them)

via the Greater Good by Mitch Abblett

“You’re making Daddy late for work!” I said, standing over my then-three-year-old daughter with the winter coat I was insisting she wear. 

“No! I’m not wearing it!” Celia screamed. My anger surged. Thoughts of “I’m sick of this” and “She’s doing this on purpose” swept through my mind. I was scheduled to conduct a 9 a.m. parent training therapy session, and her resistance would make me late. Ironically, it was on “mindful parenting.”

Mindlessly, I pressed my agenda. Understandably, she pushed back. “NO!!” she yelled, dropping rag-doll-style to the kitchen floor. 

I lost it. Bending down nose to nose with her, I yelled: “Celia! Put on your f&@#ing coat!”

She froze. I jammed the coat onto her, led her to the car, buckled her in, and drove to daycare. My daughter, usually chatty, was notably silent. Me? My cheeks burned red with the shame and self-doubt of a man completely convinced he was a “horrible father.”

And then, from the serene calm of the backseat, my daughter spoke up. “But daddy?” she asked. 

“What, Celia?” I expected the usual request for a snack, or for me to flip on her favorite Mickey Mouse songs. 

“But, daddy, I don’t want to wear my f&@#ing coat.” 

If you’re a parent, you may recognize yourself in this story. But let it soak in that I’m not only a dad, but also a child and family psychologist and a mindfulness author. Let yourself feel a bit better for all of your own angry, self-doubting, anxious, avoidant, or compulsive reactions to difficult circumstances. It happens to all of us.

Even if you’re not a parent, you still have your own moments of surging thoughts and emotions leading to highly reactive and “unskillful” behavior. Whether you’ve ruminated over a fight with a loved one or avoided work by taking a not-so-sick day, you’ve fallen prey to a negative habit of mind that is keeping you stuck and miserable.

In my new book, The Five Hurdles to Happiness, I describe five problematic and reactive habits of mind (or hurdles) that were originally identified in ancient contemplative and meditative traditions, and I explain how they affect our happiness, peace, compassion, clarity of mind, and effective action. Though these habits evolved for important reasons—to keep us safe from danger, for example—many of us find them less than useful in our modern world, where they can wreak havoc on our well-being.

The five hurdles to happiness

So, what are these five hurdles to happiness? Here is a brief description of each, with examples of how they can become obstacles in our lives…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE