*This newsletter is intended to offer information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from those broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problem. Copyright 2018 Simmonds Publications: 550 La Jolla Blvd., 306, La Jolla, CA 92037
Most people seek a life filled with meaning, contentment, gratification, and pleasure. In moments of reflection, we may wonder what we can do to direct our lives not only away from anxiety, anger, stress and depression- but toward a state of personal fulfillment. We may realize that the typical markers of achievement in our society- a graduation, a marriage, a job promotion, the completion of a project, buying a home- don’t always bring us the happiness that we expected, and often they increase our stress levels.
Despite the fact that we are affluent by world standards, able to drive nice cars, live in large, clean houses, and have access to entertainment media, we are subjected to high levels of stress. As a result, many of us carry with us a pervasive feeling of discontent. We pursue the next highest goal in our lives, only to find that achieving that goal does not bring the feeling of true happiness that we long for. Most of us live better than royalty did in the past, but these high standards of living have not brought us a sense of true contentment. A survey of people in nations around the globe learned that the highest levels of personal happiness were found in Nigeria, followed by Mexico. The United States came in at number 16, while Canada and most of Western Europe also scored at similar levels.
Psychotherapy has made great strides over the past half century in understanding various forms of mental illness. We can now classify these conditions and make appropriate interventions to alleviate them though specific forms of psychotherapy and sometimes medication. Less research has been done, however in finding ways to understand how we can achieve a life filled with meaning and contentment.
We have a host of methods for treating some of the conditions associated with unhappiness- stress, anxiety, depression, anger, lack of engagement, substance abuse, poor interpersonal relationships, cognitive and emotional impairments. Now, however, psychotherapy is making similar strides in devising methods people can use to move to the next step, from unhappiness to true happiness.