How To Distinguish Genuine Happiness from Pretense, Plus 3 Easy Ways to Boost Happiness Right Now

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions in life, and that happiness is fleeting in your world? Day by day, you’re doing the things you’ve been told will make you happy, but are you actually happy or do you just have a smile pasted on your face? 

It’s essential to understand the difference because true happiness is not just a nice feeling and something to strive for… it’s a powerful force that transforms lives for the better. Here are 10 ways to tell if you are genuinely happy in life or just putting on a facade, along with three easy techniques to increase your happiness right away!

5 signs of genuine happiness

5 Signs of Genuine Happiness

1. Positive Self-Reflection

Genuinely happy people tend to have a strong sense of self-acceptance and contentment. They embrace their strengths and acknowledge their flaws without being overly critical. One way to gauge this is by noticing how you respond to compliments or achievements. If you find yourself downplaying your successes or dismissing praise, it might be a sign that you’re not fully embracing your happiness.

When we’re truly happy, it’s easier to see, appreciate, and celebrate personal growth and accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Each step forward in life is a cause for recognition and celebration, and happiness lies in appreciating the journey and being able to pat ourselves on the back from time to time.

2. Authenticity in Relationships

Healthy, authentic relationships play a crucial role in our happiness. When you are genuinely happy, you’ll naturally surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Meaningful connections are vital, and happy individuals nurture those bonds with care and empathy.

In contrast, feigned happiness can lead to associations with people who don’t truly understand or appreciate the real you. Seeking validation from such relationships can create a superficial sense of happiness, which ultimately leads to feelings of unfulfillment.

3. Resilience in Adversity

Genuine happiness doesn’t mean a life free of hardships… life throws challenges at all of us. Instead, genuinely happy individuals demonstrate resilience and a positive outlook during tough times. They don’t let setbacks define them; rather, they use these experiences as opportunities for growth and learning.

On the other hand, pretending to be happy might involve avoiding facing difficulties head-on or suppressing emotions to maintain the illusion of happiness. In the long run, this approach can be emotionally draining and detrimental to your well-being.

4. Mindfulness and Present-Centeredness

Living in the present moment and practicing mindfulness are hallmarks of genuine happiness. Happy people fully engage in their experiences, savoring life’s simple joys and practicing gratitude. They are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or dwell on past regrets.

In contrast, pretenders often live on autopilot, going through the motions without truly appreciating the present. This disconnect from the now can lead to a sense of emptiness, as if life is passing by without truly living it.

5. Pursuit of Purpose and Meaning

Research has shown time and again that having a sense of purpose and direction in life is intrinsically tied to happiness. Happy individuals align their actions and choices with their values and passions. They know what truly matters to them and actively pursue those goals.

False happiness might involve chasing superficial goals or following a path that others expect of you, rather than what truly resonates with your soul. This misalignment can leave you feeling unfulfilled, despite achieving external success.

5 Indicators of Emotional Pretense

1. Emotional Numbness

One of the red flags of false happiness is emotional numbness. If you find yourself disconnected from your feelings or constantly pushing emotions aside, it’s crucial to explore the underlying reasons for this. Emotions are essential messengers that help us navigate life, and ignoring them can hinder personal growth and genuine happiness.

2. Constant Seeking of External Validation

A telltale sign that you’re just putting on a happy face is seeking validation from others to feel good about yourself. Relying on external approval to boost self-worth just leads to a constant cycle of comparison and envy, making it difficult to find genuine contentment within.

Research shows that getting stuck in this cycle does a real number on your happiness, so it’s crucial to be mindful of when feelings of envy and comparison are sneaking up on you… and squash them like bugs.

5 signs of fake happiness

3. Suppression of Negative Emotions

Pretending to be happy often involves putting on a brave face while struggling internally. Ignoring or suppressing negative emotions may seem like a coping mechanism, but it can lead to emotional exhaustion and hinder authentic connections with others.

You have every right to feel what you feel, and while it might not be appropriate to have outbursts in random public places, it’s good practice to release and clear the emotional pressure that builds up so your true happiness can shine through easier.

4. Neglecting Self-Care

Putting on a facade of happiness may cause you to neglect your physical and mental well-being. Engaging in self-destructive behaviors or neglecting self-care routines can be a sign that you are not genuinely happy and need to prioritize your health and happiness.

If you look around your house and notice it could use some freshening up, take some time to do that… you’ll be surprised at how well it elevates your whole mood and brings a new perspective. The same is true for your body. Take some extra time to luxuriate in the shower, use the good soap, and make yourself feel loved. You’re worth it. 

5. Persistent Feelings of Emptiness

Despite the appearance of external success or accomplishments, pretend happiness can leave you with an unshakeable feeling of emptiness. This hollowness stems from living a life that doesn’t align with your true self and desires.

Take stock of your feelings, write some thoughts down, and maybe even talk to a professional. Again, you’re worth it… you are deserving of a fulfilling life that you enjoy living. If life feels empty, help is available to move you past that and on to something much more joyful.

3 ways to increase happiness instantly

3 Easy Techniques to Increase Happiness Instantly

1. Practice Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude is a powerful tool for enhancing happiness. Try keeping a gratitude journal by your bed and jotting down three things you’re grateful for each night before going to sleep. Or set a timer on your phone to take a 5-minute timeout each day to appreciate what you already have in life. Express appreciation to loved ones and show gratitude for even the smallest acts of kindness, whenever you can. Focusing on this one thing can shift your perspective and boost your happiness.

2. Engage in Physical Activity

Physical activity has a profound impact on mood and overall well-being. Take part in activities you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, going to the gym with a friend, walking in nature, taking a boot camp class in the park, practicing yoga, or whatever. Exercise releases endorphins, powerful feel-good chemicals in the brain, which can immediately lift your spirits.

3. Mindful Breathing and Meditation

Take a few moments each day to practice mindful breathing or meditation. Deep, conscious breaths can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. Meditation allows you to declutter your mind, providing clarity and promoting emotional balance. Need a little help with this? There are several great mindfulness and meditation apps available; Insight Timer is a well-reviewed platform with a robust library of free content as well as paid memberships.

Happiness is Contentment, Purpose, and Connections

Understanding and really feeling the difference between genuine happiness and pretending is crucial for overall well-being and life satisfaction. By recognizing the signs of authentic happiness and taking steps to address any discrepancies, you can create a life filled with true contentment, purpose, and meaningful connections. Remember, it’s okay to seek support from friends, family, or professionals on your journey toward genuine happiness. Here’s to a life of joy, growth, and fulfillment!

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