Friday Fix: Are You Afraid to Be Happy?

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Verywell / Julie Bang

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Every Friday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, shares the “Friday Fix”—a short episode featuring a quick, actionable tip or exercise to help you manage a specific mental health issue or concern.

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Friday Fix: Episode 233

At first glance, you might wonder why someone would be afraid to be happy. But if you think about it a little longer, you might recognize a few times when you experienced an aversion to happiness.

An aversion to happiness can take a toll on your well-being and life.

Perhaps you won an award and felt so much pressure to live up to the achievement that you were afraid to let yourself enjoy success.

Or maybe something really good happened, and you were so afraid that those happy feelings wouldn’t last that you didn’t let yourself feel happy for even a minute because you were afraid that things would come crashing down. 

You might have also found yourself in a tough spot in life. For example, maybe you were grieving the loss of a loved one, or you were facing some hard economic times, and you felt guilty laughing or having fun.

Those are just a few reasons why it’s hard to allow ourselves to be happy sometimes. But just like it’s harmful to avoid an uncomfortable emotion like anxiety, an aversion to happiness can also take a toll on your well-being and life.

On this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, I share what the research says about why people are afraid of being happy, the consequences it can have on your life, and what you can do about it.

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By Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.