Depression Symptoms Why Can't I Be Happy Even When Life Is Going Great? By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology. Learn about our editorial process Published on December 19, 2022 Print Getty / Complexio While life has its ups and downs, some people find difficulty in feeling happy even when things in their life appear to be going well. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as past experiences or genetic predispositions. Past experiences are likely to have an influence on your current outlook and state of mind. If you have been through a traumatic event in your life, it can be difficult to accept the good even when it is right in front of you. This may manifest itself through feelings of guilt or anxiety when things go too well, as those emotions can be hardwired into us from our past. Genetic predispositions also play a role in our ability to find happiness even when life is going great. People with conditions like depression or anxiety may find difficulty in feeling positive emotions no matter how successful their lives become; this is because these conditions can cause brain chemistry imbalances which make it difficult to experience joy. In any case, it is important to identify the root of why you may be feeling this way, and then find ways to work through those feelings in order to learn how to accept and appreciate the good in life. It may also help to reach out for professional help if needed; therapists and psychologists can provide useful strategies on how best to manage these emotions. With the proper support, learning how to be happy when life is going great is possible. What Does it Mean If You Can't Feel Happy? Happiness is an emotion and a state of mind that can be difficult to understand. It's not always easy or straightforward to feel happy, even when life is going well. When life is going great, we often have higher expectations for our happiness levels than we do at other times. But sometimes, no matter how good things are, it just doesn't seem to be enough to make us truly content. Why might this be? The answer could lie in the fact that our lives are made up of a combination of different elements; emotions, thoughts, relationships, and external factors like money or status, etc. Even if most aspects of our lives are positive, one area could still drag us down and stop us from feeling as happy as we could be. It's also possible that when life is going great, it can make us feel intimidated or overwhelmed. We may start to doubt our abilities, compare ourselves with others, and become anxious about making a mistake or messing up (also known as imposter syndrome). This could lead to feeling low and unsatisfied even if everything is seemingly perfect on the outside. Friday Fix: Are You Afraid to Be Happy? Is It Normal to Not Feel Happy in Life? Yes, it is totally normal to not feel happy at times even when life is going great. Everyone experiences highs and lows in life, and happiness isn't a constant emotion or state of mind. It can take time, effort, and self-reflection to understand what brings you true contentment. The important thing to remember is that just because you're not feeling completely fulfilled no matter how good life appears on the outside, it doesn't mean something is wrong with you. It's simply part of the human experience; we all have days where things seem too perfect or difficult to comprehend. The key is learning how to accept this as part of life and making an effort to find joy in different areas of your life. However, in some cases, the inability to feel happy in spite of good circumstances could be a sign of an underlying mental health issue such as depression or anxiety. Anhedonia, which is the persistent inability to experience pleasure, could also be at play here. It's important to pay attention to your mental well-being and reach out for help if needed. How Can I Enjoy Life Again? When you no longer feel the same joy or satisfaction you once did, it may seem like life has lost its meaning. But don't worry—there are ways to help you find happiness again. There are a few simple things you can do to start enjoying life again. Connect with others: Spend quality time with your family and friends and make sure to reach out if you're struggling with something. Being around people who care about you can make all the difference when it comes to finding your happiness again. Practice gratitude: Focusing on what you have rather than what you don't can really help to lift your mood. Try writing down three things each day that you are thankful for or keeping a gratitude journal. Exercise: Making sure that you stay physically active is essential in order to feel good mentally and emotionally too. Exercise releases endorphins, which has been shown to make us feel happier and more energized. Connect with nature: Going for a walk in the park, sitting by the beach, or simply appreciating the beauty of nature can be a great way to boost your mood and find peace within yourself. Focus on small wins: Achieving even small goals—such as checking something off your to-do list, going out of your comfort zone, or spending time with loved ones—can make you feel more content and in control of your life. Celebrate any wins, no matter how small. Spend time on hobbies: Engaging in activities that bring you joy—whether it's cooking, playing an instrument, reading, or crafting—can be a great way to find enjoyment in the moment and take your mind off things. Practice mindfulness: Becoming aware of the present moment and connecting with your thoughts, feelings, and sensations can help you to become more mindful and less judgmental of yourself. Can I Trick My Brain to Feel Happy? We can't always change our circumstances, but we can learn to become masters of our own minds. Here are some tips for feeling happier: Change your mindset: Realize that happiness can a choice and focus on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives. Give yourself permission to be happy even if everything isn't perfect. Smile more: Smiling actually has been shown to make us feel better. So, make it a habit to smile and laugh more often, even if you don't necessarily feel like it at first. Listen to upbeat music: Music has the power to instantly brighten your mood. Put on some of your favorite, uplifting tunes, and let them carry you away. Learn something new: Learning a new skill or hobby can be a great way to give yourself purpose and feel more confident in your abilities. Think of the good times: Take some time to look back on the fond memories you've made throughout your life. Do something for someone else: Doing something kind for another person has been shown to increase feelings of happiness. Helping others can also give you a sense of purpose which is essential for feeling contentment with life. Take breaks: Taking regular breaks throughout your day can help to alleviate stress and remind you that life is more than just work. Spend time doing something enjoyable or take a few minutes for yourself to just relax and breathe. A Word From Verywell Mind It's normal to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or down even when life is going great. But it's possible to find the happiness that we're all seeking—it just takes a bit of practice. Be kind and patient with yourself and don't forget to take time for self-care. 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Music-induced positive mood broadens the scope of auditory attention. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2017 Jul 1;12(7):1159-1168. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsx038 Rowland L, Curry OS. A range of kindness activities boost happiness. J Soc Psychol. 2019;159(3):340-343. doi:10.1080/00224545.2018.1469461 By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Depression Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.