Finding Happiness: The Things That Won’t Make You Happy

I've always believed that the purpose of life is to be happy. For some this is much harder than for others. Some are naturally optimistic beings who appreciate the little things and live in the moment. For others (like me) it is a constant battle within.

I always believed that happiness could be found through external sources. However I found that this led me to the hedonic treadmill effect where I was constantly striving for something more and never stopping to appreciate what I had right now. The desire for the next best thing, that fleeting few hours/days of happiness is still so important to me (trying to change my way of thinking though!).

Here are some things I (used) to believe would/could make me happy but don't:

Making more money
I used to believe the answer to all of my problems was to make more money. I could afford to do more things, and be better off. Well this is completely wrong. If anything making more money made me less happy as it took me away from the things I would rather spent time doing like spending time with family and creating things. Money may be great as it pays the bills but I much prefer earning a bit less if it means more time to do what I want to do.

Finding a good paying job
Again this did not help me at all. I am lucky in my current job as I work with great people and do a variety of different tasks which keeps it interesting. However at the end of 2011 I left a full-time permanent job role as it just didn't make me happy. If anything it contributed to my anxiety levels and did not stretch my skills at all. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and even though I am no longer in a permanent job I am a lot happier.

Getting an appropriate education was always drilled into me at school. It seemed you couldn’t be a success or ever be happy unless you had a pile of degrees hanging on your wall. I started off studying law as I thought it sounded good and was generally interested in the industry. However little did I know that law was just not for me. I've tried and tried again to go back to it but cannot put myself through something that does not interest me. I am almost finished my journalism degree which again has been a waste of my time, money and energy.  First off there are no jobs in journalism and secondly I have now realised that I don’t want to work in the journalism industry anyway. Most “jobs” are unpaid internships and even for the lucky few who do find a job, the pay is about half of what I am currently making. Besides I am pretty sure you don’t need a degree to be a good writer.  After all, so many success stories have been from people who started off with nothing and didn't even complete a degree. Think people like Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs.

Buying things
I have always had an issue with shopping for happiness (as many women do) but as much as that nice new bag will make you happy for a period, this won’t last until of course you find something else to buy. This will always be an issue for me but one I acknowledge and understand.

Things that do make me happy:

I have a new found love of yoga it is amazing. I feel so incredible after completing a yoga class I only wish I could attend a class every day! I also enjoy physical exercise but don’t enjoy boring things like running on the treadmill. Classes are always fun and I hope to go back to the gym soon!

Eating well (with occasional naughty things!)
After losing weight last year I made a promise to myself to stay healthy. I do eat bad things but try to mix it up. You totally notice the difference when you eat well as compared to eating bad. All that bloating, lethargy and yucky feeling goes away.

Spending time with family, friends and pets
I love to spend time with family and pets; they always make me feel so much better. If I could spend all day, every day doing this I would.

Creating things is one of the most important things to me. I love to create and have always been drawn to this. Whether I am creating a post for my blog, making jewellery or refurbishing furniture (my new hobby!) I am always eager to create something beautiful that people can enjoy.

One of the reasons I undertook a journalism degree in the first place was because I wanted to write. I couldn’t imagine a better job. However I also realised that writing to another’s standards isn’t for me and that I enjoy writing for myself. Maybe its more a hobby than a career but I think I prefer it that way.
I hope you like this post! I will also be doing a thank you post later this week to thank all of my wonderful guest writers last week. I will be away again for uni prac next week so there will be more guest posts for your enjoyment!

XO Ilana


  1. I truly agree with everything you wrote in this - making money and trying to pick a degree that will provide me with a good paying job is no longer my goal. Instead, I'm doing something I love, which is creating. As a Visual Arts major, many people look at me with raised eyebrows, but I haven't been this happy since starting college, and I know I made the right choice. Plus, working out is always fun!
    Such a great post :)

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  2. Oh my, that was a big dose of reality! But hey, you're definitely spot on. Guess I should work on accomplishing some of those off the second list

    Mili from call me, Maeby

  3. Amazing post, I've been attempting to write something like this for ages. You did it perfectly. I agree with so much of what you write. I can particularly to the fact that spending doesn't make you happy. I got so depressed at the beginning of the year when I was unemployed and going through a difficult time that I just kept pouring more and more money into clothes and shoes. As much as I love them, it didn't work at all.

  4. Great post ! I agree with the donuts thing !

  5. Sooo great, made me thinking. Writing - best way to express feelings and feel much better after it.

    With love for you,

  6. Totally agree... great post!
    Would you like to follow each other?

  7. Hope you have a lovely week on your uni prac!

    Like you said, spending time with friends and family is definitely something that makes me happy. I love spending time with the people and pets I love :)

    Away From The Blue

  8. I love this post. This is like me to a T. I usually find myself unhappy unless I make the choice to be happy and do the things that make me happy like designing jewelry and writing for my blog. I started what I thought would be my"dream" job last month. I was treated poorly barely paid and ridden with anxiety. I had to quit and have been "unemployed" since but I am so much happier. And I'm trying to grow my jewelry business into a full time job because even if I make less money this is what makes me happy :)

  9. Sound very ambitious or perhaps stupid, but that the money does not give happiness is relative, make money makes me happy because it gives me a lot of stability and confidence in myself. Not having him to do it but if it makes me feel happy, and I can buy things that will make me feel much better. I think the thing that gives me more happiness is to be healthy, it is most important to me, being healthy always makes me happy.

  10. Totally agree with everything you wrote. I love your post.

  11. Very true on all accounts.

    Ali of Dressing Ken

  12. This is such a beautiful post and I couldn't have agreed more with you. I think when we're younger and more naive, we think that external/materialistic things are the end all-be all. The older (and wiser) we grow, we realize that happiness truly comes within. I still buy things sometimes to make me feel better, but that feeling only lasts temporarily -- a telltale sign that it is not true happiness. Then again, I don't think happiness is a constant state :)


  13. What a beautiful post! I love your blog, feel free to check mine too! :)


  14. lol buying things still make me happy :(

  15. Great post! I have found Yoga to be amazing too after starting it recently, in fact im about to do my before bed yoga quickie routine hehe xx

  16. nice post!


    Coline ♡

  17. soooo true@

  18. blogging makes me happy! ^_^

    visit my blog ^_^
    My online store ^_^

  19. a great post!

  20. (; Reb, xoxo.

    * Sul mio blog c’è un nuovo outfit, fammi sapere cosa ne pensi:

  21. what a beatiful post... I totally agree with your list =) have a great weekend

  22. All that sounds so familiar! :) Well said, lovely! :) xxx

  23. So very true, especially the things that make you happy- once you make enough for you and yours to have the necessities (food, and shelter in a stable manner), focussing on things that make you feel emotionally and physically well is so important.


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