Deferred happiness syndrome
Why are people so stressed these days? Common explanations suggest a variety of reasons ranging from a busier pace of life through to living life out of balance. A good number of people, I think, are experiencing what is called Deferred Happiness Syndrome. This is where people defer satisfaction of their own or their family's needs for too long a period. Often they are conscious of their work having a higher priority over their personal life, but are finding it hard to change.
Of course, we can all sacrifice our needs for a period of time. The dilemma is that if we do so for too long, we become habituated to doing so. If we keep this up for too long, the stress can come out through ill-health, poor well-being, and strained relationships. Some people fluctuate from one extreme of self-sacrificing their needs to the other where they gratify them in unhealthy ways, such as problematic drinking and gambling.
So why do people self-sacrifice to this extent? For some, they believe they need to work this hard to provide for their family. Many people feel the pressure to provide a certain standard of living for their family. Others are simply stuck in a rut, doing the same thing over and over, even though it does not bring them satisfaction. For many stuck in unsatisfying work, they worry that there is nothing else they can do.
Sadly, it often takes a major health crisis or relationship breakdown before people are prepared to make significant changes. Some do a major life review where they have some serious heart-to-hearts with loved ones who will support them in the changes required. The good news is that about 30% of Australians, not just retirees, are choosing to downshift - where they simplify their lives and earn less, so they can have more time with their family, increased personal satisfaction, and better health.
According to Clive Hamilton in his paper on Deferred Happiness Syndrome, it comes down to a question of how much quality of life you are prepared to sacrifice for your work. If you are prepared to downshift or make other changes, the answer is you are not prepared to sacrifice very much quality of life. If you make no changes or continue to sacrifice your own or your family's needs until you suffer ill-health or a relationship breakdown, your answer is you are prepared to sacrifice almost everything.
Want to reproduce this article?
You are most welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your website.
All I ask is that you include a live link back to my website and the following bio:
Ken Warren BA, M Soc Sc, CSP is a Relationships Specialist who helps teams to perform at their very best.
Through his positive, interactive and engaging speaking programs, Ken helps people to:
Build even stronger, more positive and productive teams
Cope well with the stress and challenges of their work
Produce better outcomes with very difficult clients
Check out all of his FREE resources through www.positivepeoplesolutions.com.au