3 Psychological Traps That Keep You From Happiness

by Dr. Debra Arko Novotny, Featured Contributor

The front door to your home shuts with a dull thud behind you. “Home at last you,” says the voice inside your head. Leaning against the wood, you feel drained. Your thoughts turn to events of the day nothing went right – again. Careers are tricky things, we chose our destiny happywhen we were too young to know what inspires us. We later feel unhappy and hate our ‘jobs’. Many people fall into these 3 psychological traps adding to their inner turmoil around their career or life choices.

These are despair, obsessing, and fear. Many clients’ find relationships even their jobs affect their health as much as food. As a health coach, I agree.

Learning how to avoid these traps or face them differently can help you love your work. You don’t have to stay in this job for the rest of your life. You can find value in what you’re doing now. If you ignore the problem, you’ll live in the pursuit of happiness.

A career it similar to a relationship. Many times, we wish we could rewrite it or have a do-over. We’re certain this time we will get it right if we had another chance.

Are these 3 Psychological Traps Affecting you?

Don’t Give In To Despair
It’s not the end of the world even if the job market sucks.
‘Amanda’ went through four career moves before she found the right place to develop her professional interests. She found it wasn’t about the job so much as it was about the environment. Taking a pay cut meant reevaluating her living standards but it paid off in other ways.

She moved in with a roommate, with similar interests and hobbies. It meant she could split cooking and house cleaning. They set up realistic goals for sharing common areas and having guests over. In the end, they parted ways when Amanda, met her fiance’. In two years, Amanda had received two promotions.

Key steps to end despair:
Paper and pen is your best friend. Don’t do these steps in your head. Start a journal; these insights can help you later too.

  • Make a list of the things you like most about your current career.
  • Write next to these if you can expand on these where you work now.
  • If not, write down typical places that will give you the opportunity to develop these job skills.

The Bottom Line: Love your job; love the person you’re with -they both are a relationship.

Don’t Obsess
Playing the same story repeatedly in your head is obsessing. Forget the girl next to you at work doesn’t do her job do yours. Unless it’s unethical or criminal, don’t worry about it.
Are you going to stay with this company or not? If you are, these essential steps will help you find happiness with this employer.

Keys to Stop Obsessing

  • In five years, will this issue matter to you, your career or your relationships?
  • If you say something will it improve the situation or not?
  • If you stop worrying about this issue, putting the same amount of time and energy into something else what would that be?
  • Would that be something that would make you happy, improve your career or relationships

If you still feel blocked or at an impasse with the situation ask yourself one more question.

  • “Is there potential here? Do you need to move to a different department or location within the company to realize your career dreams? In relationships, ask yourself if this is a deal-breaker.

Make a decision about the future; if you don’t like how this situation makes your feel now you’ll feel worse in later. Make a choice but don’t obsess. Sometimes the phone doesn’t ring after a date, or you don’t get the promotion. Worrying about it will not change it.

Jonathan passed over for a promotion obsessed that his boss didn’t like him. Doing the exercise, he realized he enjoyed the graphic design aspects of his job. His move to the design team led to an advancement to team leader later that year.

Carlie fought with Michael every time they went on a date still she cried beside the phone when he didn’t call for days.

Bottom line: If the relationship or job is making you obsess about it or worry, it’s not making you happy. Find what will make you happy.

Don’t Become Fearful
When we allow fear to come into our lives, it paralyzes us or stops us from our higher good.
Catherine, an entrepreneur, was successful in business but had an unfortunate history with relationships. Now she was fearful to try dating once again. Sad that she would spend the rest of her life alone she came to me to lose weight thinking that might be the problem.
She held on to fear as tightly as she did extra pounds. We worked with both her fears and eating style. Slowing down as she ate helped her to feel full with less food. She began to lose weight boosting her self-image. When she accepted a date, not rushing also made sense.
Dating was uncomfortable as she put it. Men always thought she was aggressive. Using these steps helped Catherine overcome her fears and they can help you too.

Essential elements to dissolving fear

• Learn More
• Take Action
• Let Go

We fear what we don’t understand or fear what we think is true about ourselves. Fear interferes with our happiness. Catherine was aggressive because she fear rejection especially by people of the opposite sex.

Learning more is tricky. You can ask your direct supervisor in your job. Jonathan talked to his boss who knew he shouldn’t be in computer coding and was thrilled to help him get to the right department where he excelled.

Catherine wanted to start a family. She learned to slow down and met the right man, not on the first date, six months later at her cousin’s summer party. She let go and took deliberate action to develop a relationship.

We fear things we don’t know or because we had a bad experience. When we take the steps to overcome fear, freedom comes into our life.

Self-talk can generate fear too. Often we rationalize things. Instead, invest time and effort to know what it is you want and then take action to achieve it.

The Bottom Line: Fear will stop you from ever having the career or relationships you want. Surrender, let go, and allow your passion and gut to guide you. Despair, obsessing, and fear hold many individuals back from success in their lives. When you remove these 3 psychological traps, you realize that you make your own happiness.


Dr. Debra Arko Novotny
Dr. Debra Arko Novotny
OUR HEALTH is important to our success as entrepreneurs and business professionals. Dr. Debra Arko Novotny L.Ac, D.Hom. NMP, CHC specializes in helping women not let health, aging, and menopause get in the way of life. As a professional herself, she understands the need for easy ways to cook and stay fit as we age. She’s an expert in weight loss and menopause. She helps women navigate their busy work and family lives. Her simple approach to changing our behaviors and beliefs has helped women for over two decades regain control of their health and life. Dr. Deb is one of the leaders in Body-Mind-Lifestyle Design. She is a Natural Health Practitioner and coach. Debra is an author and speaker in health and business. Deb practices what she teaches. Natural health, Primal eating, and designing your life. In her office, she provides Functional Medicine, Easy Primal Eating, Acupuncture, and acupoint injections [rejuvenative medicine]. Work with her in-person or virtually by via her Websites: Enhanced Living Today, or Denver Acupuncture Health. OR reach out to her by EMAIL or Phone | Office (720) 515-4602. She resides in Colorado with her husband and family.

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