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Brighton-based Clinical Psychologist

Dr Sophie Ann Bafunno-Clifton

The myth of constant happiness: Understanding real emotional wellbeing

In our quest for a fulfilling life, the concept of emotional wellbeing often becomes synonymous with constant happiness. However, this pursuit can lead to a paradoxical effect, where the more we chase happiness, the more elusive it becomes. As a psychologist who has journeyed with many through the highs and lows of emotional landscapes, I have observed the importance of redefining emotional wellbeing beyond the confines of perpetual happiness.

The illusion of unending joy

The societal narrative often paints a picture of happiness as a constant state of joy and positivity. Take the case of Michael, a client who believed that true wellbeing meant being happy all the time. This belief led him to feel inadequate and frustrated when he experienced natural emotions like sadness or anger.

Embracing emotional diversity

True emotional wellbeing involves embracing the full spectrum of human emotions. It’s about acknowledging and accepting that life comprises a diverse range of feelings, each with its purpose and value.

Acceptance: The first step to emotional balance

Learning to accept and understand your emotions is crucial. For instance, when Lisa experienced a sense of loss after her move to a new city, she initially tried to suppress her sadness. It was only when she accepted her feelings as valid and natural that she could begin to find peace and gradually adapt to her new environment.

Emotional agility: Navigating life’s emotional waters

Emotional agility is the skill of navigating through different emotional states with awareness and grace. It’s about being flexible with your emotions, just as Lucy demonstrated when she faced redundancy. Instead of succumbing to despair, she allowed herself to feel her emotions fully and then used this energy to explore new career opportunities.

Strategies for fostering genuine emotional wellbeing

Mindful awareness: Tuning into your emotions

Practise being aware of your emotions without judgment. Simple mindfulness exercises can help you become more attuned to your feelings, giving you a clearer understanding of your emotional landscape.

Emotional journaling: Reflecting and processing

Keeping an emotional journal can be a powerful tool. Write about your feelings, their triggers, and your responses. This practice, as experienced by James, can lead to deeper self-awareness and emotional clarity.

Balanced perspective: Seeing emotions as transient

Understand that emotions are temporary states, not permanent fixtures. Techniques like meditation can help foster a balanced perspective, enabling you to experience emotions without being overwhelmed by them.


The path to real emotional wellbeing is not found in the pursuit of constant happiness, but in the acceptance and understanding of the full range of our emotional experiences. By acknowledging the diversity of our emotions and learning to navigate them with awareness and agility, we open the door to a more authentic, balanced, and fulfilling life. Remember, emotional wellbeing is about harmony, not just happiness.


How Brain Matters can help you further

If the topics discussed in our articles resonate with you and you’re seeking a deeper understanding or specialised assistance, we are here to assist. We recognise that each person’s journey is distinct, and we’re dedicated to providing bespoke support tailored to your individual needs.

Dr Sophie Ann Clifton

Dr Sophie Ann Clifton

Chartered Clinical Psychologist
ASD assessor, EMDR Therapist

From August 2024, we will be taking on new referrals, and we wlcome you to get in touch and connect with us. Whether you’re looking to enhance your mental wellbeing, navigate relationship dynamics, manage anxiety, or simply seek a space for personal growth, we are ready to support you with expertise and compassion. Discover how our personalised psychological services can contribute to your path of healing and self-discovery. 

Contact Brain Matters Psychology to arrange your session and take the first step towards a more enriching life.