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Blessed Relief


Techniques Happiness > Blessed Relief

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List things in your life which are causing you discomfort or unhappiness. Find ways to remove these (and do so), then relish the feelings of relief when you know that you no longer will be affected by the tension of having these things hanging over you.

A typical tension that can be relieved is where you have work that need doing (so do this or get others to do it). All it takes is a simple 'to-do' list of things that you cross off (and feel good) as you complete things.

Another discomfort is where you are worried about something that is threatening you (so find how to avoid the threat).

You can also take on short tasks which are uncomfortable, just for the pleasure of the relief you get when they stop. You can, of course, also enjoy the pride of a job well done.

Another way of gaining relief is just to accept things that you are fighting, giving in to the inevitable and accepting what you cannot change. The effects of age is a typical example. This relief of acceptance may also be gained when you are arguing or negotiating with another person.


Relief is the sense of closure we get when something uncomfortable ends, such as when we take an exam and feel relieved that all the pain of revision is now behind us.

When relief comes from acceptance or giving in to the persuasive efforts of another person, this dynamic is an implicit part of the transaction. When others pressure you, they are effectively saying 'give in and you'll feel better'. The risk of concession is that relief will be short-lived and will be replaced by some other discomfort, including a loss of self-esteem as you feel lower in the social order.

Think about both short and long-term happiness when considering relief-creating actions, as the relief can easily come at a later cost. This can be an effect of satisficing, where we seek to reduce stress by any means.

See also

Yerkes-Dodson Law, Satisficing    

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