You’re not meant to be happy all the time

John Wood, Founder of Rageheart

by John Wood

Back before I discovered the world of nervous system rewilding, I thought a good goal was to basically be happy all the time.

I wouldn’t have phrased it exactly like that but the intention was the same:

Get rid of all the uncomfortable feelings and only have the nice feelings 🥳

In other words…

No more shame, guilt, fear or anger.

Only joy, beauty, peace, happiness and fulfilment.

No more lemons 🍋

Just sweet, cool, refreshing lemonade 🥤


That’s realistic, right?

This intention caused me to bypass or avoid feeling anything uncomfortable… but the truth is, we’re not meant to be happy or feel good all the time.

Think about it.

If you run into a bear in the woods, you’re meant to be afraid because if you’re not (and therefore you don’t run away), you die 🪦

If you make a mistake or say the wrong thing to someone, you’re meant to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment. It’s part of how your system tells you to apologise or make amends 🫢

If someone crosses a boundary with you – whether it’s physical (they hit you) or psychological (they guilt-trip or gaslight you), it’s normal to feel angry. It’s your nervous system’s way of telling you that something needs to change. It’s also the fuel or energy to make that change 😡

If you try not to feel angry (as I did in the past), you’ll just make yourself more vulnerable to manipulative, abusive people.

The trick is not getting lost in these feelings 🗺️

If we’re never (or always) angry, it’s a problem. The same goes for fear and shame. These feelings and states are meant to be there… just not all the time.

The question is…

How do you avoid bypassing and suppressing (or on the other hand, getting lost) in your uncomfortable feelings?

In my experience, there’s no better tool than working with your nervous system or fight-or-flight response directly.

Here’s how to do that:


“I almost literally rage-quit because of the rage in my heart (😏) but luckily I was able to ground myself with the orienting practice. It wasn’t a “fix” from experiencing the emotions– I don’t think that’s its purpose anyway– but it did really help prevent me from losing myself to my emotions.”

Sonam Zahrt-Tenzin


John Wood

P.S. Know anyone who’s always (or never) angry, afraid or ashamed?

Refer them to this daily email newsletter and help them get a grip on their nervous system and uncomfortable feelings.

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