Acknowledge and Let Go: A Strategy for Happiness

I’m currently reading Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat. A little background on the book: Gawdat is an engineer that created a “happiness formula”. In his book he breaks down the formula and also explains how his family, after dealing with the unexpected loss of his son, put this formula to the test. I’m sure I will be talking more about his book, and absolutely recommend it to everyone!! 

The Formula: Unhappiness is reality not meeting our expectations.


“If you perceive the events as equal or grater than your expectations, you’re happy-or at least not unhappy. But her’s the tricky bit: it’s not the vent that makes us unhappy; it’s the way we think about it that does” (27). 

My Strategy

Now, this doesn’t mean we need to just set incredibly low expectations for everyone and everything in our life. I think this means that once we understand this concept, we can simply acknowledge that our expectations were different from reality and move on. Because most of the time the things we are setting these expectations for, we have NO control over!

In moments where expectations don’t meet up with reality we can let our minds get completely out of control!! We have all experienced a time when something goes “wrong” (or simply not how we expected it to) and all of a sudden we are deep in a thought pattern that is telling us we will never do anything with our lives.

Here is an example that I think we can all relate to. (or maybe it’s just me…. 😉 ) Our thoughts can take us deep into a place of extreme outcomes, that if you take a step back, are actually just ridiculous.

Expectation- (2).png

The expectation was to go for a run in the morning because you are training for an upcoming race. It was raining (something out of your control) so you became upset. This lead your brain from not being able to run your race to not being incapable of doing your new job. Our minds can lead us deep into these thought patterns, simply from an event going a different way than we expected.

So, what I have started doing to not let my expectations cause me to become unhappy is this simple strategy:

Breathe in, acknowledge

Breathe out, let go

Let me break it down:

When something doesn’t go as planned a take a second to breathe in, acknowledge that this is different from what I expected. Then I breathe out and let my expectation go.

In the 1 second of breathing in and acknowledging that yes this is different from what I thought it would be, it doesn’t allow me to sink into that vicious thought pattern. Breathing out is telling myself; you know what this doesn’t actually change a lot, let’s just keep going.

Journal Prompts:

  • When was a time I recently let my expectations for an event cause me to be unhappy when things changed?
  • Can you track a thought pattern you recently had that lead to a ridiculous outcome?
  • Fill in the blank with your own reminder:
    • Breathe in__________
    • Breathe out_________

Printable reminder -Print this out and put it in your journal, on your mirror, in your wallet, at your desk, anywhere you need a little reminder! 🙂

Breathe-fill in the blank– Print this one out and fill it in with your own reminder ❤


Thanks for stopping by today! I hope this simple strategy can help you get through the unexpected things that pop up in our lives while still experiencing lots of happiness!!! Have a wonderful week, and share any strategies you have below!! 🙂

❤ Meghan


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