How to Feel Good When Things Are Good

By Marisa Cohen
January 26, 2023

Maybe you always knock wood when good things happen, or, like my mom, you say, “Poo, poo, poo kinehora,” which is Yiddish for “Don’t tempt the evil eye.” Throughout my life, my mom has trotted out this Old World expression whenever I’ve expressed optimism over a promising job interview, a new boyfriend, or a healthy pregnancy checkup.

Whatever your cultural background, it’s an all-too-common human trait to worry that if we are too happy and things are going too well, then fate is somehow going to come along and kick us in the butt.

“Many traditions have a superstition that if you give gratitude for your blessings, then something will come in and take them away, and parents often pass that on to their children, whether consciously or unconsciously,” says Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Joy from Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend.