12 Habits of Unhappy People (and How to Avoid Having Them)

12 Habits of Unhappy People (and How to Avoid Having Them)

unhappy peopleHealth

Do you ever feel unhappy?

Happiness is something we all strive to attain. As such, we can accept the fact that: (a) life is short, and (b) unhappiness makes our lives difficult. Our habits greatly impact the quality of life that we live. Specifically, our habits directly impact our happiness, or the lack thereof.

A strong difference exists between clinical depression and chronic unhappiness. Depression involves a chemical imbalance in the brain while being unhappy is a disposition often acquired through how we choose to face our circumstances. Similar to depression, however, unhappiness can be diagnosed and treated.

Here are 12 habits that can cause you to be unhappy, all of which can be avoided:

unhappy people

1. Chronic Complaining

Happy people do not complain much, nor do successful people. On the other side, chronic complainers generally have something negative to think or say … even when those around them are happy! The bottom line: we all have different circumstances in this lifetime, but in the end, these circumstances are ours. Fair or unfair, wanted or unwanted, we must own them. Seek solutions to problems instead of complaining, which leads directly to the state of being unhappy.

2. Being critical – of self and others

How we talk to ourselves shapes our self-image, for better or worse. Self-worth is an essential component to happiness, and feeling good about ourselves is a right we all have. Realize when mistakes are made, accept them, and move on. Avoid engaging in negative self-talk. Respect the inherent differences of others and recognize their right to live happily and without undue criticism.

3. Living beyond your means

We live in a materialistic society and are constantly bombarded with advertisements for the latest car, gadget, or credit card. These all promise an easier, more fulfilling existence. Don’t believe it for a second. While purchasing a new product may provide an emotional boost, it doesn’t last.

Ever heard the term “buyer’s remorse?” It exists for a reason. Seek joy in something that doesn’t involve whipping out a piece of plastic – exercise, reading, sightseeing, etc. Seek satisfaction without an accompanying debt.

4. Negative addictions

Most things are good in moderation – food, a drink or two, entertainment. Only when these things take center stage in our lives do they become a problem. Unfortunately, many good people have met their end through addictive habits, especially through dependence on alcohol and drugs. Prevent and remedy these by finding and living your passions to the greatest extent possible (see #8).

5. Regretting the past

Regret is not only useless, but it can also be extremely harmful. Research continues to show that repetitive, negative thoughts about decisions made in the past often precedes chronic stress and depression. According to Psychology Today, there are four ways to cope with regret: (1) learn from mistakes but don’t dwell on them; (2) if nothing can be changed about the situation, let it go; (3) make sure you’re not assigning too much blame to yourself; and (4) reframe the situation more positively.

6. Worrying about the future

We only have so much say about what our future holds. This is not meant to dis-empower; quite the opposite, it is stating a simple truth. What we can do is live in the present while fully exercising our God-given abilities and talents. This enables and empowers us to live a happier existence. There’s that phrase again: living in the present. Face difficulties as they arise, and then let them go. Enjoy the beautiful things in life and experience them fully … be present.

voltaire quote

 7. Being driven by fear

Yes, fear can cause you to be unhappy. To fully understand this, we must again return to being present. Quite simply, we can’t allow fear of the unknown (and/or the unavoidable) to cripple our quality of life. Fear is a negative thought process that is often on autopilot. Remember: you are not the sum total of our negative thoughts. You are not fear, worry, anxiety, or any other negative thought process.

8. Delaying goals and dreams

It requires no effort to get caught up in the routine of life: working, eating, sleeping, maybe a day or two of doing something fun or relaxing. But here’s the thing: by not directing our talents and passions toward a positive and tangible goal, we potentially discard something great before its realization. The hardest part of living our goals and dreams is taking the first step. After building a game plan and taking that first step, only then can we see the possibilities.

 9. Gossiping

Nothing exudes insecurity more than negative small talk about someone else. After all, why would a happy, confident person engage in something that is of no benefit? They wouldn’t. Leave gossip to the kids at recess. It does not belong to adults attempting to make their lives (and others!) better.

10. Holding grudges

Similar to other negative emotions, animosity is a needless weight on our backs. We are all witnesses to the negative behaviors of other people and can become (sometimes justifiably) angered as a result. But remember: this isn’t about their ignorant behavior; it’s about your happiness. Either forgive, forget, or ignore… and move on with your life.

11. Eating poorly

Ingesting nutritionally-bankrupt food is all about immediate gratification. It’s certainly not about feeling good long-term. Eating poorly can result in bad health, weight gain, depression, lack of energy, and decreased productivity while having a well-balanced diet bears the opposite effect. If you want more energy, a healthy weight, mental alertness, and increased productivity, eat right. Not only will you look great, but you will also feel great.

unhappy people

12. Expanding our problems

When we find ourselves unhappy and discontent, our first reaction is almost entirely emotional. In other words, we blow things completely out of proportion. After all, we still have that darned “lizard brain” (amygdala) – the epicenter of negative emotions. Instead, just take a step back, look at the problem objectively (with minimal emotion), and focus on a solution!

If you believe you gained awareness of any of these habits, you can keep them at bay by following the advice mentioned above.

“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” ­– Martha Washington, wife of 1st U.S. President George Washington

Join the discussion:  What negative habits do you try to avoid?

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28 thoughts on “12 Habits of Unhappy People (and How to Avoid Having Them)

  1. It is sad to me that you seem to imply that following these guidelines will make someone happy. Depression is a horrible disease that at a certain point controls a person. Just acting happy or eating right is not going to help.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me, I live like this, the positivity of it, and I would like to say one thing, everyone else is going to have there own opinion on this article, wether or not you like it, agree to it or not, you are entitled to your own perception, I as a person within my own independent thought to which creates me 🙂 believe it takes two perceptions for one reality, just be a considerate cherishing kind person, and thou will never have to be negative,

  3. Nobody can makebu happy but u urself. If there is a situation, askb"can i do something" to urself. If the answer is "yes", well tjen go ahead and do it. If the answer is "no" why waste ur time thinlong about it…..
    So chill man…..

  4. Happiness is not a condition, it is a state of mind. It is a choice we make. We can choose to wallow in our own suffering or we can choose to look past our narrow world and realize that no matter how bad we have it, we really have it pretty darn good compared to others. A hundred years ago people struggled just to live day to day. If you had 6 kids and 2 made it to adult it was a blessing. If you survived to your 50s you were blessed. If you had enough to eat on any day that was a blessing. People had far less suffered far more and were happy in spite of it. The increase in depression and hopelessness is not something brought on by harder conditions but more focus on the wrong things. When we stop using sadness as a crutch life opens back up.

  5. Christina Batchelor …. "Be a reasonable thinker"… so true. People tell you "Oh, move on!"… right!, like that's a switch you can turn on and off in your brain. But I agree with holding people responsible for their actions (without holding a grudge forever nor dwelling on it forever) and I also believe 100% that you must own your mistakes, make an effort on forgiving yourself and trying not to screw up next time. Let's worry about us and about who loves us. The rest? It's called LIFE.

  6. Omg , I was just deemed a totally unhappy person. , now it just made me unhappier. WTF, I was always the life if any event, party, work. Hopefully after reading this, i will be able to fix me.

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