Happiness is not something that just magically happens for some people but not for others. The way you view yourself, others, and the world around you is the key your own happiness.
If you genuinely want to be happy more often than you are, you CAN make changes necessary to bring about that peace. Everyone has bad periods in their lives that can last from hours to even months at a time.
Those who are chronically unhappy cling to these 8 bad habits that prevent happiness:
1. Focusing on the Negative
People who see mostly what’s negative all around them tend to be mostly miserable. If you put most of your attention expecting negative outcomes, you are likely to keep yourself unhappy.
The Fix: While it is true that bad things do happen, in order to be happy you need to accept that both bad and good are the way of the world. Good and bad happen to everyone. You don’t have a monopoly on one or the other. So, when something bad happens, feel it, fix it if you can, and then, instead of rehashing the negative circumstance, turn your focus to something good around you. When you learn to turn your attention to the good things, you will experience happiness.
2. Having Expectations
Ah the rub! Most people think that unhappiness is caused by having unrealistic expectations. Not so. It’s having expectations at all that sets us up for bitter disappointment. Dreams, hopes, and an optimistic attitude are the stuff that leads to happiness.
Think about it. The words… dreams and hopes and optimistic… feel open and are filled with a sense of present and future movement. The word expectation is hard and static and unmovable. When you falsely expect others or events to be a certain, specific way, you are more than likely to be disappointed on a regular basis.
The Fix: Look at life optimistically. Hope for the best. Hope is not a demand. Leave room for outcomes you may not have even thought of that may turn out to be even better than the ones you ‘hoped’ would occur.
3. Focusing on Lack
Unhappy people are not grateful for what they already have. If you constantly focus on what you do not have, you will continuously live with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. With an ungrateful attitude, when you do get something you want, the joy, the buzz, will be fast and fleeting and within a short time, you’ll feel just as unhappy as you were before.
Likewise, if you’re jealous of what someone else has and you believe that their bounty takes away from your own happiness, you will find yourself filled with resentment and negative feelings.
The Fix: Be grateful for what you do have. Even if it seems small to you, appreciate the blessings that you enjoy every day. Also, find joy in the success of others. Improve your knowledge by learning what they did to gain their success and apply what you choose to your own actions. You can achieve what you go after. Try, try again. Success is not in a limited supply.
4. Living in the Future or in the Past
Unhappy people do not live in the here and now. When you keep thinking that things will get better once this task is done or that goal is reached, you are likely to be disappointed when your situation does not improve quickly enough. Likewise, if you continually focus on the past, whether good or bad, you miss out on current opportunities to be happy.
The Fix: The past is gone and the future is not here yet. Live in the present moments of your life, and actively make changes that affect your happiness and well-being right now.
5. Complaining or Gossiping
Unhappy people make their misery the topic of conversations. When they run out of ways to express their own unhappiness, they talk negatively about others. When you judge others as a way to make yourself look or feel better, it only leads to more misery. Negative talk makes others around you miserable and can lead to the loss of social contact, further increasing your unhappiness.
The Fix: Think before you speak. Say something positive about yourself, your day, or others. If all else fails, turn to the old saying, “If you do not have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.”
6. Blaming Others
Unhappy people believe it is the fault of others that they are not happy. When you blame your unhappy circumstances on others, you are turning over your unique self and your abundant power to the very people you think are causing your misery. It becomes a vicious circle of despair.
The Fix: Bad things do happen, and people do not always treat each other fairly or justly. Unfortunately, this is a part of life. You can’t control how others behave. You can control what YOU say and do. When you accept that you are in control of your own thoughts and feelings, everything will change for you. A dust up with someone becomes a speed bump and not a block wall. When you perceive that someone did something wrong to you, fix it if you can, and if you can’t, then do something that you love — that you’re good at — and get back on solid, positive ground.
7. Mind Reading
People who often attribute bad intentions to the thoughts or actions of others may be thought of as mind reading. This is a formula for unhappiness. Although you may imagine it to be so, people are not always out to get you. If someone asks your opinion or does something nice for you, that does not mean that they have ulterior motives to set you up for humiliation or some other negative intent.
The Fix: Avoid jumping to conclusions about the words or actions of others. Take a person’s words or actions at face value. Taking things as face value will help you avoid the assumption there are hidden meanings in what people do or say and this will avoid your own feelings of despair that comes from thinking that other people want and intend for you to be unhappy.
8. Giving Up
Unhappy people do not make sufficient effort to help themselves, or they give up too easily when some amount of effort does not bring the desired results. Life is a series of handling encounters. It’s constant. It takes awareness and it takes effort. If you hide yourself away doing easy things like putting too much focus on online social networks, or wishing things were different but not doing enough to change it, you have a formula for loneliness, lack of results, and unhappiness. If you keep doing things the same way as you have, you will get the same results.
The Fix: Make goals that you think will increase your happiness. Now goals. Year from now goals. 5 year goals. And goals for “someday.” Dream and hope and create a pathway to get you there. Make ‘to do’ lists with ‘to be done’ dates. Check off completed stuff. When you’re busy living your life there’s not much time or room to worry about outside influences. Don’t forget to have fun. Plan outings and activities to give your brain a chance to relax and let yourself play.
Change your way of thinking and you’ll change your life. Your life, your choice. You’re worth it.