When you’re feeling unhappy or beat down by life, who or what is often to blame? Perhaps you blame the people you know; your family, your spouse or your boss at work? Maybe you look at your life and think ‘no wonder I’m so unhappy…what with my rubbish job/cramped apartment/the grey weather/my empty bank account etc. etc…’?
Whilst it can be safely assumed that everybody wants to be happy, it seems that no one (myself included) is immune to the irresistible pull of wanting to find reasons for unhappiness. Not only do we look for reasons to be unhappy but we blame our unhappiness on everyone and everything external to us. Basically, we point the finger at everything and everyone but ourselves.
You may think that your unhappiness is the result of the people or situations external to you, but the truth is that no other person or thing is responsible for your happiness. Only YOU are responsible for that. So when you are feeling unhappy, directly or indirectly, you will usually be responsible.
So what can you do, to ensure you’re working for and not against your own happiness?
Here are 8 guaranteed ways to make yourself unhappy. Take a look and see if any apply to you… and if they do, ask yourself how can you change this?
Are you someone known to complain and go on and on when things don’t go your way?
We are all prone to the occasional griping, but when it becomes constant, that’s when know you’ve got a problem.
Whether you’re complaining to friends, complaining about the weather, complaining to a stranger… the more time you spend moaning, the more reasons you’re going to find to moan.
So what can you do about it? You can overcome chronic complaining in 3 easy ways; become more conscious of when you are doing it, fix what’s bothering you in the first place or if you can’t fix it, try focusing on something positive instead.
When it comes to your problems have you been known to show the coping mechanisms of an ostrich? I.e. do you like to bury your head in the sand?
If so, then this will be doing nothing for your happiness. In fact, actively avoiding your problems will only serve to make you even more unhappy because let’s face it, the longer you put things off the worse they will eventually become.
So resolve to take action! A step, no matter how small, is at least a step in the right direction. And learning to tackle things head on will do wonders for your peace of mind.
Nothing good ever comes of fretting about things that haven’t happened yet, and still, we all do it anyway. You’ve probably heard it said that the present moment is where genuine happiness is most likely to be found – but how can you expect to stay in the present moment, when your mind is always running ahead of you?
A good exercise to release your fears for the future and to start living more in the present moment is to think of your worst case scenario. This might sound somewhat illogical at first, but give it a go. When you allow yourself to mentally live through that worst case scenario; be it losing your job, separating from your husband or falling ill; you realize that you would still have options. And that maybe, just maybe, things wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Ever heard the saying; ‘comparison is the thief of joy’? If not, then it’s something worth remembering.
Whether you’re comparing your salary, your looks or your job; the only thing you are going to achieve is to make yourself unhappy. Why? Because when you compare yourself to others you exaggerate your own flaws and downplay the flaws of others.
The result? Everyone’s life looks much better than yours!
It is often said that we are all the average of the five people we are closest too. With that in mind, take a moment to quickly think about the five biggest relationships in your life. Are they negative or positive? Do they make you feel complete or depleted?
The state of our relationships can reveal a lot to us about the state of our happiness. Whether it is your relationship with a family member, friend, co-worker or a romantic partner, if the majority of your time spent with that person leaves you feeling miserable, undervalued or angry, then you need to consider whether or not this is a relationship you want to stay in.
One sure-fire way to make yourself unhappy is to spend your life being someone you are not.
A happy life is an authentic life. So start spending less time trying to meet the expectations of others and more time being who you want to be. You have one life, why live it as anybody but your absolute self?
How much of your day do you spend on tasks or activities that bring you absolutely zero happiness?
Most people realize that in order to be happy, they ought to be spending time on the things that actually make them feel good. So why is it that so many people feel they have to spend the majority of their day doing things that they hate?
Whether you’re spending time with people whose company you don’t actually enjoy, continuing to turn up to a job you hate, eating lunches that bore you or sitting through films that send you to sleep; stop. Stop doing things out of obligation, out of guilt or pressure. And start taking back control of how you spend your day!
Finally, the most obvious (but overlooked) way of making yourself unhappy is to always be looking for the negatives.
Our lives are a direct result of what we give the majority of our attention to. How we choose to see the world ultimately shapes our experience of it. So if this is the case, why spend so much time getting hung up on the bad stuff?
Life will always come with a side-serving of unforeseen obstacles, disappointments, and heartbreaks. But when these are the only things we are able to see, we miss out on all of the incredible joy, love and sensational moments that life has to offer too.
It’s all about perspective. So start looking a little harder for reasons to smile; you'll soon find that they are everywhere!
It can be hard to stay positive, especially in hard times. However, it's not impossible.
There are many ways that you can clear negativity from your life in order to become more positive and live a happier, more fulfilled life.