It’s not easy to be unhappy all of the time. You have to really work at it by developing and maintaining habits that prevent happiness and encourage unhappiness. Just as certain habits will fill your bank account or keep your waistline under control, there are several habits that will ensure that you’re unhappy.
See how many of these habits you’re currently guilty of applying to your own life.
These habits create an environment that allows unhappiness to flourish:
- Pessimism. Research shows that pessimists tend to be more accurate than optimists, but optimists are much happier! Expecting bad things to happen ruins your mood and increases the possibility of negative outcomes.
- This can be a challenging habit to change. Ask yourself what you’re gaining by holding negative expectations in your conscious awareness.
- Failure to remain focused on the present. Everything that’s meaningful is happening in your life right now. The past is over, and much of the future is completely beyond your control.
- Thinking about enjoyable experiences from the past is distracting. Focusing on negative past experiences creates regret. Any time spent thinking about the past is ultimately counterproductive.
- Thoughts of the future create anxiety. When you focus on the future, you tend to worry and experience stress.
- One of the biggest regrets anyone can have is the belief that they’ve wasted time. Spending too much time thinking about the future or the past is a waste of time and creates a more challenging present.
- Placing too much emphasis on money and possessions. Our society places a premium on the wealth and impressive items that often accompany success. However, there is a poor correlation between wealth and happiness. Studies show that an income above $75,000 does nothing to increase happiness.
- You’ll also find that the neighbors are a lot less concerned with your swimming pool and fancy car than you expected.
- Being financially secure is a worthy goal. An obsession with wealth is more likely to create unhappiness than to cure it.
- Comparing yourself to others. While everyone might look more or less the same, there are significant differences between people. Some have more education than others. Some had kinder parents. People come from different economic backgrounds. There are a plethora of differences between you and others.
- The best comparison you can make is between your present self and your past self. Maybe you’re overweight, but if you’re less overweight than you were last week, you have plenty of reason to be happy with yourself.
- An obsession with perfection. Striving for perfection is a waste of time. Do the spoons really need to be perfectly stacked in the drawer? Nothing can ever be 100% perfect, so you’re setting yourself up to be miserable. Creating a standard that can never be reached is unhealthy and unproductive.
- Complete tasks at an appropriate level and avoid trying to be perfect. Consider how to best use your time. The time you spend on perfection could be spent on something else.
If you’re less happy than you’d like, your habits might be to blame. The way you view the world and engage with it has an impact on your ability to experience happiness. How many of these habits are you guilty of committing? Are there any other habits you have that could be contributing to your unhappiness?
Examine your own habits and look for habits you can drop or alter. Think about new habits you can create that will move you toward happiness, and instill those habits instead.