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10 Things That Chronically Unhappy People Do

10 Things That Chronically Unhappy People Do

Happy people don’t try for happiness. They don’t look for it. Happy people become happy as a sidenote to living their life the best way they can. Chronically unhappy people seem to want to fix their unhappiness and in doing so miss the mark all together. Happiness can’t be chased. It can’t be found. It can’t be grasped. It happens, when everything else falls into place.

You can’t fix unhappiness, unless you fix your inner dormant self. Wake up inside and make some changes. Happiness is grossly related to our actions, our choices and ultimately our thoughts. You can feel happy only as much as your mind will allow you. Fix your thoughts. Stretch your mind. Stretch your capacity to feel better.

Here are 10 common things chronically unhappy people do and how they can heal their life.

1.  They subscribe to fatalistic views of life.

Unhappy people quickly conclude the finality of something being impossible before giving it a chance for hope. “People can’t change.” “That is not fixable.” “You are finished.” These types of belief systems are self-limiting. They all happen to be fear driven. They keep you from trying alternatives, testing new ways, finding workarounds, solving problems. This kind of thinking holds people back from their actual potential.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

A closed mind cannot problem solve effectively. So to be happy throw aboard all you fatalistic beliefs and start being open-minded instead, thinking positive.

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2.  They stay stuck. They’re averse to change.

I get it. People need a break from the hustle of life, they throw the towel in, and e.g. eat more, exercise less. This is the time in their life when they become a spectator instead of a participant in life. Change means work, it means pain. It means getting out of the comfort zone. It means losing control a little bit.

Still, it’s important to practice change, feeling fear and overcoming it – because that’s where happiness starts shining through.  It happens when you aren’t focused on finding happiness, but focused instead on overcoming a fear. The evolution and growth of a person is where personal satisfaction and accomplishment breeds happiness. Without personal development we are expecting happiness to come without having done the work. Unhappiness is a symptom of arrested development. So get active and take your life in your own hands.

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli

3.  They don’t try enough.

Being unhappy is the same as giving up. It’s a choice you make every day to not try at something. We need to try new habits, try new relationships, try new activities, try new foods, try new knowledge. We need to keep trying to find ourselves at every stage of our lives. We need to try to be our best person. We need to try to serve.

Happiness is finding your passion. Your passion is the thing that you love so much that it causes you pain. Unhappy people quit too early. They don’t give themselves credit and quit before the glory. When we know what we’re made of, it give us confidence to try more often.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

4.  They self deprecate.

They’re quick to quip, “I am such an idiot.” Or “I am terrible person.” You’ve got to be good to yourself and it starts by quitting the self inflicted verbal abuse. Happiness is derived from confidence and that inner belief in ourselves. You can’t be happy if you don’t love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, people can sense it and won’t want to love you either. Project outwards what you want projecting inwards.

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne

Your disposition is a product of your thoughts, how you treat yourself and how you nourish yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love.

5.  They read, watch, hear dark and depressing things.

Something as simple as the news, is inherently depressing. It’s easy to get to a place where you want to hear the doom and gloom about the world and other people. We program ourselves to believe that our lives are better compared to the horror stories we hear. The problem is that we’re polluting our mind to attract those very things in our lives. Sad love songs are nice but do the songs you listen to correlate with the state of your relationships? What would happen if we exposed ourselves to funny, happy things?

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” –  Abraham Lincoln

Change your mindset. Decide how you want to feel and immerse yourself in a culture more happy.

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6.  They care about what others think.

It’s impossible to be happy if you spend worthless time thinking about outside judgements. Find out what YOU think and care only about that. Not how others stifle you. Feel strong about your own beliefs so that when people judge, you can stand confident. It takes major introspection to discover your authentic self, so don’t waste time on what others are thinking.

“Be true to yourself and you will never fall.” – Beastie Boys.

7.  They are defensive.

Instead of making things happen, things are happening to unhappy people. Living life in the defensive position is no play for happiness. Take nothing personal. Accept truth. Learn to be okay with it.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

Be open to taking chances, getting creative and working at something. Little achievements are big offensive moves.

8.  They are passionate and proud (but also stubborn).

Unhappy people want to do things their way. Given suggestions, they rebel even more positive that they are right. Sometimes it’s pride that gets in the way. Pride is just another barrier to happiness. Pride needs to be checked and wrecked. Pride is selfish and happiness is selfless. They have to be open to alternative ideas and solutions. If something is not working, try a new approach.

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“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

Being humble is the answer to happiness. Do something different, if you want a different result!

9.  They hold on for too long.

Toxic relationships, sad memories, the past, material possessions, unfinished projects, unfinished tasks, clutter, feelings, grudges….the list goes on and on. Whether it’s de-cluttering, detoxing, reprioritizing or clearing the mind, there needs to be a consious effort to let go of the old, to make room for the new.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” – Anatole France

One door must close for another to open! Holding on to the past and looking back, not forward, halts progress and happiness. The best things happen to those that don’t hold on too tightly. Let go of your grasp and watch how things fall into place without your efforts. Have faith in something other than yourself. Let go of control.

10.  They take themselves too seriously.

If you can’t find humor in your efforts or circumstances, then you’re taking yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and at others. When people take themselves so seriously, they aren’t present. Step back and breathe, look at the big picture. Don’t be that person that tries too hard! Narcissism happens when you believe so strongly that only your own attributes can produce gratification. That’s a lot of pressure to put on oneself. Learn to be humble, accept help from others.

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Life is too short to be so serious.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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