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10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing

10 Things Unhappy People Do That You Shouldn’t Be Doing

Living an unhappy lifestyle only leads to a wasted lifetime. Life is short, so why waste a minute feeling upset about things that you can’t control?

While we should all embrace our negative emotions instead of neglecting them, don’t let your sadness linger.

If you want to live a happier life, take notes of what unhappy people do so you know what to avoid.

1. They seek approval from others.

Unhappy people look for happiness in the wrong places. They spend their time focusing on what others think of them, when they should focus on themselves. An unhappy person concentrates on trying to please others, in an effort to gain approval.

This is something we should refrain from doing. You cannot always gain approval from others, nor can you tailor your beliefs to suit others. You will only find dissatisfaction in this. To be happy you must put yourself and your beliefs first. Do what makes you happy and not what others will approve others.

2. They need to be in control of everything.

Unhappy people need to feel like they are in control. They want to ensure they know every detail, to enable them to have full control. They believe that by having full control, they have the ability to stop any negative side effects.

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But you cannot control everything. Life is uncertain and unpredictable, meaning you cannot prepare against everything. When you go into full control mode, you find that you waste too much energy. Yet in the end, things can change and your efforts are wasted. So don’t spend all your time focusing on every detail. Accept that you cannot control everything. Try your best and let whatever happens, happen.

3. They don’t take risks.

Unhappy people have a habit of not taking risks. When they handed opportunities they often decline the invite, or find excuses not to. For example, a friend may ask them if they want to go go-karting at the weekend. An unhappy person’s first response would be whether they can afford it, or how scary go-karting seems like (how risky it is). Their own fear stops them from taking that opportunity, thus not taking a risk. The problem with this is the more you decline, the more fearful a situation becomes.

You need to let go and take risks to be happy. Saying no to life’s opportunities only stops you from living your life fully. So don’t let excuses hold you back, if you can do it, then go ahead!

4. They focus on what they don’t have.

Unhappy people see the negatives in life, their main focus being what they don’t have. They tell themselves, “if only I had this job, I’d be happier” or “if only I had more time, I could focus on my real talents”. Unhappy people believe that they need something they don’t have to be happier. Their focus remains on these things they don’t have, making their everyday life boring and unsatisfying.

Maybe it would be better if you had a different job or you had more time on your hands. But that shouldn’t stop you from living in the now. If you did get that dream job, there will always be something more you want (more money, more time and so forth).

You need to remember to focus on what you do have, or what is good in your current situation. Do you have great friends and family around you? Do you have a roof over your head and money so you can pay bills? Use that time and energy spent on dreaming about a different life and enjoy what you have.

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5. They don’t follow their heart.

Unhappy people have a way of focusing on the details. Because of this they tend to think about things logically, using their brain and not their heart. They ignore their gut instinct and choose to think things through, weighing out the pros and cons.

Yet what do the movies tell you? Do they tell you to list the pros and cons? No, they tell you to follow your heart to be happy. The pros and cons may tell you not to go to your friend’s birthday party, but what if your heart told you otherwise?

Your heart is the key to your happiness. You should trust it to guide you to what you want in life. So next time you need to make a decision, listen to your gut instinct.

6. They see only the negatives.

If you haven’t already gathered, unhappy people see only the negatives in life. Their whole outlook on life is that the world is a miserable place. They don’t see the positives in life, like the goods things in their life. They see only the negatives in life, like what they don’t have and what is going wrong in their life. This makes unhappy people pessimistic.

When faced with challenges in life, you shouldn’t focus on the negatives. I know easier said than done, but you really should try looking at the focuses in a situation.

Have you gained anything out of this situation? Perhaps that lost job opportunity means you have a shot at a better job. Sometimes it may seem like there are only negative results, however you can still find the positives. Just think, what have you gained from this experience? Has this taught you more about yourself and what you like? Has it provided you with the skills to be more prepared next time? Remember, you can always find a positive in a situation.

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7. They hold on to grudges.

Unhappy people don’t let go of grudges and instead hold onto the painful memory. They ask themselves questions like “What if…” and “Why did this happen?” They find it hard to connect with people who have wronged them and find it difficult to forgive them. Instead they choose to dwell on what others have done and the hurt they have felt.

You should never be unhappy because of something someone has done to you. Yes, it might be unfair and totally unjustified. You might wish you had said or acted differently, or that the wronged person would apologise. But it is wrong to think this way. It is wrong to let something in the past take over your life today.

Don’t let someone else’s actions or words control how you feel today. You are the one that will suffer by holding onto this painful memory. Learn to forget and forgive, because you deserve to be happy today.

8. They don’t take responsibility.

Unhappy people blame others when something goes wrong. Instead of taking responsibility, they will point their finger at someone. They might say something like, “If it wasn’t for Josie, I wouldn’t have stayed out late and made it to my morning lecture”.

What you should be doing is taking responsibility. By pointing the finger at someone else, you are unable to admit you did wrong. Soon, the blaming spirals out of control and you are blaming everything on someone else. Accept when you are wrong and learn from your mistakes. You cannot learn if you don’t see you are at fault.

9. They hang around the wrong crowd.

Unhappy people draw in others of their kind. It is said that you attract the energy you give, thus negative people attract more negative people. And being around negative people will lower your mood, giving you a more sombre outlook on life.

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If you want to be happy, don’t let yourself be surrounded by negative people. Negative people will drain your energy and influence you into a negative attitude. Only allow positive people to be around you, people who will spur you on, not focus on your flaws.

10. They don’t enjoy the present.

Unhappy people focus on the negatives in life. They look at what they don’t have and the negative experiences they have had. Because they are lost in their bitter memories, they are unable to focus on the present moment. With their thoughts preoccupying them, they are unable to have fun and let go.

True happiness is living in the present moment, to be able to have fun and enjoy life today. What happened in the past, or what may happen in the future, does not matter. You should enjoy this moment now. Get involved in conversation around you or simply watch those around you.

Enjoy this very moment you are in.

More About Living a Happy Life

Featured photo credit: Trym Nilsen via unsplash.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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