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10 Ways to Have Happiness Back in Your Depressing World

10 Ways to Have Happiness Back in Your Depressing World

How many times have you heard the phrase: “Happiness is a choice?” Well, I’m here to tell you that it is indeed correct. In a world of horrific events discussed every five minutes on the television, radio and in the newspapers, it’s no wonder so many people are sad when the state of the world is as it is. It’s times like these that we need to view life from a new perspective, to not let outside circumstances, the media and other people’s negative attitudes affect us in our daily lives. With this in mind I’ve come up with 10 ways to bring the happiness back into your life, to help gain a better perspective on what is happening around you, and to help you to live a brighter, more vibrant life.

1. Always surround yourself with people who love you.

Sounds obvious, but it’s true! If you surround yourself with those who love, nurture and care for you, you will know that even through the toughest times you will always be supported. However, if you surround yourself with negative, soul destroying and energy zapping people who are only out for themselves, your world will look completely the opposite. When love is around you, you will feel it, and because of that you will provide the same love to others who may need it from you. Sometimes, it will be necessary to move away from those who drain you and bring you down. That’s OK. Each person we meet is there to teach us a valuable lesson, one way or another.

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2. Distract yourself by doing something you love.

What do you love to do? When was the last time you did something you really loved to do? If you’ve answered, “I don’t know,” to both of those questions, then I’d suggest taking some time out to remember what it is that inspires you, lifts you and fills you with passion. In a world with so much sadness we need to remember that following your bliss and doing something you love will have a deep and meaningful effect on you and those around you. It’s doing things you love that brings you joy and brings the happiness back in an otherwise cold world.

3. Smile, laugh and play as often as you can.

Try not to take life too seriously. I know that ‘seriousness’ is required in some circumstances, but if you continually treat life as a struggle or as something painful then it will continue to be that way. Let your true self come out by remembering what it was like as a child to be carefree, to laugh, to smile and to play regularly. If you can learn to bring more play into your life and the lives of those you love, you’ll see that life no longer has to be depressing or sad. Just because the rest of the world is like that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit!

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4. Be grateful for what you already have in life.

This is always so important and no doubt you’ve seen it many times before. Being thankful or grateful for what you already have in life is one of the main things to remember when living in a depressing and sad world. To put the happiness back in your life you have to be thankful daily. Remember, if you are reading this you probably have a roof over your head, or you have food to eat, or water readily available and most of all you are able to wake up every morning with good health. It is easy to take these things for granted, especially here in the Western world. So instead of worrying or wishing for things you do not have, always be grateful for everything you already do have.

5. Write down your thoughts to calm the mind.

Journaling or writing is a powerful way to unburden the mind of all the sadness or depression around us. So often those who get weighed down with depression or mental health issues feel that they have no one to talk to or they are unable to express themselves openly. Writing is a perfect way to help with getting happiness back. It can release any stress, worries or anxiety, and once you have written down your thoughts—however negative or sad they are—you will feel a hundred times better for letting it out. If you can write every day, putting down your thoughts and feelings and sharing them on paper, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders. This is one habit I would recommend if you want to be happier and healthier.

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6. Go back to nature.

Nature is beautiful and if it’s been a while since you stepped out in it and really took in its natural wonder and magnificence, then perhaps you should take some time out and absorb it fully. There is no need to go on a great hike or head miles away to truly embrace nature, just stepping out into your back garden early in the morning or late in the evening will do the same thing. Sitting and listening to the birds, watching as they go about their daily routines, feeding their young, catching worms or singing their wonderful songs will soon have you fully aware of their presence. It’s not until you really sit, listen and observe that you become in awe of how nature just gets on with life in the only way it knows how, one day at a time.

7. Do something for someone else.

A lot of what has happened in the world to make it depressing has happened because we have forgotten to love and forgotten to give. To get the happiness back in your life, it might be time to start looking at how much giving you actually do. When someone asks you to do something for them, how do you react? Are you resentful, offhand or plain rude? If you have answered “yes” to any of those, then perhaps it’s time to re-think how you are to those you love. Giving does not have to be about money, it can just be giving back time, or helping someone move, or lending a loved one a book. It can be anything. I’ve always felt that if you aren’t giving then you aren’t living because that’s what life is all about!

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8. Always look for the good in the world rather than the bad.

If you look for reasons to be happy and to get back to happiness then you will find them. So rather than focusing on what’s bad in the world, perhaps it’s time to shift your perspective and focus on the good around you. Remember that your perceptions usually determine your reality, so make sure they are good ones!

9. Trust your gut instinct.

You are the only one who knows and understands what is right or wrong for you. To keep the depressing world from hammering on your door, remember to follow your intuition and have faith that you are going in the right direction. It’s when you believe that you can survive anything that you will have happiness back in your life. Don’t forget that there are no mistakes in life, there are only opportunities to grow.

10. Be the change you want to see in the world.

The world may be a depressing state of affairs, especially when you listen to negative people and the media. If you want to see a change in the world and have happiness back in your life, then start changing your own beliefs and attitude. It’s when you change that you can become what you want to see in the world. If you are more loving, then you will experience that more within your daily life. If you want more happiness then be happy, if you want more money then give money—the list is endless!

So, what ways can you have happiness back in your life when the outside world appears to be so depressing?

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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