It’s completely normal to feel unhappy from time to time. It happens to everyone. However, it is possible that you are doing some things that are contributing to your feelings of unhappiness. You might not even know you are doing them. Consider the list below, and then ask yourself from time to time, “Am I doing this?”
1. Assuming The Worst
If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking negatively about a situation or a person before knowing the reality, chances are you are assuming the worst. Here’s an example:
Your husband hasn’t called at the time he said he would.
Assuming the worst: He got into car crash. He’s with another woman. He’s left me.
Happy people assume the best in any given situation. They don’t jump to negative conclusions or assume something terrible has happened. This causes premature, unnecessary sadness, anger, and frustration. Always give the benefit of the doubt. If it turns out reality is pretty bad, then go into problem-solving mode. You’ll be far more clearheaded and prepared to handle a problematic situation at that point anyway. Here’s the same example but with a different perspective.
Assuming the best: He is surprising me with something special. He stopped at the store to pick up groceries for the family. A meeting with his boss ran late. He landed a promotion.
2. Living In The Past
Do you ever replay the same worries over and over again in your head? Are the words of your boss, friend, or co-worker playing on repeat in your mind? Are you holding a grudge against someone you had a fight with? If so, you are probably living in the past.
Happy people live in the present moment. This doesn’t mean they don’t think about the past and it doesn’t always mean they don’t consider their futures. But they know there has to be a balance. Sometimes you just have to let go in order to move on. It’s not always easy, but it is the healthiest option and will make your present moment and your future moments the happiest.
Live in the here and now. Forget regret. Forget the past. Learn to truly be present.
3. Comparing Yourself To Others
When looking at pictures of friends’ weddings and babies, do you wonder why you are still unmarried with no children yet? Do you look at someone else’s job and question your own accomplishments and successes? It’s probably because you are comparing yourself to other people.
Everyone is different, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. External motivation, i.e. some friendly competition, is fine, but comparing yourself to others is dangerous. There will always be someone who is funnier, more successful, has bluer eyes, a better job, and makes more money than you. But on the other hand, there will always be someone who makes less money than you, is less funny, and has fewer successes.
Happy people don’t compare themselves to any of these people. They know who they are, they are content with where they are, and compete only with themselves.
4. Trying To “Fix” Your Feelings
How often is it the case that when something is wrong you start to question your feelings? How many times have you thought to yourself, “Is there something wrong with me? Is it okay to feel what I feel? Why am I sad? Why aren’t I happier? Why am I angry today?” The truth is that life is series of ebbs and flows and it’s normal to have ups and downs. Negative emotions are perfectly normal to have. This means that when you feel sadness, you don’t need to immediately question it. It also means you don’t have to go into panic mode and attempt to fix it.
Allowing yourself to feel your feelings does a lot of things for you.
1. It allows you to just be you.
2. It allows you to process your thoughts.
3. It lets your mind know that it’s okay to go through what you are going through.
4. It reminds you to reevaluate your life’s decisions and make sure you are still on the path you want to be on.
If you are feeling upset, allow yourself to feel upset. But—and here’s the most important part—you must also let yourself move on. If a feeling is starting to last too long, you might want to ask yourself, “What next?” and try to keep the emotion in perspective. Emotions and feelings do not define you. So, don’t worry about the negative ones too much. Be strong, get through them, and you will prove to yourself just how resilient you really are. The best part is that the next time you have the same negative feeling, you will be more prepared for it. Instead of wondering if something is wrong with you, you might say to yourself, “Oh, I recognize this feeling. It passed the last time it came. And it’ll pass this time, too.”
5. Believing All Of Your Thoughts
This one might sound a little confusing. A common mistake people often make is believing every thought that goes through their heads. This is not safe. Sometimes our brains play tricks on us and we may think things we do not truly believe. It could be in the form of putting yourself down. It could be questioning the honesty and trust of a friend or loved one. Sometimes emotions, worry, and fear cause us to think unnecessarily negative things.
Happy people don’t believe everything single thought that goes through their minds. Often it’s the case that as you calm down and feel better, or even just allow time to pass, you will not think as negatively as you did earlier.
6. Focusing On What You Don’t Have
Have you ever been hard on yourself for not achieving enough? Have you ever tried to convince yourself you need more? This is probably causing you pain and unhappiness.
Happy people are grateful for everything they have and for everything they have accomplished. They do not focus on all of the things they don’t have. Try thanking yourself for everything you achieved in your life. Thank your parents, your siblings, your partners, your friends, and your co-workers. Thank your bed for providing a place to sleep. Thank your jacket for being warm. Thank your coffee for tasting so delicious in the morning. Thank your job for being a source of income. Thank the store for having the items you can buy.
You may not have everything you want, but it’s likely true that you have a lot. Be grateful because gratitude is a direct contributor to happiness.
7. Getting Upset With Things That Are Out Of Your Control
Some things you just can’t control. Traffic, prices, people: these are just a few examples. People have enough to worry about. There is no sense in worrying about these things. There is even less sense in trying to control them or getting upset about them.
Happy people realize what things are out of their control. It is not always easy, but we have to accept that we can only control our own actions. Let go of the need to control everything and don’t let the things you can’t control bother you. Soon you’ll notice how much better you’ll feel.
8. Not Being Yourself
One of the most important things in life is loving yourself. Love yourself for who you are. This does not mean that you cannot strive to be a better person by performing random acts of kindness, learning a new skill, or practicing gratitude. But it does mean that you should stop trying to be someone different. Just be yourself, and include all the complicated imperfections that make you you.
If you are tall, don’t wish you were shorter.
If you are quiet, don’t wish you were louder.
If you have brown hair, don’t wish you were blonde.
Know your value and love yourself.
If you’re feeling unhappy, ask yourself if you are doing any of these eight things. Then stop them right away. You’ll be on your way to feeling better in no time.