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8 Things You Might Be Doing If You’re Feeling Unhappy

8 Things You Might Be Doing If You’re Feeling Unhappy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

10 Principles for Success to Live Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

If you’re ready to do what you want in life, then the 10 principles of success are what you need to follow.

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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5. Embrace Your Inner Self

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

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What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

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You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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