These thinking patterns are making you unhappy
20 things that can drain your happiness
“You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes.” — Lauren Oliver, an American author
Are you unhappy? Are you waiting until your life is problem-free before you can be happy? Do you feel like you are unlucky?
It is common for us to feel unhappy, especially during times of stress.
Unhappiness can come in many different forms. Some feel a loss of meaning. Some feel a loss in direction. Some feel a loss of genuine connection with others.
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” — Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States
Here are 20 reasons you may be unhappy and how to change your thinking. You are doing things that are draining your happiness, and you have the power to stop doing them.
1. You Compare Yourself to Others
We are curious creatures and want to learn about others. However, we feel inferior and insecure when we compare ourselves to others. We may feel like we are failures, even though we are not.
Don’t play the comparison game. Your chapter 1 should not be compared to someone else’s chapter 20. Comparing yourself to others will only create discontent in your life and drain your happiness.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself. Are you a better person today than you were yesterday? You’ll always be disappointed if you seek validation and compare yourself to others. There’s only one of you.
2. You Haven’t Discovered Your Life’s Purpose
Don’t try to be someone you are not. Be the person you are meant to be. Find purpose in your life.
Discover your purpose and pursue it with vigor. When you know your life’s purpose, you live a meaningful life and live each day to the fullest. When you know your life’s purpose, you are positive, seek new opportunities, and make a difference in the world.
3. You Hold Grudges
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” — Mark Twain, an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer
Holding grudges harms yourself because you have negative energy. Let your bitterness go so you can help yourself, not the person you hold a grudge against.
The person you are mad at is probably having a good old time and not even thinking about you. While you are wasting your time angry being at them, they are living their lives. The only person that it hurts is you.
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4. You Are Lonely
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” — Mother Teresa, an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun
We are social creatures. Relationships make up a big part of our lives. If you are alone one night, try to change it.
Making new friends will improve your outlook on life. Seek out friends by finding people with similar interests, values, and beliefs. Find commonalities and cultivate the relationship.
Smile, be genuinely interested, and follow up. You’ll be surprised how you won’t feel lonely when you develop deep connections.
5. You Worry
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” — Mark Twain
Worry gets you nowhere. Worry doesn’t create action; it freezes you. You cannot think clearly when you worry.
Put your energy into things you can control, not things you can’t control. Don’t worry, be happy. A lack of worry can create happiness.
6. You Seek Materialism
Money can make our lives better. However, it doesn’t give us happiness. If tomorrow was your last day on Earth, would you make money or have once-in-a-lifetime experiences and spend time with your loved ones?
Materialism doesn’t bring you fulfillment and happiness. Living by your values and beliefs will make you happy and motivated. Find a place where you don’t need money to have fun, and then you’ll realize you don’t need to seek materialism.
7. You Don’t Prioritize the Right Things
You don’t make time for the right things. We can all lose our focus. However, you must ensure your time aligns with your values.
List your values and rank them in importance. Are these values on your schedule for tomorrow? If not, why not, and what can you do to ensure your values match your time?
Prioritize your life by doing what matters to you the most. Time-block your personal and professional life. You’ll be happier when you prioritize your time for the right things.
8. You Don’t Take Your Foot off the Gas
Busyness and overworking are a badge of honor, but they shouldn’t be. You can’t work straight through every day at work without taking breaks. That leads to burnout and job dissatisfaction.
To be effective at work, you must make smart use of your time through time blocking, taking breaks, and balancing your energy, not your time.
9. You’re Stuck in the Past
You can’t start your next chapter in life without letting the last chapter go. Many people become the product of their past and live with regrets, what ifs, and sorrows about yesterday.
Learn from your past and move on. You can’t change your history, so you shouldn’t dwell on it. You can’t live in the present when you are stuck in the past.
10. You Keep Thinking About the Future
You can’t enjoy today when you are thinking about the future. What you do today will determine who you will become tomorrow. Don’t focus on the future when you lose sight of the process that will get you to tomorrow.
Find joy in the ordinary and enjoy the adventure of obtaining your goals. You limit your happiness when you think about what may or may not happen. Happiness is about the journey as much as it is about the destination.
11. You Hang Out with Unhappy People
You are the average of five people you hang out with. When you surround yourself with unhappy people, you’ll become unhappy.
Change the people you hang out with, and you change your life
When you start compromising who you are for the people around you, you need to change who you hang out with. If the people you associate with daily are negative, your life will become negative.
12. You Have an Unhealthy Lifestyle
“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.” — Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American author
Are you eating healthy? Do you have stress management techniques in place? Are you getting enough exercise and sleep?
Your body will tell you if you are not. So will your mind. Emotions are linked to physical and mental well-being. Your mind-body connection is real, so you can improve your happiness and mood if you concentrate on improving your mental and physical well-being.
13. You Are a Perfectionist
“In order to go on living, one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.” — Hannah Arendt, a political philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor
Are you seeking perfectionism with yourself and others? Perfectionism is an excellent way to drain your happiness.
Seek excellence, not perfectionism. Perfectionism is unrealistic. You’ll always fall short of perfection because nobody is perfect. You’ll only make yourself unhappy.
14. You Are Afraid of Failure
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Some people are so afraid of making mistakes that they don’t try things. As we get older, we tend to take fewer risks.
Your most significant risk is not to take a risk. Don’t be afraid of failure; embrace it. You can’t grow until you fail. You’ll be dissatisfied in your life if you don’t try anything new.
15. You Procrastinate
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off til tomorrow what you can do today.” — Lord Chesterfield, a British statesman and diplomat
Procrastination leads to frustration. The more you procrastinate, the more you must do later. If you feel you are scrambling to complete something at the last minute, you are procrastinating.
Procrastination harms our happiness. It holds you back more than you realize. To overcome it, eliminate distractions, be realistic about your to-do list, break things into smaller pieces, and reward yourself.
16. You Are Not Learning
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” — Henry Ford, an American industrialist, business magnate, and founder of the Ford Motor Company
Learning can bring joy to your life. If you have stopped learning, take on a new hobby. You’ll become happier because the excitement of learning something new will motivate you.
You grow when you learn new things. Remember that learning is a lifelong process. To embrace learning, turn off the TV, make your social media feed more interesting, become more curious, and read more books.
17. You Believe People Should Play by Your Rules
The world is not fair. It’s not fair when you expect it to play by your rules. The world doesn’t live by your rules book.
You are happier when you don’t live your life based on how you think others should treat you or that others should live by your standards, values, and beliefs. Getting people to live by your rules will create frustration because it can be tough to change someone’s mind.
18. You Wait for Happiness
Do you think you’ll be happy when your dreams come true? News flash: you won’t. Waiting for happiness will drain your happiness.
Don’t tie your happiness to future success because it may not happen. Find joy in today and let tomorrow surprise you.
If you think you’ll be happy when you finally hit a goal, get enough money to buy a home, or start a new relationship, you won’t. Happiness is not determined by what will happen in the future. Happiness is what happens in the present moment.
19. You Have Unrealized Dreams
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney, an American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur
Many unrealized dreams can haunt us forever. When you were a kid, there were many dreams you wanted. Perhaps you wanted to be a professional athlete, a dentist, or an astronaut.
Dreams are funny because you can always create new dreams when you get older. You can find new and exciting possibilities that you didn’t realize existed. It’s never too late to change your life for the better.
20. You Are Not Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
“The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.” — Erich Fromm, a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and humanistic philosopher
Growth occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone. It would help if you got comfortable being uncomfortable. You’ll grow when embracing the uncomfortable.
Don’t be insecure about moving on from the familiar. You’ll find yourself and your wings when you try something challenging. You’ll learn something about yourself you didn’t realize.
Bringing It All Together
There are 20 things that can drain your happiness. Remember that your mindset keeps you from changing your life and living a happy life.
Start small by changing one of these thinking habits, build momentum, and change some of your established thinking patterns. When you change your mindset, you can live a happier life.
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” — Dale Carnegie, an American writer and lecturer
CONTRIBUTED BY Matthew Royse
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