In a study completed by the University of California, psychologist found that genetics and life circumstances only account for approximately 50% of a person’s happiness. The rest is in your control.
Happiness itself is difficult to define. It comes in many forms, and is unique to each person. Unhappiness, however, is easy to identify. You know that person we are referring to, the chronically unhappy co-worker who finds a negative spin in every situation they encounter.
What is it that makes them so unhappy, regardless of what may be going on around them? How can you avoid becoming that person?
Here are 12 destructive habits of chronically unhappy people to watch out for…
- Poor Nutrition
Some aspects of unhappiness come from a fully physical impact on your life. Eating poorly can bring your down in several ways including poor health, weight gain, decreased productivity, lack of energy and depression. Switching to a well-balanced diet will allow you to feel great, which in turn encourage more energy, mental alertness, increased productivity and a healthy body weight, which can in turn build a greater feeling of body positivity.
- Overly Critical
Unhappy people have their negative self talk on repeat, these messages constantly drilling themselves further into their mind, attacking their feeling of self worth. The only way they are able to find any relief is in turn to lash out and be critical of those they are in contact with. They tear others down in an attempt to raise themselves up, but it never works for long. Learn to accept and forgive yourself for mistakes and errors when they are made, and focus on embracing the differences in those around you.
There is no positive to be gained from the action of talking ill of those around you. Inviting this unnecessary negative into your life will only bring about an unhappy mindset, playing upon your own inner insecurities. Rather than focusing on the negative, try to build up those that you come in contact with.
- Past Regret
Inviting regret into your life serves only one purpose, and that is to also invite negativity into your life. Don’t welcome this unnecessary unhappiness! Psychology Today identifies four ways to cope with regret:
- Learn from mistakes but don’t dwell
- If nothing can be changed about the situation, let it go
- Make sure too much blame is not being undertaken
- Reframing the situation more positively
- Keeping up with the Jones’
The quest to always keep up on a material level is setting yourself up for failure in almost every circumstance. Unless you are the wealthiest person in the world, with the most and highest quality belongings, there will always be someone with more than you have at this time. Don’t allow yourself to believe that another credit card so that you can purchase the latest gadget is going to lead to happiness! Seek out those things that bring happiness at no large expense – reading, music, exercise – anything that can make you smile without acquiring more debt.
Much like the other negative emotions that we have mentioned, grudges are an unnecessary negative weight in our lives. Holding a grudge is like drink poison and hoping for someone else to die. At this stage the grudge is no longer about the behavior of the person you are holding a grudge against, it is about your own inability to focus on the happiness in your own life. Its time that you move on – Forgive, forget, ignore – Whatever steps you need to take to let it go.
- Constant Complaining
Even when they are surrounded by happiness and positive situations, a chronically unhappy person can find something to complain about. They refuse to accept life’s circumstances as anything but negative, content to dwell on the things that are going wrong in their lives. How do you avoid this trap? Rather than focusing on the problem, seek a solution!
- Delaying your Dreams
The hardest part of living your dreams is to take the first step. Only in pursuing the things that we are most passionate about are we able to be part of something great. Don’t put off your pursuit of your goals and dreams. Even a baby step is a movement forward in the right direction.
- Unnecessary Worry About the Future
The need for control often brings unhappiness, as we have control over so little about what our future holds. While we can make smart decisions to steer ourselves towards our goals and dreams, there will always be unforeseen bumps in the road. Learn to live in the present and roll with the punches. Happy people are able to enjoy today, and face any challenges as they come, without letting them take over today.
- Addictions and Gluttony
Great food, a relaxing drink with friends, some quiet time spent with a favorite video game… These things are all healthy in moderation, however when gluttony and addiction come into the mix they can rob you of your happiness by taking over your life. Focus on your passions, and broaden your horizons so as to avoid letting one thing take complete center stage.
- Allowing Your Fear to Call the Shots
Fear can be crippling, stopping us from taking the steps to move towards the very things that make us happy. Much like with worry about the future, it is important to focus on the here and now. Remember that you are not your negative thoughts, and as such, you do not have to give into them.
When you are in a place of unhappiness, you are most likely to focus on the negative and emotional aspect of every situation. This will often cause you to blow things out of proportion, make the smallest set back a seemingly alarming and unmanageable challenge. When dealing with negative emotions remember to take a step back, take a deep breath and try to look at the problem objectively.