Habits of the Unhappy

Here’s a thought: The key to finding happiness is often subtraction, not addition.

What if we would approach the pursuit of happiness using the rule of deduction? Instead of searching for what makes us happy, what if we explore what causes unhappiness and move away from them?

There are many possible sources of our unhappiness, and sometimes, we also do not know what makes us happy. Our relationship, our career, a lack of purpose, or a loss could be causing our unhappiness. 

At its core, unhappiness is a result of our decisions and habits. More specifically, how we perceive the resulting situation from our habits determines our state of being. It’s the well-known adage “The glass is half full/half empty.”

To live a fuller and happier life, we answer the question: What keeps us tethered to a state of dissatisfaction and unhappiness? What patterns do we let go of?

Worrying About the Future in Excess

We get a false feeling of control when we have a list of things that should concern us the next day, week, month, or year. The illusion is that as long as we anticipate what’s up ahead, we will know the right steps to take when a challenge comes. However, the reality is we have no control over everything, thus, we feel helpless.

We will all feel pain, fear, anxiety, sadness, and grief, and these are part of life. Yes, we can deny these feelings and they will still be felt one way or another. Worrying about things that are fundamentally out of our hands drives us further away from being present in the good moments.

Let go of the worry and be aware of the positivity in front of you. Practice gratitude. Celebrate the beauty of being in the now.

Being Too Agreeable

Agreeableness has two results. One, we become part of a social group; and two, in a teamwork setting, we add to productivity and lessen conflict. These two results are effective ways to maintain social relationships; however, being too agreeable compromises our happiness.

When they say, “Nice guys finish last”, what they‘re pointing out is that a person who dances around what they mean to say or do takes more time to reach their goals. Our most important resources – time, focus, energy – are finite. Regulating their use is crucial to our overall wellness.

We find ourselves stuck in situations or commitments we care very little for, yet we remain in that state to avoid offending or hurting anyone. While our intentions are good, we need to determine to what end do we keep going with the flow. Let’s strive to choose the things that make us happy and commit to them 100%.

Setting boundaries and standing our ground safeguards us from spending our resources on things that have zero contribution to our wellbeing. We set ourselves to become emotionally and physically burnt out if we do not let go of being too agreeable.

When we ask for what we need, we have a higher chance of getting precisely what we desire. For instance, when we need to distance ourselves from a situation or a person, we have to say it like it is and say “no” to any form of engagement. Saying “no” is one of the most effective self-empowering practices we can do. Asserting our values is self-love. When we know how to care for and love ourselves, happiness follows.

Masking Pain

Why do we sometimes apologize after sharing that we’re struggling? Why are we programmed to be private about our sadness or frustration? 

As adults, we are expected to contain or inhibit extreme negative emotions. As practitioners, there’s even an added pressure to seem like we all have it figured out. However, bottling our emotions also isolates us from people who want to be there for us. We are given firmer grounds to weather through unhappiness when we let others in. Sharing our struggles signals that we are open to receive help.

Know that there are genuine people who want us to be happy. We are enough, and we deserve happiness.

Settling for Band-Aid Solutions to Stress 

Treating the symptoms of unhappiness is a temporary solution. Yes, we can take medication to manage stress, anxiety, or depression, however, there is still a need to dig deeper within to determine why we feel or think the way we do.

What is causing us pain? Why do we repeat negative patterns? 

Stress management is helpful, yet it is not a long-term solution. In short, manage the stressors and not the stress. 

Stressors manifest themselves in different ways and vary for everyone. Being aware of how our mind and body react to situations or people is vital to our journey of long-term wellness.

Seek help to look within.

Let go — Untether yourself from unhappiness.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ― Mahatma Gandhi