In a study by the University of California, psychologists discovered that genetics and life circumstances account for only about 30% of a person’s happiness. The rest is under 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 this person to whom we are referring, the chronically unhappy colleague who finds a negative turn in each situation he encounters.
What makes them so unhappy, no matter what is going on around them? How can you avoid becoming that person?
Here are 12 destructive habits of chronically unhappy people to watch out for:
1. Having a bad diet:
Certain aspects of unhappiness arise from an entirely physical impact on your life. Poor nutrition can lower you in a number of ways, including poor health, weight gain, reduced productivity, lack of energy, and depression.
Switching to a well-balanced diet will make you feel good, which in turn encourages more energy, mental alertness, increased productivity, and healthy body weight, which can, in turn, create a greater feeling of body positivity.
2. Being overly critical:
Unhappy people repeatedly have their negative self-talk, these messages constantly forcing themselves further into their minds, attacking their sense of self-worth. The only way for them to find relief, in turn, is to go after them and criticize those with whom they are in contact.
They bring others down to lift themselves up, but it never works in the long term. Learn to accept and forgive yourself for mistakes, and focus on embracing the differences between you and those around you.
There is nothing positive to be gained from saying bad things about those around you. Inviting this unnecessary negativity into your life will only cause an unhappy state of mind, playing on your own inner insecurities.
Rather than focusing on the negative, try to help the ones you come in contact with.
4. Having past regrets:
Inviting regret into your life serves only one purpose, and it is also inviting negativity into your life. Do not welcome this unnecessary misfortune! Psychology Today identifies four ways to deal with regret:
- Learn from mistakes but don’t dwell
- If nothing can change the situation, let go
- Make sure there aren’t too many complaints
- Reframe the situation more positively
5. Being materialistic:
The quest to always keep up at the material level is to prepare for failure in almost all circumstances. Unless you are the richest person in the world, with the most goods, and of the highest quality, there will always be someone who has more than you currently do.
Do not allow yourself to believe that another credit card to buy the latest gadget will lead to happiness! Look for things that bring happiness without much expense, reading, music, exercise, anything that can make you smile without going into debt.
6. Holding grudges:
Just like the other negative emotions we have mentioned, grudges are an unnecessary negative weight in our lives. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die.
At this point, the grudge is no longer about the behavior of the person you hold it against, but your own inability to focus on happiness in your own life. It’s time you move on, forgive, forget, and ignore, whatever steps you need to take to let it go.
7. Complaining all the time:
Even when 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, just dwelling on the things that are going wrong in their lives.
How do you avoid this trap? Rather than focusing on the problem, look for a solution!
8. Not pursuing your dreams:
The hardest part of living your dreams is taking the first step. It is only by pursuing the things we are most passionate about that we can be part of something great.
Do not delay the pursuit of your goals and dreams. Even a small step is a step in the right direction.
9. Worrying about the future unnecessarily:
The need for control is often a source of sadness because we have so little control over what our future holds. While we can make smart decisions to guide us towards our goals and dreams, there will always be unexpected bumps in the road.
Learn to live in the present and roll with the punches. Happy people can take advantage of it today and take on any challenges as they arise, without letting them take over today.
10. Having addictions and gluttony:
Good food, a relaxing drink with friends, a moment of calm spent with a favorite video game, these things are all healthy in moderation, however, when gluttony and addiction go into the mix, they can rob you of your happiness by taking control of your life.
Focus on your passions and broaden your horizons to avoid letting one thing take center stage.
11. Letting your fears take over:
Fear can be paralyzing, preventing us from taking the steps necessary to direct us to the very things that make us happy. Just as 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 in to them.
When you are in a place of doom, you are most likely to focus on the negative and emotional side of each situation. This will often make you blow things out of proportion, making the smallest step back seemingly alarming and unmanageable.
When dealing with negative emotions, be sure to step back, breathe deeply, and try to look at the problem objectively.