As human beings, we are often taught to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Despite this, there are millions of us who are unhappy. Unfortunately many of us rely on external things to keep us happy, e.g. a new gift, possessions, the weather, a compliment, our favourite food. However, true happiness and fulfilment comes from within.
According to Psychology Today, “40 percent of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change.”
The difference between being happy and being unhappy is how often and how long we allow ourselves to stay in that place. Most of the time, those who are chronically unhappy are usually guilty of, or share the following common traits:
1. Your default belief setting is “Life is hard”.
Happy people know that life is not always perfect and can often throw us the odd curveball, but are aware of this and are able to bounce back through difficult times. They take responsibility and exercise resilience.
Perseverence towards problem-solving instead of complaining about problems and circumstance is a key difference between those who are happy and those who aren’t.
Unhappy people tend to see themselves as victims of life and stay stuck in that “look what happened to me” “I have the worst luck” mentality.
2. You believe most people can’t be trusted.
Most happy people are trusting of their fellow human beings, believing and choosing to see the good in people. Happy people tend to foster a sense of welcoming and community around people they meet.
Unhappy people often feel that others are “out to get them”, and are more distrustful of others. While this can serve as a sense of protection, it most often leads to closing the door on friendships and deeper connections with people.
3. You focus on what’s wrong with the world versus what’s right.
There’s a lot of bad, terrible, and unhappy things in the world, no doubt about that. Yet happy people tend to turn a blind eye to this and focus on what’s good and positive. Happy people are aware of global issues but keep the balance by looking at the positive attributes around the world. Unhappy people usually see the world through one eye, focusing on the fear and chaos and all that’s wrong, usually justifying their unhappiness by such events.
4. You compare yourself to others and harbour jealousy.
Unhappy people believe someone else’s good fortune steals from their own. They become jealous and resentful of people who appear to be making strides or are content with their lives, often exclaiming that such good fortune is due to “luck”.
5. You strive to control your life.
Happy people take small steps every day to achieve their goals. But they know that not everything goes according to plan, and are able to “go with the flow” when life throws that odd curveball. Unhappy people tend to micromanage their lives in an effort to control all outcomes, and end up falling apart when life throws a wrench in their plan. Happy people always have a Plan B or use life’s little failures to learn and improve.
6. You view your future with worry and fear.
Unhappy people often fill their heads with what could go wrong versus what might go right. Unhappy people are constantly filled with worry and fear, not allowing themselves to think of their futures with happiness or hope as they have the belief that “that’s not in the cards for me”. Happy people daydream, dream big, and think of all the possibilities their future holds. They experience fear and worry, but don’t allow it to gobble up the big picture. When faced with fear for the future, happy people take action and list all the things they can do to prevent such fears and worry’s from happening.
7. You fill your conversations with gossip and complaints.
Life’s hardships and things of the past that have done them wrong are the unhappy person’s favourite conversational topic. When they run out of things to complain about, they gossip about other people’s lives.
Happy people live in the now and dream about the future. They’re positive and excitable, and welcome all points of view whole-heartedly. They take interest in other people and their values, and are supportive and empathetic.
Obviously, none of us are perfect. There will be days where we are happy and days where we are characteristically unhappy. The difference is, that we choose to allow ourselves not to sit in a pool of pity when we are down, learning to stand up and brush ourselves off and continue to look at life with happiness and enthusiasm.
Happiness is a habit we need to practice every day.
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“7 Habits of Chronically Unhappy People” by Tamara Star, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.