9 Ways to be Unhappy
& Let Your Emotions Rule Your Life
While there are many more than 9 ways to be unhappy, we thought we would take a minute and go through a few of the top ways to be unhappy and provide a few simple alternatives.
“A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is.” ~Seneca
These wise words allude to the almighty power of the human mind to shape our reality. While this speaks to the positive power of our executive functioning, in that we might exercise some control over our thoughts and minds and therefore our happiness, it is also a negative, as the mind is often a dark and lonesome place, with misunderstood intentions and faulty attempts at self-protection.
Listed here are surefire ways to create unhappiness in your life, to defer to the willpower of the mind, and give in to its demands.
Here are 9 Ways to be Unhappy
1. Ruminate About Being Unhappy
Worry hard about something about which you can do nothing. Refuse to let go of what is making you unhappy. Keep rehearsing that thing you said, and the look on their face. Invent other possible outcomes for things that have happened in the past, and dwell on it endlessly. Fixate on what has already happened so that you don’t have to think about the present moment, or worse even, the future.
Instead: Develop a non-judgemental relationship with your thoughts. Think of your attention as the doorman of your mind, where you can greet and acknowledge the new thoughts that arrive, but you don’t need to follow them to their rooms. When you find yourself wanting to follow them, or even catch yourself halfway, simply return to your post and refuse to get caught up in these guests’ drama.
Remind yourself that these are “just thoughts,” and give your mind another job to do, such as to focus on your breathing or to think about a plan for the day. When thoughts arise that pose a realistic threat, don’t continue to let them buzz around in your head; jot them down, and make a plan of action.
2. Give in to That Inner Voice
Believe the tricks of your own mind that say you won’t amount to anything. Consider yourself a failure and don’t miss an opportunity to remind yourself that you always will be. Make sure you think of every possibility first so it won’t hurt if anyone else tries to do the same.
Instead: Again, remember that these are “just thoughts”, not grounded in truth, and therefore replaceable. Switch out negative self-talk with realistic and positive self-talk. Develop your own personal mantra that you can refer back to and practice some self-compassion: learn to see yourself as a person who is doing their very best with the resources they have, and treat yourself the way you would your very best friend.
3. Be a Perfectionist
Holding yourself to impossible standards, and make sure to draw your sense of self-worth from those assessments is a sure fire way to stay unhappy. Constantly remind yourself that your mistakes, setbacks, and failures will doom you for life, and that if you’re not at 100%, you’re a 0.
Instead: Reverse the narrative. In the face of difficulty, reframe the situation as a challenge rather than a problem, focus on what could be different in the future, and make the choice to grow from your mistakes.
4. Blame Others for you Being Unhappy
“They’re the reason I’m in this mess”, “She makes me so mad”, “It’s his fault -He should have known I would react like that”. Make sure to blame other people and situations for things and ignore your own power to create change and passively accept all annoyances so that you’ll have something to complain about later. Make sure to complain about it to anyone and everyone.
Instead: Today’s culture needs a deep revision of the language that we allow to persist and influence our thinking. Citing that someone “made you” feel anything is a fallacy, as it is our responsibility and within our control to manage our reactions to others. Empower yourself to take control of your emotions rather than let them control you. Start by taking ownership.
5. Be Right, Always Be Right, Be the Only One Who is Always Right, and be Rigid in Your Rightness
Assure others of your rightness, and let them know that you knew it all along. Don’t allow others to weaken your arguments with their facts or logic, go into attack mode and fight them off with a vicious personal assault or attack on their character or motive. Be suspicious of others: don’t trust or believe them or accept them for anything but their worst and weakest.
Instead: Learn to listen more than you talk. Others may not always be right, but that does not mean everything they say doesn’t have even a small bit of truth to it, or is invalid. Insisting on your own perspective and forcing it on others may help you feel more in control, or help you avoid confronting your own failings, although it surely won’t help you create and sustain relationships. Sure, others may have hurt you in the past, but applying that as a rule to everyone you encounter is when employing such rigid boundaries has a clear cost.
6. Don’t Try to do Anything Different, Become Overwhelmed, and Decide to do Nothing.
If you are still happy, try this…This will most certainly make you more unhappy. Lose all ability to problem solve and instead choose immobilization. Get lost in your own perspective and refuse to listen to the counsel of others. Remind yourself that your personality is already formed, and you’re stuck the way you are. “I’m just this way”, “My mom was like this, so that’s how I act.” Allow these beliefs to justify your next netflix binge and the resulting semi-comatose state.
Instead: Increase awareness of your own beliefs about change, and be honest about the role that your unhappiness in this area is functioning in your life, whether you’re using it as an excuse to avoid the necessary work of change, or to continue to “play the victim”. Begin to question it so that you can do something about it. Break up the overwhelming task into smaller, more achievable goals, and keep it realistic. Use these small successes to help you work up to a larger victory.
7. Always Compare Yourself Unfavorably to Others
Focus on all the features that you see in others that you wish you had yourself, and be specific. Tear yourself down while you’re at it. Remind yourself that everyone else’s life is perfect, that the pain you have and problems you face are unique. Don’t allow yourself to imagine that others experience difficulty. Remember: they are likely funnier, prettier, wiser, and richer than you, and even if they do have pain, it’s likely more significant and of more depth than yours.
Instead: Rather than comparing your situation, positively or negatively, to others’, cultivate your own gratitude practice for the specific challenges that are all your own.
8. Take Personally Everything That Happens to You and Sulk
Remember that you are responsible for the way that other people feel, and it is your job to tip-toe around them, so as to not set them off. The point of your existence is to make others happy. Remember also that everything is your fault, and the problems you’re having likely wouldn’t be happening to anyone else.
Instead: Raise awareness about the ways that you are blaming yourself. Ask yourself, “is it really my fault?” and “Can I really control this situation?” Preach to yourself the truth that you can truly only control your own behavior. Take ownership of the aspect that you might have been able to act differently, but remember that others are responsible for their emotions and reactions. Act in a way that makes you proud of yourself for the way that you’ve handled the situation, and use this as your guidepost as you move throughout life.
9. Don’t Give Yourself Wholeheartedly to Anyone or Anything.
Shut down, shut everyone out. Protect yourself at all costs. Focus on the pain that life often brings, and use numbers 1-8 listed above as excuses to push others away and self-isolate.
Instead: Put yourself out there. Don’t let your emotions win: seek change, believe in a better future.
If you, or someone you know is struggling with a mental health related issue, please call us at 949-629-3730 or click the chat button on our site. We will be happy to talk to you about how we can help or help find resources in your area.