Just as important as finding out what makes you happy is knowing what makes you unhappy.
Like Marcus Aurelius wisely said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
With that in mind, the following are five destructive habits and negative attitudes that can get in the way of your happiness. I’ve also included a few thoughts on how to overcome these behaviors and thinking patterns so you can retain your joy even during difficult times.
So here we go:
You Hate Change
I’ve lived half a century now. When you’re my age, it’s easy to find your comfort zone and stay there. Keep in mind though that boredom can lead to unhappiness. Click here to read my article on why it’s so important to embrace change.
I’m not saying you have to go sky diving or swim with the sharks. However, don’t be afraid to try new things. Take a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never visited before, try a new food, listen to different music, or learn a new language.
Don’t settle either. Happy people get themselves out of ruts and those same-o boring routines and make the necessary changes to meet their ever-changing needs, wants, and goals. In other words, they start heading in the direction they want go.
You Worry Too Much
Okay, confession time. I am so guilty of this one.
Even though I know worrying doesn’t solve problems or stop something bad from happening. Even though I know my energy would be much better spent changing what I can control and letting everything else go. Still, I have a tendency to overthink situations and feel anxious over things I can’t control.
So what do I do when I catch myself stressing out? Meditate on spiritual matters, try to get enough rest and sleep, write in my journal, do some Pilates, or read a book. I ask myself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? If the answer isn’t death, I force myself to move on.
You Hold Grudges
There’s a great quote by Mark Twain: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Anger, bitterness, and resentment are toxic. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. For all you know, the person you’re so angry with could be having the time of their life without giving you a second thought while you waste all your time stewing in negative energy.
As I wrote in my article, The Value of Forgiveness, it is only through forgiveness that you will find peace, freedom, empowerment, and happiness.
You Are a Perfectionist
When I was younger, this was a real problem. Although I’m much better at being happy with “good enough,” every once in a while I catch myself wanting life to be perfect. Which, of course, it isn’t! Social media can make this problem worse if you constantly compare yourself to everyone else who is bragging about their jobs, weight losses, or families.
Not only does perfectionism lead to frustration because it is unattainable but it is also a bad habit that contributes to low self-esteem.
So let go of perfectionism. Learn to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Quit worrying about what other people think. Don’t take life and yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and the absurdity of life. In other words, lighten up!
You Hang Around Negative People
Do you have people in your life that literally drag you down with their negativity? Maybe they are selfish, vicious gossipers, complainers, manipulative, overly dependent, or just plain miserable people.
What can you do?
Walk away. Yes, I mean it! Detox your life of negative people. True, they may become angry or act like a victim at first, but you must stick to your guns for your own emotional well-being. Don’t beat around the bush or defend yourself; be consistent and firm. It’s okay to fire your friends if the relationship is not working anymore.
Perhaps you can’t completely eliminate some of the negative people in your life. In that case, establish boundaries for your own sanity. Don’t be afraid to let them know when they cross them. Limit your time with them as much as possible.
So there you go. Do any of these five habits ring a bell? If so, make the necessary changes and find the joy and balance in life that you deserve.
Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.