We can all agree happiness is a state of mind and feeling that everyone wants to achieve. When we’re happy, our experience of the world is much more positive.
We connect with the better things in life and offer everyone an upbeat experience when they encounter us.
But happiness is not a gift - it’s a reward. A reward for the life we build for ourselves and the experience we choose to have. And for those that have a constant feeling of unhappiness, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be turned around.
Whilst there are people that struggle with happiness due to a mental health condition, we’re going to focus on those of you who are struggling with circumstantial unhappiness, looking at changes you can implement in order to achieve more happiness.
Here are some common reasons why you might be unhappy.
1. You’re Not Challenging Yourself
Challenge will sometimes bring failure, however, it will always bring success. What that means is, putting yourself in situations in which you’re faced with a challenge, is already a success in itself.
Don’t be scared to feel uncomfortable. Actively being in situations in which you have to overcome, whether that’s a marathon or public speaking as examples, will contribute to improving your self-esteem. The more struggle you have and the more you break through them, the better the opinion you will have of yourself.
Feeling strong enough to deal with life's adversities will boost your self-esteem - contributing to your journey of being happy.
2. You’re Not Mixing Things Up
Humans are interesting creatures, sometimes never satisfied with what they’ve got. Whilst we like stability, we also crave new adventures.
For the former, you may find it’s easy to get stuck in the same routine. The same job, the same house, the same restaurants and friendships. Sure, they all offer security, but do they give your mind that new sense of excitement?
If you feel you’re someone whose life has become predictable, try mixing things up. It could be a huge decision such as changing your job or career path. Or, it could be something as simple as starting a new class and getting an education in something different. Whatever it is, making that change will give you a fresh perspective on life and give your brain some much-needed excitement.
3. Friendship Circles
Loyalty is a wonderful thing, however, it can also be dangerous. Friends we’ve had for years stick with us (and vice versa) due to loyalty and respect that has been built over years, sometimes decades.
But as time goes on we develop, our interests and intellect change and they’re not always in line the friends we have around us. That’s not to say we should let such friends go, far from it. But it may be a good idea to expand on our friendship circles and be open to new encounters.
Having people that are “on your level” is healthy for the mind. It keeps us mentally stimulated and allows us to express our current thoughts, values and ideas. Having a voice that people understand is an important contributor to happiness. We’re social creatures at heart, so our social experiences have to count.
4. You Can’t Let Go
At the top of the article, we explained that we are in control of our happiness. Some of you may have scorned at that, thinking about all the times someone caused harm to you and left you feeling unhappy.
It’s true, people can do some terrible things to each other and we can find ourselves in circumstances which we struggle to control. And whilst you cannot control the actions of others, you can control how you react to them.
If you have childhood trauma, terrible heartbreak stories or just negative experiences in general, don’t let them dictate your life. Be proactive (we understand that’s difficult) and seek support and guidance.
We live in an era where we have access to experienced, qualified professionals that can support with helping you overcome your past or present situations.
Take that first step - you’re worth it.
5. Diet. Diet. Diet.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. You’ve seen and read it everywhere - diet is important. Eating well and getting the proper nutrients your body and mind need makes you feel great. If you’re not eating well it will contribute to you feeling down and lethargic - contributing to that “what’s the point” mentality.
Aside from having a good diet, you should also get checked for intolerances and autoimmune diseases.
If you’re putting things in your body that it cannot handle then it can make you run down and depressed.
For example, a common symptom of pre-diagnosed Celiacs is depression. Gluten has such an impact on their immune system that this carries through to their mental health too. So check with your doctor and find out if your body is unable to handle certain foods.
6. You’re Focusing On The Wrong Things
Even happy people have struggles in their life. But it’s also important to understand perspective. You can choose to only focus on the bad “why me?”, or you can be proactive in focusing on the good.
Be careful not to get too absorbed in the things that are going wrong in life. Of course, if you do that then your overall impression of the world will fill you with unhappiness. Take a moment to focus on the good.
You can do this by practicing gratitude. This is the process of sitting down and making a note of the positives you have in life. This could be having a best friend, a child you’re proud of, a roof over your head - the little things that contribute to our overall experience in life.
You may be surprised by the amount of things you have to be grateful and happy for. Doing this in the morning is a great anchor for your day - pushing you to go out and make the most of it!
Why Are You Unhappy?
Our happiness falls in line with our experience in the world. Take a moment to design the life you feel will make you most happy, and build a plan on how you intend to achieve it. This may involve making difficult and life-changing choices, the kind that will take you out of your comfort zone. But think about the alternative.
You don’t want to be stuck going through the motions and not taking control - this leaves you unfulfilled and unhappy.
So make that change. Be bold and brave. It’s time to get the most out of life - it’s time to be happy.