How To Be Unhappy (And What To Do About It)

Table of Contents

The “science” of happiness is as old as modern civilization. Many books, religions, and philosophies are devoted to it. Happiness is a journey, an obsession, and a universal desire.

The pursuit of happiness is the ultimate end goal of every person who has ever walked the earth.

But what does it take to be unhappy?

In some ways, our society makes it easier than happiness itself.

Much of what’s considered acceptable in today’s society puts us on a highway that leads directly to unhappiness:

Waiting for tomorrow

Not doing the things you need to be doing right now because you’ll do them tomorrow is one of the surest ways of living a miserable life.

Believe it or not, tomorrow never arrives. The more you put off starting that new diet, reading that new book, getting that required checkup, looking for a new job ect. the further and further away your goals will be from ever materializing.

You can’t do anything tomorrow — the only thing you can control is the moment you are living right now.

After a while, procrastination makes you feel worthless and overwhelmed by all the things you left for “tomorrow.”

What to do instead:

Listen to that voice inside of you saying that you need to take action. Forget about waiting another second to start what you know must be done.

Take baby steps if you must.

When you were a baby nobody forced you to learn how to walk. You started crawling, falling, and getting right back up until you could walk.

Become that kid again and start taking action RIGHT NOW towards achieving all your goals in life.

Buying things you can’t afford or don’t need

shows how to be unhappy by buying things you can't afford

Most people want to drive a luxury car, live in a mansion, and be the proud owner of all the latest gadgets.

However, buying things that you can’t afford or don’t need is a sure fit for unhappiness.

The average credit card debt for Americans reached $6,194 in 2019.

Some of that debt is due to health care costs, student loans, and other essential things, but much of it is due to our ever-increasing desire to buy things we don’t need.

Look around you to see all of the things you own that aren’t essential to your life — do you really need 20 pairs of shoes or that new iPhone that just came out?

Probably not, and whether you notice it or not, falling for those desires might be causing you unneeded stress by virtue of spending more than you earn or not having enough savings to feel at ease.

What to do instead:

Figure out how much you need for your essentials such as housing, insurance, vehicle, food, and so on each month.

Subtract that number from your income and see what’s leftover.

The very first thing you should do with what’s leftover is to start building your savings in case of an emergency — if you don’t have this already I can’t put into words the peace of mind this will give you.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on non-essentials. Just make sure your essentials are covered before doing so and never go into debt trying to get a quick jolt of happiness by spending on non-essentials as you’ll pay the price later.

Focusing only on yourself

Have you ever heard somebody say that they like being around selfish individuals?

Focusing only on yourself is the easiest ticket you can buy for alienating yourself from others and being an unhappy loner.

Refusing to forgive, holding grudges, and feeling that others are beneath you are common ways that people express their selfishness.

What to do instead:

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

I bet you’ve heard that one before and if you’re not practicing it, I recommend that you start doing so.

You can focus on improving yourself and becoming a better person without harming others if you simply remember to treat others as you would like to be treated.

Comparing yourself to others

People’s love of comparison is the root of much misery.

Consider the following comments:

  • I wish I was that lucky.
  • Wow, this person has it all. I wish I had half his success.
  • Why do others find love so easily while I keep attracting the wrong people?
  • If I had their connections, I would be in a better position with my company.

Comparing yourself to others is only going to make you feel insignificant in front of that other person — as if somehow they are better than you.

What to do instead:

Refrain from comparing yourself to other people and start thinking about what you want.

What does that person have that you want and how did they get it. Study them and learn about all the things that you need to do in order to achieve what you want.

Use their success as inspiration to create your own success.

Remember that you are different than everyone else. Everyone’s path is different so don’t compare yourself to others. Use others as a benchmark for what is possible.

Finding reasons why things won’t work

If you feel like you never get what you want, you are probably guilty of focusing your energy on finding all the reasons why you won’t get what you want.

You might be thinking — Miguel, why would anyone want something and focus on how not to get it?

It’s called fear of the unknown:

  • I can’t do this because…
  • There is no way I can lose 20 pounds because…
  • I don’t have the money for…
  • I didn’t have enough time to do…
  • At least I was able to get…

Those thoughts may seem harmless, but the more you focus on them, the more daunting reaching your goals will seem and the more unhappy you are bound to be.

What to do instead:

Focus all of your energy on what you can do to get closer to your end goal.

Don’t worry about the things you can’t control and focus on what you can.

And remember — you cannot get what you don’t have until you start doing something different than what you’ve always done.

Refusing to challenge yourself

challenge yourself in order to be happy

The status quo isn’t always bad, but when you want to grow as an individual it can be the key for how to be unhappy.

Going through the same routine day in and day out can suck the life out of anyone.

It’s impossible to get something that you don’t have without doing something that you haven’t done already.

Refusing to challenge yourself is the surest way to live a life full of regrets.

What to do instead:

Create change in your life.

Start by making simple changes in your daily routine to align your habits with your goals.

Example: “I want to quit my job and start my own business”

  • Wake up earlier to study up on the business you wish to start.
  • Instead of binge-watching your favorite show, go out and talk to people that are running a similar business.
  • Read at least one book each month on your subject.

Challenge yourself to do the things you aren’t currently doing to get whatever you want out of life.

If you want to be more outgoing, challenge yourself to stop spending so much time inside the house and go out somewhere.

The key here is to push yourself to change for the better.

Not enjoying the journey

If you want to be unhappy try the following:

  • Focus only on the destination without appreciating the ride.
  • Fail to celebrate small successes.
  • Neglect to pause for reflection on how far you’ve come.

What’s to point of having goals and reaching them if you can’t enjoy the journey?

Imagine spending years trying to reach a specific goal but not enjoying the path you took to get there because all you cared about was the end goal…

That would suck!

What to do instead:

Celebrate each step that you take that gets you closer to your end goal.

Enjoy the small triumphs along the way and appreciate the missteps by learning from your mistakes and not avoiding them in the future.

If you’re out of shape and want to start exercising with the end goal of running a mile in under eight minutes, pat yourself on the back for stepping out of your house and walking half a mile because that’s all you could handle on your first go around.

Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t there yet. Enjoy the first time you walked the mile and celebrate the fact that you are actually doing something to reach your goals no matter how far off they might seem to be.

Enjoying the journey will make you want to reach your goals even more.

Being unreliable

Being unreliable to others is bad enough as it is, but being unreliable to yourself is even worse.

Getting all hyped up and saying that you’re going to do something and never following through is tough.

Especially when you get so used to it that it becomes second nature — your mind goes on autopilot and you start feeling like you can never do anything right.

“I’ll be there in ten minutes” becomes don’t expect me for another hour if I even show up.

Being unreliable slowly takes its toll on your life.

What to do instead:

Don’t say that you’re going to do something without having full intent on doing it.

Shit happens and sometimes we aren’t able to follow through on things, but you must get in the habit of following through on everything you say.

Not only to others but to yourself as well. If you set your mind to something, do your best to follow through.

Avoiding responsibility

Anyone who goes through life avoiding their responsibilities eventually becomes an expert on how to be unhappy.

Not to mention living a life full of remorse for not doing the things that they should.

Simply put… reaching old-age full of regrets due to having avoided responsibilities is a bi***.

What to do instead:

Don’t run away from your responsibilities.

Deep down we all know what our responsibilities are as a parent, friend, partner, and person.

Take care of your kids!

Be a good friend!

Learn how to be a good partner!

Become a great person!

Pay your bills!

I could continue, but you get the point.

Whining and complaining

whine and complain if you want to be unhappy

One of the easiest ways to suck the energy out of your life and of those around you is to whine and complain about everything.

The problem here is that it’s easy to find a crowd because most people love complaining.

The average person complains between 15 to 30 times a day, according to Will Bowen, best-selling author of “A Complaint-Free World.”

Thing is that whining and complaining only brings negative thoughts and feelings into your life.

What to do instead:

Stop complaining so much — find something good in every situation even if you have to dig deep.

Refrain negative thoughts into positive ones and avoid people who are always complaining.

Being around whiners will suck the life out of you. Stay away or change the subject into something more uplifting.

Restraint yourself from complaining even if you have a good reason for it. Instead, think of what you could have done to make the situation more pleasant.

Complain less, enjoy life more!

Trying to please everyone

If you want to feel like a vampire sucked all the blood out of your body, try being the people pleaser.

Trying to please everyone you come in contact with is literally impossible. It’s like asking a cow to speak English.

Even if the cow could somehow understand what you want it to do, it just doesn’t have the tools required to speak like a human being.

Same thing with trying to please everyone. You’ll always run into those who you can’t please no matter how hard you try.

Not to mention the ones who dislike you for no apparent reason.

What to do instead:

Treat others as you would like to be treated and accept the consequences.

Nobody likes to be treated wrongly, so if you follow through on the above statement and for whatever reason someone is bothered by you — kick them to the curb because they don’t deserve your attention.

Mind your that some people will have a legitimate reason for being in a bad mood so just accept that you won’t always be able to please everyone and continue on with your life.

Wanting to fit in

O.J. Simpson got away with murder because the glove didn’t fit so why would you want to fit in everywhere?

I know there was more to the case but that just sounded nice in my head so I had to say it.

Wanting to fit in is a quick way to feel unhappy. Just the thought of wanting to fit in with a specific group can be stressful.

Will I have to start smoking? Must I wear that? Do I have to start acting a certain way? What can I do to blend in?

Those are all typical thoughts that will run through your head when trying to fit in.

What to do instead:

Asses the situation and ask yourself the following question:

Will fitting in help me grow as a person and get me closer to my goals?

If the answer is No, then don’t waste your time trying to be something that you aren’t.

There are times in life that you will need to change in order to achieve your goals, but don’t change who you are just because you want to fit in with a specific crowd because you think they are better than you.

Stay true to yourself and only strive to fit in where you can get closer to achieving your dreams.

Not loving yourself and your imperfections

How to be unhappy?

Don’t love yourself and bad mouth yourself because of your mistakes and imperfections.

Being hard on yourself because of your imperfections takes a toll not just on yourself but also on those around you.

Moping around and being embarrassed about who you are is like taking a fish out of water.

It will jump around incessantly until all the life is sucked out of it. In your case, you might not die per se, but a big part of you will.

What to do instead:

Love yourself and understand that you aren’t perfect.

Life would suck if everyone looked like Brad Pitt and Scarlett Johannson.

Imagine how awful life would be if we were all perfect.

The beauty of life is in how different we are from one another. Even identical twins differ in many ways.

Learn how to love yourself and accept your imperfections. Your imperfections are part of why you are unique.

Don’t fault yourself for not being as smart as someone else and focus on becoming the startest YOU possible.

Forget that you fell in front of everyone during your last school play, and try your best for it not to happen next time.

Love and encourage yourself at all times even when those around you aren’t being helpful.

Your “imperfections” are what make you perfect!


What’s the point of being unhappy?

If you can come up with a good answer to that question then do everything you can to be unhappy.

However, we both know that there isn’t a good answer to that question. Therefore, your focus should be on removing all unhappiness from your life.

There are extreme circumstances that are out of our control that will cause unhappiness in our lives, but that’s just part of life.

Outside of those extreme circumstances your focus should always be on being happy and creating a life worth living.

Use the insights within this post as a guide for eradicating unhappiness and finding more joy in your life.

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