4 Toxic Habits That Are Making You Unhappy, and How You Can Get Rid of Them

If you’ve been constantly feeling unhappy, or find yourself heading in that direction, you need to take a moment to think about your habits.

Your habits may be causing you severe harm, by silently operating from a place over which you seem to have no control. It’s a blind spot, which if you’re able to see, can transform how you feel instantly.

The key is to identify and acknowledge the presence of these habits.

#1 Taking things personally

Do you find yourself easily displeased when, say, your boss criticizes you for not performing to expectation? Or, for instance, in a group when a joke is made at your expense?

If it’s a yes, you are most likely taking things personally.

People rarely say or do things to hurt you. Quite often, your boss criticizes you for not performing well enough only because they care too deeply about the result or, in some cases, your own good. But by taking it personally, you’re making it about yourself and instead, resigning yourself to being unhappy. Don’t do that to yourself.

If something is said at your expense, just take a step back mentally, and take it easy. If what was said was offensive, speak up. But, don’t close yourself off and stay unhappy.

#2 Living inside your head excessively

You’re stuck inside your head too often if, say, you overanalyse things endlessly or keep to yourself in groups. Here’s a test: If an acquaintance made a comment about how you looked, would you keep thinking about it for a long time, trying to decipher their intention? If yes, you’re living inside your head more than you should.

This is corrosive to your happiness because you stop short of engaging your friends, family, and colleagues by not being with them fully. You also tend to be absent minded, leaving you disconnected with your surroundings.

Get outside of your head and be present to life. It will connect you intimately with your surroundings, and help you create memorable experiences.

#3 Regularly sacrificing yourself for the sake of others

Do you almost always hold back so that someone else can benefit before you? Say, by almost always going with your friends’ choice of restaurants? This is a possible sign of being a bit too sacrificial for your own good.

You have your own interests and needs, and would like them fulfilled every once in a while. You can admit that; there’s nothing wrong with it. You have a right to choose and do what you feel like. But when a situation calls on you to compromise and make way for the greater good, you should do it only by choice, not by default. Automatically relegating your needs to the bottom of the pile every time might make you look noble, but it’s secretly making you unhappy.

So, start paying attention to your own interests, likes, and needs; and start working to fulfil them. A good start would be to suggest a restaurant of your choice the next time you’re eating out.

#4 Tying your happiness to outcomes

This is an extremely common habit, and perhaps the most toxic of all, the idea that you would be happy if you were successful and unhappy if you weren’t.

Happiness is a state of being that you can choose to enter at any time, not a floating Frisbee that is accessible to the few that can catch it. All it takes for anyone to be happy is to choose to be happy, and not wait for something to happen in order to be happy. Go ahead and make that choice for yourself and don’t look back. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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