Why would anyone want to look at a list about being unhappy? What good could possibly come from looking at this account? Actually, quite a lot. If you think about some of the things that can make people unhappy, maybe you can choose to not do those things and be happier as a result.
While five is an arbitrary number, let’s start small!
1) Lose your sense of purpose and passion for living. If you simply settle for how things are, you are not truly living. You are existing. We are created to move forward, change and develop. A life that doesn’t have a purpose is stagnant. A life that doesn’t have a passion for something is missing an opportunity to grow and ultimately risks being unsatisfied and unhappy.
2) Don’t strengthen relationships that mean the most to you. Make no mistake, building and keeping an important relationship takes work. Whether it is a spouse, good friends, a parent, or a child, a loving connection is essential to a happy life. If you are not willing to work at that relationship, it will not bring you as much happiness as it could.
3) Worry about stuff you can’t control. It is amazing how much of our life we spend fretting about things that have already happened and can’t be changed, things that may happen but hasn’t yet, and things that are happening now that may have a negative outcome. Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. Worrying leaves you stressed and accomplishes very little.
4) Ignore your health. This seems so obvious, yet our culture struggles with bad health habits. Obesity, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and the list of problems caused by poor physical health habits are endless. Why does our health always seems much more valuable after we lose it? Ask someone who has been affected by the pandemic for a powerful reminder. Certainly, many can’t resolve physical challenges, regardless of all they do. But, for those who could live a healthier lifestyle and choose not to, the risk to long-term contentment is great.
5) Hang around unhappy people. We tend to become what we think about most. Just as true, we can adopt some of the attitudes of the people we spend the most time with. If you know someone who is unhappy by choice, gripes a lot or complains about everything, avoid them or help them change. Whenever possible, choose to spend your time with people who are supportive and positive in their outlook. It will rub off.
I know very few people who are not troubled, at least to some degree, by our Covid-defined life at the moment. Whatever normal was seems gone, either forever or at least a long time. Fancy face masks may become the new rage for Christmas presents. A giant container of hand sanitizer is a better choice for a welcoming gift than a bottle of wine.
I know it is sometimes hard to think of better days ahead, but they are coming. The vaccines are effective, and enough people have the smarts to protect themselves and others by taking a few shots in the arm. Betty and I get our second shot in about 10 days. We are so relieved.
The destructive habits or behavior noted in this post are different. They are mostly under our control, whether through attitude or behavior. Does that make it easier? No. But it gives something to focus on that we can actually affect.