We all want to be happy in some way or another. We strive each day to find the path of happiness whatever we think it is. But some of us come up way short. Some of us make mistakes day in and day out that take us away from the shining beacon of happiness at the end of the tunnel.
Are you striving to find peace? Are you striving to locate that inner glow that you know must exist? Are you coming up short or finding happiness that’s always fleeting? Life is a journey and on it we find what works and what doesn’t work. However, the most unhappy people tend to have a few things in common. If you’re looking to find peace, balance, and joy in your life, here’s what NOT to do. These people have it all wrong:
1. They Hate Their Jobs
You spend eight hours, sometimes much more at work. If you hate your job you can’t help but hate your life because you’re spending 40 out of the 168 hours in a week doing something you can’t stand. What’s worse, we often take our anger from work home with us, bringing that disgruntled attitude into our homes. I’m not saying go out and quit your job tomorrow. Instead, take an aerial view of your life. Why don’t you love your job? What’s missing? Is it the career itself? Is it your boss or your company? What’s your passion? What are you good at? Take time to answer these questions and then make a plan to move towards change, however long it takes.
2. They’re Constantly Worried About Money
Studies have proven that being rich won’t make us any happier. A Princeton University study showed that people needed an annual income of $75,000 per year per household and no more to be happy. Above that amount, more cash has no effect on “emotional well-being.” What this really means is that you need to be able to comfortably pay bills and save without worrying about finances. On the other hand, financial uncertainty does make us unhappy so this is another chance for evaluation. Are you overspending? What can you downsize? How can you minimize your life so that you can afford it? This is in no way an easy question, but it’s part of the journey.
3. They Don’t Have Any Active Hobbies
Happiness is linked to activity level. You have to move to feel good. What about yoga, hiking, swimming, surfing, biking, or running? Happiness is also linked to doing what you love so find active hobbies that make you happy and get to it.
Related: Get Physical!
4. They Have Wandering Minds.
According to Science News, “[a] wandering mind often stumbles downhill emotionally. People spend nearly half their waking lives thinking about stuff other than what they’re actually doing, and these imaginary rambles frequently feel bad, according to a new study.” The more you can focus on what you’re doing when you’re doing it, the happier you are. Meditation allows you to learn to focus on the present moment so you can actually live the life you’ve been given.
5. They Commute a Long Distance
A long commute can take a toll on your life and after a while it can really bring you down. How much of your life are you losing in commute? It’s hard on a relationship as well. A recent Swedish study found that divorce rates were higher the longer the commute.
6. They Think “Stuff” Will Make Them Happy
Unhappy people are constantly trying to fill the void by consuming, whether it be alcohol, food, or shopping. But the problem is happiness can’t be consumed, it’s cultivated from within. Meeting desires only brings fleeting happiness.
7. They’re Lonely
Cultivating relationships is important for both your health and your happiness. And that doesn’t just mean how good you are at social networking. Unfortunately nowadays more than a few of us view our laptop as our very best friend. Single or not, married or not, it’s important to always strive both to make friends and to keep them while also keeping close ties to family.
8. They Don’t Like Their Town
So often we feel stuck in our lives. We live in a town that we no longer love and aren’t sure how to feel better about the situation. This is another opportunity to take a step back and ask why you feel the way you do. Is it the town or is it you? Get the newspaper and look into new events, volunteer some place new, or, well, move. Who says you have to live in the same place your whole life? I certainly haven’t. I’ve already tried out Charlottesville, Athens, Washington DC, Florence, Charleston, and Columbia and I’m just getting started.
9. They Don’t Have Pets
Pets serve as support and provide unconditional love that we grow to depend on but at the same time, they don’t disrupt other human relationships, according to a new study. If you’re considering pet ownership, adopt a pet in need and follow this guide to responsible pet ownership.
Related: 6 Health Benefits of Having Pets
10. They Don’t Like Themselves
We make ourselves happy by the way we view life and by learning to enjoy the moment. We make ourselves happy by the way we view ourselves. By opening our hearts we find peace but that peace has to first start off with you. If you dislike yourself, you can never be happy so give yourself a break. Learn to love yourself, you deserve it!
Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, PlanetGreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.
Sara Novak specializes in food policy and health writing and is devoted to living mindfully in all of her daily pursuits. She’s a health and wellness expert for Discovery Health and recently launched her own food and wellness Web site Serene Kitchen.