Unhappiness can be deceptive, dressed up and wrapped in a bow. Even those with the most stuff aren't necessarily happy — despite how their lives may appear. The sad reality is that some people, regardless of how much money they earn or how much property they own or how many vacations they take, are just chronically unhappy. That isn't to suggest that change for these individuals is hopeless and that they wouldn't be able to rewire their perspectives and gain a new lease on life. But in order for that to happen, awareness is the first step.
And because it's not always so easy to tell given the fronts that people put on, here are 15 tendencies of a chronically unhappy person that are tell-tale signs.
A happy person can find the good in everyone, even the people who've exhibited objectively bad behaviors. Pessimism will blind unhappy people, however, and, as such, they're less likely to see the good in others.
Likewise, chronically unhappy people, plagued by pessimism, will have a more difficult time finding the silver lining in unfortunate circumstances or downright crappy situations. They may even find themselves focusing on the minor bad bits of otherwise pretty darn good situations, instead of being grateful for what has gone right.
Chronically unhappy people tend to sleep in late, with little motivation to get up and kickstart their day.
Chronically unhappy people may, likely, have unhealthy habits, such as binging on junk food for the sugar high to temporarily relieve their unhappiness — even though unhealthy habits, of course, exacerbate unhappiness in the long run.
Working out releases endorphins and happy hormones that make people feel good. People who are unhappy are, therefore, likely lacking in the exercise department.
Unhappy people have a tendency to bottle up their emotions instead of confronting them and handling them. That's why they may be so fragile, they could cry at the drop of a hat.
Unhappy people may feel the need to argue simply for the sake of arguing. They may even agree with others, but playing devil's advocate gives them an outlet to express their bottled up temper.
Happy people don't blame themselves for feeling all sorts of emotions, including sadness and anger at times. They understand that their feelings are valid and necessary, and they can feel those feelings without allowing them to consume them. Unhappy people, on the other hand, allow their emotions to eat at them, guide their decisions and dictate their actions. And, worse, they may then guilt themselves for allowing to their emotions to consume them, which only further compounds their unhappiness.
While happy people can look at a situation at face value (of course, it takes time and practice), unhappy people will blow a situation out of proportion and assume the worst possible outcome. They'll let one negative situation have a domino effect on the rest of their lives.
Happy people tend to focus on the things, people and experiences for which they're grateful. Meanwhile, unhappy people tend to focus on the opposite: the things they don't have or that aren't good enough, the people who let them down or frustrate or anger or hurt them, and the experiences that aren't so pleasant.
Instead of taking in where they are with what they have in the moment, unhappy people are constantly looking to the future. Of course, setting goals and looking forward to future achievements is positive, but banking on the future to be better instead of trying to work on the now is a problem. Because the truth is that the future is dependent on what is done in the now. And if nothing is done, chronic unhappiness will continue to be just that: chronic.
Unhappy people have a tendency to isolate themselves, avoiding spending any time connecting with others. They may stop caring to keep in touch with friends and family, instead preferring to spend their time at home alone.
On the contrary, unhappy people may never spend any time alone with themselves, perhaps because they're afraid to face themselves and their thoughts. As such, they spend all their time stimulated by others, perhaps even new people or new places, to distract them from their reality.
Chronically unhappy people understand that they're unhappy, but they don't try to do anything to change their situation. They will stay in a job about which they constantly complain, in a relationship that they know is toxic, in a city that they can't stand. And that's exactly why they're chronically unhappy, instead of just currently unhappy.
It's important to remember that unhappiness doesn't always look like a sad face. Unhappiness might be dressed up at a party, surrounded by friends, dropping dollars on drinks, with a seemingly wonderful partner on their arm. And then unhappiness might head home, take off the fancy clothes and argue with that partner or abuse more alcohol or cry themselves to sleep.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.
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