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Habits of Unhappy People

Recently a friend shared last year's essay "22 Habits of Unhappy People" by Ryan McKenzie. It expands upon the author's thesis that "Happiness is something that happens through a series of experiences, habits and realizations over the course of your life." Yes, the language is often ungrammatical, the style is awkward, and the list is somewhat repetitive. The author's psychology of happiness is debateable.

But put aside those weaknesses; the ideas are still good. McKenzie's list of things to avoid, with excerpts from his explanations:

  1. Chronic Complaining: "The one thing that happy, successful people don't do a lot of is complaining ... there is a difference between small venting sessions and being a chronic complainer ... You have good in your life, find it, and share it."
  2. Retail Therapy: "... so many people get caught up in materialistic items that they forget what truly makes us happy ... Get out and experience the world ... there are so many things you could be doing that will enrich your life that doesn't involve buying things."
  3. Binge Drinking: "... drinking excessively on a regular basis can cause all sorts of havoc on your life ... it also leads to poor eating decisions and lack of exercise."
  4. Worrying About the Future: "... you should be focused on what is going on in your life now."
  5. Waiting for the Future: "Before you know it you will have spent your entire life waiting for events to bring you happiness just to realize life (and happiness) has passed you by."
  6. Lack of Hobbies: "Hobbies are activities that you can become passionate about."
  7. Eating Poorly: "Eat right, look great, and feel great."
  8. Talking Poorly of Others: "Unhappy people get caught up talking about other people instead of talking about things such as ideas or current events. Unhappy people also have a tendency to judge others."
  9. Holding Grudges: "Do yourself a favour, forgive. ... Forgiving will help free you of anxiety, stress and depression and allow you to have happier relationships. Free yourself of the hate, and move on."
  10. Stop Learning: "Learning new things not only gives you things to talk about in social environments, it also helps improve your self worth, which leads to happiness."
  11. Not Following Through: "They say that taking the first step is always the hardest part with any plan. Quit making excuses and walk the walk ... Quit letting the first step hold you back."
  12. Hating Your Job: "If you are going to spend 1920 hours per year working, please make an attempt to like your job ... In the event you genuinely hate your job and doing it another day is going to cause you endless grief, simply take the plunge, and move on. Being unhappy for close to a quarter or your life just isn't worth it."
  13. Loneliness (How you Choose to Socialize): "People are so addicted to ... social technology that they forget humans require real genuine human interaction ... Instead of commenting on everybody's Facebook statuses, give somebody a call and go out for a drink, you would be surprised how much better it feels to talk to a real life physical human being ... If you are single and feel like you need a significant other to be happy, I am going to be blunt, YOU ARE WRONG. You can't be in a healthy relationship until you are happy independently ... If you are struggling to find a companion, stop looking in bars and stop looking online ... meet like minded people who share more in common with you than booze or Facebook friends."
  14. Letting Negative Thoughts Enter Your Mind: "You choose what you think about, and the longer you entertain a negative thought, the more it is going to stay in focus. We are all human, and bad thoughts will enter our heads from time to time, but by being conscious of what you thinking about you can push them out of your head before they take you over."
  15. Jumping to Conclusions: "Fortune Telling is when a situation arises and you automatically predict that things are going to turn our poorly. Mind reading is when you automatically assume that others are negatively reacting to you or something you've done when there is no definite evidence."
  16. Magnification: "Take a step back before you deal with an issue and try to look at it objectively. Often times if you try to take yourself and your emotions out of the equation and think it through you will realize that you are making a big deal out of nothing."
  17. Minimization: "Minimization is when you take real problems and instead of dealing with them, tell yourself they are insignificant. ... stop ignoring your ongoing problems, become actionable and take steps to fix them."
  18. Self Labeling: "When you make a mistake, tell yourself 'You made a mistake, next time you will do better'. ... calling yourself names prevents you from moving on after you've made a mistake."
  19. Not Having a Goal: "Happy people have a tendency to make both short and long term goals. Short term goals give you mini accomplishments that build self confidence and keep you motivated for the big picture ... The problem with unhappy people's goals, is they tend to be unachievable."
  20. Worrying What Others Think: "Stop doing things for other people and do things that make you happy. Go out with your hair a mess, wear a pair of torn up sweat pants in public and do it with a smile on your face. Your friends will like you regardless ..."
  21. Let Strangers Affect Your Mood: "If somebody gives you the middle finger while driving, smile back at them and let them spend their energy being cranky. Don't let somebody else's bad day control the outcome of yours. If you have to deal with a grumpy person, kill them with kindness. Often times your unfounded happiness will make them realize how big of a jerk they are being."
  22. Wanting More Money: "... emotional well being and happiness does rise with income, but only to an annual household income of $75,000. If your household income is already over $75,000 it might be time to reevaluate your happiness, more money is probably not going to make you that much happier."

(cf. Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), Unenviable Happiness (2006-02-27), Asimov on Happiness (2007-11-07), Pursuit of Happiness (2008-11-19), Habitual Virtue (2008-12-18), Personal, Permanent, Pervasive (2009-04-27), Trusting and Happy (2010-06-10), When Someone You Love Is Unhappy (2011-05-29), Models of Happiness (2012-01-05), Just One Thing (2012-12-02), Smile at Everyone (2013-02-15), Expectations vs. Possibilities (2013-08-13), Thirty Things (2013-10-01), Happiness Buffer (2013-12-22), ...) - ^z - 2014-03-11