The 7 Habits of Chronic Unhappiness and How to Combat Them
by: Josie Olson, LPC.
In 2014, in an article in The Huffington Post, Tamara Star, highlighted 7 habits of chronically unhappy people. If you find yourself chronically unhappy, here are some possible habits that may be
contributing to this:
Habit #1: “Your default belief is that life is hard.” Individuals who hold to this belief lack resiliency to meet life’s challenges. They fall victim to their circumstances and seldom assume responsibility for their actions. Change is met with great difficulty.
Habit #2: “You believe most people can’t be trusted.” Individuals who seldom trust others tend to isolate themselves, lack intimacy and empathy. These folks are not likely to accept help from anyone, nor are willing to offer help to others.
Habit #3: “You concentrate on what’s wrong in this world versus what’s right.” These are your garden-variety pessimists and tend to be paralyzed by problems. They seldom focus on finding solutions and are likely to become stuck, unable to move forward.
Habit #4: “You compare yourself to others and harbor jealousy.” These self-centered folks tend to resent everyone and seldom celebrate other’s successes. They spend most of their time living in the “past” while simultaneously dreading the future.
Habit #5: “You strive to control your life.” These individuals tend to be paralyzed by their fears and
spend excessive energy attempting to control their circumstances and exert power over others.
Habit #6: “You consider your future with worry and fear.” These are your irrationally fearful folks. They tend to get stuck as they have difficulty moving forward. These individuals dwell in the past and are not present-oriented.
Habit #7: “You fill your conversations with gossips and complaints.” These miserable folks are on a mission to complain about everyone and everything. They wreak havoc on relationships and see the world through bruised and battered lenses.
So what are some common themes we see among folks that find themselves chronically unhappy? They have difficulty relating to others, they are habitually self-centered, and their overall state of being is governed by their circumstances.
If all or some of these habits describe you and it scares you enough to draw a line in the sand and move toward the light, read on…
Here are some wellness principles that can combat these self-defeating habits…
Wellness Principle #1: You recognize life’s difficulties as seasonal and temporary. You are aware that some changes, while necessary, can be painful. It is in these painful and trying times that growth occurs. During these experiences, you are likely to learn life’s most valuable lessons.
1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3 NLT
Wellness Principle #2: You pursue relationships that are God-honoring, conducive to wellness, set healthy boundaries, and cut off unhealthy attachments. In Romans 2:29 “Circumcision of the Heart by the Holy Spirit”, refers to an individual with a pure heart who seeks to please God above man, and is prudent in their relationship associations.
Wellness Principle #3: You focus on things of eternal value and find beauty in small things. Colossians 3:2 is a reminder to: “Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth.” Spending time and energy pursuing relationships and investing in people has intrinsic value, and will reap invaluable rewards like love and belonging.
Wellness Principle #4: You find joy beyond your circumstances and empathize with others in good times and times of distress. Romans 12:15 emphasizes this principle, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” The ability to empathize with others both in times of rejoicing and times of distress is an element of emotional intelligence that bridges the gap between self and others. These individuals make the best servant leaders.
Wellness Principle #5: You submit to the sovereignty of God and acknowledge His plans are greater than your own. Isaiah 55:8, 9 shows us “His ways are higher than our ways.” Our finite understanding of life cannot possibly compare to the infinite wisdom of God. Yielding to His plan in times of uncertainty can take us to places that are so far better than we could have possibly imagined.
Wellness Principle #6: You hold onto hope that the best is yet to come. Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Holding onto hope and believing that the best is ahead can fuel an individual toward healing, and be a vital motivator toward change.
Wellness Principle #7: You embrace sound reasoning about the world, yourself, and others. I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” Change that is both lasting and transformative begins first with a change of heart followed by a turning of the will. The Greek refer to this as metanoia. Determining to move toward wellness is a process as well as a balancing of both embracing change and accepting what cannot be changed.
In contrast to chronically unhappy people who are self-centered, are crippled by the past, perpetually wreak havoc on relationships, and are paralyzed by fear, individuals who are physically, emotionally, and spiritually well, are devoted to God and love others well are some of the happiest people alive. Micah said it best in chapter 6 verse 8 where we are exhorted “to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. Please let us know what you think in the comments below.