If someone displays these 12 behaviors, they’re probably deeply unhappy in life

Kathleen Padden by Kathleen Padden | February 27, 2024, 3:50 pm

Have you ever had that feeling that something in your life is ‘off’? You can’t really put your finger on it, but you’re not entirely happy with the direction your life is taking, be it in your personal life or career.

Or maybe things are going OK for the most part, but you have this niggling suspicion that your life could be so much better than it is.

And it’s starting to wear you down, big time.

Unhappiness is no joke. The Terman Study from Stanford followed test subjects for eight decades. Their findings suggest that just hanging around unhappy people can be linked to poor health and a shortened life span.

To prevent little problems from turning into a mental health crisis, periodically checking in with yourself is always advisable.

If you regularly stop and evaluate your progress through life, you can identify anything that might be causing you unhappiness and do something about it.

1) Forestalling happiness

It’s a very easy trap to fall into.

Telling yourself, ‘I’ll be happy when I get that promotion/meet the One/buy a home/retire’  is a toxic habit to fall into. What your ‘goal’ is before you’re allowed to be happy doesn’t really matter.

The problem arises from the fact that it puts too much emphasis on improved life circumstances that don’t always necessarily lead to happiness.

I had a bad habit of not burning my ‘nice’ candles or using my mother’s china because no occasion seemed momentous enough to justify that.

I was being ridiculous. Don’t put off enjoying anything because you’re waiting for a special occasion. Waking up on the right side of the dirt is a special occasion.

Enjoy what you have while you can.

Here’s some free advice: concentrate on being happy now, in this moment, because none of us are guaranteed a future.

2) Pessimism

There is nothing that facilitates unhappiness like pessimism does. The problem with a pessimistic state of mind is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you expect bad things to happen, odds are that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Pessimistic thoughts are notoriously hard to shake off once they become entrenched. Until you realize how warped your thought process has become, you’ll remain mired in negativity.

Do yourself a solid and just look at the facts. Most likely, you’ll see that things aren’t nearly as bad as your inner voice would have you believe.

3) Short answers

If all you can muster up are short answers to questions regarding your life, you could be unhappy but unwilling or unable to admit it.

Or, you may not be consciously aware of it at all, at least not yet.

The brusque answers warn people to, ‘Go away and leave me alone.” You’re unhappy and probably aren’t in the mood to talk about it, nor do you want to burden anyone with your problems.

4) Sleeping. A lot.

If you find that you’re sleeping too much (without being ill), then perhaps all that snoozing is your attempt to escape from reality.

Unhappy people are always looking for ways to temporarily escape from their pain, and (over) sleeping is one way to hide from what’s hurting you.

5) Sleeping. Hardly ever.

On the other hand, If you’re feeling anxious, you might have trouble sleeping or staying asleep.  Insomnia goes hand in hand with feeling unhappy in life.

So if you’re lying awake all night freaking out and worried about the future, know that your unhappiness is messing with your beauty sleep, and will probably continue doing so until you address the root causes of your unhappy state.

6) Overcomplicating things

Life really doesn’t need to be as complicated as we pretend it is.

It’s our inner psychological drama that makes us believe our lives consist of a gazillionty moving parts in our lives that require constant attention.

But if you take the time to objectively analyze things, you’ll soon agree that life can be quite simple, or at least simpler than you’re making it out to be.

7) Weight changes

Fluctuations in weight can indicate that someone is mentally struggling. If you’re overeating, maybe it’s all that mindless snacking in front of the TV while trying to forget your problems.

On the other side of the equation, if you’re hardly eating anything because you ‘forget’ to eat, it could be that unhappiness stole your appetite.

8) Negates the happiness of others

Do you know anyone who you dread sharing your happy news with because you know they will find a way to put a negative spin on it?

There will always be Captain Killjoys hellbent on negating your happiness. You can’t change them unfortunately, but you can control how much time you spend with them and whether you allow their Negative Nellie schtick to affect you.

Or is this Grumpy Gus you?

You don’t want people to avoid you because you suck all the joy out of the room. Make every effort so others walk away from their interactions with you feeling uplifted, not knocked down.

9) Not good with compliments

I remember hearing this once years back and it’s stayed with me ever since.

Think about the happiest people in your life. When you pay them a compliment, how do they generally respond to you?

No doubt this varies, but I’d bet the farm it involves saying, “Thank you.”

I was the Queen of Self-Deprecation, but I taught myself to express my appreciation to the complimenter instead of downplaying their remark with a joke at my own expense.

So,I made it about the other person until I was comfortable enough with myself to just accept it for what it was – evidence of my awesomeness.

As you can see, it worked beautifully!

10) Mountains out of molehills

Unhappy people tend to blow things out of proportion. Little inconveniences that wouldn’t phase most people can knock an unhappy person for a loop.

Truth is, bad things happen to everybody. The difference is that happy people see them for what they are—a blip-on-the-radar bummer —whereas unhappy people see any challenge as further evidence that life sucks and then you die.

So if a happy person has a minor fender bender on their way to work they tend to keep the situation in perspective and acknowledge what a hassle it’ll be to take care of, but count their blessings that it wasn’t more serious.

An unhappy person will use this relatively minor accident as proof that their day, their week, their month, heck, probably even their whole life is doomed because a little black cloud of misfortune follows them everywhere.

11) Chronic complaining

Complaining is another way we manifest exactly what we don’t want from life. By constantly talking about how rough things are, you only reaffirm your negative self-talk.

Sharing what bothers you with others can lift a weight off of your shoulders, but there’s a difference between therapeutic-level complaining and it fueling further unhappiness.

12) Victim mentality

People who are unhappy tend to blame other people for what’s wrong with their lives. They are probably well-accustomed to playing the victim while absolving themselves of any responsibility whatsoever.

Please remember that you are the boss of your own life, even when your sadness tells you otherwise. Recognize that you are in control of your life even if that doesn’t ring true right in the moment.

Happiness, they say, comes from within. Those who understand this fact of life don’t allow any external influences to affect their peace.

Final thoughts

Unhappiness truly is a state of mind, one that can be reprogrammed if you’re willing to do the work.

If these feelings have lingered for a couple of months or more, you may be suffering from depression, a serious but treatable condition. Please reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance.

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