8 Toxic Habits That Are Stealing Your Happiness Day by Day
A lack of money or entertainment doesn’t stop us from being happy. It’s actually our toxic habits that sneak up on us and steal away our joy. It’s high time we shed light on this issue because if you know what you’re doing wrong, it’s easier to take the first step in stopping self-destruction and making room for happiness.
Bright Side suggests that you get rid of the following 8 habits. You’ll also find some tips on how to start changing the rules surrounding them because our happiness is something that we’re solely responsible for.
8. You shut down your feelings.
We are often told that we shouldn’t show any unpleasant emotions. This story usually starts in childhood — we hear things like, “Don’t cry” or “Don’t be sad about that.” Little by little, we learn how to hide our negative emotions, but this behavior usually results in a worse life experience.
According to experts, struggling with our negative emotions makes us numb to positive emotions too because we can’t choose what we want or don’t want to feel. It also leads to poorer communication and relationships and affects many parts of our life — it’s worth mentioning that emotional shutdown can result in a number of health problems. There are many non-toxic ways to let our feelings out, for example, dancing is one of them.
7. You don’t let yourself make mistakes.
Let’ not forget that even some life-changing inventions were created by accident. A pacemaker, a microwave oven, and even penicillin are among them. More to the point, it seems pretty cool to say that you’re a perfectionist on your CV. But does it really make you any happier in real life?
We don’t think so, because you are constantly trying to reach an ideal, but it doesn’t actually exist. And even the smallest mistake can bring you down and result in anxiety, eating disorders, and other health issues. You have to let yourself be wrong and change your perspective on failure. To make your new path easier, just remember Thomas Edison’s words, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
6. You prefer to be a victim.
Making other people or situations the reason for your problems is a quick way to unhappiness. It’s easy to blame everything around — late for work? It wasn’t me, it was a traffic jam. Can’t afford a vacation? It’s not me, it’s just that they don’t want to pay me more. From this position, you’ll never be able to control those “unfair things.”
Let’s take a closer look at the first situation to make things more clear. When you say that the problem was the traffic jam, you can’t do anything about it. Because the traffic jam is going to be there tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and for many days ahead. Are you going to be late for the rest of your life?
But when you say that it’s you who’s responsible for being late, it gives you an ocean of choices. You can choose to wake up earlier, or you can ask your boss to move your work schedule. You can even decide to go to a gym near your office in the morning so you can get to work on time afterward. Try to look at everything that happens in your life from this angle, and you’ll start to see opportunities instead of barriers.
5. You hold grudges.
First, grudges can have negative health effects — from mild depression to acute cardiovascular woes. And it’s kind of difficult to be happy when you are depressed or suffering from heart problems.
Second, you have to understand that there must be a deeper problem if you’re reacting in this way. It can be anything — from low self-esteem to other issues you feel uncomfortable about. A small example, if somebody told you that you were stupid, would it hurt you if you knew for sure it wasn’t true? We aren’t sure, that’s why this is a huge opportunity for you to be aware about. If you’re aware you can work on your self-development when you feel that someone wounded you.
Third, you’re just hurting yourself. You remember the negative situation, constantly replaying it in your mind, and feeling angry or helpless again and again. You waste your valuable time and energy on something you can’t change. Isn’t it better to go to a therapist, learn how to let it go, and fill your life with more pleasant things?
4. You think you are a mind-reader.
Unless you’re a vampire, a mermaid, or a humble but very gifted human, you can’t ever truly know what others are thinking. However, thoughts like, “I look so stupid in their eyes,” or “They probably think I’m so boring,” enter our heads every day.
Here’s some simple advice for these kinds of situations: don’t choose to humiliate yourself but instead, believe that people think the best of you. This perspective will increase your self-confidence and help you communicate openly. You’ll also notice that it’s easier to ask for help when you don’t make any assumptions.
3. You focus on the success of others.
In the age of social media it’s so hard to not fall into a “comparison trap.” Our clothes aren’t as stylish as the girls’ on Instagram, we don’t travel as much as they do, and our relationships aren’t as perfect. Yearning for these things can easily make us unhappy, but don’t forget something important.
First of all, people only show the parts they want us to see. There are no guarantees that their life is that ideal. Moreover, there is an ocean of proof that their reality isn’t as rose-colored as they show on Facebook or Instagram. And finally, while you’re constantly busy following someone else’s life, you neglect yours and lose time you could be spending on building your own success.
We suggest that you bring awareness to your own life. Try the following simple method to begin this path. Every day you need to recognize and write down at least 5 things you have accomplished and are proud of. It’ll help you see value in your life and move forward.
2. You depend on other’s opinions.
Take a minute to think about how often you try to make “the right” impression on other people. And how often it brings you happiness. If you see that the scale is not tipped in your favor, it’s high time to reconsider your values and start choosing yourself. Because, according to experts, dependent people are more likely to feel anxious and depressed and aren’t able to defend their personal boundaries.
Just think about it, sometimes we want to impress people we don’t even like or to prove something to those we don’t actually care about. From now on, you need to ask yourself, “Am I fine with it or am I doing it for the sake of other people?” in each situation. You can even write down the answers to build a “my life” vs “not my life” diagram. The results may shock you, but this will motivate you to move on and rely more on yourself.
1. You let your past and future creep into your life.
We aren’t trying to say that thinking about our past or future makes us unhappy, but it’s better to avoid getting stuck there. Dwelling on the past usually shows that there are some unresolved issues that keep weighing you down. While focusing entirely on the future means that you have a problem with anxiety.
- Focus on listening. Try to notice every sound — far, close, quiet, or loud. Pick out distant sounds and sounds that come from silence.
- Then move to exploring smells — strong and light, smells that come and go.
- Watch the clouds drift. Try to notice as much detail as you can. Describe the shapes to yourself.
In your opinion, what other things separate you and your happiness? What helps you to overcome these issues?
Illustrated by Yekaterina Ragozina for BrightSide.me