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Why Am I So Unhappy? How to Allow Happiness to Gush Into Your Life

Do you spend time wondering ‘why am I so unhappy’? If so, it’s time to do some soul-searching and get to the bottom of the issue. It’s time to smile again!

why am I so unhappy

Do you regularly feel under pressure to smile all the time? Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to raise a smile. Really, all you want to do is sit and stare at your phone. We all have days like this, but if you find that the thought, ‘why am I so unhappy,’ is at the back of your mind on a regular basis, it’s time to think about why.

We’re all trying to reach for the stars, attain our dreams, and be the very best version we can be. That equals pressure. Sometimes it’s far better to simply ‘be.’

[Read: What to do when you’re emotionally exhausted and just can’t deal]

The problem of always being ‘switched on’

The Internet is a wonderful thing but it does have its downsides too. We’re always connected and switched on. We barely get time to just sit and enjoy the moment anymore. Whenever our phones jingle, we grab them and look at the message. We’re always checking our emails and reading the news. A lot of what we read on the news is also pretty negative and downbeat.

Social media is also a terrible place for comparisons. It’s no wonder that always being connected and available to chat at any time of the day is enough to drag us down.

It sounds like it should be a wonderful thing, but most good things have a negative side too if you look hard enough. [Read: Instagram envy – How to keep things real when you’re green with envy]

Why am I so unhappy? The potential reasons why

If you’re regularly sitting there and wondering ‘why am I so unhappy,’ it’s time to dig a little deeper and unearth the reason. Let’s check out some of the most common causes for unhappiness in this day and age.

1. You have unrealisatic expectations

One of the most common reasons for unhappiness is trying to reach targets that are simply unattainable. Sure, it’s good to aim high but not to Kilimanjaro levels! If you set goals that are too high, you’re going to fail every time. How are you supposed to be happy in that situation? It’s impossible.

If you’re wondering ‘why am I so unhappy,’ question whether the reason is that you’re reaching for goals which even the most intelligent and determined person on the planet couldn’t reach.

Adjust your goals to more realistic levels and build up your confidence. You’ll quickly see how that directly affects your happiness levels. [Read: How to really get to know yourself and reveal your life’s true passions]

2. You regularly compare yourself to others

This is a huge one and something we’re all guilty of from time to time. Never compare yourself to someone else.

Everyone’s journey in life is different and moves at a different speed. When you compare yourself to another person, you’ll always come up short because you automatically focus on the negative.

For instance, a friend of yours might be off traveling the world. You’re stuck at home without much money. Does that mean you’ll never get to travel? Of course not. Does that mean you’ll always be short on cash? Of course not. Life twists and turns. We all move at our own pace.

You can also never be completely sure that the picture you’re seeing of someone, or the tale they’re telling you is entirely true. People embellish the truth to make themselves look good. In that case, you’re comparing yourself against something that isn’t even real. [Read: How to respect yourself – 14 secrets of self-worth and self-belief]

3. You’re spending too much time on social media

Most of us have such a love/hate relationship with social media. It’s a great thing for keeping in touch with people and for passing five minutes when you’re bored. But it also stops you from living in the moment.

As we talked about earlier, you’re so taken up with checking in or sharing where you are or what you’re having for dinner that you’re not actually looking at the location or tasting the food! This is bound to erode away at your happiness levels over time. It could be the answer to ‘why am I so unhappy’ in your case.

So, why not have a break or a total social media detox for a while and see how you feel afterward? [Read: Need a social media detox? 13 ways to help you wean yourself off social media]

4. You have a generally negative outlook

Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? It’s not easy to be positive all the time, but it’s a good idea to at least try and develop a more positive than negative outlook.

When you have a positive mindset, you are happier and healthier naturally. You also notice opportunities around you far easier. As a result, you’ll have experiences and meet new people that would never have come your way previously.

Try positive affirmations, mantras, and mindfulness to boost your positivity levels. You could also try reframing, which means you should be aware of every negative thought you have, and then reframe it into something positive, repeating it until it becomes second nature. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy and dramatic life shift]

5. You’re unkind to yourself

There is no such thing as perfect. We place so much pressure on ourselves to reach that unattainable standard that it’s easy to cause the ‘why am I so unhappy’ question to arise. Start talking to yourself with as much kindness and respect as you use when speaking to your friends and family members!

Why do they deserve kindness and you don’t? Notice how you speak to yourself and the things you tell yourself when something goes wrong. This will give you an idea of whether negative self-talk is something you need to address. [Read: I’m not good enough! How to bring yourself up when you feel low]

6. You’re not taking time out for yourself

Are you someone who gives, gives, and gives some more, without really taking time for yourself? You can’t be happy and healthy if you’re running on empty! Place priority on self care and your own health.

Nourish your mind, body and soul. Then, learn to say ‘no’ to things you haven’t got the time for, or simply the things you really don’t want to do. [Read: Learn how to say no and stop pleasing people… and feel awesome instead!]

We assume that sitting and doing nothing is a waste of time, or that doing something for ourselves is selfish, but the truth is that self-care is a priority in life. If you’re always asking ‘why am I so unhappy,’ it’s probably because you simply don’t give yourself the care and time you deserve.

7. You dwell on the past or constantly worry about the future

Is it any wonder that you’re unhappy if you’re always thinking backward or forward? What about the moment you’re in? Live it!

Thinking back over the past is pointless. It’s been and gone and you can’t change it. Similarly, worrying about the future isn’t worth it either. What will be, will be.

Mindfulness is a great tactic you can use here. This helps you to live in the moment, handle stress, and simply be more appreciative of the small things in life. [Read: How to live in the moment – 24 positive ways to live in the now]

8. You’re watching the news too much

Of course, you should keep up to date with the world’s events but don’t dwell on them if they cause you to feel down or upset all the time.

There is a fine line between empathy with the world’s suffering and allowing it to consume you. If you find that the news affects you negatively, limit the amount you read about.

Many people who question ‘why am I so unhappy’ are often guilty of binging on the world news and failing to see the many positives that are often less reported. [Read: 13 avoidable habits that will change your life for the worse]

9. You don’t have goals

While you don’t have to have your life planned out, not having goals to work towards can be a reason why you might be thinking ‘why am I so unhappy?’ In this case, your life is just meandering on, not really going in any single direction and it’s causing you to feel unfulfilled.

It’s time to sit down and think about what you want out of life. If you’re not sure, deliberate for a while and maybe create a mood board. You’re capable of anything and once you have a direction to move in, you’ll find a spark that you never had before. [Read: What should I do with my life? 16 steps to design your perfect, ideal life]

10. You’re always saying “yes”

Are you a people pleaser? Be honest. If you find that you can’t say “no” and you’re always saying “yes,” then you need to take a step back and realize that time for yourself is just as important.

You don’t have to constantly please those around you to be happy. If they’re good people, they will understand that you have your boundaries and they should be respected. [Read: How to set personal boundaries and guide other people to respect it]

11. Or, you’re always saying “no”

While it’s great to say “no” to things you really don’t want to do, it’s not a good idea to say “no” to everything. Who knows what opportunities you could be missing out on!

Start pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and saying “yes” to social nights out with friends when you’d normally curl up at home in front of Netflix. That doesn’t mean agreeing to everything, but it does mean stretching your boundaries just a little. [Read: 5 powerful steps to break out of your comfort zone]

12. You’re stuck in a cycle of social “norms”

It could be that you’re assuming you “should” do something but you don’t really want to. For instance, you’re focused on the fact that society tells you that you “should” get married and have children, but deep down, it’s not what you want. Or, you’re from a particular culture that has firm gender roles, yet it doesn’t sit right with you.

Social or societal “norms” can be pretty damaging because they force people to do things that they don’t really want to, in order to fit in.

The truth is that you can do whatever you want to do, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. You don’t have to do anything to fit into a particular labeled box or to tick off a particular thing that someone else tells you that you “should” do. By thinking that way, you’re probably contributing to your feelings of dejection and sadness. [Read: Social mores – Should you ignore them and challenge the status quo?]

Sometimes we all just need some help

There are many reasons why you might be thinking ‘why am I so unhappy’ but it’s different for everyone. Trying the tips above will help but if you still find that you’re feeling down and you can’t shake it, there’s a chance that you’re struggling with depression. In that case, make yourself the number one priority in your life *as you should be anyway* and seek out help.

Asking for help is the bravest thing you can do in any situation in life. It shows real strength and an acknowledgment that your happiness is important.

Reaching out for help is the first step in recovery, so once you do this, pat yourself on the back because things are about to change.

We all struggle with feeling low occasionally but nobody deserves to feel this way over the long term. Put yourself first and reach out.

[Read: How to think positive and reprogram your mind to stay positive]

Do you constantly wonder ‘why am I so unhappy?’ It might be a cliche, but true, life is too short. The past is gone, the future is yet to be, so live in the moment and make it beautiful.

Check these out next!

Want to make happiness your status quo? Try the rules of life and 22 secrets to never be unhappy again

Is your relationship affecting you? Read this – Not happy in a relationship? How to choose the right path for you

Want to learn the secret to happiness? Use this guide on what’s the key to happiness? 13 truths to unlock a great life

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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