11 bad habits that are absolutely sabotaging your happiness

Do you ever wonder why happiness seems elusive? 

Well, it could be that your everyday habits, which you unconsciously engage in, are breaking down your quest for happiness.

Yup, you read that right. 

These silent happiness saboteurs are often so ingrained that we barely notice them. 

In this article, we will look at 11 habits that might be stealing your joy. Are you ready to find your smile again? Let’s go!

1) You’re constantly chasing perfection

Did you know that it’s scientifically proven that chasing perfection can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression?

Quite ironic, right? 

We think that getting everything ‘just right’ will make us happier, but in reality, it often does the opposite.

Here’s a little story:

I once tried to perfect a painting for weeks, redoing it again and again. Instead of feeling satisfied, I was exhausted and far from happy. 


Because perfection is a moving target, always just out of reach. 

We’re all beautifully imperfect, and that’s what makes us unique. 

2) You’re ignoring your feelings

Ever tried to hold a beach ball underwater? It’s tough, right? 

The deeper you push it, the higher it pops up. 

Well, ignoring our feelings is much like that – we can suppress them for a while, but they’ll eventually resurface, often with a bigger splash.

Sounds familiar?

I’ve been there too, wearing a mask of ‘I’m fine’ when I was anything but fine.

The truth is that our feelings, even the difficult ones, demand to be felt. 

They’re not our enemies, but signals of our inner world. When we stop ignoring them and start acknowledging them, we start healing.

 And trust me, there’s a unique sense of freedom and happiness that comes with facing our feelings head-on. So, let’s not suppress. Let’s express.

3) You compare yourself with others

Let’s face it: it’s all too easy to fall into the comparison trap in the age of social media.

And you know what?

That’s another bad habit that can seriously undermine our joy.

Seeing a snapshot of someone else’s life can spark feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. 

But here’s one thing you should know:

What we often see are their highlights, not the full story.

Of course, it’s normal to notice and even admire others’ achievements. But when we let these comparisons determine our self-worth, they chip away at our happiness.

The truth is, no two journeys are the same. So next time you’re tempted to compare, remind yourself that you’re on your own unique journey.

4) You hang out with negative people

Okay, one thing is clear: negativity is contagious. 

And if you’re around people who always complain, their outlook can bring you down.

Ever noticed how being around a grumpy person can quickly turn a good day into a gloomy one? Or how a chat with a pessimistic friend can leave you feeling drained?

That’s the power of negativity – it’s infectious and can quickly erode your joy.

That’s why you need to start thinking about surrounding yourself with positive people right away. 

I know what you think — it’s not always easy to cut ties, especially when these are long-standing relationships. 

But remember, you deserve to be around people who lift you up, not bring you down.

5) You don’t value your time

sabotage happiness habits 1 11 bad habits that are absolutely sabotaging your happiness

Speaking of hanging out with negative people, there’s another habit that’s subtly sabotaging your happiness. And that’s not valuing your time.

Let’s dive a bit deeper. Our time is a finite resource, right?

Yet we often squander it on activities or people that don’t bring us joy.

You might find yourself:

  • Saying ‘yes’ to every request, even if it’s at the expense of your own peace.
  • Spending hours scrolling aimlessly on your phone.
  • Wasting precious moments worrying about things beyond your control.

Think about it: every minute you spend is a minute you won’t get back. So, why not invest it wisely?

Here’s the deal: every minute you spend is a minute you won’t get back. 

When you start respecting your time, you begin to invest it in ways that nurture your happiness. Now that’s a habit worth cultivating!

6) You’re not taking care of your health

Do you ever catch yourself trading sleep for work or skipping meals because you’re “too busy”? 

Sadly, that’s what many of us do.

We skip meals, sacrifice sleep, and postpone that gym visit for another day. Sound familiar?

If so, this one’s for you.

The simple truth is that your health is your wealth. 

When you neglect your physical health, it’s like you’re eroding the foundation of your happiness. 

It might not seem like a big deal in the short term. But I’m sure over time, it can lead to stress, fatigue, and a general sense of unhappiness.

So, remember: taking care of your health is not a chore; it’s the ultimate form of self-respect. 

And trust me, when you’re physically healthy, happiness becomes a whole lot easier to achieve. 

7) You don’t make time for self-care

Let me take a wild guess:

If you’re not taking care of your health, there’s a good chance you’re also neglecting self-care. 

I mean, have you ever noticed that when you’re super busy, self-care is usually the first thing to go out the window? 

Now, let’s get this straight. 

Self-care isn’t selfish or indulgent—it’s necessary for our well-being and happiness. 

But you know what?

Self-care isn’t all about bubble baths and spa days (though those are nice too!). It’s about respecting yourself enough to know that you deserve to take care of your own needs, too.

You might be a busy bee, juggling multiple tasks and roles. But don’t forget that it’s okay to pause, rest, and do something you love. 

8) You’re not pursuing your passions

Next on our list of happiness saboteurs is neglecting your passions. 

Do you remember the last time you did something simply because you loved doing it? 

When we become so wrapped up in our responsibilities, it’s easy to put our passions on the back burner

But here’s the fact: our passions are a key source of joy and fulfillment.

Think about it: what lights you up? 

It could be painting, writing, playing an instrument, or maybe gardening. 

Whatever it is, make time for it. 

Your passions are a part of who you are. And ignoring them is like ignoring a part of yourself.

9) You’re afraid to change

Change can be scary, no doubt about it. 

But clinging to the familiar at the cost of our growth?

Well, it’s a happiness stealer we often overlook. 

Imagine this: you’re at a job you don’t enjoy, but the fear of stepping into the unknown keeps you stuck. 

Meanwhile, your dreams are waiting on the other side of fear. How long can you suppress the longing for something different?

That’s why it’s crucial to embrace change rather than fear it. 

It’s through change that we grow, learn, and get closer to our authentic selves.

10) You’re overthinking your future

behaviors of overthinker 11 bad habits that are absolutely sabotaging your happiness

Ever heard of the saying, “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”? 

It’s another bad habit on our list – overthinking the future.

And this can be a serious happiness thief.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having plans or setting goals. It’s natural to think about what’s ahead.

But obsessing over the future? It can surely rob you of your present joy.

For example, you might spend countless nights worrying about a presentation that’s weeks away, forgetting to enjoy the small, everyday moments that make life beautiful.

Reflect for a moment. 

How many times have you lost sleep over a situation that only existed in your mind?

It’s like being in a perpetual state of reaching, never arriving. The result? 

A significant drain on our happiness reserves.

So, here’s an invitation: make peace with uncertainty and trust that we can handle whatever comes our way.

11) You’re not living in the present moment

And finally, the habit that underlines many of our happiness saboteurs: not living in the present moment. 

When you’re ruminating about the past or stressing about the future, you’re missing out on the only moment you truly have – the present.

What does it mean?

Well, being present means fully engaging with what’s happening right now. 

It’s enjoying your coffee instead of rushing through it. 

Even studies show that mindfulness, or the practice of being fully present, can boost happiness levels significantly. 

It’s a simple yet powerful shift. 

So, why not start today? Your happiness is in your hands. You’ve got this!

Final thoughts

Wrapping it all up, we see that happiness isn’t some grand prize at the end of a long race, but something we cultivate in our everyday lives. 

The bad habits we’ve explored, from neglecting your health to overthinking your future, may seem small, but they can stealthily chip away at our joy.

But here’s the hopeful part: we have the power to turn things around. 

Every day gives us a fresh start, an opportunity to break these patterns and make room for habits that uplift us instead.

Let’s make the most of it, shall we? One day at a time, one step at a time, reclaim your smile. 

Picture of Nato Lagidze

Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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