25 reasons why chasing happiness only makes you miserable

There is so much pressure to be happy. But happiness is a fleeting feeling.

Chasing happiness can be dangerous to your mental health and can lead to anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

We know that being happy is important, but the pursuit of  happiness has been proven time and time again to be a detriment rather than a benefit.

Here are 25 essential reasons why chasing happiness can make you miserable:

1) We don’t know what makes us happy

Let’s get started.

We are constantly chasing happiness but we don’t know what makes us happy. We often look to external factors like money and status and think that once we have them we will be happy. But we don’t know if it’s that or something else.

According to Virginia-based therapist Susan J. Buniva, “It is an illusion that external events or circumstances like wealth or marriage will create happiness,” she says. “When we look outside ourselves for happiness, we no longer have agency over our own happiness and count on others to make us happy or we depend on things to fill us up.”

2) Happiness is an elusive goal

Happiness is an elusive goal.

It’s true.

We think that happiness is something that will come to us, but there’s no guarantee of that.

We can spend our whole lives chasing it and still not be happy.

Happiness is a personal experience that cannot be quantified or measured. It can only be felt and understood, but not defined.

Happiness changes from person to person depending on their own experiences in life as well as the circumstances they are currently facing.

This makes happiness an incredibly subjective emotion because everyone has different definitions of what it means to them when they feel happy (or unhappy).

Happiness is a way of living one’s life that many people strive for yet few achieve day-to-day.

3) You will always be disappointed

You see, when you’re chasing happiness, you will never be happy with the present. You’ll always want more and never be satisfied.

Turns out that the pursuit of happiness doesn’t give you what it promises. Consistent disappointment is a result of chasing happiness.

We set ourselves milestones and think that once we reach them we will be happy.

According to human behavior expert Patrick Wanis, Ph.D:

“People become disillusioned and then start experiencing inner emptiness. And the inner emptiness is the result of pursuing goals rather than actually doing things that are meaningful to you. The pleasure, the joy, the satisfaction has to come from doing what you’re doing, being what you’re being, having what you’re having, not just thinking it’s always tomorrow.”

4) You’ll lose sight of what’s truly important

The pursuit of happiness will make you prioritize things that aren’t important at all, like money and social status, which will eventually lead to unhappiness as you realize how meaningless those things are in the grand scheme of life.

When you chase happiness, your priorities become skewed and your values change – so things that used to be important now seem trivial in comparison to what matters most in life: quality time with friends and family, good health, relationships with others, meaningful work, etc.

As if that’s not enough, chasing happiness makes it impossible for people to find their purpose in life because they’re focused on changing their lives through external means rather than looking within themselves to find meaning in these areas – but this is not possible when your focus is on external means rather than internal sources of fulfillment.

Simply put, chasing happiness will make you lose sight of what’s truly important in life.

5) You’ll be unhappy with yourself

When you’re chasing happiness, you’ll feel like a failure because the pursuit of happiness makes you feel like a failure.

When you chase happiness, your self-esteem suffers because you don’t believe that what you’re doing is working and that there’s no way to get what you want in this world.

You’ll always feel like something is wrong with who you are and that no one could ever love someone as flawed as yourself – so why bother trying?

The pursuit of happiness can be a very lonely pursuit because it makes people feel like they’re alone in the world and not worthy of love or compassion from others.

But wait, there’s more.

You feel like no one can relate to your problems when they are chasing happiness because everyone is happy and everyone has their own problems. They won’t understand how bad things can get for someone who tries to chase happiness when everything seems so great for them.

Chasing happiness can make people unhappy with themselves and their lives, which can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in depression over time as these people continue on the chase for more external satisfaction instead of internal sources of fulfillment.

6) You’ll be unhappy with the world

When you’re chasing happiness, you’ll have a negative view of the world around you because you will have a crisis of faith in the values that society has instilled in you.

Wait, let me explain.

When your pursuit of happiness is based on external sources rather than internal sources, everything will seem like it’s broken and not working because your focus is on what’s wrong with the world rather than what’s right within yourself.

When people chase happiness, they tend to have very pessimistic views of the world around them and they often blame themselves or others for their problems instead of looking within themselves to find a solution – but this is not possible when your focus is on external sources rather than internal sources.

7) You’ll be unhappy with other people

When you’re chasing happiness, other people will feel like an annoyance or burden because they won’t understand why someone would want to change their life by altering their behavior instead of changing how they think about and relate to themselves.

Other people will feel like an inconvenience whenever they try to get your attention and you’ll be very resistant to their attempts to help you because they will make you feel like a bad person.

When people chase happiness, they can become very judgmental of other people because they think that everyone else is chasing happiness and not working on themselves.

You see, the people who are chasing happiness are often very angry with other people because they don’t understand why everyone else isn’t chasing happiness as hard as they are.

8) You’ll resent others for being happy

Today, in the time of social media, everyone seems to be happy. The pictures that people post paint a picture of a perfect life.

If you are trying to find happiness and it’s not working for you, you might become resentful of others for being happy.

It’s true.

You’ll start thinking that everyone else is living a better life than you are and this will make you feel like an outsider. You’ll think that everyone else has it better than you.

This is simply not true. Very often someone who seems to have it all together and to be happy on the outside might be unhappy on the inside. They could be even worse off than you.

9) You can’t force happiness

pexels andrea piacquadio 3781538 25 reasons why chasing happiness only makes you miserable

When you’re chasing happiness and it’s not working for you, you’ll try to force it to work by trying to force yourself to be happy.

You’ll start trying to control how you feel and what happens in your life through willpower, which is a very unnatural way of thinking.

Happiness can’t be forced. When you try to force yourself to be happy, you will fail. You will end up feeling even worse than before.

Here’s why: happiness is a state of mind. It’s about feeling content and fulfilled with life, not just having things to be happy about. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can force yourself into; it has to come from within first before anything else will work out for the best in your life.

10) You’ll be manic and angry

When you’re chasing happiness and it’s not working for you, you’ll feel manic and angry because of your frustration.

Manic people are very dramatic in their behavior because they can’t contain their anger and frustration at the world around them.

When your happiness is not working for you, you will often become manic and angry because of your frustration with the world around you when you’re trying to find happiness.

11) Your life will spin out of control

When someone is chasing happiness instead of working on themselves, their life can spin out of control very quickly if they don’t have a good support system in place that can help them de-stress whenever they feel overwhelmed with the stress that comes from trying to find happiness through external sources rather than internal sources like self-love and self-acceptance instead of happiness.

12) You think you can actually catch happiness

When you’re chasing happiness, you’ll think that you can actually catch happiness and that it’s something that you can control.


Happiness is not something that you can catch. Happiness is a state of mind, not a state of being.

Simply put, you don’t catch happiness, but it will come to you if you are at peace with yourself and are working on yourself instead of trying to find happiness externally through things like material possessions or other people.

13) You’ll start taking the easy way out because it’s easier than working on yourself

When someone is chasing happiness instead of working on themselves, they’ll begin to take the easy way out because it’s easier than working on themselves and learning how to be happy through self-love and self-acceptance instead of external sources such as money or other people.

14) You’ll set unrealistic goals

When you’re chasing happiness, you’ll set unrealistic goals for yourself like “I’m going to be rich and happy” or “I’m going to be famous and happy”.

There are many things we chase as humans. Happiness is one of them.

It’s impossible to know what happiness is, but we all feel it when it comes to us. Those who have experienced happiness often find that chasing after it leads to unhappiness.

However, the truth is that happiness can’t be found chasing after something else.

Happiness comes when you find a way to appreciate the present moment for everything that it has to offer without any expectations, attachments, or desires.

What does this mean for you?

This means you shouldn’t set your goals too high or expect too much from yourself because this will only lead to disappointment and failure.

15) You think it’s possible to be happy all the time

When you’re chasing happiness, you’ll think it’s possible to be happy all the time.

But the truth is that happiness is an emotion that can come and go.

It can last a day or a week or can be composed of a series of happy moments, but you can’t be happy all the time. It’s just not possible.

In my own experience, the majority of people are neutral most of the time.

16) You forget the importance of feeling other emotions

To be happy all the time would mean to never feel any sort of emotion again and that’s both impossible and unhealthy.


What happens when you become so focused on making yourself happier that you don’t remember the importance of feeling other emotions?

It’s important to feel other emotions too, such as anger or sadness. They can help you overcome painful times and grow as a person to become a better version of yourself.

17) You’ll stop learning and growing

When you’re chasing happiness, you’ll stop learning and growing because you don’t want to face the truth of your reality or the fact that you’re not happy.

You’ll begin to feel like you don’t have any purpose in life, so you start believing that if you just work harder or try harder at something else (such as your job), then maybe one day it will all be worth it.

Unfortunately, this is not true.

The reason why we work and pursue different things in life is that we enjoy what we do and we want to learn new things which will make us better people in the future.

18) Chasing happiness makes you forget to live in the moment

Are you always striving to be happier?

Do you spend too much time waiting for the right moment in order to be happy and make things happen?

Chasing happiness is not just a waste of time; it’s actually detrimental to your well-being.

Here’s why:

Living in the present gives us more opportunities to be happy and makes it possible to live life on our own terms.

The truth is that happiness is all around us.

We just have to stop, take a step back, and live in the moment so that we can fully enjoy the time we have left on earth.

We don’t need to be chasing happiness because it will always find us if we are willing to let go of what’s been holding us back.

19) You’ll lose your compassion for others

If you are constantly chasing happiness, you may forget about others and soon start to feel that everyone else is just trying to get ahead in life.

In order to be happy, you have to have compassion for others and understand that they have their own struggles and challenges that they’re facing on a daily basis.

Think about it:

Compassion is a key ingredient in happiness because it teaches us how to treat other people and relate to them in the right way.

It’s also important because it’s a powerful tool that can help us deal with negative emotions such as anger or frustration.

It’s easier than you think

20) You’ll stop being grateful for what you already have

pexels aissa bouabellou 2406238 25 reasons why chasing happiness only makes you miserable

When you are focused on finding happiness you can easily forget to be grateful for the wonderful things you already have.

If you’re constantly looking for something better, it will eventually make you unhappy because you’ll never be satisfied with what you have right now.

Happiness is all about appreciating what we already have and making the most of what we already have in life.

21) You’ll stop doing anything for others

If you’re constantly looking for happiness, you’ll eventually stop helping others or doing things for others because it is not in your best interest.

It’s not about being selfish; it’s about taking care of yourself and refraining from putting yourself down in order to feel better.

22) You’re going about it the wrong way

If you are looking for happiness, it might be time to rethink your approach.

It may be possible that you’re going about finding happiness the wrong way and need a new perspective.

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself the same question on a number of occasions: How can someone be happy?

Now, the answer to that question is complicated.

Here are some ways to find happiness that don’t involve buying new things, taking up hobbies, or trying new activities:

  • Take a walk with your dogs
  • Spend time with your friends
  • Do something that makes you feel proud of yourself
  • Find joy in something small like baking a cake

Stop thinking about happiness in terms of something you must find.

And the best part?

Happiness might already be there, staring you in the face. Be open to it.

23) You’ll stop appreciating the little things in life

When is the last time you stopped to smell the roses?

The answer is probably never because you’re always looking for happiness in the wrong places.

There are those moments in your day where you might not be feeling particularly happy, but something happens and you’re suddenly in a much better mood.


If you’re always looking for happiness, then you’ll miss out on these little blessings that could turn your day around.

In order to appreciate what’s happening around you, make sure to take a break and let life happen.

Happiness is all about appreciating the little things in life, like taking a walk in nature or having a nice conversation with a friend.

24) You’ll stop being grateful for the opportunities that come your way

Don’t be so focused on finding happiness that you lose sight of all of the wonderful opportunities that come your way every day.

You see, there are plenty of opportunities to make us happy that we just need to be open to them and see them as they are instead of being blinded by our search for happiness.

Just because you don’t feel happy now doesn’t mean that you’ll never be happy.

Simply put, happiness shouldn’t be about finding something to make you happy, but rather about being open to all of the opportunities that are out there for you.

25) Instead of chasing happiness, make it

Instead of chasing happiness, try to create your own happiness. Choose to be happy.

What does this mean?

  • It’s about surrounding yourself with positive people.
  • It’s about your perception of the world.
  • It’s about how you react to certain situations.
  • It’s about managing your expectations.
  • It’s about doing what makes you feel good.
  • It’s about choosing to smile.

Myths about happiness

People think that happiness means no negative emotions

What is happiness? The dictionary definition of happiness is “felt by most people at some time in life as an intense feeling of pleasure, excitement, comfort, well-being, or triumph that can make a person feel good and want to celebrate.”

Although this definition may seem simple, it’s not easy to achieve.

Turns out that many people believe that happiness means no negative emotions and that’s not true.

Some of the most meaningful moments in our lives are the times when we experience sadness or anger.

Emotions are a part of who we are. They’re part of what makes us human. But they shouldn’t be something that immobilizes us or overwhelms us with guilt because we have them.

Happiness isn’t about being completely free from negativity or feeling nothing but joy all the time.

It’s about finding balance and experiencing emotions openly without letting them overwhelm you.

To be happy, you need to be successful

People often think that happiness is synonymous with success, that to be happy and successful you have to be doing the same things that make other people happy and successful.

But this is a myth. Success does not always equal happiness.

Did you know that many very successful people have experienced significant struggles before achieving their dreams, and many of them are still struggling to find contentment in what they’ve achieved?

There is one formula for all

It is a common misconception that what makes one person happy will make another person happy too.

There is no “one formula for all”.

This means that happiness cannot be measured in terms of any objective standards or metrics; it is an individual’s personal reaction to the things they value most.

Many different factors that contribute to defining someone as being “happy,” but no single factor can account for all of them because there are so many different types of people with varying needs and interests who exist at various stages on their life journey.

7 reasons why you’re so unhappy

pexels cottonbro 6603405 25 reasons why chasing happiness only makes you miserable

1) You’re lonely and neglecting personal relationships.

You’re unhappy because you’ve neglected your personal relationships.

No wonder you feel lonely and dissatisfied with your life.

You feel like no one understands your situation, or that people don’t care about what’s going on in your life.

Most of us go through periods of neglecting our relationships, but it’s important to understand the benefits for you to maintain them.

Relationships are not just about giving and receiving, but also about making an effort. If you don’t make any effort at all with your loved ones, they will eventually grow tired of you.

Relationships are the foundation of our lives. They impact how we feel and how we think, and they connect us to others. The good ones nourish and protect us; the bad ones can break our hearts.

It’s important to take care of your relationships because they deserve our appreciation and effort.

2) You’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious all the time.

You’re feeling anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed.

You might feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything that needs doing in your life. Your sleep is poor and the quality of it suffers because of this anxiety.

You’re not happy but there’s a way out!

The good news is that there are many things that can help reduce stress levels so take some time out for yourself to relax with one or more of these:

  • meditating
  • taking long walks outside
  • going on a retreat
  • or even just reading something relaxing before bedtime.

3) You’re not making time for yourself.

These days, it’s so hard to find time for ourselves. We have our jobs and responsibilities but we also have our social lives and personal interests.

Constantly feeling as though we’re not making time for ourselves has made us unhappy.

You see, it’s been shown that happiness is highly associated with self-care, which includes taking care of your mental and physical health, spending time with friends and family, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t simply mean buying new clothes or eating out at fancy restaurants.

It can be as simple as sitting down to read a book or playing a video game for an hour.

4) Your mind is always on the past and you’re constantly ruminating over what’s happened, what could have been.

You’re unhappy because you are constantly ruminating over what’s happened and what could have been.

You’re always thinking about the past and how things should be different for you to live a happier life. This is not healthy at all as it will only lead to more negativity and sadness in your life if that’s where you choose to focus on.

What can you do?

Instead, think of all the good things in your past and present. It’s best to think of the positive things that have happened in your life, rather than dwelling on what could have been.

5) You feel like you’re not good enough and that you’ve let yourself down.

You don’t feel like you’re good enough or that you’ve let yourself down.

You’re not a perfect person and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is important to realize that there are no standards for being a good person and we are all imperfect in some way or another.

What makes us good is our ability to forgive ourselves when we fail. If we do this, then we can keep moving forward and strive to become better people.

This means learning from our mistakes so as not to repeat them again; this also means forgiving ourselves when we’ve done something wrong, even if it was unintentional or if it wasn’t our fault at all (this is especially important in relationships).

We all make mistakes and it’s important not to beat ourselves up over them. We must learn from them so as not to repeat the same mistake again in the future.

6) You hold onto anger and negativity.

You’re unhappy because you hold onto anger and negativity.

Anger is a powerful emotion that can make us feel strong, but it’s also destructive to our health, happiness, relationships,, and self-worth.

It doesn’t help when we keep these emotions bottled up inside of ourselves or let them out in ways that are harmful to others around us.

When we become aware of how angry thoughts affect the way we act toward other people as well as how they make us feel physically (i.e., increased heart rate), then it becomes easier to start changing our behavior by speaking kindly instead of yelling at someone who has done nothing wrong.

7) You’re unhappy because you depend too much on other people to make you happy.

You need to be able to find happiness within yourself and realize that the only person who can really make your life fulfilling is yourself.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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