Unhappiness is like second-hand smoke. It gnaws on you and creeps up on other people as well.
It does not only affect the unhappy person, but it also makes the surrounding people miserable as well.
Sometimes, our unhappiness is caused by certain circumstances.
But a big part of it comes from our own thinking, behavior, and habits.
These habits increase your chances of feeling sad, depressed or anxious.
Here are 13 habits of unhappy people that you need to avoid, according to science:
1. They have a sedentary lifestyle
A study found that there is a relationship between mental health and physical activity.
A group of 6,909 adults was observed three times over the course of ten years.
The results show that when physical activity is increased, mental health is improved over time.
The sooner you become physically active, the faster you will see the improvements.
2. They lack socialization
When unhappiness strikes, it’s hard to socialize.
But avoiding others can lead to more unhappiness down the line.
This study shows that social isolation poses health risks.
Living alone, having a small social network, and infrequent participation in social activities are associated with lower levels of self-rated physical health.
3. They show hostility
People who are unhappy are hostile most of the time.
For this study, 171 participants completed assessments of 4 trait hostility scales.
The results show that hostility is a predictor of social strain. They were able to conclude that previous social strain predicted elevated hostile mood.
Additionally, prior hostile mood predicted subsequent social strain.
4. They are pessimistic
According to this research, undue pessimism makes life miserable. The pessimist gives greater attention to the negative cues while forgetting the positive aspects of a situation.
Furthermore, pessimists easily give up when faced with obstacles on the way toward the desired goal.
According to the same study, pessimistic thoughts can lead to depression and suicide.
Suicide attempts reflect the ultimate pessimistic state and extreme hopelessness.
The research was able to conclude that a pessimist’s thoughts contain a significant amount of fear, anxiety, and stress.
5. They focus on negative memories
According to this article, our emotion and memory can develop a reciprocal feedback loop. It means that our mood determines the memories that we remember and those memories will influence your mood state.
The only way to repair the mood-memory cycle is to remember something happy.
It will then result in mood repair, leading to a more positive emotional state.
6. They don’t eat nutritious food
This research studied the possible therapeutic impact of dietary changes on depression.
They found that anxiety and depression are associated with a lack of nourishing foods.
During the controlled trial, intervention in the form of nutritional consulting was offered to the participants.
The results indicate that dietary improvement can be used to manage depression.
7. They value material things
People who are materialists are more likely to be unhappy, according to a study.
In this research, the association between materialism and life satisfaction was tested.
(We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.)
It states that “materialists find it harder to be grateful”, which makes them unhappy.
8. They don’t know how to cope
One study was made about optimism and its impact on mental and physical well-being. It was found out that being optimistic is a great way to cope with life’s problems.
Optimism successfully eliminated, reduced or managed the stressors.
On the other hand, unhappy people tend to ignore, avoid or distance oneself from stressors and emotions.
And these negative coping strategies often worsened their quality of life.
9. They drink a lot
This article states that there is a strong link between alcohol abuse and unhappiness.
A research study confirmed it by finding that depressed, withdrawn, or anxious adolescents are more likely to have alcohol problems.
10. They complain a lot
According to an article, complaining comes in numerous forms.
The first type is called chronic complainers. They are people who never seem to be satisfied.
The second one is called “venting”. It is the familiar expression of emotional dissatisfaction.
However, the downside of complaining is that it can make the complainer and the people listening unhappy.
11. They overthink things
It also states that it can increase your risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
What’s more dangerous is that this is a habit that is hard to break.
It wreaks havoc on your mental health. When your mental health declines, overthinking increases.
12. They procrastinate too much
Procrastination is simply defined as the action of delaying or postponing something.
Even the Greek poet Herod cautioned not to “put your work off till tomorrow and the day after.”
In the past 20 years, this behavior has received a burst of empirical interest.
According to Eric Jaffe, the inability to manage emotions seems to be the cause of procrastination.
This approach is self-defeating and results in anxiety, guilt, shame, and unhappiness.
13. They judge other people
“Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.” ~Fran Lebowitz
According to this study, how positively you see others is linked to how happy you are.
According to the lead author, your perceptions of others reveal so much about your own personality.
For this research, the participants were asked to rate the positive and negative characteristics of three people.
From the data gathered, important information about the rater’s well-being, mental health, social attitudes and how they were judged by others was analyzed.
The results show that a person’s tendency to describe others in positive terms comes from the person’s own positive personality traits.
In other words, judging others negatively stems from our own negative traits.
The above-mentioned habits of unhappy people are proof that happiness has much less to do with life circumstances than you might think.
Indeed, happiness is under your control. It is the product of your habits and your outlook on life.
In fact, this article states that life circumstances only account for about 10% of a person’s happiness.
The rest is up to you.
More people like you...
… are supporting independent media and education platforms like Ideapod. Unlike many other media organizations, we have decided to make our writing free and accessible to all.
We have a vision of a world where power is returned to the people. Where individuals are inspired to break through limiting paradigms to find their own sources of creativity.
This is as much an inner-journey as it is about changing the world. That’s why our writing ranges from personal development to world issues.
We need your support to continue doing what we do. If you find value in the articles you’re reading, please consider becoming a Prime member for as little as $4 monthly. You’ll experience Ideapod without advertisements and get special access to new products. Most importantly, you’ll be supporting a platform seeking to bring power back to within the people.