9 signs someone is deeply unhappy in life, according to psychology

Happiness is the Holy Grail for so many people. Thousands of books, poems, and songs were written about it. 

And while some people seem to be happy and content in life, there are scores of others who just can’t seem to capture happiness in their lives.

In this article, we’re looking into the signs of unhappiness in someone’s life, according to psychology. 

You can use this to contemplate your own life or to find out if someone else is unhappy. Either way, you’ll be better equipped to help them and yourself. 

Let’s begin!

1) They start isolating themselves from friends and family

One of the most obvious signs of unhappiness and discontent in life is when someone starts to isolate themselves from friends and family. 

If someone is consistently avoiding social interactions or canceling plans, it could be a sign of emotional distress. 

They might be finding it challenging to engage with others all of a sudden. 

In psychology, social withdrawal can be linked to conditions like social anxiety, depression, or introversion

Understanding the underlying psychological factors can help you develop appropriate interventions.

2) A lack of enthusiasm for activities they once enjoyed

When someone loses interest in activities they once enjoyed, it can show a lack of pleasure or fulfillment in their life. Hobbies or passions that used to bring joy no longer hold the same appeal to them.

This diminished interest in once-enjoyable activities is a classic symptom of depression. 

It messes with the way your brain processes pleasure and interest. It’s like the usual enjoyment switches get turned down or off.

As to what the cause of the depression is, should be determined by a professional. 

They’re like detectives of the mind, figuring out strategies to turn those switches back on. It could involve finding new ways to approach the hobby, discovering fresh interests, or even working on thoughts and feelings that might be blocking the enjoyment.

3) Changes in sleep patterns

Disturbed sleep is also an indicator of emotional struggles. Insomnia suggests racing thoughts, stress, or anxiety, while oversleeping might be an attempt to escape from reality.

When I have anxiety about something, I can barely fall asleep, and even when I do, I’m constantly twisting and turning.

Now, in my adult life, I’ve never had the luxury of just staying in bed longer because I had to work, no matter what. 

But if I look back at my teenage years, then yes, there were definitely days when I would just attempt to escape life by staying in bed as long as I could.

4) Constant tiredness and lack of energy

When you’re sleeping too much or not enough, of course, you’re going to be tired or not have enough energy.

But emotional distress can also be physically draining. Being constantly tired could also be a result of the mental and emotional energy spent dealing with inner struggles.

It’s not just the usual tiredness after a busy day. It’s more like your energy tank is running on empty, and refueling seems like an uphill battle.

You used to bounce out of bed, ready to take on the day, but now it’s a struggle to even contemplate getting up. 

Every task feels like a marathon, and you’re carrying the weight of exhaustion even before your day starts.

Sound familiar?

Now, from a psychological perspective, constant tiredness is like a big neon sign that says, “Hey, something’s going on here!” 

Psychologists don’t just shrug and say, “Well, you need more sleep.” They dig into the why behind this persistent fatigue.

Is it because of stress, maybe from work, relationships, or life changes? Is it linked to an underlying mental health condition like depression, where even the simplest tasks become energy-draining hurdles?

5) Rapid or extreme changes in mood

Imagine this: You’re going about your day, everything’s fine, and then, out of the blue, a wave of frustration or sadness hits you like a surprise plot twist in a movie. 

Or, on the flip side, you might be floating on cloud nine, and suddenly, irritation barges in uninvited.

Extreme and unpredictable mood swings signal internal turmoil. You, or someone who’s experiencing them, could be grappling with intense emotions and just can’t control their feelings and emotional stability.

Then, there’s heightened irritability. Small things that didn’t bother you before suddenly become incredibly irritable.

This can be a symptom of various psychological conditions, including mood disorders and certain personality disorders, none of which make you happy in life

6) Falling behind on work, chores, or personal responsibilities

underachieving in life 1 9 signs someone is deeply unhappy in life, according to psychology

Let’s talk about falling behind on work, chores, or personal responsibilities. I see it like watching a to-do list turn into an intimidating mountain that seems impossible to climb. 

This isn’t the usual occasional procrastination but a persistent struggle to keep up with the demands of daily life.

From a psychological standpoint, this isn’t just about being disorganized or lazy. On the contrary, there could be many reasons behind this apparent struggle, and stress and mental loads are big ones once again.  

There could also be underlying feelings of sadness or anxiety, making it challenging to focus on tasks. 

The goal isn’t just to catch up on responsibilities. You need to create a space where you can navigate life’s demands without feeling buried under the weight of it all. 

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done in today’s world. 

7) Not taking care of personal hygiene and appearance

Sometimes, your usual routine of looking and feeling fresh can take a backseat. When this happened to me in the past, I was buried under a lot of work and under a barrage of stress.

I still took showers, but I constantly looked like something the cat would drag in. Needless to say, I was unhappy with my life at that moment.

From a psychological perspective, this change is a visual cue that something is going on beneath the surface. 

Psychologists don’t just observe and say, “Well, they’ve let themselves go.” They see it as a potential signal that emotional well-being is taking a hit.

The mind is occupied with something more pressing, and the everyday rituals of self-care fade into the background.

8) Hopelessness

I see more and more people feeling hopeless. Not necessarily about their own situation but simply because the world is moving in the wrong direction.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t worry about the A.I., global warming, all the wars that have started in the last couple of years, etc. 

These things won’t go away if we simply stick our heads into the sand, right?

But the hopelessnes (and helplessness) I want to talk about in regard to our topic is more personal. So, imagine this: You used to have dreams, goals, and a sense of direction. 

But now, it’s like those dreams are locked away, and even the key seems out of reach. Every step forward feels like a struggle against an invisible force pulling you back.

The underlying reasons for this hopelessness vary widely and are often complex. I mean, we’re talking about trauma, stress (again), unresolved grief, negative thoughts, financial strain, unrealistic expectations…

The list goes on and on, right?

9) Self-destructive behavior

Often, self-destructive behaviors are coping mechanisms, albeit unhealthy ones. They are an attempt to gain a sense of control, express emotional pain, or even serve as a distraction from underlying issues.

On the other side, substance abuse often masks underlying mental health problems like trauma, depression, or anxiety. It can be an attempt to self-medicate and find temporary relief from emotional pain.

From a psychological standpoint, both self-destructive behavior and substance abuse are viewed as indications that someone is struggling to cope with emotional pain.

How to be happier in life (once again)

Regaining happiness in life is a journey all right, and different strategies work for different people.

However, there are some things you can start doing today to be more content in life

Take time to reflect on your life, values, and goals to understand what truly matters to you and what brings you joy.

Spend your time with friends and family, or join social groups where you’ll meet like-minded people.

Exercise regularly, sustain a balanced diet, and prioritize adequate sleep because physical well-being is closely tied to mental well-being.

And, perhaps most importantly, limit your exposure to negative influences like toxic people, negative news, and self-critical thoughts. 

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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