8 surprising reasons why you feel stressed and worried even when life is good

Alright, picture this: you’re cruising through life, everything seems to be falling into place, yet there’s this annoying little voice in the back of your mind whispering, “Hey, don’t get too comfy, something’s off.”

Sound familiar? Turns out, feeling stressed and worried when life’s supposed to be peachy keen isn’t all that uncommon.

But here’s the kicker: the reasons behind it might just surprise you. So, buckle up as we take a deep dive into 8 unexpected culprits behind those pesky feelings of unease, even when life’s throwing its best at you. Ready to uncover the secrets lurking beneath the surface? Let’s dive in.

1) Perfectionism

Ever catch yourself sweating the small stuff, aiming for that elusive “perfect” outcome? Whether it’s acing a work presentation or planning the ultimate family getaway, the pursuit of perfection can crank up the stress levels big time.

The thing is, we’re living in a world that glorifies perfection as the ultimate badge of success. But let’s get real: this relentless quest for flawlessness can suck the joy right out of life. Even when things are sailing smoothly, the mind of a perfectionist never clocks out. It’s like having a non-stop inner critic, constantly nitpicking and never quite satisfied.

If you’re struggling with this, enter mindfulness. It teaches us to make peace with imperfection, embracing the fact that life’s all about the journey, not just the destination. So instead of fixating on that picture-perfect outcome, why not shift gears and savor the ride? 

2) Attachment to outcomes

As a mindfulness practitioner, this is a trap I’ve fallen into many times. We all have certain expectations of how life should be, and when reality doesn’t align with these expectations, stress and worry inevitably creep in.

Even when life is good, we may find ourselves attached to specific outcomes, constantly looking forward to the next thing. This attachment isn’t just about material possessions or achievements; it can also be about our emotions. We might be hung up on the idea of always feeling happy or content, which is an unrealistic expectation.

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” This quote beautifully encapsulates the idea that we should not let our happiness be dictated by our circumstances.

Therefore, try to cultivate a sense of detachment. Learn to appreciate the journey, not just the destination. In doing so, you may find that worry and stress dissipate, leaving you free to enjoy life as it unfolds.

3) Ignoring impermanence

Buddhist wisdom tells us that everything in life is impermanent. Our feelings, circumstances, even our thoughts are constantly changing, yet we often resist this reality. We crave stability and certainty in a world that is inherently unstable and uncertain.

When life is good, we may worry about losing what we have. This fear of loss – of happiness, health, loved ones, or material possessions – can cause significant stress. We become consumed with the idea of maintaining our current state of affairs, even though change is inevitable.

Ignoring the concept of impermanence is like trying to hold onto water. No matter how tightly we clench our fists, the water will eventually slip through our fingers.

Here’s the silver lining: by embracing impermanence, we can finally chill out and savor the good times without the constant fear of them slipping away. We can kick back, be present in the moment, and soak up all that goodness, knowing that change is just a part of the wild ride we call life. And trust me, once we’ve wrapped our heads around this, stress and worry take a much-needed backseat, letting us live our best lives right here, right now.

4) Neglecting mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of our thoughts and feelings without judgment. It sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly easy to neglect.

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, we often find ourselves thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Even when life is good, we tend to take these moments for granted, not fully appreciating them because our minds are elsewhere.

This lack of mindfulness can create a breeding ground for stress and worry. We’re so caught up in our thoughts that we don’t realize the joy that comes from simply being present.

Practicing mindfulness helps us realize that our thoughts are just that – thoughts. They are not reality. We don’t have to believe them or let them control us.

5) Living with a bloated ego

pic2461 8 surprising reasons why you feel stressed and worried even when life is good

Through my own journey, I’ve come to realize that maintaining a bloated ego can become a major stressor in life. When our ego is inflated, we often find ourselves constantly measuring our worth against others, seeking validation and acknowledgment at every turn, and fearing failure or rejection to an excessive degree.

This constant need for validation can lead to a relentless cycle of comparison, where we constantly evaluate ourselves based on others’ achievements or social status. This not only creates a sense of inadequacy but also fuels feelings of insecurity and anxiety.

Moreover, the fear of failure or rejection becomes amplified when our ego is inflated, as we tie our self-worth directly to external outcomes. This fear can hinder our growth and prevent us from taking risks or pursuing our passions wholeheartedly.

I’ll confess, this is something I’ve grappled with, and it’s one of the reasons I wrote my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego“.

In my book, I delve into the Buddhist concept of ‘no-self’ – the idea that the ego is an illusion – and how understanding this can help us live more fulfilling lives.

6) Lack of self-compassion

One of the most overlooked causes of stress and worry is a lack of self-compassion. We can be our own harshest critics, beating ourselves up over perceived failures or shortcomings.

Even when life is good, we might find ourselves focusing on the one thing that didn’t go as planned, ignoring all the things that went well. This negativity bias can lead to unnecessary stress and worry.

Both Buddhism and mindfulness emphasize the importance of self-compassion. It’s about acknowledging your feelings without judgment, understanding that everyone makes mistakes, and treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you’d offer to a good friend.

Cultivating self-compassion can be a powerful antidote to stress and worry. It allows us to accept ourselves as we are, recognizing that we are not defined by our mistakes or failures.

7) Disconnection from the present

In our digital age, it’s incredibly easy to become disconnected from the present moment. We often find ourselves scrolling through social media, getting lost in the past or future, and forgetting to appreciate the here and now.

This disconnection can cause a lot of stress and worry. Even when life is good, we may find ourselves missing out on the joy of the present moment because we’re too busy worrying about what’s next.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” This quote beautifully illustrates the power of being present.

When we choose to connect with the present moment, we can reduce our stress and worry. It allows us to fully engage with life as it’s happening, rather than getting lost in our thoughts or digital distractions.

8) Overthinking positivity

Sometimes, our stress doesn’t come from the chaos of life but from this pressure to be constantly upbeat. It’s like this thing called toxic positivity. We’re all about slapping on a smile, even when deep down, we’re feeling anything but sunshine and rainbows.

Sure, you’d think staying positive 24/7 would be the ultimate goal, but truth is, it can mess with our heads. It’s like we’re always trying to shove down any hint of negativity, which just ends up making us super anxious about having any kind of downer thoughts.

But here’s the kicker: mindfulness swoops in like a superhero, teaching us to embrace all our emotions, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s totally cool to feel sad, mad, or freaked out. These emotions are as human as it gets.

Once we stop fighting our feelings and start accepting them, magic happens. We can actually deal with them better and dial down the stress and worry levels. It’s like giving ourselves permission to just be human, flaws and all.

You’re too blessed to be stressed

Every day, take a moment to remind yourself: “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget just how good our life is. By repeating this simple mantra, we shift our perspective from one of stress and worry to gratitude and abundance.

Acknowledge the blessings in your life, both big and small. From the roof over your head to the food on your table, from the love of family and friends to the opportunities that come your way, there is so much to be thankful for. Embrace a mindset of abundance and positivity, knowing that you have everything you need to navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience.

So, when stress creeps in, take a deep breath and remind yourself: “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” Let gratitude be your guiding light, illuminating the path towards a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

If you’ve found these insights useful and are keen to delve deeper into Buddhist wisdom and mindfulness practices, I invite you to check out my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.” It’s a practical guide exploring how we can live fulfilling lives by understanding our minds better.

Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the journey, with all its ups and downs. After all, it’s the challenges that help us grow and truly appreciate the good times. Peace and contentment are within your reach; it’s all about perspective.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.