Did you know that your habits can create happiness or unhappiness? Groundbreaking research done by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California’s Riverside Campus, has shined a light on the formula behind happiness. In her research, Dr. Lyubomirsky discovered that 40% of happiness is driven by your habits.
So, what habits cause unhappiness?
- Avoiding Novelty – Pursuing new things inspires and excites us. When we avoid novelty, this eventually leads to unhappiness.
- Loneliness – The more interaction you have with others, on a daily basis, leads to happiness. When you avoid contact with others, do not socialize regularly and isolate yourself from society, you become unhappy.
- Blame-Thrower – Accepting responsibility for your life empowers you. We are happiest when we feel like we are in control of our lives. Blaming others for the things that go wrong in your life dis-empowers you. It takes away your feeling of being in control of your life, which leads to unhappiness.
- Desire to Control Others – Those who seek to control the behaviors of others become unhappy when those behaviors deviate from their expectations. You can only control your behavior. Seeking to control the behaviors of others leads to unhappiness.
- Destructive Criticism – Those with a positive mental outlook, offer Constructive Criticism – feedback that offers solutions. Those with a negative mental outlook, offer Destructive Criticism – feedback which offers no solutions. Negative people are unhappy people.
- Complaining – Complaining about how bad things are, leads to a negative mindset and eventually an unhappy life. It reaffirms your negative thinking and beliefs and pushes people away from you, leading to a lonely existence.
- Buying Stuff – Buying things leads to disappointment. Those things will only give you temporary happiness. Eventually the novelty of the new thing will wear off and you will be financially poorer, causing you to feel unhappy.
- Envy – Grateful people are happy people. Unhappy people have an unhealthy envy of others.
- Associating With Toxic People – If you want to be happy, hang out with happy people. Hanging out with people who drag you down, leads to unhappiness.
- Feeling Stuck – Happy people pursue dreams and the goals behind those dreams. Unhappy people don’t pursue dreams and avoid setting goals. As a result, they never grow as individuals. They feel stuck in life. Feeling stuck in life leads to unhappiness.
- Avoiding Risk – Happy people are not afraid of taking risks in life. Unhappy people avoid risk at all costs.
- Focused on Past Mistakes/Poor Decisions – Happy people focus on the here and now, and changes they can make to improve their lives. Unhappy people wallow in self-pity over their mistakes and poor decisions they’ve made. Thinking about what could have been, alternate choices you should have made, and past mistakes, drags you down into the abyss of negativity.
- Unrealistic Expectations – I saved this one for last as I believe it leads to the greatest unhappiness. When you set unrealistically high expectations for yourself or others, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Life has too many variables. There are too many things that can happen that will affect any outcome you have set in your mind. Some of those things meet your expectations, some exceed your expectations and some fail to meet your expectations. Setting realistic expectations is the key. When you set realistic expectations, you set yourself up to meet or exceed them. When you meet or exceed your expectations, this makes you feel happy. Setting realistic expectations does not mean that you do not believe in yourself. It just means that you understand that sometimes reality may be very different than what you hope it will be.