4 foolproof ways to be unhappy!
"Happiness, like unhappiness is a proactive choice" (Stephen Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
Are you tired of being cheerful and optimistic all the time? Or perhaps you are worried that you are not using your frown muscles as much as you could do?
Well don't despair, here are four quick and easy ways to get some unhappiness back into your life!
1. Hold a grudge
When it comes to finding ways to be unhappy, not forgiving or holding a grudge against someone or something, has to be one of the easiest and most effective. Your choices are endless: A friend who didn't help you when you needed it, a family member who forgot your birthday, an organisation who didn't give you the promotion you deserved - the list is almost endless. In fact, don't stop at one: The more grudges you hold, the more unhappy you will be!
Then, just follow these few simple rules to maximise your feelings of anger and resentment:
- Never try to see things from their point of view.
- Don't calmly tell them why you are upset or give them a chance to apologise - instead shout and get angry, or sulk and let the bitterness take hold!
- And if they do apologise, don't accept it; or think that their explanation has any validity whatsoever.
- Mull over the injustice as much as you can, let it keep you awake at night, and never let it go.
The great thing about this strategy is that it hardly affects the other person at all. You don't have to share your unhappiness with them - you can keep it all for yourself!
2. Expect the worst
Expecting the worst is a great habit to get into if you want to ensure your unhappiness never goes away. The word that best describes it is "catastrophising", which explains the process quite simply. Here's how to put it into practice:
- Think of something that is happening or about to happen and then imagine the very worst possible outcome that you can.
- Ignore the likelihood of any better outcome and focus entirely on the worst case scenario.
- Tell yourself that if the worst happens you won't be able to cope and your life will be ruined.
- Never focus on thinking about anything you could do pro-actively to affect the outcome, just sit and worry - especially when you are tired, late at night.
It's a great strategy because once you develop the habit, it doesn't matter in the slightest whether the thing you were worrying about happens or not. If it works out well, you simply choose the next thing to worry about instead. One thing is for sure: You'll never have to concern yourself with running out of things to worry about!
3. Compare yourself to others
Look, I'm sure that deep down you know you are unique and that no-one has ever been born or will ever be born with your special combination of gifts and character strengths. But if you want to be unhappy, please don't give much attention to that thought. Instead choose anyone you know (or know about) and find something about them that you believe puts you in a bad light, carefully ignoring any other aspect of their character that might suggest that their own lives are less than perfect.
Then you can intensify the unhappiness that causes, by telling yourself that everyone else you know is spending all their time judging you and talking negatively about your failings behind your back.
The wonderful thing about this strategy is that a group of people can get together and every single one of them can feel bad about not being as "good" as someone else in the group!
And whatever you do, don't waste any of your energy thinking about how you might be able to use your own qualities to improve the lives of the people around you in some way. Compared to feeling inadequate, feeling compassionate won't make you unhappy at all!
4. Watch endless TV
Who doesn't enjoy watching TV? There are some fantastic programmes (sport, drama, comedy shows, films, documentaries etc.) that are sure to help you relax and enjoy life more. So I know what you're thinking: Watching TV sounds like a rubbish way to become more unhappy! But listen up: That is only true if you carefully choose what you are going to watch. Watching TV indiscriminately, for hour after hour, day after day is actually a really easy way to become unhappier. In fact, it takes almost no effort at all!
There are two ways this works: Firstly spending all your time in front of the TV means that you'll have very little time for things that might make you truly happy, such as exercise, hobbies, crafts, clubs, learning something, and doing things with your friends or family. And you'll never be properly unhappy if you fill your life with all of that!
But just as significantly, although life on TV is quite different from real life, regularly watching for hours on end can easily give you the impression that murder, robbery, deception, drug addiction, child abduction and other serious crimes are regular occurrences that could happen to you and your family at any time. That should give you plenty to worry about and leave very little space for appreciating all the good things in life - things you probably aren't doing anyway!
So you see, being unhappy - like being happy - is really up to you. Your own choices are what makes the biggest difference!
How coaching can help
Coaching is a forward looking process, that involves helping you draw up an action plan that can literally transform your life, by following through on your own choices and actions.
Ultimately, I believe life should be as enjoyable, rewarding and yes, as happy as possible. And talking things through with a coach could be just what you need to get your own life moving in a new and better direction.
Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill is a leadership and well-being coach who specialises in bringing a positive psychology approach to his coaching. Over the last five years he has helped literally hundreds of clients to restart their lives, develop new levels of confidence, change careers, improve their work/life balance, or become better leaders and managers.