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Why Am I Unhappy? How To Solve 10 Likely Reasons

Have you been asking, “Why am I unhappy?” And wondering if your feelings are normal?

Everybody feels sad at times. After all, it’s one of the emotions in life’s natural spectrum. But staying in a dark place too long is not healthy.

It can wreck relationships, interfere with decision-making, and block your joy.

Unhappiness drives stress levels higher. And it could even affect your health!

Thus, it’s important to discover the root of your discontent and know what to do about it.

In this post, we take a look at the top ten causes of unhappiness and help you devise a plan of action to solve them. In fact, you may be surprised to learn the reasons for your sadness are not what you think!

So let’s get to it!

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number One

Negative Perception

When you see the world as a dark place, then your instinct is to notice anything going wrong. As a result, you miss the good stuff happening right under your nose.

How you see and perceive a given situation is called perception. And your perception is your reality. If you think everyone is against you, then it’s a good bet you won’t make your best effort to win them over.

Furthermore, in attempts to protect yourself, it’s easy to subconsciously alienate others with behaviors such as defensiveness, arguing, or condescension. Some of us may avoid the situation and hope for the best.

However, these defense mechanisms make the situation even worse.

The point is what you are seeing may not be the truth. It may be partly true. But, whether it’s true or not, you believe your perception to be true. Then, you behave accordingly. And behavior based on a negative perception often creates problems.

Putting Two and Two Together To Make Five

Take my friend, Cindy, who noticed her husband, Matt, was receiving more phone calls than usual. Every time Matt answered a call, he would go outside. And Cindy couldn’t hear the conversation.

When Cindy asked Matt what was going on, he mumbled something about problems at work and made a quick escape.

Therefore, Cindy put two and two together and concluded that Matt was having an affair. She was devastated and though about leaving him.

The next weekend, Cindy and her daughter, Amanda, decided to go for a ride. However, Amanda drove to a nice restaurant and parked the car.

She informed her mother a local band was performing on the patio. And Amanda was excited about watching the band play.

But when Cindy and her daughter rounded the corner, 75 of Cindy’s friends and family were waiting to welcome my friend to her surprise 50th birthday party!

Yes, the one that Matt and Amanda had been planning.

My friend had made herself miserable for two weeks over a false perception.

Had Cindy shared her concerns with Matt, she would have been spared her fears. Instead, she quickly formed a negative perception of a man she knows better than herself.

Why Am I Unhappy? Is It Because Of A Negative Perception?

If you tend to lean toward dissatisfaction more often than not, then you’ll find yourself stuck in a pattern of negative perceptions. Thus, you often feel let down by yourself or others.

Self-negative thought patterns are rooted in a tendency to exaggerate the worst of ourselves. This comes from low self-esteem.

Hence, consistent, negative perceptions are inappropriate cognitive patterns. And they are often untrue. For more in-depth information regarding negative perception and how to overcome it, see Change Your Perception; Change Your Life; Breakthrough To Joy

Why Am I So Unhappy?

Why Am I Unhappy?

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Two

Lack of Coping Skills

The lack of healthy coping skills is a problem in today’s society. Such as crying and hiding when a challenge appears.

Or when a person copes with stress by engaging in unsafe behaviors such as excessive alcohol, illegal partying, driving dangerously, etc.

The inability to cope in negative situations inhibits a healthy stress response. When this happens, a stressor appears magnified, causing the sufferer to feel helpless, and without control.

Unfortunately, the lack of coping skills is a problem that often leads to Panic Attacks, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and other emotional issues.

Fight or flight syndrome is the body’s natural reaction to stress. When triggered, a person who feels threatened may lash out verbally or physically in anger and fear. Or the person flees and runs away from the situation.

Neither response is effective. The healthiest reaction lies somewhere between fight and flight.

In essence, a failure to cope increases one’s feelings of inadequacy. And unsafe behaviors can lead to danger and guilt.

If you lack adequate coping measures, now is the best time to learn a few.

I highly recommend Coping Skills Techniques-Stressful-Situations by Dr. Faith Harper, which teaches multiple methods and skills to get you through difficult situations.

Remember, your power is in how you react to stress. And no one can take that away from you!

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Three

Self-Isolation

Since the COVID outbreak of 2020, we’ve become more of an isolated society and less of a social one. Which is too bad because social interaction is a human need and secluding ourselves away from other people isn’t healthy. We humans are social creatures.

Studies show only half of all Americans experience daily meaningful, human interaction. And in Europe, only 40% of citizens have meaningful interactions one time per month! Sadly, self-isolation leads to Depression, sleep problems, decreased immunity, and negatively impacts overall health.

Human support and companionship are hedges against loneliness and boredom. Plus, human interaction builds feelings of self-worth. Engaging in a conversation with others stimulates our brains and offers opportunities to expand our intellectual horizons.

In other words, social interaction keeps us human. When engaging with others, we are reminded it’s not just us. We are all part of a bigger world than what’s just between our two ears!

Therefore, no matter how socially inept you believe you are, there’s always someone out there who will value your company. But you won’t find them sitting at home.

Also, engaging with people on a screen is not the same quality experience as interacting face to face.

How To Make Friends will help you get back out into the world and meet new people who will enrich your life.

Why Is This Man So Sad?  Self-Isolation

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Four

Lack of Self-Care

Our minds and bodies require a certain amount of care to function properly. And when we don’t take time to perform proper self-care, we subconsciously tell ourselves we’re not worth the effort.

This includes eating well, getting adequate rest, and exercise.

Taking care of ourselves increases self-confidence, feelings of well-being, and happiness. But, what you may not know is that self-care increases cognitive functioning and immune system functioning. Also, it decreases stress and lowers blood pressure.

Self-care can be as simple as a long, relaxing bubble bath, a self-administered manicure or pedicure, journaling, meditating, or going to the gym.

Furthermore, inadequate self-care lowers self-esteem, decreases self-control, and increases Anxiety and Depression. Also, it is known to increase feelings of hostility.

If you’d like to try an easy meditation exercise, check out How To Relax In A Beautifully Chaotic World

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Five

Poor Sleep Habits

Doctors recommend the healthiest amount of sleep is between seven to nine hours every night. And research shows us that people who get the proper amount of sleep are happier.

But people don’t always do what their doctor recommends. As a result, they usually end up paying in one way or another. So, what happens if someone planning to rise at 6 AM stays up every night to watch the late show?

After a few nights, the person becomes sleep deprived. This means the brain and body don’t have time to complete routine functions during sleep. Such as repairing damaged cells, improving problem-solving skills, and enhancing memory performance.

Loss of sleep also causes fatigue, decreased alertness, and moodiness.

Furthermore, inadequate sleep leads to increased illness, weight gain, and low energy levels. Plus, it impacts a person’s ability to deal with stress.

How does it feel when the alarm goes off after you’ve stayed up too late the night before? How does it affect your mood? And your mental alertness?

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Six

Focusing On The Wrong Things

It’s been proven that happiness comes from within a person. While external factors such as money and riches can help, these things do not guarantee happiness.

Many have suffered due to not coping well with having money. Or became disenchanted by fame and excess attention.

Others live in homes of poverty but have loving families. And lead happy lives as a result.

In addition, hundreds live with poor health. While some remain happy and emotionally strong, others focus on their misery, refusing to be distracted or find a purpose other than suffering.

One example of having the wrong priorities is Angie, a young woman I worked with years ago. She was significantly overweight. But after months of dieting, Angie lost the extra weight,

Angie was obsessed with her new figure. She began running marathons.

When Angie became more focused on her marathon partner than her husband and son, her husband divorced her. In addition, her son chose to live with his dad.

Then Angie’s new flame abandoned her.

My co-worker learned a good lesson. Her happiness was not tied up in her figure or a new partner. Instead, it had been her home and family that made her happy.

Angie had been focusing on the wrong priorities.

Moreover, losing weight and focusing on one’s health is great. And you should be concerned with your health. But don’t put all of your treasures into the wrong basket.

Thus, it’s important not to lose sight of what matters.

Working too much and asking, "Why am I unhappy?"

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Seven

Life Is Out Of Balance

With financial pressures and work obligations, it’s not unusual to get into the habit of working long hours. After all, we humans don’t like to let anyone down who’s depending on us

But, when long hours become routine, it’s a short road to unhappiness and burnout.

Life is best lived within the right balance. Too much work and not enough play equals an unhappy person with a lonely family.

More hours in the office leaves less time to nurture relationships. This disrupts and damages important family and social connections.

Furthermore, working too many hours leads to insufficient rest and poor self-care. With less quality time and more fatigue, stress is enhanced, resulting in tense, aching muscles and joints.

Other long-term effects of overwork are increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and Anxiety.

For anyone experiencing problems in this area, I suggest REST, a well-written book by Alex Soojung and Kim Pang. It guides you in finding a better life balance without feeling guilty about work.

Chronic anger is why she's unhappy.

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Eight

Chronic Anger

Everyone knows at least one perpetually angry person. Sometimes people have a reason to feel upset. And other times, they have no idea why they’re mad.

Chronic anger is usually related to a past hurt. When a person buries the anger or can’t get past it, residual emotion arises at some point later. This happens when the person is subconsciously reminded of the past incident.

Many times, chronic anger is directed toward oneself.

We often react out of anger as a defense mechanism. Sometimes anger is justified. But sometimes unresolved anger spills over into other areas of life.

Anger leads to a lack of self-control and poor behavior. As the upset person emotionally pushes others away, the sad result is often isolation and a lack of social support.

Although the person may feel regret, emotional healing is not possible until the root of the anger has been dealt with. With the focus on pure emotion, there’s no room for positive action to resolve the situation.

If you’ve been hurt by someone and can’t let it go, The Inability to Forgive will show you how to begin healing.

Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages,” offers a great resource on this subject. His Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion does not disappoint.

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Nine

Lack Of Self-Direction

An inability to make decisions or failing to understand the direction of one’s life can be unsettling. A person may feel lost or adrift while also experiencing a sense of worthlessness and frustration.

This person will ask, “Is this all there is?” And struggle to find purpose and meaning in life.

A person lacking a sense of purpose experiences low self-confidence and is possibly a victim of trauma or severe emotional distress.

When Brynn lost her mother at the young age of 13, it hit the teenager hard.

As a result, Brynn lost interest in school. Her grades slipped. And she fell into a deep depression.

It was another 15 years before Brynn regained enough interest in life to return to college. She had already tried university twice but left each time due to failing grades.

The shock of losing her mother at a critical time in Brynn’s development left her drifting throughout her young adult years. But after two years of therapy, Brynn climbed out of the hole and decided she wanted to become a nurse like her mother.

In this case, it is good to talk to someone regarding your feelings. An experienced therapist will help you discover the root of your discontent. Then guide you in moving forward.

Why Am I Unhappy? Reason Number Ten

And, last, but not least, you’ve made it to reason ten.

So, if you are still asking, “Why am I unhappy,” the likely culprit is perfectionism and self-judgment. Both are rooted in low self-esteem.

Dr. John Kelly, a Psychiatrist at Trinity College in Dublin, has this to say about the subject. “Perfectionism is a byproduct of dysfunctional thinking.”

Indeed, perfectionism is an unrealistic goal for which humans often strive. Then beat ourselves over the head when we fail to be perfect. This self-criticism further convinces us of our worthlessness.

Studies reveal that individuals who see themselves as perfectionists have a higher risk of eating disorders, anxiety, and Depression.

By consistently holding oneself to an impossible standard, the perfectionist inevitably sets up failure.

Even though the task is performed well.

Therefore, the goal is not striving for perfection but striving for success. People feel happier when setting and meeting realistic goals.

Why put so much extra pressure on yourself? Meet the goal, pat yourself on the back, and go home for some relaxing self-care.

Why Is he unhappy? The perfectionist

Wrap It Up

You may notice that none of these reasons for unhappiness have to do with a lack of resources or circumstances. These are external factors that have nothing to do with who you are.

The person you are is not shaped by your circumstances but by your reaction to those circumstances.

Like a stray dog who snarls and bites at the hand trying to rescue him. The untrusting animal runs away from a rescuer who will provide the very things the dog craves. Such as food, a warm bed, toys, and love.

In short, here’s what you need to know.

  1. Examine the reason for your unhappiness without blaming external factors or other people. Instead, breakdown your thought patterns, perceptions, mindsets, and behaviors.
  2. Figure out your role in the situation.
  3. Brainstorm what you can change and possible actions for resolving the issue. Where can you go to learn what you need to know? Who do you talk to?
  4. Create a plan for resolving the problem. SMART Goals will help you get started.
  5. Put your plan into motion and be prepared to work hard. Be persistent and re-evaluate progress as needed.
  6. If you fall six times, go back for the seventh. Failure eventually gets tired and gives up. You are the stronger of the two.
  7. Expect that you will succeed. In addition, use positive affirmations to encourage yourself along the way.

The ball is now in your court. And it’s time to play.

If you’ve found this post helpful, please let me know in the comments. I love hearing from my readers!

10 top reasons for unhappiness. And how to solve them.

Reference

Perfectionism Flaws

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4 Comments

  1. I really love your reasons for why a person may feel unhappy in their life. Especially putting 2 and 2 together to make 5 is comment among many people for their unhappiness. Thank you so much for putting this post together.

  2. What an informative article that really makes you think! These reasons are all valid in their own ways. This article gave me more to think about with my goals this year, thank you for the insight! I look forward to reading more articles!

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