10 Bad Habits of Unhappy People

Note: This post is written by Jon Rhodes

“I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of so they would know that’s not the answer.” – Jim Carey

We all want to be happy. That’s what drives us to do most things we do. But with modern life it’s easy to be distracted. We can spend too much time chasing money and success, and too little on the things that REALLY matter.

We are constantly bombarded with adverts and the media telling us what we should be doing. These are to fit in with their goals, not yours. If you’re not careful, this influence can drag you off your path of happiness.

This leads you to develop habits that make you unhappy. When you learn what they are, you are better placed to swap them with habits that make you happy.

Here are some common bad habits of unhappy people…

1. Talk to yourself negatively.

We all meet challenges in life. You wouldn’t be living if you didn’t. Unhappy people use them as an opportunity to put themselves down. They say things like “I can’t”; and “I’m not good enough”.

This can create a cycle of negativity. The more you put yourself down, the lower you feel. The lower you feel, the more you put yourself down.

Talking to yourself in this way will never make you happy. If you can’t do something, that’s fine. Either learn, or ask someone else to do it for you. You can’t expect to be able to do everything.

Be positive about yourself and your abilities. We all have limits. Focus on what you can do.

2. Expect everything to go your way.

When things “go wrong”, unhappy people experience severe negative emotions. These are usually accompanied by a dose of negative self talk, like “Nothing ever goes right for me.” or “Life’s not fair.”

The thing is, nothing goes right for anyone. Your washing machine will pack in when you need it most. Your car will break down at some point.

To get the best out of life you must learn to make the best of what’s in front of you. Life is like sailing in the wind. Sometimes you have the wind behind you pushing you towards your goals. Other times it’s against you. Never give up – you must keep fighting no matter what you’re up against.

3. Hold grudges.

When someone wrongs you, it can feel bad. What feels worse is holding a grudge and feeling bad for months, even years.

All this does is cause ill feeling for yourself – not the person you’re directing it at. Learn to forgive. Not only is it better for your health and happiness, there’s nothing more annoying for the person who wronged you!

4. Forget to play.

It can be easy to get bogged down with work, bills, children, and forget to have fun.  You need time to enjoy yourself if you want to be happy.

Make it a priority to have fun every day. If necessary set aside some “play time” specifically for this purpose. Not only will this raise your happiness levels, it will help you better deal with your responsibilities.

5. Try to please others too much.

Unhappy people try to please others so much they can forget to please themselves. Of course we want people to be happy with us, but not at the cost of our own happiness.

Sometimes you have to make decisions for YOUR benefit. If people around you can’t appreciate that, then they’re not good friends or family to have. Initially you will get some resistance, but after a while people get used to you living more for yourself, and back off.

6. Don’t take risks.

Unhappy people rarely take risks. They’re frightened of what could go wrong. This pushes them into a rut, leading a boring and under-stimulating life.

What is REALLY frightening is spending your life never trying anything new or different. All the good stuff in life demands an element of risk. Embrace change and accept that things might not go to plan.

There’s nothing more awakening than taking risks and trying new things. You also gain valuable life experience no matter what happens.

7. Don’t follow their heart.

Unhappy people make life-changing decisions based on logical thinking. As a result they can be stuck in jobs and relationships that cause them unhappiness.

If a job at the local bank pays well but makes you miserable, what’s the point? Strive to live the life you know in your heart you REALLY want to lead.

8. Blame others.

Unhappy people have a helpless attitude that everything is someone else’s fault. They might blame their partner, parents and children for their lives. This can be depressing and de-powering.

If you take responsibility for your own life, you will be in a better position to make changes and improve it.

9. Don’t live in the “now”.

Unhappy people rarely live in the moment. They dwell on negative past experiences, reliving those awful feelings again. Or they live in the future, thinking they’ll be happy once they have more money, a new house, a partner etc.

You can ONLY be truly happy when you are in the present moment. The most simplest of things can make you happy when you’re in the moment – even breathing in a nice slow deep lung full of fresh air. Try it now!

10. Take life too seriously.

Unhappy people often take everything seriously. This can make the smallest things cause distress. Falling over on your backside should be a fun experience (unless of course you’re seriously hurt).

Take life with a pinch of salt. Learn to laugh when things “go wrong” and always aim to see the bright side of life.

Final thoughts

These are just a few of the things that unhappy people do. Make the decision right now that you will be happy. Decide to be happy. Deciding to be happy is half the battle. Once you have decided, it makes things far easier.

Be wary of slipping back to bad habits. Keep reminding yourself consciously to be happy. After a while it’ll become second nature.

Now do all the things you know deep down you should be doing in order to make yourself happy. Enjoy!

Jon Rhodes is a clinical hypnotherapist and owner of HypnoBusters. He thrives on helping improve people’s lives all across the globe. Please click here for 3 FREE hypnosis sessions – http://www.HypnoBusters.Com


  1. Well said. For me this comes down to taking responsibility for your life, something that scares the crap out of most people.

  2. Stephen Pritchard
    Stephen Pritchard

    I’ve found in the past that I avoid people who were once friends because they are now so unhappy it inevitably gets me down. I feel like I’m failing them in some way, but at the same time I don’t want to use all my energy on negative people. Any suggestions for how to help them out without getting completely sucked in?

    • Hi Stephen.

      Same here man.

      I love to read and learn from books and articles. So there’s a regular growth mindset.

      When I look back at my graduation friends (I am currently in post graduation), I can’t help but feel that they no longer resonate with who I’ve become.

      Kind of makes me feel guilty for not reaching out to them.

      I think it is part of the learning curve for us. We have to let go of the people that no longer fit our natural selves. The alternative option is not a very viable option from persona growth point of view. We have to trust that we’ll find new and better friends.

  3. Thank you for this. I know I’ll forget and fall into despair and sadness again, but I will somehow incorporate this into my thoughts by re-reading this when I need to. I tend to get unhappy because others around me are unhappy as strange as that sounds.

  4. Hi Jon.

    Good points brother.

    I’d add “not learning from mistakes too”.

    Take care.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

    @Stephen: I think it’s enough to give them some encouragement and positivity without having to spend all your energy on them. You can’t change them all by yourself, but you can do your part.

  6. Hi Donald,
    Nice post. First of all we can’t please everybody no matter whatever. As long as we are positive by our thoughts and soul I believe all negatives go away from us.

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