- Mental Health»
Unhappy With Life - How To Change It?
Feelings of unhappiness are often self-manifested. It is usually a result of our poor habits and negative attitudes towards life, making it seemingly more difficult than it really is or could be and thus causing us to be unhappy with life.
The good news is that we all have the ability to change for the better. With a little practice and adjustments, we can regain control of our lives and achieve real happiness for ourselves.
So what are 3 simple things that we can do right now to help us become happier individuals?
If we allow too much auto piloting to take over our lives, we will start to miss out on the details in life. Every day will just be like any other day and life becomes a blurry series of events.
1. Stop living life on auto pilot
Every day, from the moment we wake up, many of us get on with life as if we are on auto pilot. We get out of bed, prepare for the day, send the kids to school, go to work, start dinner, do chores and then go to bed. The next day, the cycle starts again.
Routines are not entirely bad, as it helps us to get things done and make sure we are taking care of ourselves and the people around us. However, routines can also make life pretty mundane.
If we allow too much auto piloting to take over our lives, we will start to miss out on the details in life. Every day will just be like any other day and life becomes a blurry series of events. Time will just simply pass us by - days turn to weeks, weeks to months and years, and one day we might just suddenly find ourselves feeling lost and unhappy with life, asking questions like ‘who am I?’ and ‘what happened to my life?’.
Similarly, if we become too mentally obsessed with something (e.g. an addiction or feeling constantly upset over something), we will also start to lose out on a lot of the things around us because we become too consumed by our obsessions and emotions to be paying any real attention to our lives.
This constant ‘unconscious’ way of living makes us lose our real selves - we begin to forget what makes us happy, what excites us, how we think and what we want in life. We also have no solid memories of what we did, where we have been and the changes around us.
To be truly happy again, we need to get back our zest for life and wake up from our big slumber! We need to practice ‘mindful’ living, to be really living in the present, and also making a conscious effort to incorporate things that we enjoy in our lives. Life is not just about ‘getting through with things’ or ‘doing what needs to be done’. Life is very real – it is a living organic thing (I can’t think of a better way to describe it, but life is about being alive, feelings and experiences!).
When we are going through our daily routines, we should pause once in a while to observe and appreciate our surroundings and to also check on ourselves to see how we are doing. Occasionally, we should also break routines, surprise and pamper ourselves. This keeps our mind fresh and active and gives us things to look forward to in life.
2. Set more bite size goals
When we talk about ambitions or goals, we are often too focused on the big picture and become a little obsessed with the outcome. We become so fixated in getting what we want that we forget to enjoy the process of reaching our goals or simply just forgetting to live (e.g. ignoring other things that are important in our lives or forgetting to have fun).
For example, you want to learn to play the guitar (eager to become the next Eric Clapton). You start practicing furiously. However, despite your dedication to practice till your fingers hurt, you are still not improving as quickly as you like. You get so frustrated because you are so fixated on wanting to play well that you forgot to enjoy the process of learning - to appreciate your daily efforts and celebrate mini achievements along the way.
In order to stay happy, we must constantly feel that our life has meaning.
There are also some of us who may not have big ambitions or have yet to find our life’s purpose. This is alright, but some of us may feel stressed and become unhappy with life when we feel insignificant or feel like we are going no where.
In order to stay happy, we must constantly feel that our life has meaning – and to achieve that, we can set goals to work towards every day to give us purpose and to help us have that regular sense of accomplishment.
Even when we have no big ambitions or haven’t figured out our purpose in life, we can set simple daily goals to aim towards. For example, we can aim to read the news daily [to improve our general knowledge and make us smarter =)] or even goals like walking 10,000 steps daily (to improve our health).
When have bite size goals and take things one step at a time, we can live more fulfilling and happier lives.
3. Simplify life
As we are evolving, we are setting higher and higher expectations of ourselves and wanting more and more. Because we are in constant pursuit to have more, we start to over complicate and over commit our time to things that we are not sure if they even matter at all.
I am sure we all have moments when we question ourselves the purpose of doing what we do – why are we working so late every day? Why are we working so hard to be better than others, is it that important?
Sometimes we set goals that are unnecessarily high and we want too much, making us miserable and unhappy with life because we become so mentally and physically exhausted.
Simplifying life is also not just about changing our expectations and goals in life, but also changing our attitude and behaviour.
It is therefore important to periodically step back to re-evaluate our lives and ask ourselves if what we are pursuing is REALLY what we want and if it is worth the effort and sacrifices to get it. If we are feeling overwhelmed with our own demands and expectations, we need to simplify things and refocus on what really matters.
Simplifying life is also not just about changing our expectations and goals, but also changing our attitude and behaviour. For example, we may be unhappy because we hold grudges against others or carry a lot of emotional baggage because we can’t seem to let go of things or we simply like drama and have the habit to complicate everything in our lives. Therefore, we also need to change our mindsets and thinking patterns to make life more emotionally manageable and less complicated.