The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People…

Photo by Dina Al-Mahdy.

There are things we all do almost every day to sabotage our own happiness. It is indeed the human way to get in our own way. Think about it: so much of what we do and don’t do keeps us from feeling content and satisfied. Having a happy heart and an open mind means we are winning at life.
My motivation for this article came the other day while reading Feeling Good by David D. Burns (a book I highly recommend), specifically this passage: “People who have found happiness within themselves are usually the most desirable to members of the opposite sex and become like magnets because they are at peace and generate a sense of joy.” While these insights are not new, I felt compelled to examine this concept in more depth because for some reason, I think most of us put this very vital knowledge on the back burner.
I know that some of you might think that happy people are care-free and have nothing on their mind. Certainly they are mistaken. Those people always choose their happier side. But because sadness is easy and they don’t like easy things. They like to be called “Fighters”.
In the middle of a usual ordinary day, we may see something that sends us a good vibe. We may listen to something that would make us feel alive again. We may read something that makes our mind happy. Believe me, there is always a source of light somehwhere between those shades of darkness.

We have all been told that before you can find a healthy, happy, loving relationship, it is essential to love yourself. But how does one cultivate such a love? I have faced my fair share of insecurity and self-doubt but these burdens are mostly a thing of the past for me now and I have evolved into someone who is (mostly) confident in every way.

When we can recognize the following ways we goal-tend our own happiness, we can begin to change our behaviors and habits so that we can win at life. This didn’t happen magically, it took some work and a major attitude overall which was done using the tips listed below.

1. We Procrastinate:

Many of us are all talk, no action. Especially when it comes to personal goals and what we really want out of life. What are your dreams and aspirations? What is it that you’ve always wanted to try, do, see, explore?

We all have dreams and desires, but many of us take little or no action to get there. We procrastinate because we think we always have more time. The reality is, we have plenty of time, but boy does it fly by. We wake up one day, realize we are about to turn 50 and panic because we thought we had more time to follow our dreams—but procrastinated and squandered it away instead. Happiness requires action, even if it’s difficult or if we are unsure.

2. We Let Our Junk and Our Chores Pile up:

What’s up with the endless, needless junk? Why do we keep so much stuff? For what—so we can look at it? Having too much clutter in and around our homes clutters up our minds as well. When we purge the junk from every room in our house, we clear the path for happiness.

It is time that you remove the garbage. Do not keep anything with you that you don’t need. You will be amazed how things will change for you. Wait a minute… Are you thinking about throwing away things? Absolutely not! It is about de cluttering your mind so that you have enough room to fit in more happiness. It is time to prioritize things that needs your mental strength. For things that are more important, make distinction. Make sure you actively release resentments, worries, thoughts, etc. that occupy valuable space in your mind. By cluttering unnecessary things that have consumed your mind, you will enjoy more space to add joy and happiness.

3. We Watch Too Much Reality Television:

We watch other people living their lives instead of living our own authentic lives. We are entertained by other people’s arguments, problems, and day to day activity. We watch people go out to eat, we watch them drink and smoke, we watch them get into fist fights and yell expletives. We watch them sit around the house and complain about problems that are not problems. We watch them do everything except go to work. We get wrapped up in these shows the same way we became wrapped up in the soap operas of the 70s.

When we lose ourselves in someone else’s version of reality, we do not confront our own reality. It’s a guilty pleasure like candy, food, drugs, and alcohol, but too much of something is bad enough.

4. We Stay Indoors:

We stay inside when it’s perfectly beautiful outside. We look out our windows at the sunshine, and yet, somehow have to come up with a reason to go outside. We should not need a reason to get outside. Staying inside blocks happiness because it keeps the light from hitting our face, the sun from warming our soul, and the crisp, cool air from entering our lungs. Inside is boring. Get outside as often as possible and watch how your mood changes.

5. We Don’t Meditate:

While meditation is generally beneficial, there are many ways in which meditation can help you find happiness within yourself. Happiness can be achieved if life becomes less stressful and there is less anxiety and depression to suffer. Meditation helps to get rid of the negativities and helps to reduce anxiety and depression. Meditation is also essential to tackle with daily emotional problems seamlessly. Practicing meditation can help you achieve happiness and bring peace in life.

Happiness is all around you; within you! But the only problem is that you are looking for it in the wrong places. Happiness is accessible because it lies within yourself. All you have to do is to identify it, become optimistic in difficult situations and choose to be happy deliberately. Following these simple strategies will help you enjoy your inner happiness at all times.

5. We Live in the Future and in the Past:

We pine nostalgically for the old days, or we keep thinking that tomorrow will be different. We often forget that the only living we need to do is in the present moment. Wishing we could change the past has never, in the history of humankind, changed the past. And while it’s good to think about the future in a positive way, the future has a funny way of unfolding based on the things we do in the present. Or, it’s completely unpredictable so there’s no sense getting caught up in what tomorrow will bring.

6. Too Much Yes and Not Enough No:

All too often we are stretched to our limits—physically, mentally, at work, at home, and in many of our relationships. A lot of the time, this cannot be helped, but if we consciously recognize when we are being pulled out and spread thin, we can say no to what doesn’t serve our inner spirit. When we start serving our inner spirit, we make our own happiness a priority instead of pleasing other people in order to gain friendship or garner praise.

7. We Spend Frivolously:

Money comes in, money goes out. We know where it comes from, but where does it all go? Much of the time we buy an abundance of items we just do not need. We buy clothes, new phones, and new dishes. And it’s a rush because it’s all fun stuff we don’t need.

Most of it is just stuff we buy because we like the way it looks. We think it will make us happy. We are lured in by gimmicks and marketing and pretty packaging. No one needs a roll up jewelry organizer. No one needs another pair of running pants. When we decide what we need over what we want, we decide that happiness doesn’t come from stuff. Stuff can be fun, but too much stuff blocks our pathway to happiness.

8. We Gossip:

Who doesn’t? It’s easy to poke fun at other people here and there. It’s especially easy to do it behind their backs. We roll our eyes and act like the other person’s behavior (or outfit, Facebook post, or hair color) doesn’t scare the sh*t out of us because we know that it’s so much like our own. “Did you see her in that dress?” Cue the eye roll. Cue the sigh and the nervous giggle. Meanwhile, we would love to wear that dress, if only we could feel as confident as she seems to feel.

It is always important to remember that our own fears, insecurities and misgivings guide gossip. Before pointing out the flaws of others, we must indeed remember to practice kindness. To keep our hearts “pure,” exchange kindness for gossip (even if we think it’s harmless) when the opportunity presents itself.

9. We Compare:

Our house is small and your house is big. We drive old cars, while yours are always new. She can run a 5K in under 25 minutes, while I can barely break 28. Someone will always have more, and someone will always run faster. Someone else’s kid will go to Harvard. That is just the way it goes. Should we wallow in comparisons or should we concentrate on bettering ourselves and our circumstances? When we are happy with ourselves and we know that what we have is enough, we can rejoice when good things happen to other people.

10. We Think Negative Thoughts:

Negative thoughts are inevitable. Sometimes we think them to ourselves and other times we lament out load in hopes of getting some reassurance- “I’m so Fat” “I’m so Gross” “I’m never gonna be successful,” you know how the good old insecurity song and dance goes. Well from now on, stop entertaining these thoughts! When a negative thought pops into your head, cut it off right then and there. A technique I like to use is to think the exact opposite when a bad thought enters my mind. If I start thinking, ‘Ugh, I’m so tired, I so do not wanna do any work today,’ I will identify that this is a negative thought that is of no value to me and then say the exact opposite, ‘I am so energized! I’m going to get so much done today!’ It may sound silly, but trust me, it works.

Thoughts are real forces, and they have a huge impact on your mood and mindset. When you are thinking negative thoughts, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. The good news is that you can control the thoughts that enter your mind and you don’t have to pay attention to the negative ones. Every thought resonates through your mind and body and creates a vibration which will make those thoughts a reality. If you don’t want to have a bad day or feel bad about yourself, then start thinking great thoughts!

11. We Don’t Figure Out What Confidence Looks Like:

It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, it’s the thoughts you have about yourself that make all the difference. If you want to be more confident, then make a list that details what confidence looks like and act accordingly. If you want to try out a bold look but feel hesitant, tell yourself: ‘A confident person doesn’t care what other people think and I’m a confident person and I like this outfit so I’ll wear it!’

If you’re afraid of approaching a guy because you’re scared he’ll reject you, well say to yourself, ‘A confident person doesn’t fear rejection because a confident person knows they’re fabulous and knows they’re a catch in every sense and whoever doesn’t see that is missing out. I am a confident person and I will be satisfied if this guy responds to me but it won’t effect me if he doesn’t.’ It may feel weird, or maybe like you’re being delusional, but trust me, in time, you will no longer be acting like a confident person, you will become one.

12. We Don’t List Our Attributes:

Talking about how great you are is definitely off-putting. Acknowledging your attributes privately, however, is a wonderful thing and is a practice you all should adopt. You can write down your positive traits or consciously let them run through your mind. Everyone has positive attributes, from physical features to personality traits. From now on, forget what you’re lacking, or what you think you’re lacking, and focus on all the incredible things that make you who you are. You should love and celebrate who you are and it should be something that causes you to experience great happiness and pride, never shame or despair.

13. We Don’t Know that We CAN Be Happy Alone:

Having a significant other is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t the only thing and it certainly doesn’t make you complete, despite what the Hallmark cards might say. If you don’t have a special someone in your life, it’s okay, it’s actually great because you get to be totally selfish and get to live life only for you which is a luxury people in couples do not enjoy!
Before you can be happy with someone else, you truly need to find happiness within yourself. We are all wonderful, amazing creatures and given that, we certainly do not need a man to mirror this right back to us.

Spend time in exploring yourself and things that make you happy. It is important that you observe your own personality and discover things that genuinely rejoice you. This will help you add more of those things in your life. Since we are all unique in some way or another, we all have different formulas that help us find happiness within ourselves. Recognize the mission of your life, respect your objectives and aims and identify your passions. Explore things that delight you and add them to your life in your own way.

14. We Prioritize Things that Don’t Matter:

We all get 24 hours a day (hopefully) to do the things that are most important to us. Many things we say we want to prioritize get pushed to the back of the list by other, less worthy things. For example, we say we want to exercise and eat healthier, but it is often easy to make excuses. We let our excuses overrule our intended priorities. Therefore, exercise and healthier eating are not priorities after all.

Other examples may include spending time with our kids, or paying off debt. We lose focus when we pay more attention to our cell phones, or we buy impulsively. Our cell phones and our accumulated stuff become the priorities instead of our kids or our finances.

When we reevaluate our daily habits we often see how excuses and detrimental behaviors contribute to keeping us from what is really important, hence keeping us from contentment and peace in our lives.

When we consistently block our own happiness by engaging in these practices, we are essentially blocking our own lives. Human beings are meant to live earnestly and well. We are meant to find joy in the endless possibilities of each new day, and to savor the time we’ve been given.

We need to get up, get outside, get away from the television, keep our wallets in our pockets, keep harmful words from leaving our mouths, and prioritize what matters.

“The clearest path to happiness emerges when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Put on the glasses of positivity and see every difficulty like an optimist. It is the pessimist behavior that will make situations even worse for you. It is always wise to see the brighter side of a situation and look for opportunities in difficulties. If you view hard times and obstacles with an optimist approach, only then will you see them as temporary and short term. The challenges and problems of life should be responded with confidence, believing in yourself that you can tackle them. The best way to increase the positivity in you is to find a purpose and meaning of hurdles or hard situations and focus on it to get over them.

©2018 Dina Al-Mahdy All Rights Reserved



  1. I agree! Stop living in the past and future. Enjoy the here and now….the present. Life is too short to worry about the what-if’s of the past and the maybe’s of the future. Live each day to its fullest and just enjoy the moment. Thank you for your post!


  2. 👌👌👌👌👌👌
    Everything you mentioned was on point!

    Where others may see obstacles and difficulties, be the person to see them as challenges and use the opportunity to rise above them. Great message!

    Liked by 1 person

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