Just as certain habits will fill your bank account or keep your waistline under control, several habits will ensure that you’re unhappy.
Reality Check: See how many of these habits you’re currently guilty of applying to your own life.
Pessimism is actually a form of faith. It’s just in the way of a negative rather than speaking positively. Expecting bad things to happen ruins your mood and increases the possibility of adverse outcomes. I’ve heard it said, “what you see is what you get.” I believe that “what you say is what you get.”
2. Failure to remain focused on the present.
Everything that’s meaningful is happening in your life right now. The past is over, and much of the future is down the road and truthfully unknown.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV – The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
- Thinking about enjoyable experiences from the past is distracting. Focusing on negative past experiences creates regret.
- Thinking about the good memories can be helpful but even with that…. If you spend too much thinking about the past, it will ultimately be counterproductive.
- Thoughts of the future create anxiety. When you focus on the future, you tend to worry and experience stress. Again, setting goals and striving for more, and to grow as a person is great. When you stress about it to the point of obsession, it can be unhealthy.
3. Placing too much emphasis on money and possessions.
Our society places a premium on the wealth and impressive items that often accompany success. However, there is a poor correlation between wealth and happiness. Studies show that an income above $75,000 does nothing to increase happiness.
- You’ll also find that the neighbors are a lot less concerned with your swimming pool and fancy car than you expected. Stop trying to impress people that really don’t care. Nugget: Their favorite person isn’t you… it’s themselves 😊
- Being financially secure is a worthy goal. An obsession with wealth is more likely to create unhappiness than to cure it.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
4. Comparing yourself to others.
While everyone might look more or less the same, there are significant differences between people. Some have more education than others. Some had kinder parents. People come from different economic backgrounds. Others exercise their faith in ways that blow us away. There are a plethora of differences between you and others.
- The best comparison you can make is between your present self and your past self. Maybe you’re overweight, but if you’re less overweight than you were last week, you have plenty of reason to be happy with yourself.
5. An obsession with perfection.
Striving for perfection is a waste of time. Do the spoons really need to be perfectly stacked in the drawer? Nothing can ever be 100% perfect, so you’re setting yourself up to be miserable. Creating a standard that can never be reached is unhealthy and unproductive. We have a saying at the church I pastor, “its not about perfection but about progress.” On this side of heaven, we will never be perfect.
If you’re less happy than you’d like, your habits might be to blame. The way you view the world and engage with it has an impact on your ability to experience happiness. How many of these habits are you guilty of committing? Are there any other habits you have that could be contributing to your unhappiness?
Examine your habits and look for patterns you can drop or alter.
Think about new habits you can create that will move you toward happiness, and instill those habits instead.