We all know that. We’re vulnerable to its twists and turns; we all have struggles — our circumstances can take us down a very dark, unhappy path.
But it’s not all about circumstances — or genetics. A chunk of our unhappiness — for some people a very large chunk — comes from the ways we think and behave — and the habits that govern our days.
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And when these become ingrained, they can dictate the course of our lives, keeping us in a miserable place.
Chronic unhappiness or depression?
Chronic unhappiness and clinical depression can be hard to separate. Depression can take many forms, ranging from a single episode to multiple episodes to persistent low mood — or it can present in a mood disorder such as Bipolar Disorder.
Depression can be linked to many variables, including difficult life circumstances or changes in brain chemistry, and symptoms can be on a sliding scale from mild to severe/disabling.
A person who is clinically depressed needs support and empathy (as well as the right treatment).
But we should all strive against embedding habits that promote chronic — persistent or extreme — unhappiness and, even better, try to develop healthy ones.
Here are the key habits to notice — and look to improve on whenever you can.
1. They worry (excessively) what others think of them.
We all care about others’ opinions more than we want to admit. But chronically unhappy people take their worries further; they ruminate endlessly on the words/actions of others, trying desperately to figure out what a tiny slight really means.
The trouble is, holding onto the belief that others don’t like you, or you’ve done something wrong, promotes anxiety and misery.
In reality, there will always be people who like you and people who don’t.
There will be people who will treat you well — and those who won’t. The capacity to accept this truth makes life — actually everything — easier to deal with.
All we can do is our best with what’s right in front of us, atone for our mistakes and let the rest go.