3 Toxic Habits that Make You Unhappy
Toxic people, bad experiences, and adversity are not the only causes of unhappiness. It comes from ourselves much more often than we think. We do this by repeating toxic habits without thinking about why they’ve become a part of our lives. And instead of analyzing and transforming them, we choose to blame bad luck and sink into bitterness.
Obviously it’s impossible to be happy all the time. However, it is feasible to maintain a certain level of emotional balance and well-being. It’s easy to do when everything is going well, but it’s much harder when obstacles arise or we have to face setbacks, which happens quite often. Due to our own inaction, we continue to carry out these toxic habits that by nature become much harder to quit the more we do them. Thus, we get trapped in a vicious cycle.
It isn’t our problems that lead us down the path of bitterness, it’s our habits.
Toxic habits that rob our energy
Many of us can identify with the toxic habits below. It’s interesting because they form a part of our lives, but we don’t realize how much of a negative influence they have. One of these very human habits is wanting something you can’t have. We undervalue what we have, and we yearn for more and more. Recognizing that we don’t need anything else to be happy will prevent us from becoming bitter and sad.
The opposite can also occur: emotional stagnation. This is when you go neither forward nor backward. You get stuck in the infamous comfort zone that prevents you from growing, progressing, advancing, and feeling fulfilled. Why can’t we get out of it? Is it because of fear? Why do we feel so insecure? Being honest with yourself and reflecting on these questions will allow you to put an end to being trapped in your own jail.
Another common toxic habit is living on autopilot, not paying attention to or savoring the present. We move through the day without stopping to think about what we’re doing. It’s like walking through a forest without noticing how beautiful the landscape around us is. We drift from reality and forget to enjoy the pleasure of the present moment.
Seeking other people’s approval is also a very toxic habit. You do things not for yourself, but because other people will think better of you.
And don’t forget about important needs that we often leave on the back burner: eating and sleeping right. Eating poorly has a direct negative influence on mood. It robs our energy or self-esteem. Similarly, getting enough sleep is important for feeling well and performing well at work.
The worst habit: playing the victim
We’ve saved one of the most toxic habits for last, the one that has the biggest consequences on our relationships: playing the victim. For many people, it’s a way to get attention, along with many other benefits. But it also involves many other behaviors that push you into unhappiness.
Acting like a victim causes us to cling to all the negative emotions that we’re trying to overcome. We need them to receive pity and avoid taking responsibility for what’s happening to us. But closing our eyes and embracing negativity will cause us to harbor anger and resentment in our hearts.
Related to this is the terrible habit of denial. When reality isn’t the way we’d like it to be, we simply turn our backs and deny it. But that won’t prevent it from being true. It will continue to be no matter how much we don’t want to see it, and it will slap us forcefully and violently in the face when the time comes.
The habit of playing the victim always comes along with blaming others. We’re never the ones responsible for what happens, and even if we are, we try to turn it around and act like a martyr. For example, if we don’t do well on an exam, we’re never the ones to blame for not studying enough or being as focused as we should have been. Rather, the professor made it too difficult.
Playing the victim prevents you from learning from past experiences.
In conclusion, there are many toxic habits that we carry out every day that we must learn how to break if we want to feel okay again. Without a doubt, the last one – playing the victim – is the most difficult one to tackle. Not being self-critical and accepting your mistakes will prevent you from becoming aware of all of the habits that have become a part of your life and started making you miserable.
Images courtesy of Charlie Dubous