7 keys to stop being a bitter person

Do you feel consumed by bitterness? We give you some tips that can help reduce this feeling.
7 keys to stop being a bitter person
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 16 March, 2023

Bitterness is related to frustration, resentment, and sadness. It often arises due to feelings of injustice or disappointment. It not only affects the person who develops it, but also the circle that surrounds them (friends, family, and colleagues).

When bitterness reaches pathological limits, it’s considered to be a disorder. Although not everyone recognizes it, many researchers classify it as Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder (PTED).

It isn’t easy to stop being a bitter person. That said, implementing a few lifestyle changes can go a long way toward achieving it.

How to stop being a bitter person

Bitterness is a really complex feeling. That’s because it brings together so many emotions. This generates a storm in the moods of those who develop it. Furthermore, it’s difficult to leave behind. However, it isn’t impossible. Here are seven tips to stop you from being bitter.

1. Identify the catalysts of your bitterness

As we mentioned earlier, bitterness is born from a process that’s seen as unfair or after a situation that’s caused great disappointment. A divorce, a layoff, or certain physical characteristics are a few examples. In fact, it can be caused by almost any negative event that triggers uncertainty, anger, disorientation, and a deterioration in mood.

Identifying the source of your bitterness will be of great help in understanding why you’ve adopted this kind of attitude, as well as helping you to avoid it. In fact, you won’t be able to overcome this feeling if you don’t first solve the reasons why you feel bitter. This is the first step to stopping being a bitter person. It’s something you can do either alone or in the company of a professional.

man thinking slowly

2. Include a new habit or hobby in your routine

If you’re bitter, it suggests you’ve accumulated a great deal of tension and stress. There are many ways to channel this, but one of the most effective is through habits or hobbies that involve movement or, at least, distraction.

Playing video games, learning a language or playing an instrument, reading, listening to music, and writing can help you deal with these frustrations.

However, you must try to choose a habit that doesn’t become a new handle for your bitterness. After all, some of them require great concentration and discipline, and if you don’t deal with this properly, it can make you even more bitter. Try several until you find the one that best suits your tastes and needs.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercise is a great distraction and an enhancer of your psychological well-being. Specialists endorse this fact, to the extent that it often forms part of complementary treatments for anxiety, depression, and other disorders. Any type of activity will benefit you, as long as you implement it in the medium and long term.

As a starting point, consider the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). They suggest 150 minutes of intense activity or, alternatively, 300 minutes of moderate activity per week. You can choose to either exercise or play a sport. Make the choice based on your tastes and the time you have available.

4. Expand your social circle

Talking and sharing with friends is a distracting activity, one that can help you relieve any tension and stress that you’ve accumulated. Of course, you shouldn’t only talk to them online, but you must also arrange face-to-face meetings. Doing this is extremely important to avoid isolation, which can further enhance your feelings of bitterness.

5. Do things that you associate with happiness

If we had to make a quick comparison, we might say that bitterness is the antithesis of happiness. Certainly, when we think of a bitter person, we always imagine them to be unhappy. To counter this, make sure you frequently include activities that you subjectively associate with increased happiness.

It’s often the simplest things that make you happy. Eating chocolate, having dinner with your parents, going for a walk, or exploring nature can help you deal with these feelings of bitterness.

In fact, we recommend you make a space in your weekly routine at least once a week to dedicate time to what truly makes you happy.

Woman enjoying nature

6. Practice forgiveness

You should practice forgiveness in two ways. Firstly, the kind you grant to others for things they’ve said or done. Secondly, forgiveness toward yourself. We already mentioned that bitterness is associated with resentment which is the opposite face of forgiveness. Therefore, by the time you’ve learned to forgive, you’ll have taken a giant stride away from being a bitter person.

7. Regulate your expectations

There’s a phenomenon known as the ‘as soon as’ myth. It alludes to the tendency to believe that as soon as you’ve achieved certain objectives or goals (have a partner, lose weight, get married, get a well-paying job, become independent, move, etc), your life will magically be fixed. When this doesn’t happen, you feel frustrated which can give way to bitterness.

Therefore, regulating your expectations is really important. Indeed, emotional regulation is extremely important in learning to control certain emotions and impulses so you avoid falling prey to feelings of disappointment. Along with the previous tips, this will help you stop being a bitter person.

However, changing an attitude or behavior is never easy, especially when you’ve dragged it around with you for so long. Indeed, it takes time to stop being a bitter person so you need to have patience. In fact, you may find you need professional help so make sure you remain open to this option.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Belaise C, Bernhard LM, Linden M. L’embitterment: caratteristiche cliniche [The post-traumatic embitterment disorder: clinical features]. Riv Psichiatr. 2012 Sep-Oct;47(5):376-87.
  • Biddle S. Physical activity and mental health: evidence is growing. World Psychiatry. 2016;15(2):176-177.
  • Delgado MR, Gillis MM, Phelps EA. Regulating the expectation of reward via cognitive strategies. Nat Neurosci. 2008;11(8):880-881.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.