in: Intentional LivingWellness

Unhappy to Happy: Killing the 5 Habits That Made My Life Miserable

When it comes to upgrading our lives, Unhappy to Happy is a pretty big win. Check out what one man did to boost his happy factor for life.

—This article was originally published by our friends at elephant journal; we’re republishing (with permission!) because we love it… and them. Enjoy.— 

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” —Dale Carnegie

We have a bad habit of blaming our unhappiness on circumstance and other people.

While outside situations can certainly make life unhappy at times, the majority of our unhappiness comes from within.

Imagine happiness like an Instagram filter.

We have the power to choose which filter we see through. If our thoughts are mostly negative, then our outlook on the world is consequently negative. Conversely, if our thoughts are filled with gratitude, joy, and positivity, then the world becomes a much more beautiful place.

Perspective is everything.

If I see a donut in the garbage can, I don’t think twice about it. A homeless man sees it and praises God for a delicious breakfast.

I’m the first to admit that I used to be a Negative Nancy. My filter was gray. Like many, I had no idea how to be an adult. I was going through college, working part-time, had a mountain of debt and some health issues to boot.

It added up to me being a neurotic, anxious, ball of disaster—far too young to be experiencing life this way.

I tried medication but it only went so far. More than anything, medicine is another filter, and only a temporary one.

I needed a real fix. Something to change my life for the long haul. That’s when I started looking at my own habits and behavior.

Here are the five most destructive habits that kept me from living a happy, fulfilling life and what helped me overcoming them. I’m a work in progress, and I suspect I will be for life, but I’m dedicated to continuing my practice for as long as I breathe.

1. Poor self-image.

For the longest time, I couldn’t look in the mirror without being disappointed in myself. This goes for both looks and confidence. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got a pretty face, but at the time, everything else was just “meh.” I’m what they call a “skinny-fat hardgainer” in the weightlifting world, which basically means I struggle to put weight on, and when I do, it’s usually fat and not muscle.

Combine that with my anxiety and somewhat awkward social skills, and I just had no mojo. I’m much more confident in myself these days.

Here’s what worked for me:

  • Replacing negative thoughts with positive self-talk. We can’t expect to beat years of self-destructive thoughts in a day, or even a week. It takes time, but doing this eventually works.
  • Knowing it’s not all about ourselves. Once I started realizing everyone else is more worried about their own self-image than mine, things got easier.
  • Exercise and eating healthy. If we’re unhappy with the way we look, then why not do something about it. Hit the gym, start focusing on better eating habits and start naturally improving physical appearance.

2. Being a perfectionist.

Why do we all think that everything has to be perfect before we can be happy?


Follow us to elephant journal to continue reading “Unhappy to Happy: Killing the 5 Habits That Made My Life Miserable” and have a happy day.

About the Author

Jason Gutierrez is a contributor to elephant journal, an engineer turned entrepreneur and notorious lover of sushi. After dealing with anxiety and chronic procrastination, he now helps young professionals and other entrepreneurs achieve their goals and ideal lifestyle through better habits. Ready to start being more productive? Sign up for his newsletter today.


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