Image Source: Ashley Carlon

Sometimes, we are the biggest barriers to our happiness. We do plenty of things right in our search for happiness, but often shoot ourselves in the foot by entertaining certain unhealthy habits and by giving in to our circumstances. Finding happiness is then, ultimately, a matter of identifying these habits and either cutting back on them or eliminating them from your life. In this article, we look at 7 common ways you might be preventing yourself from being happy.

1. Blaming people and circumstances for your misfortunes.

When things go wrong, or don’t go according to plan, what’s your immediate reaction? Do you blame other people, like family or colleagues? Or do you take responsibility for the problem and vow to change things? Your reaction in such situations is crucial. When you blame other people or circumstances, you tell yourself and others that you’re powerless before them. But when you instead take responsibility for it, you take back the power and make yourself powerful enough to effect a change. Only in the case of the latter is true happiness possible.

2. Expecting a lot from other people.

Do you have high expectations of the people in your life? For instance, do you expect your wife to keep the food ready by the time you come home from work? Do you expect your colleague to tell you before they leave for home? The key thing to notice here is that these are expectations. They’re probably not communicated to the people involved. This is a classic sign of unhappiness. Because how can people meet your expectations when they don’t know you’re expecting something of them? Also, it’s hard for people to meet your expectations if you have too many. You’ll have to manage your expectations better if you have to have a shot at sustained happiness in life.

3. Trying to control people and circumstances.

Do you feel the need to be on top of things all the time? At home, at work, and even at the pub, drinking? The problem with trying to control everything is that life is unpredictable. It’s going to play some tricks and pull the rug over you one too many times for you to be ever able to think that you’re in control. Let go of control and you’ll immediately start to breathe easy. Let life’s magic unfold in its own way. Let the people in your organization do their work in the way they want to, let your family make their own decisions about how they want to spend their time. Once you let go of the need to stay on top of things all the time, you’ll begin to feel a lot lighter, and find happiness along the way.

Image Source: Mini-Zilla, Deviant Art

4. Spending all day indoors.

There’s a tendency sometimes to stay indoors a lot. It could be because of the hectic workdays or because you’re strongly introverted. But the problem with staying indoors excessively is that you don’t get exposed to enough sunlight and are constantly living under artificial lights. Studies have shown how these conditions can affect people negatively. In addition, exposure to nature is crucial for people. It promotes natural weight loss, a boost in self-esteem, and just a calm, relaxing, and refreshing mindset that sets the space for you to be happy.

5. Trying to be someone else.

Constantly trying to be someone else is an exercise in being unhappy. Because you’re shutting yourself out and trying to be someone you’re not. Happiness begins with the acceptance of the self, including all your strengths and weaknesses. Not accepting yourself comes from a dark place — perhaps that of shame or embarrassment — which is a big barrier for happiness to cross and enter your life. To find happiness, you’ll need to make peace with all parts of yourself.

6. Living in the past.

All you have in life is the present. This moment — this precise moment — is what you have. But we waste away a moment like this one and all the moments that follow, which eventually turn into days, months, years, and decades, dwelling in the past and thinking about the things that went wrong and how you could’ve changed them. Unfortunately, none of these years of contemplation matter, because if any of this was ever useful, you’d be feeling better and moving on in life. But you haven’t; you’re still living in the past. If you want to find happiness, you’ll have to accept your past for what it was and vow to make the most of your present. This will help welcome happiness in your life.