If you are forever feeling the blues, it might be worth it to check with your doctor and make sure you are not suffering from a form of clinical depression. Assuming the root cause of your unhappiness is not depression or a similar medical condition, you need to set aside some time to examine your life. There is every possibility that you are the cause of your own unhappiness.

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Examine Your Expectations:

Take a moment to think about how you normally approach daily life. Do you expect things to go a certain way? Are you convinced from the moment you wake up in the morning that the day is going to be a waste? Do you spend your morning commute fixating on all the ways things can go wrong? If this is the case, you need to stop expecting the worst. When you obsess over everything that could ever go wrong, you create unnecessary stress in your life. You might also practice self-sabotage in an unconscious effort to be “right.”

The reverse is also true. If you are forever expecting perfection or thinking every conversation will go your way, you are going to be forever disappointed. Try and let go of unrealistically high expectations. Understand that you cannot control how people respond to you. You also cannot control every factor and thus cannot realistically expect perfection. Set your expectations high, but make sure they are still achievable.

Examine How You Spend Your Time:

You only have so much time on Earth. You cannot get more time. All you can do is control how you use the time you have. So, think about what you spend your days doing. Do you like your job? If the answer is “no,” you might have found the source of your unhappiness. You spend the bulk of your waking hours at work, and if you hate your job, you are spending the vast majority of your time doing something you loathe. If you do enjoy your work, think about how you spend your free time. What do you do when you come home at night? Do you collapse on the couch as soon as you walk through the door and turn on the TV? If so, is that the best use of your time? Everyone needs a break to recharge, but that “break” can rapidly consume your life. Take a few minutes to think about what really makes you happy. If you love to dance, take ballroom lessons once a week. If you love to cook, make an extravagant dinner on Saturday. Spend time doing what you truly enjoy, and you will find yourself noticeably happier.

Examine Your Thought Patterns:

our thoughts are probably the thing that has the most control over your mood. If you never think happy thoughts, you are never going to feel happy. Happy thoughts, of course, come easier for some people than others. Naturally pessimistic people will, understandably, struggle more with this than the optimists. That said, there is no reason to walk around all day with a raincloud over your head.

If you are forever finding your thoughts focused on the negative or the unpleasant, work on cultivating a grateful attitude. Think of five things you are thankful for as soon as you get up in the morning. These do not have to be life changing events or things with far reaching consequences. Your morning will start off on a good note even if you are just thankful for a roof over your head and a cup of hot coffee in your hands. Then, practice that throughout the day when you find yourself feeling down. Pretty soon, you will find that gratitude comes naturally to you, and your days will start looking up.

Examine Your Routine:

Many, many, many people are creatures of habit. They get up at the same time every day, make the same meal for breakfast and drive the same route to work. This can be a good thing. It helps keep routine-oriented people on a schedule. The problems start to appear when the routine is not healthy.

Your frantic morning rush might well be the reason you are unhappy throughout the day. If your first thought every day is “Holy crap! Look at the time!” it is no wonder you spend most of your time in a stressed haze. Rushing around like a maniac from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning is a good way to ruin your day and so is taking the “faster” route to work that is always packed with lost out-of-towners looking for their turn. If you are always stressed at the same points in your day, it might be time to create a new habit.

Examine How You Speak to Yourself:

The sad thing is, most people would never even consider speaking to another person the way they speak to themselves. Think about it. The odds are you have looked in a mirror recently and thought “I look awful.” How well do you think your boss would handle it if you looked at her and said “You look like crap” every day? Similarly, how many friends would you have if you screamed “You’re such an idiot! Can’t you do anything right?” whenever they made a mistake? That said, how many times have you yelled such things at yourself?

It is a self-help cliché, but negative self-talk can have a huge influence on your mood and motivation. Contrary to how most people talk to themselves, insulting and bullying themselves will not actually make them smarter, more successful or more attractive. All it does is bring their mood down. Make it a point to try and speak to yourself the way you would a friend. You will find yourself much happier when you no longer have a bully living in your head.

Examine Your Goals and Plans:

What do you really want? Have you always dreamed of going skydiving? Do you want to be able to stay at home when you have children? What are your goals? You may not actually know. If that is the case, you may be unhappy because you feel unmoored. You have nothing you are focused on, nothing driving you and nothing you are really working toward. In that case, take some time to brainstorm a few long-term and short-term goals. Then, write them down, and display them where you will see them.

If you have clearly defined goals, examine your plan to reach those goals. Is it realistic? If it is not feasible for you at this point in time, you are only going to disappoint yourself when you cannot reach that goal. Sure, some people can write a novel in a month, but that does not mean you can if you are working two jobs, raising a toddler and in the process of moving across the country.

Finally, consider your goals themselves. Are they goals that are realistic? More importantly, are they goals that you really care about or are they goals that you think you should have? Not everyone wants to be able to buy a new car or a bigger house. Do not work toward goals that do not matter to you.

Examine Your Health:

Physical health has a massive impact on mood. That is why some people are terrible to be around when they are sick. Beyond simply being ill, they are rude, irritable and blow things out of proportion. Illness, however, is not the only physical influence on mood. A lack of sufficient sleep is almost guaranteed to leave you more irritable and forgetful. Similarly, going hungry will leave you unfocused and frustrated.

Think about how you are treating your body. If you are not happy, there may be a physical cause. Take a closer look at your sleeping habits. Do you go to bed early enough? Are you sleeping through the night? If not, adjust your schedule accordingly, or talk to your doctor about doing a sleep study. Similarly, think about your eating habits. There is nothing wrong with having a side of chips with your lunch, but if you eat nothing but heavily processed, fatty foods all day, it is no wonder you feel sluggish and miserable. Put some natural, healthy foods back in your diet to give your mood a natural lift.



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