5 Ways To Combat Chronic Unhappiness, Because You Deserve All The Proverbial Sunshine In The World
Life gets everyone down every once in a while, but if you're someone who suffers from chronic unhappiness, the sadness can feel debilitating. That's why it's important to have ways to combat chronic unhappiness under your belt — not because these techniques will necessarily solve the problem, but because they'll help you get through the moments where you feel like it's all just too much. Generally speaking, if someone is chronically unhappy, they'll experience a sense of hopelessness and despair on a regular basis.
Chronic unhappiness differs from depression in that chronic unhappiness tends to rely on habit, routine, and mindset. You know, when people say you're just "stuck in a rut" and need to spice up your life to put a smile on your face? While combating chronic unhappiness isn't just that simple, it does hinge on the notion that you have to change some things about your life and mindset.
Whenever it comes to your mental health, it's a good move to talk to a professional about what's happening inside your head and your heart, so if you're experiencing chronic unhappiness, that's my first suggestion. Whether or not you see a therapist, though, I still think it's beneficial to have coping mechanisms and strategies ready to go. You deserve the fullest, happiest life possible, and sometimes that means arming yourself to fight back against the sadness.
1. Revamp Your Living Space
Studies show that our living environments can actually make a big impact on our moods. Depending on your situation (and where you think the root of your unhappiness may stem from), you may want to look into a pretty big change, like moving into a new apartment or checking out your options in a new city. However, I don't think revamping your living space has to be that drastic for it to be effective. For instance, when was the last time you changed the direction your bed faces or rearranged your living room furniture? Are the books you love displayed proudly, or still shoved into a box from when you moved in? What's your art situation like? Do you have things you enjoy looking at hanging on the walls? Changing up your living space gives you a task to focus on while also allowing you to make your environment reflect your mindset and give off the vibe you want. This can feel validating and empowering of the happiness you're trying to achieve.
2. Try A New Exercise Routine
Exercise has a ton of positive benefits when it comes to your mental health and your mood. Depending on your physical abilities and your comfort level, taking on a new form of exercise is going to vary, and that's OK! Getting into a routine might just mean incorporating a nightly walk around your neighborhood, so you have time to get some fresh air and take in the world around you, stress-free. Alternatively, it could mean signing up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio, where you'll have the chance to meet new people and develop a specific skill.
3. Experiment In The Kitchen
Personally, when I'm feeling stressed, I love to bake. Baking is a pretty precise science; I like that it gives me specific things to focus my mind on, and that within a short period of time, I get to see the outcome of my efforts. I also like giving people baked goods!
Whether you like baking or cooking (or heck, even if you dislike it), I think experimenting with what you're eating is always a good way to break out of a routine. This could mean trying a new vegan dish, inviting your friends over for weekend brunch, or ordering take-out from a new restaurant. Pretty much everybody loves to eat, but it's easy to feel like eating is just another part of our daily routine if we're not sitting down and actually enjoying what we're consuming. Trying new things makes it easier to take in the whole experience, as well as helps you figure out what you actually like.
4. Develop A Wide Social Circle
Studies show that having friends can literally make you feel better about your life. Talking to trusted friends and loved ones can lower your stress levels, give you outside perspective, and provide you with much needed emotional support. The catch, though, is that no one is going to be available all of the time, forever. If you're chronically unhappy, it's extra important you have multiple support systems because — even if someone really has your back — they can't promise to be there for you 24/7, and you don't want to put too much pressure on them to fill all the roles in your life. Now, in developing a wide social circle, it doesn't mean you need to open up about your issues to every single person you hang out with. It's very possible some people will be more casual friends, some will be work-only friends, etc. That's normal! The balance is key here.
5. Set Short- And Long-Term Goals
Personally, I think it's important for everyone to have both short and long-term goals; it's a great way to keep yourself focused and keep the big picture in mind. For some people, it's helpful to have a concrete way of maintaining their progress, like in a journal or blog. For others, it's more of a mental check-in whenever the mood strikes. If you're someone who experiences chronic unhappiness, I think keeping an actual record of your goals, and what you're doing to achieve them, is helpful because it helps put the bad days in perspective and reminds you of what you're working towards.
If you feel like you're experiencing chronic unhappiness, the best advice, of course, is to talk to a trusted loved one or a mental health professional to see if you can identify the root of the problem. I think coping mechanisms are an important tool to have at the ready regardless of where you are in identifying your unhappiness, however, because you deserve to be the happiest and healthiest you possibly can be, and sometimes that means making small changes to your routines and habits day by day.