11 Things You're Probably Doing That Can Make You Miserable

It can be incredibly easy to get stuck in certain routines and patterns of behavior. And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with routine, this can sometimes be a problem when the things we do make us miserable. Because at the end of the day, we don't want to make things harder on ourselves in a world already full of road bumps.

It took me a long time to realize that I was often my own worst enemy when it came to feeling good every day. I'd wake up exhausted, go to a job I didn't enjoy, and come home stressed and frazzled. I'd then sit on the couch watching TV, dreading the fact that I'd have to do it all over again the next day. I'd also often spend my free time doing things I felt obligated to do, as opposed to the things that really spoke to me as a person. And on top of it all, I usually only ever saw the bad parts of my life, never once taking a step back to see all the good that was also there.

Needless to say, I wasn't my happiest self; not to mention I was also pretty tough to be around. It took some serious soul-searching and self-help reading to reframe my perspective. But I did it, and I'm a much happier person because of it. And that's not to say I still don't have my days of feeling stressed, anxious, or just bummed out because something didn't go my way. But on the whole I'm way more balanced. If you've not been feeling your best self and are looking for places to make change, here are 11 things all of us do that make us miserable.

1. Not Saying No

This first one is a personal tip. I've found one of the fastest ways to feel off-balanced and stressed out is by being afraid to say no to others, whether it be an invite to a party, an unfair request from a co-worker, or a favor for a friend. This is a surefire way to feel over-extended and like you don't have a moment for yourself. If this sounds familiar, consider saying no to the next thing that comes up, or even canceling on something you've already committed to. It won't be the end of the world — I promise!

2. Spending Too Much Time On Social Media

According to a study featured in The New Yorker, on average, social media makes us feel more sad and isolated, as well as envious and discontent. They noted this is often because in general, people only post the very best of what happens to them, giving us a skewed perception of other people's lives. If you've been feeling down, try taking a vacation from social media — you just might notice a difference.

3. Not Getting Get Any Sun

According to a piece on Healthline.com, sun gets our serotonin — our brain's "happy" hormone — pumping. Try eating breakfast or drinking your morning coffee by a sunny window, or attempt to get in a walk outside everyday. This tiny detail could help keep your mood up.

4. Overthinking

Lifestyle writer and founder of the Positivity Blog Henrik Edberg noted that constantly overthinking can have a definite effect on our happiness. "Overthinking can make any issue seem bigger and scarier than it actually is. It can hold you back in life and from taking action," Edberg wrote. Instead, Edberg recommended giving yourself a time limit for every decision — whether it be 30 seconds to decide if you're going to do laundry or not, or 30 minutes to decide where you're next vacation will be.

5. Getting Stuck In The Past

Edberg also noted that constantly thinking about the past can limit our happiness in the present. "Spending too much time in the past usually leads to going over old mistakes or failures over and over again and to wishing you could go back and do something about them," he said. If this is a continual problem for you, try practicing breathing exercises, or other routines that ground you in the present moment.

6. Believing In The "Myth Of Arrival"

In a piece for Psychology Today, psychologist Andrea Bonior wrote, "The myth of arrival refers to the idea that once you have 'arrived' at a certain point in your life, everything will fall into place and the life you have waited for will finally begin." However, she noted that the reality is, happiness doesn't "begin" when we reach a certain place in life, and believing that it does takes away from your happiness in the present moment.

7. Not Surrounding Yourself With True Friendship

In a piece for The Huffington Post, New York-based confidence coach Susie Moore said that we often get stuck in superficial relationships with the people around us and don't spend time talking about what's really on our minds. However, she noted that she finds when she does open up to people, they usually open up in return and are actually relieved to be having a substantive conversation. Try to make real connections with the people you spend time with and limit time spent with people who don't fall into the "real connection" category.

8. Constantly Comparing Yourself To Others

Moore also wrote about the dangers of comparing ourselves to others. "We have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives. We may envy their fortune but not know their child is struggling with bullying or that their marriage is falling apart. Instead we should be too busy envying our own good fortune (good friends, etc)," Moore wrote.

9. Hanging Out With Unhappy People

This is another personal tip. Spending time with unhappy people, or people who are generally negative, can definitely zap us of our positivity. If you've noticed that a particular friend or acquaintance never has anything positive to say, or worse, makes you more negative when you're around them, it may be time to seek out some distance.

10. Not Practicing Gratitude

Bonior also stressed the importance of practicing daily gratitude rituals. This could be as simple as thinking of three things you're grateful for when you wake up each morning, or writing it down in a journal each night. These daily reminders go a long way in helping us keep perspective.

11. Not Planning Your Meals

In an interview with Bustle, nutritionist Nikki Ostrower of the New York-based NAO Nutrition notes that taking time to plan nourishing meals for ourselves does a wonder for our overall state of mind. "Neurotransmitters are created in our gut, which means we can feel less anxious and depressed [when we eat mindfully]." Ostrower says, boiling it down to, "Happy belly, happy life!"

Happiness can be hard to attain, and at the end of the day, it's unrealistic to think we can ever be 100 percent happy all of the time. However, there are definitely things we can do to make us more happy, and in a world full of trials and tribulations, that can make all the difference.

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