If there's one thing we all have in common, it's the search for happiness. We all want to feel good, and a lot of our actions revolve around reaching this feeling. Sometimes though, the habits we believe to be helpful can actually be harmful, and there are some interesting things that happy people never do. Everyone has their own likes and interests, but certain habits can bring negativity into your life — whether you realize it or not — and getting rid of them can potentially bring more positivity into your life.
"Research shows that our happiness can be controlled by skills we practice, as 40 percent of our happiness outcome is caused by our daily habits," says happiness expert Dr. Lamees Khorshid over email. "The other weighted happiness factors include genetic predisposition, which constitutes 50 percent of our happiness. Ten percent is caused by circumstance such as environment, race, gender, etc."
Since we do have control some aspect of our happiness, it's best to avoid certain habits and ways of thinking that have been proven to make you feel more unhappy. Here are 11 interesting things that happy people never do that you might want to try ditching as well.
1. Blame Themselves For Things Out Of Their Control
Some outcomes in life are not contingent on our actions, and there's no use putting yourself down when these incidents happen. "Happy people focus on what's in their control, because the more you hold yourself responsible for something you had no control over, typically the more unhappy you'll be," says psychologist Dr. Heather Silvio over email.
2. Spend A Lot Of Time On Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram can definitely have their perks, but using them too often can make you unhappy. Research out of Denmark found that people who stayed off Facebook for a week felt happier, less stressed, and more enthusiastic.
3. Surround Themselves With Negative People
"Happy people recognize everyone has bad days, but the more you're around miserable people, the more you're likely to view the world the way they do," says Silvio. In fact, research from the University of Warwick shows that the more time you spend around happy people, the less likely you are to be depressed.
4. Holding Onto The Past
"We know that happier people tend to move on and let go of negative or bad events," says Khorshid. "Once that event has happened, move on to the next moment. Do not collect bad experiences. Instead, let it go, use the gift of forgetting, and move on to the next day."
5. Choosing Short-Term Pleasure Over Long-Term Happiness
"Each day, you have many options that test your will power," says Khorshid. "You must choose between sitting on the couch or exercising, snoozing or hitting the gym, junk food or health food, binge watching television or doing something to help your growth. We know that long term happiness takes short-term sacrifice. So if you wish to get happy, get good at saying no to short-term pleasures, and instead choose habits that lead to more sustainable, long term joy."
6. Stay In Unhealthy Relationships
"Sometimes we can stay in unhealthy relationships or friendships because they are convenient and familiar," says Khorshid. "Our relationships are meant to provide safety, support, encouragement, and companionship. If you find that you are in a relationship that does not offer you this, it may be time to move on."
7. Say Yes To Everything
It's important to spend time with your friends and family, and sometimes you have obligations you are better off attending, but happy people don't say yes to every single thing they're asked to do. "We tend to say yes to things we don’t want to do or have time for because we don’t want to upset someone or have them not like us," says psychologist Dr. Sarah Allen over email. "But if you are always saying yes, it leads to being over-scheduled, tired, and cranky."
8. Neglect Sleep
Sleep is important for more than just not feeling tired. "Not getting enough sleep can over time affect mood and impair memory and attention," says Allen. "It is not uncommon for people who don’t get enough sleep to be depressed and when chronic lack of sleep becomes a way of life, it can negatively affect your job and relationships."
9. Involve Themselves In Drama
"If you are content, there is no need to make yourself and the people around you feel riled up," says Allen. "Creating drama fills a void, whether it's because you’re sad, bored or just want to feel better about yourself by making others miserable. Happy people try to sort out potential conflicts before they blow up out of control."
10. Compare Themselves To Others
It's good to look to others for inspiration or motivation, but happy people don't pit themselves up against others to determine their self-worth. Research from the Journal of Adult Development shows that people who frequently compare themselves to others experience more destructive emotions and behaviors.
11. Take The Positive Things For Granted
"Happy people never take the positive things that happen to them for granted," says Allen. "Unhappy people tend to ignore the positive and notice the bad things that have happened, and also tend to ignore the positive influence we have over things and events." Keeping a gratitude journal can help make sure you're focused on the good in life, not the many obstacles.