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5 Unhealthy Behaviors That Rob You of Happiness

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Do you do these things?

Many people unwittingly engage in habits that reduce joy. Without meaning to, they repeat misery-making behaviors and wonder why they are downcast. If you want to increase your happiness, quit these self-defeating practices.

1. Listening to critical self-talk

Does your inner voice speak out of line? If critical self-talk impedes your happiness, it’s time to stop listening to what it says.

Reduce its power by recognizing it pipes up to let you know you’re about to leave your comfort zone. Rather than speaking the truth, it reflects your discomfort. Step outside your natural boundaries, despite what it tells you, and it will fade.

2. People-pleasing

Pleasing others is only positive when it pleases you too. When you go out of your way–giving people your time and energy–but secretly dislike doing so, resentment builds.

Make it a rule to give freely when it pleases you and hold back at other times, and you’ll be happier.

3. Procrastination

Do you postpone tasks you hate, imagining you’ll eventually get around to them? Procrastination steals your joy because it puts your happiness on hold.

Until you complete chores you’ve set aside for a rainy day, a nagging feeling erodes your well-being. Successful people do jobs they don’t like before anything else and are happier as a result. Copy them, and your joy will grow.

4. Excusing yourself from trying something new

Adopting new behaviors can be scary. You don’t know if you’ll be good at them or they will suit you. You might make excuses to justify not trying new things, telling yourself you don’t have the time or something else holds you back.

Deep down, though, you are aware avoiding any new habits that could improve your life harms your well-being. If you are on the verge of making an excuse, then pause and work through your discomfort.

5. Not expressing your needs

When you’re unhappy with someone, do you explain why? Or do you (like most people) diagnose what’s wrong with them and blame them for how you feel? Telling your partner he/she is selfish or your mother that she’s interfering is an evaluation of what’s happening rather than an expression of what you need to make you happier.

From now on, increase your joy by saying something like “when you (fill in the blank) I feel …” Then say what would improve your happiness.

Do you recognize any of the habits mentioned that make you unhappy? Note how to correct unhelpful behaviors, and carry out changes, and your happiness will intensify.

5 Unhealthy Behaviors That Rob You of Happiness

John D. Moore, PhD

Described as folksy and down to earth, Dr. John Moore infuses current events and pop culture into his posts as a way of communicating wider points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsessionand Editor in Chief at: Guy Counseling.

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APA Reference
Moore, J. (2018). 5 Unhealthy Behaviors That Rob You of Happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Apr 2018
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