7 Surprising Habits of Unhappy People

Photo courtesy of Melissa Maples

Here at TinyShift, we’re constantly looking for ways to make life better. In the Mindful Mondays series we ran last year, we discovered that one really effective way to increase your overall productivity is by creating effectual habits. It turns out that you need significantly less brain power to perform activities that are habitual as opposed to things that require decision-making.

Because of this, forming as many good habits as possible will help you free up mental energy to focus on important things, whether professionally, personally, or a little bit of both. As there are more than enough people telling you to eat healthier or to exercise more, I decided to take a look at it from the other end.  Here’s a list of common behaviors that you’d be better off avoiding. If you’ve already developed a proclivity for one or more of these, well, it’s in your best interest to quit while you’re still ahead.

  1. Living in fool’s paradise - Spending a little time daydreaming is ok, but if you don’t keep at least one foot on the ground, you could end up missing out on the best parts of your life.
  2. Over-moderating yourself – I know, I know. You’ve finally managed to get yourself under control, and now we’re telling you to let loose? Not exactly. Being able to effectively self-moderate is an important life skill - just don’t limit your creative potential at the same time.
  3. Burning the midnight oil – Everyone pulls a late (or all) nighter once in awhile, but if you turn it into a habit, you could actually end up with a circadian rhythm disorder, which is far more unpleasant than it sounds.
  4. Self-slandering - Rest assured; there will always be someone who’ll try to bring you down in life. It’s your job to be your own biggest fan and loudest cheerleader.
  5. Betting your bottom dollar – Whether you get the Annie reference or not, constantly hanging all your hopes on a brighter tomorrow won’t get you very far. For habitual procrastinators, the perfect tomorrow they’re hoping for never actually comes, leading to a whole lot of nothing. Make things happen today instead.
  6. Mindlessly clicking on the “boob tube” – Research shows that adults who were raised with the tv on all of the time are much more likely to suffer from obesity and insomnia.  They’re also usually inclined to continue the excessive screen time ritual with their own children.
  7. Seeing stars – Starbucks, that is. Caffeine addiction is at an all-time high right now. What may seem like a simple energy boost can actually lead to high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, cardiac problems, stomach ulcers and even death. It’s also a habit with a hefty price tag, so quitting will give you the additional benefit of a fatter wallet.

None of us is perfect – I myself struggle with a thinly veiled Starbucks iced latte obsession which causes me to burn the midnight oil when I allow myself to indulge. The important thing is that I’m able to check myself.  If you have a behavior that could become a bad habit if left unchecked, repeat after me: everything in moderation. Even moderation.

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    • Laurie

      While drinking my second cup of coffee to try to get my brain into gear (having been up until 2am, again) with the TV on in the background, I was telling myself that I must have a protein shake for lunch as well and that I am such a big slacker as I am behind in some work, so I boot up my computer to begin my workday. I am not joking, here and I have been feeling less than my happy self.

      Of course, I read my email first to see if there are any urgent matters to address (that will put me further behind and make me feel worse about the slacking that has gone on lately) and hoping that there is a Tiny Shift email as my day is always a bit better the days I read one. This Tiny Shift could not have hit at a better time!

      The TV is now off, coffee replaced with water and I promise that I won’t speak to anyone today about the impending HGTV Dream Home sweepstakes which had recently been an obsession!

      Much appreciated!

      • Adrienne McGuire

        I can’t tell you how good it feels that you took the message to heart and made an effort to move in the right direction, Laurie! Congratulations, and keep it up!

    • Gayatri

      Thanks Adrienne, Tinyshift is exactly what I was looking for, a friend who would encourage me, support me and guide me to make my life more meaningful and enjoyable (while being surrounded by too much negativism).

      I would like to share a tip I have been following as part of my fitness regime over last 2 years. Every Monday morning, I check my weight before even having my breakfast. This has 2 benefits. If I have lost weight, then it drives away all the Monday morning blues, and suddenly my day and rest of the week becomes cheerful. If I haven’t lost any weight (or even worse, gained some), then it sets a check in my sub-conscience mind for rest of the week, and I am careful while eating throughout the week without any extra efforts.

      • Adrienne McGuire

        Thanks for the tip! I am working on getting back into shape just now as well, and although I try to avoid putting a “number” on my success, I know I ought to weigh myself sometimes. :

        I will take your advice to heart! Thanks for posting!