9 signs you’re unhappy in life but hiding it well (don’t ignore these!)

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A lot of people go through the motions in life, without stopping to question whether they’re happy.

They engage in behaviors that conceal their true feelings to both themselves and others.

They may not even be consciously aware they’re doing it.

If you see these 9 signs in yourself, it might be time to consider whether you’re actually unhappy in life but hiding it well:

1. You are regularly engaging in escapism.

Escapism is an activity centered around avoiding what’s going on in your present life. Whether that’s to avoid your thoughts, feelings, or emotions, or even to feel less aware of yourself in a situation.

Instead of focusing on your life and responsibilities, you focus on anything else.

Examples of escapism include daydreaming, substance abuse, alcohol, work, hobbies, or social activities.

There is an important caveat that you must keep in mind, however.

There’s nothing wrong with engaging in these activities in a healthy way. It’s usually only a problem when you do them to avoid dealing with your life because you’re not happy with it.

So if you’re trying to hide from your thoughts or feelings by engaging in these activities, you may want to consider why that is. 

2. You are procrastinating a lot.

Procrastination is often fueled by depression, anxiety, and unhappiness.

Unhappiness often gives us that, “Why bother?” feeling.

And when we’re unhappy, we’re usually unmotivated, so the answer to that question is, “There’s no point.”

Accomplishing goals fires off feel-good hormones in our brain, as a reward for our achievements. However, chronic unhappiness or depression can suppress or lessen those feelings.

So while most people are motivated by the hormone release accomplished when meeting a goal, unhappy people experience less reward, so they stop bothering to do things that are necessary and good for them.

It becomes a vicious cycle, and if you notice you’re caught up in it, it’s worth exploring why that might be.

3. You are experiencing chronic indecisiveness.

Unhappiness can cause us to overthink, resulting in analysis paralysis and an inability to make decisions.

When we’re experiencing inner turmoil, even simple decisions like choosing which restaurant to eat at or which microwave to buy, feel overwhelming.

Those who are unhappy may not trust their judgment or fear making the ‘wrong’ decision, so they defer to others or are non-committal when it comes to making choices. 

Of course, some people are just naturally laid back and prefer others to take the lead. But if that’s not your usual disposition, and you’ve noticed you can’t make decisions like you used to, it’s worth considering why that might be.

4. You are experiencing physical symptoms of stress.

There are so many physical symptoms that people don’t often attribute to stress.

For example, digestive issues like heartburn, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Or backaches, headaches, and muscle pain. Rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure are common symptoms too.

And that’s only a handful of the physical symptoms associated with stress.

The stress hormone cortisol affects almost every tissue and organ in your body, so it’s always worth exploring whether chronic, unexplained physical symptoms are being caused by unhappiness and stress rather than illness.

Let’s be clear, that doesn’t make them any less real. Pain and discomfort are real whatever the cause. But if you’ve got unexplained physical symptoms it’s worth looking at your mood and overall stress levels and then chatting with your doctor about it.

5. You are struggling to make genuine connections.

Genuine connections are difficult for unhappy people because they require so much emotional energy.

A chronically unhappy person simply doesn’t have the emotional energy to devote to forging deep social connections.

They may find they avoid meeting new people and leave existing friends on read or not return their calls.

The new relationships they make may be shallow, and previously held genuine connections may significantly weaken or break down altogether. Professional relationships can suffer, and romantic relationships can crumble.

If you’re unhappy, but hiding it, you may find there’s just not enough emotional energy to make relationships work.

6. You are experiencing unexplained anger and irritability.

People who are hiding their unhappiness often have a lower threshold for handling difficult or negative emotions.

There are usually a couple of reasons for this.

One is that unconsciously suppressing your feelings causes your unresolved emotions to spill out, over even the most trivial of annoyances.

The other is simply that mood and emotion-balancing chemicals aren’t being produced or processed sufficiently.

Not having that mood and emotional balance makes you prone to snap reactions that may otherwise be out of character.

7. You are unable to relax.

A chronically unhappy person who is keeping it all inside is often wound up tight.

If you’re struggling internally, it can be extremely hard to let go of your thoughts and anxieties, making it hard to relax even when you get the opportunity.

Furthermore, people who are unhappy in their lives but haven’t yet faced up to it, often fill every spare moment with activities, to avoid having to deal with the emptiness or sadness they feel when they stop.

A common sign of low mood is often being unable to get a restful and rejuvenating sleep. For example, either not being able to fall asleep because you’re trapped in your thoughts, or waking up in the early hours and being unable to drop back off.

8. You are avoiding introspection and self-examination.

Introspection and self-examination will reveal unhappiness to an unhappy person.

So if you’re avoiding examining your thoughts and emotions, it’s worth considering why. It may be that you’re afraid of what you’ll uncover. 

Perhaps you’re always trying to distract yourself from your thoughts with endless activities, or maybe you avoid deep conversations that could unleash your true feelings.

Avoiding introspection in this way is not always a conscious choice.

But one thing is for sure. Without self-examination, it’s impossible to confront and tackle the inner turmoil you may be feeling. 

9. You aren’t experiencing happiness.

This may seem like an obvious point, but if you’re unhappy, you’re likely not experiencing moments of happiness.

Moments of happiness can come from romantic time with a partner, chatting with a friend, doing a hobby that you really like, taking a trip that you’re excited about, or even something as simple as enjoying your favorite cookie.

These things may not make you over the moon happy, but they should at least make you a little happy.

But that doesn’t necessarily happen if you’re unhappy in life generally.

Instead, you may do these things and feel nothing.

Or, you may do these things and actually feel worse, because you know you should be enjoying the activity, and you aren’t.

You may ask, “What’s wrong with me?”

Well, you’re unhappy.

And if it’s been going on for a while, the solution to that is likely to be therapy.

There’s usually a reason why people are unhappy and if it’s not something you can pinpoint and easily fix yourself, professional help is going to be the best way to address it.

About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.