22 Habits Of Chronically Unhappy People

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Some people seem to always have a black cloud hanging over their head.

Their very presence can dampen anyone’s mood.

They are the chronically unhappy.

And if you don’t want to join their ranks, you need to avoid doing as they do.

And listen, we’re not here to criticize or condemn unhappy people, but rather to highlight some of the habits that could be contributing to their unhappiness.

Because at the end of the day, you can affect your own emotions by thinking or acting one way rather than another.

By NOT doing the things unhappy people do, you will reject the negativity associated with that mindset and leave more space into which you can draw positive, upbeat energy instead.

By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to protect your happiness from the things that threaten to steal it away.

1. They Always Focus On The Bad

Everybody experiences a mixture of good and bad things in their life, but our reactions can be very different depending on our current tendency towards good or bad.

For unhappy people, the focus is very often on the bad situations and they might dwell on these long after they have come and gone. In contrast, when good things happen to them, these are quickly forgotten about as soon as they are over.

2. They Crave Control Over Life

Unhappy people run from uncertainty and, instead, desire control over every little detail. They worry that their world will fall apart if they lose this control and, thus, they neglect to embrace the unpredictable nature of life.

This is something that many will eventually come to regret as they finally accept that their control was mostly an illusion all along. Until they reach this point, they will strive to take charge of every single aspect of their existence.

3. They Believe That Life Is Fundamentally Hard

For the chronically gloomy person, life seems to be a constant battle that has to be fought every day of every year. They perceive a harsh and dangerous reality that is only ever out to harm you and they believe that life is ultimately one long struggle until you die.

The unhappy person does not see a beautiful rollercoaster of ups and downs, highs and lows. They see one long, terrifying, downward slope that is designed to scare you to pieces.

4. Their Talk Is All Gossip And Moaning

Part of who you are is what you say about and to other people. The conversation of a despondent individual is often based around derogatory gossip or moans regarding how awful their life is. As above, the focus is typically on what’s going wrong rather than what’s going right.

They also tend to shy away from discussions of a deeper variety, preferring to stick to the superficial level where they are at the most comfortable.

5. They Constantly Compare Themselves To Others

We are all unique individuals who must walk our own paths through life. This means that our vision of success ought to be distinct from one another.

Despite this, there is a tendency for many people – often those with some degree of unhappiness – to compare their lives to those of others. Regardless of how much they have to be thankful for, these people will always view others as being better off and this only serves to deepen their dissatisfaction.

6. They Fill The Void With “Things”

Tied in nicely to the previous point about making comparisons, many unhappy people try to fill the void that they sense in their lives by spending money on new, shiny things all the time.

They see it as a way to maintain face with their peers and project a vision of a successful, happy person. Retail therapy also allows them to experience fleeting moments of exhilaration and satisfaction as they use their new toy for the first time. Despite knowing it will quickly fade, they continue to fill their lives with possessions in the hope that it will eventually lead to their happiness.

7. They Are Distrusting Of Strangers

We all come across strangers on a regular basis, but how we react to them can distinguish between the happy and the unhappy. While not always the case, a positive and happy person will be very open-minded and friendly towards a stranger.

An unhappy person, on the other hand, will tend to be wary and distrustful of those they do not know and will seek to keep them at arm’s length until they have properly assessed the threat they may pose. Heck, even when they get to know someone, they may still not trust them completely.

8. They Quit Too Readily

To achieve things in life – no matter how big or small – you need to have a sense or resolve about you. Unfortunately, unhappy people are lacking in this department and will often give up on a task or a dream simply because facing failure when you’ve not given it your all is always easier than facing it when you’ve put everything into it.

As we’ve already discussed, dejected individuals see life as hard work and so they don’t expect to succeed quite as much as those with more cheery outlooks.

And this brings us nicely onto the next point, because when they give up, an unhappy person does this…

9. They Blame Everyone And Everything Else

When things go awry in life, you have two choices: you can either stand up, be counted, and admit that you had a hand to play in the situation, or you can hide away and point the finger of blame squarely at something else.

Unhappy people tend to do the latter; they don’t wish to take responsibility for the things that have gone wrong, but prefer to make excuses as to why the fault lay elsewhere.

10. They Hold Grudges

Not only will unhappy people seek to blame others, they will tend to hold on to this belief and maintain a grudge against that person for what they perceive as a wrongdoing.

Even when there is a clear transgression, you can decide whether you are going to forgive that person and let your heart move on, or whether you are going to hold it against them forever more. The unhappier someone is, the more likely they are to hold long term grudges.

11. They Are Pessimistic About The Future

The future is full of unknowns and many people will envisage an improvement in their lives thanks to opportunities that might come their way. The unhappy person will, instead, see a bleak, gloomy vision of the future where trouble will never be far away.

They will regard their prospects as fairly poor and assume that tough times are just around the corner.

12. They Are Concerned By What Others Think Of Them

We might have no direct control over what other people think and say about us, but we can choose how we respond to it. For the despondent character, how other people see them is of utmost importance and they end up with a nagging sense of worry at all times because of this.

They believe that their happiness is somehow linked to the opinions expressed about them by others. They don’t seem to grasp the point that happiness comes from within.

13. They Often Exhibit Selfishness

An unhappy person doesn’t want to be unhappy; they just don’t always know the way back to a more positive outlook. They sometimes mistake self protection for self care and this shows itself through selfish behavior.

They believe that if they look out for number one, they will eventually find success and happiness in some form or another. They neglect to realize that success is commonly found in collaboration, kindness, and, to some degree, self-sacrifice.

14. They Fail To Express Gratitude

It’s easy to pick holes in your life and yearn for the things you lack, but until you are grateful for everything that you are currently blessed with, chances are you won’t be happy. Those who are the most discontent with their lives are the ones who fail so see all of the riches that they have in their lives today.

This lack of gratitude also expresses itself in a very real way because these unhappy people are far less likely to actually thank someone for something they’ve done.

15. They Blow Things Out Of Proportion

Life is full of small events, of both the positive and negative variety. We’ve already seen how unhappy individuals are biased towards the negative, but it is also the case that they often exaggerate the extent of the problems.

Even small, otherwise insignificant issues become full blown catastrophes that they must get upset about. Rarely will this ever be the case when good things come their way though.

16. They Sweep Serious Issues Under The Carpet

Despite their tendency to overstate the significance of minor problems, people of a downbeat nature are somewhat more likely to hide more serious issues from other people. They prefer to try and ignore things for as long as they can so as to avoid the embarrassment that they envisage from sharing their difficulties.

This hidden behavior can have side effects such as lying, paranoid thinking, and the eventual worsening of the situation.

17. They Lack Clearly Defined Goals

Maintaining a positive outlook often involves working towards a particular goal or dream, but when someone is crestfallen, they do away with these and suffer a subsequent lack of direction.

Because they are not required to make plans and take the necessary steps to achieve them, they drift aimlessly without any clear prospects for the future.

18. They Forsake Learning New Things

Thanks, in part, to their lack of goals, an unhappy individual has little desire to attempt new things. They cease to learn additional skills or to challenge themselves with a task that is foreign to them.

Instead, they return their focus to those things that they know how to do and become somewhat stagnant in their approach to life. They end up living their lives on repeat.

19. They Worry Over Money Regardless Of Their Wealth

While money, or a lack thereof, can often lead to difficult periods in someone’s life, it can also be said that unhappy people are preoccupied with money even when they are financially secure.

They worry that they haven’t got enough and that it will one day run out, leaving them destitute. This concern is present all the way up the wealth ladder, even at the very top; it seems to be a symptom of unhappiness as much as it might be a cause.

20. They Make Everything About Them

We all have egos and we all like them to be stroked every so often, but when someone is chronically unhappy, their egos manage to exert a much greater influence over them.

This leads to a desire to turn every conversation and every interaction into one that centers on them. If someone else is talking about something – good or bad – in their life, it won’t be long before the unhappy participant tries to relate what is said back to them so that they may shift attention back in their direction.

21. They Jump To Conclusions

Rather than let events play out as they might, an unhappy person likes to jump the gun and assume that whatever it is, it will be bad. They predict, often wrongly, that the likely outcome will be bad for them because they fail to consider all of the information at their disposal.

They try to guess what others may do, they prefer ignorance over knowledge, and they refuse to accept clear evidence that might contradict their own view.

22. They Make Poor Diet Choices

While diet is a complex topic with both a biological and mental aspect to it, when someone is unhappy, they tend to make poor choices about the food and drink they consume.

They binge on things that give them a temporary rush of endorphins, but fail to take the medium and long term consequences into consideration.

This article illustrates some of the many common habits that an unhappy person will follow. It does so with the intention that you, the reader, might better understand the link between your behaviors and your sense of mental wellbeing. Embodying these 22 things can actually make you more unhappy and by avoiding them, you will hopefully achieve a rosier outlook on life.

About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.