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This article speaks loudly to me.  Some of these habits I've experienced for myself.  Do you recognize yourself here too?

This post from LinkedIn Influencer Travis Bradberry originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Happiness comes in so many different forms that it can be hard to define.

Unhappiness, on the other hand, is easy to identify; you know it when you see it, and you definitely know when it’s taken hold of you.

Unhappiness is lethal to everyone around you, like secondhand smoke.

The famous "Terman Study" from Stanford followed subjects for eight decades and found that being around unhappy people is linked to poorer health and a shorter life span.

Happiness has much less to do with life circumstances than you might think.

A University of Illinois study found that people who earn the most (more than $10 million annually) are only a smidge happier than the average Joes and Janes who work for them.

Life circumstances have little to do with happiness because much happiness is under your control — the product of your habits and your outlook on life.

Psychologists from the University of California who study happiness found that genetics and life circumstances only account for about 50% of a person’s happiness. The rest is up to you.

"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." —Benjamin Franklin

Unhappy habits

When people are unhappy, it’s much more difficult to be around them, let alone work with them. Unhappiness drives people away, creating a vicious cycle that holds you back from achieving everything that you’re capable of.

Unhappiness can catch you by surprise. So much of your happiness is determined by your habits (in thought and deed) that you have to monitor them closely to make certain that they don’t drag you down into the abyss.

Some habits lead to unhappiness more than others do. You should be especially wary of the 10 habits that follow as they are the worst offenders. Watch yourself carefully to make certain that these habits are not your own.


Waiting for the future.

Telling yourself “I’ll be happy when … ” is one of the easiest unhappy habits to fall into. How you end the statement doesn’t really matter (it might be a promotion, more pay, or a new relationship) because it puts too much emphasis on circumstances, and improved circumstances don’t lead to happiness.

Don’t spend your time waiting for something that’s proved to have no effect on your mood. Instead, focus on being happy right now, in the present moment, because there’s no guarantee of the future.


Spending too much time and effort acquiring "things."

People living in extreme poverty experience a significant increase in happiness when their financial circumstances improve, but it drops off quickly above $20,000 in annual income. There’s an ocean of research that shows that material things don’t make you happy.

When you make a habit of chasing things, you are likely to become unhappy because, beyond the disappointment you experience once you get them, you discover that you’ve gained them at the expense of the real things that can make you happy, such as friends, family, and hobbies.


Staying home.

When you feel unhappy, it’s tempting to avoid other people. This is a huge mistake as socializing, even when you don’t enjoy it, is great for your mood.

We all have those days when we just want to pull the covers over our heads and refuse to talk to anybody, but understand that the moment this becomes a tendency, it destroys your mood. Recognize when unhappiness is making you antisocial, force yourself to get out there and mingle, and you’ll notice the difference right away.


Seeing yourself as a victim.

Unhappy people tend to operate from the default position that life is both hard and out of their control. In other words, "Life is out to get me, and there's nothing I can do about it." The problem with that philosophy is that it fosters a feeling of helplessness, and people who feel helpless aren’t likely to take action to make things better.

While everyone is certainly entitled to feel down every once in a while, it’s important to recognize when you’re letting this affect your outlook on life. You’re not the only person that bad things happen to, and you do have control over your future as long as you’re willing to take action.


Pessimism.

Nothing fuels unhappiness quite like pessimism. The problem with a pessimistic attitude, beyond it being hard on your mood, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you expect bad things, you’re more likely to get bad things.

Pessimistic thoughts are hard to shake off until you recognize how illogical they are. Force yourself to look at the facts, and you’ll see that things are not nearly as bad as they seem.

Complaining.

Complaining itself is troubling as well as the attitude that precedes it. Complaining is a self-reinforcing behavior. By constantly talking — and therefore thinking — about how bad things are, you reaffirm your negative beliefs.

While talking about what bothers you can help you feel better, there’s a fine line between complaining being therapeutic and it fueling unhappiness. Beyond making you unhappy, complaining drives other people away.

Bringing it all together.

Changing your habits in the name of greater happiness is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. But it’s also important for another reason — taking control of your happiness makes everyone around you happier too.

Travis Bradberry is the award-winning coauthor of the No. 1 best-selling book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.




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ulyferal

Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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62 yrs old, a writer of fan fiction since 2006, amateur photographer and pencil artist, mother of three adult children, married 42 yrs, retired USAF, retired owner/operator of cat grooming parlor, working on becoming a professional writer as my third career and Lover of Cats. You can find all my work at the Wonderful World of Make Believe (WWOMB) and fan fiction.net.


Thanks to :icondarksevern: for drawing my avatar and making it look fresh and new.
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