“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ― Aristotle

Healthy habits can be the first stepping stone to a life well lived and the key to happiness. Sometimes, it might take another person’s point of view to take a closer look at ourselves and our actions, and see how it is affecting us.

Good habits physically and mentally can create a better life. However, it’s important to be mindful of potential pitfalls in unhealthy habits. This list of 12 habits of unhappy people will help you know what to look out for in your life.

How we choose to face our circustances plays a big role in how we feel and the outcome of our lives.

Complaining all the time

Listening to yourself complain can bring you down, let alone the mood of other people. You might not realize how much you’re complaining, but take a step back and think if you hear other people whining as much as you might, and the reasons why you’re doing it. Try to find a balance in your life of how much complaining you do with expressing gratitude, and if possible, shift to a place where you can be giving thanks more. Neither happy nor successful people waste time complaining. Looking for solutions instead of problems will allow you to shift from complaining to a sate of possibility.

Being critical of yourself and other people

Constantly pointing out flaws you perceive in movies, other people, billboards or yourself leaves little space for that important word, “gratitude.” The words we use shapes our self image and our perception of the world. When mistakes happen, accept them, and move on. Other people are doing their best and they have a right to live without criticism.

Not living within your means

Our society is materialistic, and the everyday advertisements promoting unattainable lifestyles and expensive products can create a lot of pressure. There is no need to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, be happy for someone who is able to afford certain luxuries in life. Material objects will not provide a more meaningful existence. Instead seek joy in experiences like volunteering, time spent in nature, or with family. Satisfaction does not need a price tag.

Bad addictions

Everything in moderation, whether it be food, drink or movies. But when certain things become the center of our lives, things become off balance. Seek connection in your life not through addictions but through a meaningful community and relationships. Look for circumstances that trigger actions which lead to addictive behavior. Becoming aware of the triggers will allow you to start the process of breaking the habits. Replace old addictive habits with your passions.

Holding onto regrets of the past

Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s important to accept the past and make peace with it. Stress and depression go hand in hand with frequent negative thoughts about what happened in the past. Psychology Today gives us four steps to let go of the past:

  • learn from mistakes but don’t dwell on them;
  • if nothing can be changed about the situation, let it go;
  • make sure you’re not assigning too much blame to yourself;
  • reframe the situation more positively

Anxiety or Worry about the Future

The future happens no matter what, so having too much worry about it can cause a lot of unhappiness. The future is nothing but the results of actions taken in the present moment. Finding peace in the current moment will help to create a future that is also full of peace. Focus on the now and dive into the tasks and priorities in the current moment. Using the God-given talents and abilities will help us to create a future we can believe in.

Having a fear based mentality

Trust in yourself and the universe. Making decisions or choices out of fear can cause unhappiness. Our quality of life can be impacted by negative thought processes. When faced with fear, look for the things that take you into a state of gratitude. Choosing to look at what you have to be grateful for will help to put you into a state of love. Making choices out of love have infinitely more strength the choices made out of fear.

Putting Aside Goals and Dreams

When the opportunity presents itself, take it. Sometimes the perfect timing to do what you want is now, while the chance is here. Changing your life can happen quickly, so if a dream you have makes itself available to you, then take the opportunity. Take the first step and don’t get focused on how things will work out or what potential problems you may face on your path to achieving your dream. Focus on the joy of the fullfillment of your dream.

Unhappy People Gossip

Belittling someone and talking about them behind their back shows how insecure you are. Gossip allows you to shift focus away from any unhappiness within yourself. If someone is confident and happy, then why would they do something that doesn’t help them or another person. Gossip is a childish and destructive habit, and has no place with adults who are trying to improve themselves and help those they love.

Holding on to a grudge

Anger from the past or old resentments weighs you down. The actions of other people can sometimes cause anger, but for your own happiness, don’t hold on to what they did. Holding on to the pasts stops you from progressing and keeps you stuck in that moment that doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, forgive and forget so that you are able to free yourself from the shackles of the past.

Bad Eating Habits

What you choose to put into your body is an act of self-love. Proper nutrition and drinking enough water is probably the easiest and fastest way you can start to get healthier. Good food will also help your body avoid fatigue and weight gain, increase energy levels and be more productive. You will look great and feel great.

Focusing on the Problems

It’s possible to be unhappy by focusing too much on the problem. Too much attention on the problem and not what’s going right can result in self-sabotage. This can also lead to blowing things out of proportion. This can cause distress in yourself and others. Try to shift energy towards finding a solution or search for the possibility in every situation.

If you see yourself acting with any of these bad habits and are ready to make a change, then you are one step on the path to well being.


  1. “A Quote by Aristotle.” Goodreads.
  2. “The Psychology of Regret.”, Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers.
  3. Crichton-Stuart, Cathleen. “The Top 10 Benefits of Eating Healthy.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International.
Related Articles: