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We all have a few bad habits that hold us back in life.
Some of them are inconsequential. Others can cost us things we hold dear, like our meaningful relationships, our time, or our happiness.
We only have a short amount of time on this Earth, and that’s why we need to spend more of our time doing healthy and fulfilling things and less time doing these destructive behaviors.
After all, when you are always focused on the negatives in life, it is going to be hard to live a happier life.
Here are 7 essential habits that you must eliminate in order to live a happy life.
As you read, be extra honest with yourself and determine if you possess these habits unconsciously.
You will find that if you don’t look carefully, you may not detect that you have them.
But to life a better life, you need to work at assessing your whole life, including your everyday life, and weeding out the negative habits.
7 Ways To Living A Happier Life
#1. Feeling Entitled
A frequent source of negativity in people’s lives comes from feeling entitled.
If you get cut off in traffic, do you get angry? If someone says something a little mean to you, do you get insecure or defensive? If the call you are on has a bad signal, do you get irritated?
See if you said yes to any of these questions.
If so, then you may have an entitlement problem.
The way to stop being entitled is to use mindfulness to notice your melodramatic thoughts as they arrive, and use your willpower to let them go.
I invite you to find 3 things you know you often feel entitled with.
The next time things don’t go the way you want, practice by choosing to forgive them and see things from a positive light.
#2. Never Being Satisfied
Many people live in an endless cycle of feeling unsatisfied with their lives and their accomplishments.
They have low job satisfaction and have a difficult time finding the simple joys in life.
They live their entire lives feeling like they never have enough, always focusing on a negative situation.
They work hard to become successful, and when they do, they may feel happy for a little bit.
But it never lasts.
Pretty soon, they feel empty inside because their success no longer feels adequate, and they start to want more.
So they choose another target to chase, and when that goal is achieved, they feel empty inside again.
It’s good to have goals, be challenged, and experience successes and failures.
But if achieving goals go unchecked, they can do more harm than good.
Many high achievers don’t like to admit this is a problem, but it is.
It might not seem bad when you are in the midst of chasing your dreams, but once you go through this cycle enough times, many people start to feel incredibly depressed and feel their lives are devoid of meaning.
Be mindful if this is happening to you, and remember that you don’t want to become a slave to your ambitions.
Control your ambitions. Don’t let them control you.
When you are able to do this, you will find a deeper appreciation for the little things in life. And you will have a more positive mental health attitude when it comes to setting goals.
#3. Judging Others
One of the other ways to live a happy life is to stop judging others.
We like to judge others for many things.
It can give us a sense of pleasure or a sense of satisfaction. We can even use it as a way to feel self-righteous.
But at the end of the day, these are all forms of negative energy.
The more we judge others, the more we end up hurting ourselves. We end up just flushing our mind with toxicity and draining our moral character.
The solution is to give others the benefit of the doubt.
We don’t know what has happened in other people’s lives that might cause them to behave a certain way.
The best thing we can do is remember that we all are trying our best, and to be less harsh on others.
The first step to rooting out this habit is to figure what the most common things you judge others for.
Is it there appearance? Their demeanor? Their habits?
Pay special attention the next time you hear yourself criticizing others in your head.
Notice the thought, and allow it to pass through you.
If you feel regret or guilt after noticing the thought, try to smile and forgive yourself. Don’t feel bad about it.
We are all human, so just focus on improving and have a little grace.
Remember that most people are positive people in life and the anger they express isn’t because of you, it’s something else in their life and they are taking their unhappiness out on you.
#4. Being Fake Around Others
Sometimes, we don’t speak our minds because we don’t want others to think badly of us.
With friends, we are afraid to say what we think in order to spare hurting their feelings and damaging the relationship.
But transparency and positive intentions are what builds lasting relationships.
As true friends, we have to trust each other to look past the pain and appreciate each other for trying to help and for telling the truth as we see it.
With acquaintances, we tend to act happier and nicer and more interesting than we naturally are.
We end up saying and doing things we otherwise would not do, simply because we want to impress them.
We have to learn to be more comfortable in our own skin.
Recognize it the next time you put on a facade or persona. Just relax and let go.
Realize it’s not worth it to have people like you for a person that you really aren’t.
#5. Comparing Yourself Excessively
When you compare yourself excessively to others, you rob yourself of the joy of everything that you have.
Plus you put your mental health at risk.
As cliché as this may sound, there will always be others that are better or have more than you.
Think of it this way.
For every one Muhammad Ali, there are thousands of people who are angry at themselves for not being “the best”.
But it doesn’t just stop there.
When you compare yourself to yourself, you do something similar.
- Read now: Click here to how to overcome negative thoughts
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If you lose something you once had, you compare yourself to your past, and you feel anguish. If you are successful, you become restless over time if you don’t keep getting more successful.
Either way you turn, it’s always a maze of comparisons that end up driving you crazy at one point or another.
I’m not here to tell you that you should never compare yourself to others or yourself, because self-improvement is good.
Rather, try to do it only objectively and rationally, so you improve yourself with grace, not with anger directed at yourself.
#6. Addictions Or Attachments
People are addicted to a lot of things, whether they know it or not.
For some it could be a relationship. For others it could be dangerous substances. For others it could be work, money, or fame.
Be honest with yourself and determine if there is anything you are overly emotional about.
Then ask yourself why you are attached to it. Chances are, it’s because it makes you feel more complete when you have it.
So if you feel more complete with it, then why are you incomplete without it?
In order to stop being addicted or attached to something unhealthily, you have to feel complete on your own.
According to many spiritual philosophies like Buddhism, you don’t need things in the material world to make you complete.
You can live a simple life and be happy.
When you embrace and love yourself just the way you are, as a human being, you realize you already are complete.
I am well aware that it’s a lot easier said than done to overcome addictions.
And truthfully, addictions are usually overcome when the addict experiences enough pain and tragedy to finally muster the willpower to overcome it.
My best advice for you is to be ready when life presents such events and challenges, and accept them as they come, as difficult as they may be.
Remember that these events are ultimately here to serve you and to free yourself from your insecurities.
#7. Obsessing Over Past And Future
Our minds are so hyperactive and hypersensitive that we constantly think about potential threats and past tragedies.
This happens every day, and we spend more time in a state of suffering and less in a state of happiness about everything that life has to offer.
How do you stop obsessing over these things?
Meditation brings us into the present moment, and allows us to realize how beautiful everything is around us.
Studies show that happy people meditate more often than the average person.
There is no way to teach meditation in just one article, but here is an exercise that may help you get a glimpse of its power.
Consider this question, which is asked in the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
What “problem” do you have right now? Not next year, not tomorrow, not five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment?
Look around yourself carefully. Everything around you is still and at peace.
Life surrounds you.
Even everyday objects like desks, books, and pencils are miracles. They are beautiful creations at their very being.
Allow yourself to be immersed in the beauty, life, and creation around you. Enjoy the wonders of the world.
Do this for just a few seconds, and you will feel the power of the present moment.
This is how you take your mind off of the past and future, and deeply into the present.
And by worrying less about the past and future, you can focus on the now. This alone will help you to experience a happy life more often.
We covered 7 very negative emotions and habits that we all need to give up in order to start living a happier life.
As your next step, try to choose one of these habits to focus on, and dedicate the next weeks and months on overcoming it with positive thinking and actions.
Be patient as becoming a better person and finding true happiness takes time.
But it all starts by taking action.
Additionally, take quality time everyday to focus on the little things in life. The happiest people tend to focus on positive experiences and true gratitude.
In time, I am confident you will find the right balance in life and experience long term happiness.
Feel free to reach out in the comments to ask for advice or share your progress.
If you found this article helpful, I would really appreciate if you shared it with those who may also find it helpful.
Author Bio: Derek is a blogger about meditation, mindfulness, and happiness at westernmonks.com. He is passionate about sharing his unique experiences and insights with others and improving people’s lives.