Strength in Being Broken

Would you like to add more misery to your day? Well, you are in luck! The following techniques are used by people across the world to become unhappier every day. (In case you don’t want to be more miserable, tips on avoiding misery are also included.)   

Always wait for the perfect time

When you have big dreams, it can be easy to get lost thinking about how you will accomplish them. If you want to add to your stress level, try getting stuck in your fears about failing. Wait, pause, and wait some more for just the right time to get started. 

If you don’t like being stressed out about a huge leap, there are other ways to approach a goal. Not every project is something you can start right away. But you don’t have to do everything in one giant step. Instead, take a small step forward. That’s it. Then tomorrow you can take another step.

Let criticism get under your skin

Another good way to have a bad day is to let severe critiques drag you down. Criticism can be constructive, but if it is unjustifiably harsh or unnecessary, it can make you gloomy and doubt yourself.

If you would rather not have a bad day due to harsh criticism, try talking about it with a friend to let off stress. If your self-esteem is low, it can be easy to think that all of the negative things people tell you are your fault in some way. Sometimes, people will harshly criticize others because they themselves are having a bad day. Remember that it isn’t always about you.

Surround yourself with negativity

If you want to be unhappier on an ongoing basis, consider spending time with people who drag you down, always talk negatively about others, and make you feel worse overall. Also, try to spend less time with people, podcasts, books and other resources that lift you up and make you feel better about yourself and the world in general.

If you would rather not be surrounded by negativity, make a list of the people you hang out with the most and the media or social media sources you spend the most time on. Then ask yourself for each source: Is it dragging me down or lifting me up? You can then come up with ways to start spending less time with those people, media sources or situations.

Never take a break

When you are busy all the time and give yourself no time to recharge, then you become exhausted. Congrats! You’re on your way to being miserable! Everything you do starts to feel harder, and you don’t get any enjoyment out of pushing yourself through your days.

If you would rather not feel stretched to the point of breaking down completely, try taking breaks during your day. Get away from your desk. Take a walk or stretch. By taking breaks, you can be more fully focused on work, get more done, and do a better job. And you are more likely to feel positive.

Sleep less 

Want to be a negative person? Stay up too late and get up too early. Research shows that sleep-deprived people don’t remember pleasant memories, but do recall memories that are depressing.1 In one experiment, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81 percent of the negative words (like “cancer”) but only 31 percent of positive words (“sunshine”). Sleeping less is the key to unhappiness. 

If you would rather not be sleep-deprived, the Sleep Foundation2 suggests keeping a comfortable temperature and environment for sleep, banning cellphones and other electronic devices from your bedroom, and abstaining from caffeine, alcohol and large meals in the hours leading up to bedtime. 

Take everything too seriously

If you really want to be miserable, make sure you always take everything too seriously. If you are too serious about everything, it is easy to grow afraid of making a mistake and more likely you’ll get stuck in a rut. It will become difficult to live in the moment, to let go of the past, and to laugh about life.

If you would rather not be stuck in a state of seriousness, lighten up! What and who you surround yourself with will have a big effect on how you think. Surround yourself with people with lighter attitudes, positive situations, books, websites, videos, and more to help avoid taking yourself too seriously.

You can also focus on raising your self-esteem through self-help methods or with the assistance of others. As your self-esteem improves, you may find yourself being less defensive, laughing more, and enjoying your life more than before. 

Author

  • Jim is the chief executive officer of Family Support Services of Amarillo (FSS), a not-for-profit agency that traces its roots back to 1908, offering counseling and behavioral health services; advocacy services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking (including Amarillo’s only Safe House for survivors), education and prevention programs for at-risk children, families and adults; and a full-service Veterans Resource Center for veterans, their family members and surviving spouses. Jim has worked in the behavioral health care field for more than 20 years, and has undergraduate and graduate degrees from WTAMU.