10 signs someone is secretly unhappy in life, according to psychology

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Ever had that gut feeling that a friend or loved one isn’t as chipper as they make out to be?

They’re grinning, they’re chuckling, but something’s just not adding up.

It’s tough, right? You want to step in and lend a hand, but you’re not sure if it’s your place or how to go about it.

Well, wipe that worry from your brow. I’ve got something to help you out.

Let’s dive into ten signs, backed by psychology, that might tell you someone is secretly unhappy in life.

1. They’re Suddenly Homebirds

You know that friend who used to be the life of every party? The one who would always drag you out for impromptu adventures, come rain or shine?

Now, they barely step out and prefer staying cooped up at home.

This sudden change from social butterfly to homebody might be more than just them being tired – it could be a sign they’re not feeling their best.

Change in behavior is often the first sign of inner turmoil.

If your outgoing friend is suddenly loving their couch more than the concert, it might be time to gently check in on them.

2. Playing With Their Food

Remember how we used to play with food as kids when we didn’t want to eat our veggies?

Well, adults can do it too, but for different reasons.

If your friend is suddenly eating too much or too little, or if they’re just pushing their food around their plate, it could be a sign of emotional distress.

Food habits and mood are closely linked. People might overeat or under-eat when they’re feeling low.

If your food-loving friend starts showing strange eating habits, it might be a sign they’re secretly unhappy.

It’s a subtle clue, but an important one to watch out for.

3. Snooze Struggles

We’ve all had those rough nights when sleep just won’t come, right?

Or those mornings when it feels impossible to drag yourself out of bed.

Now, imagine feeling like that most of the time.

That was exactly what happened with my friend, Sam.

He was either up all night, staring at the ceiling or sleeping well into the afternoon.

This wasn’t like him at all – Sam was usually the first one up and last one to bed.

When I asked him about it, he shrugged it off saying he was just tired. But sleep struggles can often be a sign of unhappiness or stress.

If someone you know is suddenly having a tough time with sleep, don’t ignore it. It might be a sign they’re dealing with something more than just ‘being tired’.

4. Losing Their Spark

Did your friend, who used to be passionate about painting or playing guitar, suddenly lose interest in their hobbies?

This could be a more significant sign than you might think.

Loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed is one of the key symptoms of depression, a condition often associated with deep unhappiness.

Our hobbies are what we turn to for joy and relaxation, and when someone loses interest in these, it might be because they’re battling inner demons.

5. Forever Feeling Drained

Is your usually energetic friend always seeming tired these days? Do they always look like they’re dragging themselves through the day, no matter how much sleep they get?

This constant fatigue can be a real heartbreaker to witness. It’s like watching a bright spark slowly dimming.

Sometimes, this exhaustion goes beyond physical tiredness. It could be a sign of emotional fatigue caused by hidden unhappiness.

When someone’s always feeling drained, it might mean they’re carrying an emotional weight that’s sapping their energy.

If you notice this change, reach out and let them know you’re there for them. Even a small gesture can mean the world to someone who’s feeling down.

6. A Short Fuse

There was a time when my friend, Lily, was the most patient person I knew.

She could keep her cool in situations that would make the rest of us lose our minds.

But suddenly, she started snapping over the smallest things. Her patience seemed to have evaporated overnight.

At first, we thought she was just stressed out, but this change in behavior was a sign of something deeper.

People who are secretly unhappy often become more irritable or agitated. It’s like they’re on edge all the time, and even the slightest trigger can set them off.

So, if someone you know is showing a similar change in behavior, it’s worth checking in on them and offering your support. It might be just what they need to start opening up about their struggles.

7. Not Their Own Biggest Fan

It’s a cruel irony when good people can’t see their own goodness.

You and I have both seen it – people we care about saying things about themselves that make our hearts wince.

It’s tough to hear someone you know and love say, “I’m worthless,” or “I’m a burden.” It’s a gut punch, every single time.

This self-deprecating talk is more than just a bad day or low self-confidence – it’s often a sign of hidden unhappiness.

Negative self-talk can be a cry for help, a signal that they’re not just battling everyday blues but something deeper.

If you hear it, don’t ignore it. Let them know they’re appreciated, loved, and far from alone.

8. Going MIA on Social Scenes

You know that friend who was always the first one to RSVP to any event, the one who never missed a social gathering?

Now they’re suddenly nowhere to be seen. This avoidance of social activities could be a sign they’re secretly unhappy.

People who are unhappy often withdraw from social activities because being around others can make their feelings of sadness more intense. I

t’s like the joy and laughter around them serve as a stark contrast to their inner turmoil, making them feel even worse.

So, if your usually sociable friend starts avoiding parties or gatherings, it might be time to check in and remind them you’re there for them.

9. Always Somewhere Else in Thought

My buddy, Jake, used to be the most present person I knew.

Whether we were hanging out at a bar or just chilling at his place, he was always fully there, listening and engaging.

But then I started noticing that even when he was with us, he seemed far away.

His eyes had this distant look, like he was a million miles away. He was often lost in thought and had trouble focusing on our conversations.

This constant distraction could be more than just daydreaming – it might be a sign that someone is dealing with negative feelings.

If you notice someone you care about always seeming lost in thought, it might mean they’re wrestling with inner struggles that are keeping them from being fully present.

10. Neglecting Their Looks

We’ve all had those days when we can’t be bothered to change out of our sweatpants or brush our hair.

But what if this becomes the norm for someone who used to take pride in their appearance?

When they stop caring about how they look, it’s not just about being lazy or comfortable.

It’s a raw, honest sign that they might be struggling with something deeper on the inside.

They might feel so down that even the simple act of brushing their hair seems like too much effort.

So, if you notice this change in someone you care about, don’t brush it off as them being lazy.

It might be a cry for help, a sign that they’re secretly unhappy and might need your support.


Remember, these signs are not for you to diagnose them but to help you spot if someone might need a little extra love and support.

Always approach with kindness and suggest professional help if their condition seems serious.

That’s all for now! Stay compassionate and keep an eye out for those who might need your help.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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