Are you constantly irritated or unhappy, but can’t pinpoint why?
When this happens, it’s usually little habits that contribute to feeling so crap. Things you don’t even realize you’re doing.
I know this because I’m currently working through some bad habits myself, in a bid to feel more energetic and happy.
So, with that in mind, here are 8 everyday habits that are secretly making you miserable (and how to overcome them):
1) Not getting enough sleep
I get it, there’s a lot to do and not much time. But if you’re constantly sacrificing your sleep, you’re potentially setting yourself up for bigger problems in the future.
On a day-to-day basis, you’ll feel tired and groggy. You won’t be as productive as you could be.
You might notice that you’re snappy with others – you quickly run out of patience.
And in the long run, studies have shown that chronic lack of sleep can lead to health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.
To combat this and avoid feeling miserable, get into a good sleep routine…try the following:
- Turn off electronics an hour before bed
- Do something calming before you sleep, such as meditating, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music
- Avoid caffeine or sugary foods late in the evening
- Sleep and wake up at the same time every day to form a consistent habit
2) Poor diet
I love junk food just as much as the next person, but I can’t deny how crappy I feel after eating it.
You see, while it might taste great, and the huge sugar intake can cause you to feel a rush of energy, it’s short-lived.
Pretty soon after, you’ll experience the come down – this is what makes you feel tired and irritable.
So, while I’m not going to be a hypocrite and advise staying away from junk food altogether, I will say it’s worth having a balanced diet.
Enjoy your snacks, but make sure you’re eating three healthy meals a day. And certain foods are known for their mood-boosting properties, such as:
- Nuts and berries
But ultimately, when you start eating healthier, you’ll notice how much more energy you have throughout the day. You feel better within yourself, and less sluggish.
And all that will help with turning around the next bad habit:
3) Lack of exercise
The other day, I was in a terrible mood. I couldn’t pinpoint why but I felt super frustrated and annoyed. It was probably hormones but who knows at this point?
I’m pretty bad at exercising – I find it hard to get into a good routine. But this particular day, I decided to do a 15-minute cardio workout. I just Youtube’d a video and did it in my living room.
Well…the results were pretty outstanding. I couldn’t breathe by the end, but man did it lift my mood. I instantly felt less stressed and more optimistic.
But above all, I felt good because I was doing something great for my body.
That’s the power of exercise. And it’s precisely why you should do better than me, and get yourself into a habit of exercising, even if it’s only for half an hour a day.
But don’t take my word for it – studies have shown that regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
4) Chronic procrastination
Procrastinators get a bad rep. They’re labeled “lazy” and “unmotivated”. That might be true for some people, but I think the majority of people just feel overwhelmed.
As counselor Steve Rose mentions:
“Procrastination is the result of fear, not laziness.”
But the problem with procrastination is that it makes you feel miserable for a few reasons:
- Putting off tasks until the last minute causes stress and anxiety
- The more you leave for later, the less you accomplish
- Letting tasks pile up takes away time that could be spent on other things
I know how you feel if you’re a procrastinator. I was one too.
But one thing that really helped me was breaking my tasks down into chunks. I’d then just select the three most important things to tackle and get them over and done with.
Another tip that could help is telling yourself, “I’m going to spend 5 minutes on this task.” (Choose the task you’re dreading the most).
What usually happens is, after 5 minutes, you’ve already made a start and the monster seems a little less scary – it’s easier to keep going once you’ve got over this first hurdle.
5) Neglecting social connections
After Covid and all the lockdowns, I know plenty of people who have struggled to rebuild their social lives.
But whether that’s the reason or you’ve just gotten into a funk and prefer to stay alone, this could be making you feel miserable.
The truth is, spending time with good friends is directly linked to better health and mood. It’s known to reduce stress and anxiety and boost your self-esteem.
So, even if your circle is small, make the effort to see a friend once or twice a week. On a daily basis, send a text and check in with your loved ones.
If you can form this habit, your mood will improve drastically. Just make sure you’re spending time with the right people!
6) Constantly checking your phone
Most of us have our entire world on our phones. We also have social media (and we all know how addictive that can be).
So it’s natural that we tend to keep our phones close and check them regularly.
But by doing this, you’re setting yourself up to feel pretty crap. As wellness coach Dennis Buttimer explains:
“When we check our phones, our brains release a small amount of dopamine…Dopamine motivates us to take action and each time we hear a notification, we check our device.
“The problem is this dopamine boost is temporary and leads to a letdown. Our brains want more dopamine, which triggers the habit of checking our phones constantly throughout the day.”
So, just like with junk food, you experience a crash.
That’s why it’s a good idea to limit your screen time.
I’ve started putting a timer on when checking social media (as it’s easy to lose track of time) and it’s helped me spend less time on the phone, and more time doing things I enjoy in reality.
7) Not spending time in nature
Nature is a natural healer.
Think about it – long before technology, we’d spend the vast majority of our days out in nature, hunting or gathering food, tending to crops and animals.
Now, we spend most of our lives working or watching TV. It’s no wonder most of us feel so miserable!
Studies have shown that even spending a little bit of time in nature can reduce depressive moods.
So even if you can only get to a local park for a short walk every day, it’s worth doing it.
No one is saying you need to become a hiking enthusiast, but even taking your lunch outside to a green space or garden will make a world of difference.
8) Living beyond your means
Money – our lives center around it.
But when you live beyond your means and overspend, this can cause immense stress and pressure.
You end up living in a constant state of anxiety, waiting for the next paycheck, only to repeat the cycle all over again.
And hey – most of us weren’t taught money management in school, so don’t beat yourself up about it. But don’t let this habit continue, either.
Learn how to budget and spend only what you have. Avoid taking fast loans. Cut back on wasting money on things you don’t need.
With just a few little adjustments, you could end up saving money every month and not being worried whenever you check your bank account!
So, we’ve covered 8 everyday habits that are secretly making you miserable – which do you need to work on?
I know that changing lifelong habits doesn’t always come easy. That’s why I’d suggest tackling one issue at a time and starting small. You don’t need to run a marathon tomorrow to get your exercise in, start with a walk.
And you don’t need to go cold turkey with your mobile phone, just reduce how much time you spend each day and each week.
With a little perseverance, you can improve your mood.