No one is happy 24/7.
We all have bad days that stretch into bad weeks, weird moods, unexpected downs.
If you’re lucky, these moments pass, and you’re left with a feeling of contentment that you’re on the right track.
Unfortunately, there are times when this contentment is nowhere to be seen, and you begin to wonder whether you’re doing something wrong.
On that note, if someone displays these 5 behaviors, they’re secretly unhappy with their life.
A few tweaks might be in order.
1) Chronic fatigue
The modern times we live in offer countless conveniences, but they’re plagued with excess.
We’re encouraged to work more, achieve more, buy more, become more.
If you’re an adult, it’s natural to feel tired and overwhelmed from time to time.
But there’s a difference between the mundane tiredness of day-to-day life and the chronic fatigue you experience when nothing brings you joy.
More exactly, the latter is a symptom that an existential crisis might be lurking around the corner.
Chronic fatigue is more than weariness and can’t be “fixed” by getting more sleep.
In fact, regardless of how much you rest, you still feel lethargic, signaling that the root of the problem lies elsewhere.
Perhaps in the fact that your life isn’t what you want it to be?
When you’re unhappy with your job, your relationships, or the overall quality of your day-to-day existence, your energy levels deplete quickly, so you’re more likely to feel rundown.
Back in my twenties, I worked for a small marketing agency for a little over a year.
Things were great in the beginning.
It was my first job after I quit being a journalist, and I reveled in the 9-to-5 schedule, the free weekends, the fresh challenge of writing for corporate clients.
The job taught me a lot, and I’m grateful for it, but it became tedious after a few months.
The schedule began to feel rigid. The type of articles I wrote weren’t feeding my soul. The atmosphere in the office turned kind of toxic.
It was still a good job, so it took me a while to admit that it made me unhappy. And during that time, I was exhausted.
Getting out of bed and crawling into the office was a struggle, and I spent too many weekends sleeping excessively, hoping my fatigue would wash away.
Then, I started to freelance on the side, and the exhaustion dissipated.
Despite working more, I suddenly had more energy.
It’s when I understood that I wasn’t simply tired. I was miserable.
So, I channeled this newly discovered energy into finding more freelance clients, and I was eventually able to quit my job.
If you’re constantly tired (and your doctor clears you of any health issues), take a hard look at how you’re spending your time.
The cause is probably right under your nose.
You just need to be willing to see it.
2) Lack of enthusiasm
Besides chronic fatigue, people who are unhappy with life also tend to experience a general lack of enthusiasm.
- Hobbies you used to love no longer interest you
- You make plans with loved ones and dread their approach
- Something good happens, and your response is “meh” instead of “yay”
- You rewatch your favorite movie, and it no longer hits that hard
I’m a strong believer in the fact that enthusiasm is vital to living a good life.
When I have a rough day, I try to get hyped about weekend plans with friends, or a new book I want to read, or a comfort meal I’ll cook for dinner.
If you no longer get excited about anything, you have nothing to look forward to.
Every day feels the same.
Every interaction feels meaningless.
It’s not a sustainable way to live.
Plus, this apathy may cause you to distance yourself from the people who care about you most.
This brings me to my next point.
3) Social withdrawal
If someone starts to isolate themselves, there’s a good chance they’re secretly unhappy with their life.
Perhaps they feel like their apathy is contagious, so they prefer to keep to themselves.
Perhaps their lack of enthusiasm prevents them from hanging out with others or even leaving the house.
Unhappiness can also make you neglect self-care, leading to a decline in self-care habits.
You’re no longer as interested in exercise, healthy eating, or personal grooming, which can impact your desire to interact with others, especially if you don’t want to be seen at anything less than your best.
Whatever the reason, if someone suddenly spends more time cooped up inside, it suggests an internal struggle.
And if that someone is you, think about when this behavior started and try to assess why.
Since it’s unlikely that everyone else became annoying overnight, the problem might have something to do with your general (lack of) vigor.
Human connections are vital for well-being.
Losing sight of that sends you on a dangerous and lonely path.
4) Frequent escapism
Unhappy people prefer to escape their lives whenever possible.
It’s a normal reaction.
You get tired of feeling gloomy, so you try anything that might make you feel gleeful, even if it’s temporary.
Substance abuse. Non-stop gaming. Binge-eating. Endless scrolling.
Anything that will make you forget about the empty hole inside.
These are all coping mechanisms to avoid facing underlying issues or emotional pain.
Needless to say, a happy life is one from which you don’t feel pressure to escape.
And while there’s nothing wrong with occasionally distracting yourself, escapism becoming the norm signals that there’s something deeper going on.
If it begins to interfere with your overall well-being, consider it a red flag.
You have some adjustments to make.
I suggest you oblige sooner rather than later.
5) Perpetual negativity
Finally, unhappy people are often trapped in a circle of negativity:
- They harbor persistent negative thoughts about themselves
- They have a pessimistic view of the future
- They resist change and dismiss opportunities for improvement
- They engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, hindering growth
Breaking this cycle of negativity is challenging, but becoming aware that it exists in the first place gives you a solid start.
We all have blind spots, and recognizing that these negative beliefs you have about yourself don’t necessarily align with reality doesn’t happen overnight.
I am my worst critic, and it took me years to understand that my negative way of thinking wasn’t just unhealthy; it was actively preventing me from living a better life.
However, once you figure out that just because a thought pops into your head doesn’t mean it’s true, it becomes easier to challenge it.
Next thing you know, you’re gradually adopting more positive habits and perspectives, leading to a boost in happiness.
The trouble is that this process can be lengthy. Winding. Bumpy.
Sometimes, it will feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back.
But as long as you embrace self-compassion and are unafraid to ask for support from loved ones or a mental health professional, you’ll undoubtedly get there.
Realizing you’re unhappy with life is the first step to doing something about it.
If you recognize the above signs in yourself, reflect on how to improve things and create an action plan to get out of your slump.
If you recognize the above signs in a loved one, support them as they come to terms with their circumstances and determine what changes they can employ to reclaim their vivacity.
Life’s too short to spend it with a permanent frown on your face.
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