If you really want to become a happier, more positive person, say goodbye to these 8 habits

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As a mindfulness and Buddhism expert, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the habits that lead to happiness and positivity. And, let me tell you, it’s not always about what you should do. Sometimes, it’s about what you shouldn’t do.

From my years of observation, there are certain habits that can really bring you down. They’re like weights holding you back from your true potential.

If you’re really serious about becoming a happier, more positive person, it’s time to say goodbye to these 8 habits. Trust me, as the founder of Hack Spirit, I’ve seen it work countless times.

Let’s get started. 

1) Negativity bias

One of the most common habits we need to let go is negativity bias. This is the tendency for us to focus more on negative events than positive ones.

It’s a survival mechanism that has been hardwired into our brains from our early days as humans. The idea is that by recognizing threats (negative events), we can avoid them and thus survive.

While this might have been useful when we were living in the wild, it’s not so beneficial in our modern world where physical threats are far less common.

The problem with negativity bias is that it can make us unnecessarily anxious and pessimistic. We end up focusing on the bad things that might happen, rather than the good things that are happening right now.

As a mindfulness expert, I can assure you that learning to let go of this habit can significantly improve your happiness and positivity. It’s all about training your mind to focus on the present moment and appreciate the good things in life.

It’s not about ignoring negative events or feelings. It’s about giving equal weight to both positive and negative experiences – because both are part of life.

2) Chronic complaining

We all know someone who seems to complain all the time. Maybe, without even realizing it, that person could be us. Chronic complaining is a habit many of us fall into without even noticing.

I’ve seen it in myself before. I’d get stuck into a cycle of complaining about the weather, traffic, work – you name it. But what I realized is, complaining rarely changes the situation. In fact, it often just perpetuates negativity and unhappiness.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk, once said, “If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others.”

This quote resonates deeply with me. How can we expect to foster positivity if we’re constantly focusing on the negative?

Choosing to let go of the habit of chronic complaining can be a transformative step on your journey to becoming a happier and more positive person.

The power to choose our perspective lies within us. It’s about acknowledging the negatives but choosing to focus on the positives.

3) Attachment to outcomes

Buddhism teaches us the concept of non-attachment. This doesn’t mean not caring about the results of our actions. Instead, it’s about not allowing our happiness and peace to be dependent on them.

It’s a tough habit to break, especially in our goal-oriented society. We’re constantly told that we need to achieve certain things to be happy – a high-paying job, a house, a perfect relationship. But often, these achievements don’t bring the lasting happiness we expect.

The raw truth is, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things don’t work out as we want them to. And that’s okay.

Buddhism wisdom teaches us to find peace in the present moment, irrespective of our external circumstances. It encourages us to detach from outcomes and focus on our actions and intentions instead.

By letting go of this attachment to outcomes, we free ourselves from the rollercoaster of highs and lows that come with success and failure.

Instead, we find a more consistent, stable form of happiness that comes from within.

4) Living in autopilot

In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the habit of living on autopilot. We rush from one task to another, constantly thinking about what’s next, rarely present in the here and now.

The raw truth is, when we’re living in autopilot, we’re not truly living at all. We’re merely existing.

Mindfulness teaches us the importance of being present. It encourages us to slow down, to savor each moment as it is, and to truly engage with our life as it’s happening.

When we’re constantly on the go, we miss out on the little joys that life has to offer – the warmth of the sun on our skin, the taste of our food, the laughter of our loved ones. These moments may seem small, but they’re what make life worthwhile.

By breaking the habit of living in autopilot and embracing mindfulness, we can begin to experience life in all its richness.

We become more aware of our thoughts and feelings, and this awareness allows us to choose positivity and happiness.

5) The ego trap

We all have an ego. It’s that little voice inside our head that’s constantly seeking validation and approval. It’s the part of us that wants to be right, to be superior, to be in control.

I’ve grappled with my own ego many times. It’s a tricky foe, always ready to inflate our perceived self-worth at the expense of others.

But here’s the thing: our ego doesn’t lead us to happiness. In fact, it often leads us away from it. It breeds conflict, resentment, and dissatisfaction.

In my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I delve into how Buddhism teaches us to let go of this attachment to our ego.

By recognizing and releasing this habit, we can live more authentically and harmoniously. We can embrace humility, kindness, and compassion – attributes that truly lead to happiness and positivity.

6) Resistance to change

Change is a constant part of life. Nothing stays the same forever. Yet, many of us resist change. We cling to the familiar, the comfortable, even when it’s not serving us.

The raw truth is, resisting change only leads to suffering. It keeps us stuck in situations that no longer serve us and prevents us from growing and evolving.

Both Buddhism and mindfulness teach us to embrace change. They encourage us to accept the impermanence of life and to flow with it, rather than against it.

The Buddha once said, “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” This is a powerful reminder that change is not only inevitable but necessary for our growth and happiness.

By letting go of our resistance to change, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences.

We allow ourselves to adapt, evolve, and ultimately, become happier and more positive individuals.

7) Lack of self-compassion

Many of us are our own worst critics. We judge ourselves harshly, focus on our flaws and failures, and rarely give ourselves the kindness and compassion we readily extend to others.

The raw truth is, this lack of self-compassion can be incredibly damaging. It erodes our self-esteem, fosters negativity, and inhibits our ability to bounce back from setbacks.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction, said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

This quote beautifully encapsulates the importance of self-compassion. Life will inevitably throw challenges our way. But when we treat ourselves with compassion, we enhance our resilience and ability to ‘surf’ these waves.

By cultivating a habit of self-compassion, we can transform our relationship with ourselves. We learn to accept our imperfections, appreciate our strengths, and ultimately become happier and more positive individuals.

8) Overcommitting

In our quest for happiness and positivity, we often make the counterintuitive mistake of overcommitting ourselves. We fill our schedules with activities, tasks, and commitments, believing that being busy equates to being productive and fulfilled.

However, mindfulness teaches us the value of stillness and simplicity. It emphasizes the importance of creating space in our lives for rest, reflection, and just being.

The truth is, when we’re constantly rushing from one thing to another, we barely have time to connect with ourselves or enjoy the present moment. We become stressed, overwhelmed, and ironically, less productive.

By learning to say no and prioritizing what truly matters, we can create a more balanced, fulfilling life. We can give ourselves the time to breathe, to appreciate the simple pleasures of life, and to truly live in the present moment – key elements to becoming a happier and more positive person.

Conclusion

To truly become a happier and more positive person, it’s not just about adding new habits, but also about letting go of the old ones that are holding us back.

Change is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. So, be patient with yourself as you work on releasing these habits and creating a life of greater happiness and positivity.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Buddhism teaches us to live with maximum impact and minimum ego, I invite you to check out my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. It’s packed with wisdom and practical tips that can help you on your journey.

Remember, the path to happiness is within you. It’s all about embracing the present moment, letting go of what no longer serves you, and moving forward with compassion and positivity.

Here’s to your journey towards a happier, more positive life.

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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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