If you want to stay happy as you navigate life’s ups and downs, say goodbye to these 12 behaviors

If you want to stay happy as you navigate life’s ups and downs, say goodbye to these 12 behaviors

Life can’t always be peaches and roses and everyone experiences bumps along the road.

However, it’s how you face those bumps that can make a real difference in your overall well-being.

Now, some people go through life happy and others, miserable – even though they face similar challenges.

Why is that?

Because certain negative behaviors stand in the way of happiness.

When you get rid of them, it’s like a huge weight is being lifted and you can finally face life’s ups and downs with a positive attitude.

If you want to stay happy as you navigate the various setbacks that come your way, then you should really say goodbye to these 12 behaviors:

1) Negative self-talk

Listen up, if you want to be a happy person you need to get rid of self-criticism.

I’m serious, that means no more, “I’m not good enough” or “Bad things always happen to me.”

That kind of thinking is bound to make anyone feel small and hopeless.

So, whenever you find yourself slipping back into the habit of negative self-talk, make a conscious decision to replace it with positive affirmations.

For example, instead of telling yourself, “I’ll never get promoted at work”, say “If I work hard and exert myself, my boss will notice and I’m bound to get a promotion before the end of the year.”

Trust me, if you are persistent with self-compassion and positive affirmations, not only will you be happier but you’ll have a much easier time reaching your goals.

2) Living in the past

I’m not saying that you should forget about the past.

The past is part of us, it’s what forms us, shapes our present, and influences our future.

By all means, learn from the past but don’t live in it.

Don’t get lost reminiscing about the good old days that you feel you’ll never have again or worse still, dwelling on mistakes or missed opportunities.


Because it’s bound to make you unhappy.

Understand that the past doesn’t exist, it’s gone. What you have now is the present, so live it!

3) Worrying about the future

Just like the past doesn’t exist, neither does the future.

It hasn’t happened yet so why spend the present moment worrying and stressing about possible future outcomes?

You see, worrying about the future means missing out on the present and letting life pass you by. You don’t want that, do you?

So while it’s good to make plans for the future, try to ground yourself more in the present.

Try mindfulness meditation, it will help you learn to live in the now.

Start practicing gratitude. At the end of each day, go over everything in your life you’re grateful for.

4) Comparing yourself to others

Look, we’re all different and we move through life at our own pace.

As it turns out, comparing yourself to others could actually do more harm than good.

My advice is to focus on your own life journey instead of constantly looking to see what others are doing or have achieved.

And if you really want to make comparisons, look at where you are now as opposed to where you were a year or even five years ago.

See how far you’ve come?

Now, that’s the way to keep on smiling!

5) Seeking approval from others

I’m not saying that you should completely disregard other people’s opinions, but don’t let what they think have such a big impact on your life.

Don’t live your life to please other people and get their approval, there’s no time for that.

Life is short and what matters most is that you are satisfied with who you are and what you do – not other people.

Be true to yourself; it could make all the difference between living a happy life and an unhappy one.

6) Holding grudges

There are two types of people in this world – those who forgive and forget and those who hold grudges (forever)!

Can you guess which type can stay happy as they navigate life’s ups and downs?

Yup, you guessed it, the type that can forgive and forget.

I have this aunt and well, describing her as “difficult” is putting it lightly. Anyway, my aunt is in her old age and spends most of her time going through her memories and reliving every (big and small) injustice that she ever experienced.

And how do you think she feels?


She’s sad and angry.

For all the years she’s lived, she hasn’t realized that holding onto grudges is an unhealthy behavior that hurts her more than anyone else.

So please, for your own sake, let go of old grudges and forgive people – irrespective of whether they ask for your forgiveness.

Trust me, forgiveness is quite liberating.

Just let go of all resentment – for your own peace of mind.

7) Fear of failure

The thing about having a fear of failure is that it keeps people from living their lives to the fullest.

They’re so scared of failing that they don’t even try doing whatever.

But when you think about it, it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.

Sure, when you try something there’s a chance you’ll fail, but there’s also a chance that you’ll succeed and achieve whatever it is you’d like to achieve.

If you don’t try, then there’s zero chance of success.

So stop worrying so much about failure, relax, try things, chase your dreams, and be happy.

And if you fail?

Look at it as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth.

8) Ignoring your health

Some people spend their whole lives taking care of others and making others happy, but they forget to take care of themselves.

That’s no way to lead a happy life.

Stop ignoring your health and give as much attention to your own needs as you do the needs of others.

If you want a happier life, you must start taking care of your physical and mental health.

What’s more, when you take care of yourself and make sure you’re healthy, you’ll have more strength to help others.

9) Avoiding change

Change is inevitable and the more you try to fight it, the less happy you’ll be.

Now, I know the prospect of change can be scary, after all, who knows what it will bring.

However, keep in mind that more often than not, the “unknown” brought about by change is positive.

If you want to stay happy as you navigate change, then you need to stop fighting it.

Embrace it and look at it as a chance for new opportunities and you’ll have an easier time staying happy.

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

10) Mindless social media scrolling

I know just how easy it is to fall into the habit of mindless social media scrolling.

We spend hours every day on Instagram, X, Facebook, TikTok… but are we any better for it?

Could we be doing something better with our time? Of course!

And I don’t just mean “productive”.

For example, I’m taking a break from social media which means that I listen to the radio when I wake up and I read a book before I go to bed.

When I’m out with my friends, I’m able to fully engage in conversations without looking at my phone every few minutes.

And when I look at a beautiful sunset, I’m there in the moment. I’m not taking pictures to post on social media.

If you don’t want to take a complete break from social media, at least limit your screen time so that you can focus on real-life connections.

In my experience, you’ll be much happier for it.

11) Not expressing gratitude

People who go through life unhappy usually do so because they’re unable to see the beauty of life and how lucky they really are.

They’re constantly thinking about what they don’t have or what’s gone wrong in their lives, instead of focusing on what they do have and everything that’s going right!

They want bigger and better.

They want more money. A better job. A bigger house. A newer car. But those things won’t bring them happiness.

By getting into the habit of cultivating gratitude, you’ll learn to appreciate the positive aspects of your life – your family, your friends, your job, the fact that you have a roof over your head, and food on your table.

Stop being so greedy, always wanting more and learn to appreciate what you have.

12) Ignoring your passions

Finally, don’t forget to make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Working hard and taking care of all your chores is all very well and responsible, but you also need to make some time for yourself and your passions.

Whether it means picking up a brush and spending a few hours painting or going out to listen to some jazz, indulge yourself from time to time and it will make navigating life’s ups and downs so much easier.

Jelena Dincic

Jelena has a background in photography and film-making and has spent the last few years as a content editor and copywriter. Jelena is a citizen of the world who is passionate about travel and learning about new cultures. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. And, as an art lover, she is always experimenting with new art mediums. When she’s not at her computer, she’s usually out and about in some forest with her dogs.

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