People who are deeply unhappy in life often display these 10 behaviors (according to psychology)

It’s not always easy to spot when someone is deeply unhappy.

Unhappiness can be hidden behind smiles, jokes, and a seemingly vibrant life.

Luckily for us, psychology says there are certain behaviors that betray the internal struggles of those dealing with profound unhappiness.

Note that understanding these signs doesn’t give us the right to diagnose or label someone. But it does equip us with the knowledge to offer support and empathy when it’s needed.

In this article, we’ll explore some of these behaviors that might suggest someone is struggling with deep unhappiness in their life.

1) Isolation

One of the most prominent signs of deep unhappiness is a tendency towards isolation.

This doesn’t necessarily mean being physically alone all the time. It could also mean emotional withdrawal, where someone distances themselves from their loved ones, often without any apparent cause.

Psychologists suggest that this isolation is a way for unhappy people to cope with their feelings. It’s as if they’re trying to protect those around them from their unhappiness, or perhaps they’re trying to shield themselves from further disappointment.

Understanding this behavior can help us to be patient and compassionate, even when it feels like someone is pushing us away. 

2) Loss of interest

A clear sign of deep unhappiness that I’ve personally experienced is a loss of interest in activities that once brought joy.

A few years back, I found myself losing interest in things I used to love—painting, reading, even spending time with friends. It was like someone had turned the color down on my world.

According to psychology, this lack of enthusiasm, or anhedonia, as it’s clinically known, is a common symptom of deep-seated unhappiness.

This happens when your ability to feel pleasure gets buried under the weight of the unhappiness a person is carrying.

It took me some time to recognize this in myself and seek help. And through this experience, I learned just how important it is to be aware of these signs in ourselves and others.

3) Changes in sleep patterns

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep.

But did you know that changes in sleep patterns can be a sign of deep unhappiness?

Research shows that when someone is deeply unhappy, they may experience insomnia or hypersomnia—sleeping too little or too much. This is because our emotions directly affect our sleep patterns.

This means that if you notice someone regularly struggling with sleep, or conversely, constantly oversleeping, they could be grappling with unhappiness. 

4) Frequent irritability

It might seem counterintuitive, but frequent irritability can be a sign of deep unhappiness.

Someone who is battling internal struggles may become easily frustrated or annoyed, even by small things that wouldn’t ordinarily bother them.

It’s like their emotional balance is off, making them more prone to mood swings.

This doesn’t mean that everyone who is irritable is deeply unhappy. We all have bad days.

But when it becomes a regular pattern, it might be a signal of something more significant going on beneath the surface.

5) Neglecting self-care

When someone is deeply unhappy, their self-care routines often take a hit.

This could manifest as neglecting personal hygiene, skipping meals, or not taking care of their physical health.

The energy it takes to care for themselves is just too much, or they feel they don’t deserve the care.

It’s important to approach such a situation delicately. Offering help or support can make a big difference, but it needs to be done in a respectful and non-judgmental way. 

6) Concealing their feelings

Sometimes, the ones who laugh the loudest are the ones who hurt the most.

Deeply unhappy individuals often master the art of concealing their true feelings behind a facade of joy or indifference.

They put on a brave face, making it hard for others to see the pain they’re experiencing.

This act of concealment can be heartbreaking to realize, reminding us of the importance of looking beyond appearances.

It serves as a reminder to reach out, to check in on our loved ones, and to let them know it’s okay to share their struggles. 

7) Overthinking

Overthinking can be a constant companion when you’re deeply unhappy.

You start to question everything—your decisions, your worth, your relationships. You replay conversations, dissecting every word and tone, wondering if you said something wrong or if someone is upset with you.

I remember nights where sleep eluded me as my mind relentlessly churned over every little detail of my day. It was exhausting and left me feeling more anxious and less confident.

Psychology tells us that this kind of rumination is common among those struggling with deep unhappiness.

Recognizing this can help us understand why someone might be acting distant or anxious and offer them empathy and support.

8) Excessive humor

Laughter is often associated with happiness, right?

But sometimes, the person cracking the most jokes is the one struggling the most.

Excessive humor can be a coping mechanism for those grappling with deep unhappiness. It’s a way to deflect from their feelings and make others laugh so they won’t see the pain hidden beneath.

When you meet someone who always seems to be the life of the party, remember that their constant humor might be hiding something deeper.

Offering a genuine conversation or a shoulder to lean on could mean more than you realize.

9) Increased sensitivity

People who are deeply unhappy often exhibit increased sensitivity.

Things that might seem insignificant to others can evoke strong emotional responses from them. It could be a slightly harsh word, a small change in plans, or even a harmless joke.

This heightened sensitivity is usually a result of their emotional state. The normal buffers that help us deal with life’s ups and downs might not be working as well for them.

10) Prolonged sadness

The most evident sign of deep unhappiness is prolonged sadness.

It’s normal to feel sad or down from time to time. But when the sadness lingers for weeks or even months, it’s a clear indication that the person is dealing with more than just a temporary low phase.

This persistent sadness can manifest as a constant feeling of hopelessness, a lack of energy, or a general disinterest in life. It’s a sign that the person needs help—professional help.

Remember, it’s okay to reach out and ask if someone is okay. It’s okay to encourage them to seek help.

And most importantly, it’s okay to remind them that they’re not alone—there are people who care and resources available to help them navigate through this difficult time.

Final thoughts: It’s more than just a mood

Deep unhappiness is not just a fleeting emotion. It’s a profound state of being that can pervade every aspect of a person’s life.

This understanding is a call to action for empathy, compassion, and support. It’s a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of a kind word, an understanding ear, or a simple act of compassion.

And most importantly, it’s a reminder that reaching out for help—be it for ourselves or for others—is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

Let’s remember to look beneath the surface, to see the invisible battles others might be fighting, and to offer our understanding and support.

Because in the end, we’re all in this together as we try our best to find happiness and peace.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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