Unhappiness takes on many forms.
Some unhappy people complain day in and day out; others are unusually silent. Some overcompensate by pretending to be as joyful as can be; others lack the motivation to put on any façade whatsoever and move through life like bodies with no soul.
Often, though, deeply unhappy people don’t actually realize that they are unhappy in the first place. Their behavior has become such a norm that they are completely used to it.
However, it is exactly their behavior that may signal deep unhappiness within.
Without further ado…
People who are deeply unhappy in life often display these 7 behaviors.
1) They struggle to claw their way out of passivity
Have you ever heard of the Japanese concept Ikigai?
Ikigai is your reason for being. It’s the purpose that makes you get out of bed every morning. It’s what gives you motivation, drive, and the willpower to overcome any challenge that comes your way.
But if you haven’t yet found your Ikigai… chances are, you feel like your life has no meaning. And if that’s the case, you may struggle to force yourself into action, leading to deep unhappiness and a sense of inertia.
Many unhappy people tend to:
- Lie on the couch and watch TV every evening/weekend
- Struggle to keep up good habits
- Find it hard to discover any motivation within themselves to be more active
If this sounds familiar, remember that these signs don’t mean you’re lazy. There’s nothing wrong with you. It just means your mental well-being may be suffering, be it for mental health reasons or because you haven’t yet found your Ikigai.
2) They turn to escapism for help
You turn away from reality and escape into fictional worlds.
I’m speaking from personal experience when I say that books, TV, and video games are the best form of escapism there is – all it takes is a few simple movements and a little bit of imagination, and you’re suddenly transported into a story where your real life is of no consequence.
I’m an absolute sucker for escapism.
And if you are, too, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re miserable. After all, reading fiction or playing video games doesn’t only serve to make our real-life problems disappear. It also enriches our imagination, forces us to think, increases our empathy, and helps us establish our own identity.
So, if you like escapism, it doesn’t mean you’re unhappy. But if you’re unhappy, there’s a high chance you turn to escapism for help. And while fictional worlds do offer a temporary respite… they don’t solve the real issue in the long term.
3) They get easily distracted
Here’s the thing. If you don’t feel like today is meaningful in any way – the work you do feels futile, your mood isn’t great, and you’d rather just stay in bed – you’ll be very prone to distractions.
One minute of checking your phone turns into an hour of scrolling.
Any excuse to stop working, be it a chat with a coworker or making yourself more tea, will come in handy.
Getting back into the flow will be supremely difficult, making it even easier to get distracted.
It’s happened to the best of us. Even if you love your life, there will be days when you wake up and just feel… meh.
But if you’re deeply unhappy, you’ll fall into the distraction trap much more easily because distractions – especially in the form of social media – offer easy dopamine hits and present a form of escapism.
4) They withdraw and isolate themselves from others
Some unhappy people have the tendency to isolate themselves from others, seeking solitude and the comfort of their own homes.
In general, solitude is a wonderful thing. But the reason you want to be alone matters a great deal.
If it’s to get to know yourself better, recharge your batteries, and have some well-deserved alone time, it just means you’re an introvert or someone who likes spending time in their own company, both of which are amazing.
But if you withdraw from others and isolate yourself because you are deeply unsatisfied with your life… there’s a high likelihood you will soon begin to feel lonely. And since loneliness has some drastic effects on our mental and physical well-being, it may only add salt to the injury.
Sometimes, solitude is the exact thing we need in order to thrive. And sometimes… it’s a recipe for a disaster.
5) They substitute true happiness with shopping
Did you know that shopping decreases sadness and skyrockets a sense of control?
Therefore, it probably comes as no surprise that deeply unhappy people tend to shop a lot. They may not necessarily link their shopping habits to their general well-being, but the truth is that depression or unhappiness can have a big impact on your consumerism levels.
This is because shopping gives you a quick and easy dopamine hit.
While you’re browsing on the internet, you’re getting increasingly more excited at the idea of receiving new items in the mail.
Once the order is placed and confirmed, you have something to look forward to.
And the moment all your new shiny objects arrive, it’s like you’re reliving Christmas day.
(Trust me, I know. I’ve just received three parcels full of clothes and cosmetics, and I’m still riding the dopamine high.)
Again, the fact that you enjoy shopping doesn’t mean you’re unhappy, but if you are unhappy, you may shop more in order to get a short burst of joy.
Of course, once the novelty of your new items wears off, it will soon hit you that shopping for material possessions is but another form of escapism.
6) They’re fuelled by envy rather than inspiration
If you’re not satisfied with your life, the last thing you want to do is root for others and view their success as inspiration.
For an unhappy person, inspiration is rarely the source of motivation. Envy, on the other hand…
Envy can drive you to finally get out of the loop of passivity and work hard.
If you’re always comparing yourself to others, you may start working out, take better care of yourself, or become more productive.
But envy is short-lived. It only gets you so far because it’s not intrinsically motivating. Once the desire to be better than others wears off, you’re back to square one.
7) They sigh a lot
Sighing sounds like a small thing – so small, in fact, you barely even notice it most days.
Unless it gets out of hand, that is.
A few years ago, I worked a job I hated, felt stuck in life, and lacked the motivation to get out of the rut. And then I noticed that I got into the habit of sighing all the time.
I sighed at least twenty times a day. They were sighs of frustration; of boredom; of disappointment; of dissatisfaction.
According to research, sighing is an expression of resignation or frustration. So, if you find yourself sighing all day long…
It may be time to take a step back and think over whether you’re truly happy.