Transform Your Life to the One You Really Want

We all know people who never seem to be happy. Ask how life is and they’ll give a sad little shrug, and you just know that whatever they are about to say will not be cheerful. Unfortunately, this state of chronic unhappiness is not at all uncommon, says life coach and regular Daily Health News contributor Lauren Zander, and truth be told…it isn’t always someone else.

Indeed, many of us cling to unhappiness to one degree or another. I’m not talking about clinical depression, which is a medical problem that calls for medical treatment, or mourning, which is obviously profound sadness about an important loss. This is about the generalized feeling of being not happy…slightly glum…disappointed with life…having no zest for living. For such people, the glass is always half empty.

You might think that these folks are so committed to their unhappiness that they actually love being in that state, but Lauren says that isn’t really true. It’s not love but rather devotion, she says. “People become devoted to the thinking and actions that are the very things creating their unhappiness,” she explains, adding that this kind of unhappiness is absolutely curable. “It’s not something that happens to you, it is something you created—and you can uncreate it.”

While it is easy to blame the modern world with its multitude of disruptions and distress, what goes on outside of you isn’t really the problem. “The reality is that unhappiness develops from within. Most often, when people are unhappy they are themselves the reason,” she says. This may sound frightening, but Lauren said it’s actually incredibly empowering. “If the problems are within you, so is the means to change—you can fix the reasons that you are unhappy…and it isn’t that hard,” she says.

Which Way are You Unhappy?

According to Lauren, there are three distinct types of ways people experience unhappiness as a generalized condition. Do any of these seem familiar to you?

A Hungry Beast: The first is based on what Lauren describes as “feeding the beast.” To explain: People sometimes desperately hang on to past drama from their lives—a person who did them wrong or a dream that went sour—or a current state of affairs that they don’t like. They continuously cycle their thoughts and conversations around it. We all have unpleasantness in our lives, but these people turn it into a beast that rules them, and they nurture it by constantly thinking about it, talking about it and being unhappy about it.

“The beast has no ongoing role in their lives, but people use it to drive themselves crazy—and they drive everyone around them crazy as well,” says Lauren. Are you feeding a beast in your life? This might be the actions of your ex-spouse or a difficult colleague or boss…it could be a family dynamic from your childhood…or even current politics or a neighbor whose dog drives you crazy. Your beast is whatever you use to fuel your perpetual unhappiness. You’ve allowed it to become an “unhappiness addiction,” says Lauren.

You can tame and finally shoo away the beast forever by taking action. Here is what to do:

• Think (be honest now!) about whether there are any past or present issues that you have turned into a beast in your mind. Then write down your feelings about them. For example, you might write, “That dog barks too much. It annoys me, and I feel powerless and justified and righteous…and grouchy.”

• Afterward, follow your thoughts and conversations for a few days to keep track of the ways you feed the beast—this includes sad, sarcastic or critical comments you make…negative thoughts you harbor…actions you justify due to your unhappiness about the beast.

• Finally, refuse to feed the beast any longer. Make a bold resolution to immediately stop doing every single thing you have done to feed the beast in the past. Starve it into oblivion by speaking and thinking about things that make you happy instead. It will take time, but eventually the beast will shrivel up and disappear and, with it, your chronic unhappiness.

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