Hopping aboard the UNhappy train
With the happiness movement in full swing I thought I would go against the grain and talk about how to be completely and ridiculously UNhappy! I am somewhat of an expert of this topic since I was suicidal from the age of 12 to 24 and did every single one of the things that I am about to write about. I suffered from clinical depression for 17 years in total, until only a few years ago. At the age of 29, I learned how to re-train the neural pathways in my own brain and was able to overcome this debilitating state of mind. Until this point, I thought that I had no control over my own mind and feelings, yet I came to realise that I was choosing to remain stuck in a victim mentality.
In the past 2 years however, I have embraced and immersed myself in Positive Psychology and The Science of Happiness, and have so many tools in my ninja belt now, that I have full confidence I will never be stuck in such a dark place again – unless I actively seek it out.
Ways to get to Sadsville
So here it is – if you want to be stuck in Sadville, here is my go-to quick guide to being miserable.
1. Dwell on what’s wrong in your life on a daily basis. That’s right, spending hours and hours of time focusing on what you don’t have and what’s not going the way you want it to, will keep you stuck feeling miserable. The brain only sees what you focus on, so if you want to be unhappy keep thinking about all the terrible things in your life. Here are some useful examples to think about:
“My job sucks and I don’t earn enough money.” Don’t contemplate the steps you can take to change your career and develop your skills, just keep dwelling on how much you hate your job and the people you work with, and how other people who spent years studying to improve themselves have it so easy and have so much more money than you do.
“I’m so ugly and fat.” Didn’t you know that attractive people have no problems in life and that what’s on the outside counts for everything, and if only you were better looking your life would be so much better even though your brain would remain the same, and you would find something else negative to focus on. Also beautiful people have no right to be unhappy or stressed out as they are just so damn good looking. They should be grateful to be propositioned by sleazes regularly, those lucky people!
“Why does nothing ever go my way?” Keep your eyes closed to the things that you do have – a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food on your table – who cares? Only 80% of people around the world live on less than $3 a day with millions of homeless people living on the streets in every country. It’s so unfair you can’t have the new iPhone that came out and that your car is a 1991 Holden Barina without electric windows – your life totally sucks!
2. Reminisce on past adversity and traumas. This is the BEST way to stay unhappy. Think about that ex that cheated on you and did you wrong. Think about how you were beaten up and robbed and how one day you are going to find those jerks and show them a taste of their own medicine. Give plenty of thought to the people who made fun of you and bullied you in high school. Keep focusing on how life is so unfair and there are so many people who have had so much better lives than you. Fill yourself with rage and hate and resentment and bitterness.
3. Drink lots of alcohol, take lots of drugs, eat loads of processed junk food and smoke lots of cigarettes. This will be so helpful for you to stay unhappy. The brain and body automatically releases chemicals into itself to keep you stressed out and unhappy if you feed it the opposite of what it needs. Just like it releases happy chemicals that keep you calm and in control of your emotions when you feed it what it was designed to eat and practice activities that maintain equilibrium like yoga and meditation. Not exercising and spending lots of time alone on the couch in front of the TV will also help you to be miserable. So avoid those fruit and vegetables, and favour that soda over water regularly, to keep yourself in a bitter rage or miserable grief.
There are many other things that you can do to maintain an unhealthy and negative mindset that will keep you bitter and unhappy in life but the points discussed above are a really great start. Depression may be correlated with chemical imbalances, but new science has determined this is not a permanent situation. With daily effort you can learn to control what you feed your brain and whether or not you wish to be unhappy or not. So the choice is yours, do you want to spend life miserable, focused on negatives, or would you like to let go of the past and start living in the moment, where you can be happy with both life and yourself as a person. The choice is yours – do you choose to start living today, and harness the power you have within?
About the author: Jamie views Positive Psychology as her lifes’ calling – to help change the world. She is the 47th person in the world to finish the only government accredited Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing in existence. She has designed a free 21-day Happiness Program to introduce people to retraining their brain for greater happiness. www.thehappinessninja.com.au