Self-Created Unhappiness

If I told you that you largely create your own unhappiness, what feelings and thoughts does that trigger in you?

There is basically one recipe for unhappiness, that is to fuel or entertain negative thoughts. In this post I will elaborate on the causes of unhappiness and how to minimize negative mental states.

Let's start out by taking a look at two short statements: Everyone wants to be happy. Does that ring true to you? The second one is, feelings and thoughts are impermanent, as in unstable or not lasting.

Most people chase after happiness in life. We think that money, power, sex and possessions will make us happy, but let me tell you something; money, power, sex and possessions have never made me happy. Rather, they make for short-lived excitement. Besides, having a lot of money tends to make us ungrateful. That said, life becomes easier when you have enough money, however, that has little to do with happiness.

We all hunger for happiness, yet most of us end up discontented. Why is that?

What about the statement that feelings and thoughts are impermanent. In your experience, are feelings and thoughts stable and lasting? Take a moment to reflect on it.

The Causes Of Unhappiness

Feelings change at the speed of thought. All it takes to go from a pleasant mental state to an unpleasant one, is a negative thought. That could be meeting someone you dislike or thinking about your wrongdoings. I encourage you to verify it in your own life.

Hatred and guilt are truly unpleasant mental states.

So, what causes unhappiness? Negative thoughts generate negative feelings. In turn, the negative feelings feed negative thoughts. For instance, thinking that you are selfish and a complete failure generate negative feelings; furthermore, the unpleasant feelings call forth negative thoughts, such as, "I'm so unhappy, life is meaningless," and it goes on and on.

By practicing mindfulness, you will become aware of the subtle, negative feelings and thoughts as they arise. Without steadfast awareness, you won't notice the negative feelings and thoughts until they have gained in strength.

Another way of defining the cause of unhappiness, is that resisting your feelings and thoughts make for unhappiness. A good example is when your boss asks you to clean up a messy toilet. What thoughts would that trigger and how would it make you feel?

As the title suggests, unhappiness is self-created. Hence, pitying yourself and complaining for the sake of complaining are bound to make you feel low. On the other hand, it is skillful to accept every situation as it unfolds, yet striving to change your life for the better, in the long-term. Learn to flow with life, don't resist it.

Here is another scenario. Not only does your neighbor play terrible music, it is loud too. What good is it to complain about it in your head and to your friends? It's totally meaningless and only winds you up. If you want to improve the situation, you have to inform your landlady or neighbor.

Instead of resisting, accept that you don't have control of the situation. Acceptance makes for comfort and ease, as opposed to anger and frustration.

It hardly takes anything to alter your feelings and thoughts.

Consider this. It's easy to blame your bad mood on others and circumstances, yet the truth is that you have to make peace with your own feelings and thoughts.

Imagine you have been out jogging and sprained your ankle badly. The physical pain makes for unease, or unhappiness if you like. The reason you feel low is not because of the physical pain. Rather, it is generated by your negative thoughts. What would you think about in that situation?

I call it double unhappiness. It started out as just physical pain, but by bathing in negative thoughts you ended up generating unpleasant feelings. The additional layer of unhappiness is self-created. In fact, you are so identified with your feelings and thoughts that you are unaware of the process.

Resisting any situation sparks negative thoughts, followed by negative feelings. Learn to flow with life and accept whatever comes your way...

Best of luck!

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Related:   How To Be Happy   Emotional Reactivity   Love And Hate

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