Sometimes you feel like you’re just cruising along in life and feeling great- but… are you really? When you’re running the marathon of life, you will at some point feel exhausted or unsure of yourself somewhere along the way. When we lose touch with our real, authentic selves, we lose sight of one of the most important things in life- happiness. So maybe it’s been a while since you last checked in with yourself. Let’s find out if you’re truly “happy” or not with these tell-tale signs.
Before we get started, please keep in mind that the information in this article is purely for educational purposes and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have concerns surrounding your mental health, please seek help from a licensed professional. Thank you!
1. You’re Always Trying to Be Excessively Busy
Do you feel like your days are just a list full of to-dos and tasks, rather than a fresh opportunity to get closer to accomplishing your goals? Maybe you’re constantly running after the next item you need to check off on your list, without catching a break. Take a step back and think about it for a moment. What do you want your priorities to be? Are you spending enough time to identify and address your personal emotional and physical needs and concerns? People who are subconsciously struggling to find happiness or satisfaction in their lives try to always stay overly busy (even things that are not necessarily important at the moment). This is because you’re trying to find an escape from reality, an escape from meeting your concerns and fear of unhappiness face-to-face. When you feel like you don’t really have much to live for (whether you openly recognize that feeling in your mind or not) you use productivity as a measure of success. Author of Daring Greatly and research professor, Brené Brown shares that “One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy…We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.” Your self-worth is based on your busy-ness, which is used as a deflection tool for underlying issues.
2. You Engage in Addictive Behaviors
Seemingly addictive behaviors can be a huge sign of hidden unhappiness. When you hear the word addiction, the first things that come to mind are most likely drugs, alcohol, and smoking- a.k.a, substance addiction. But addictive behaviors can come in all shapes and sizes. According to the American Addiction Centers, behavioral addiction is “The compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behavior despite the negative impact on the person’s ability to remain mentally and/or physically healthy and functional in the home and community”. Addiction can also look like binge-eating your favorite foods (usually unhealthy foods), sleeping too much, or even excessive shopping and social media use. And get this- the previous sign of always keeping yourself busy is also a form of addictive behavior used to escape reality.
3. You Try Too Hard to Show Others How “Great” Your Life Is
This sign can be more easily noticeable through social media. Someone’s overly hyped up and bubbly posts or stories online aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of their mental state of happiness. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh found that heavy social media users tend to be far more likely to be lonely and unhappy compared to those who spend less time on the sites. You might be overcompensating for your dissatisfaction and lack of pleasure in life by outwardly proving to others that you are actually doing and feeling better than ever. But deep down in reality, you feel a lingering sense of emptiness.
4. You Start to Overlook Self-Care
When’s the last time you have had a self-care day? Or even just an hour to yourself, just to address your needs and feed your soul? Overlooking self-care is one of the biggest signs of someone who may be struggling to truly feel a sense of satisfaction in their life. Despite the common misconception that self-care is a luxury or an indulgence, it is a necessity and the one thing that can truly help you feel back in touch with yourself. When you’re feeling unhappy deep down, self-care is the first thing that starts to slip out of your hands. This is most likely because it requires you to take a moment and step back while you’re most likely on the chase for the next thing to do that will keep you busy. Running away from taking good care of yourself distracts you from coming face to face with this unexplainable lack of contentment.
5. You Have Too High of Expectations for Yourself
Now most people do this without realizing it, but unhappiness also comes with a side of feeling-like-you’re-not-good-enough and the classic, self-doubt. This is also most likely because your mind is subconsciously trying to look for a reason to keep reaching for and overcoming what challenges you. But the problem comes in when you start being hyper aware of your weaknesses and feel less than because they exist.
6. You Experience Physical Pain and/or Discomfort
When you don’t exactly recognize a feeling of unhappiness within you, your body tends to send you the signals first. Our bodies are hardworking machines which are programmed to do their part in keeping us well. When you don’t do your part in letting your body help you, it will speak up in its own way- and you can’t hide from the truth that it tells. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of such symptoms can include mood swings with irritability and frustration (typically over more seemingly insignificant issues), reduced appetite/increased appetite, sleep disturbances, back pains, headaches, and fatigue. These are just some of the ways in which your body and mind are signaling to you that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above for a certain prolonged period of time, it might be a good idea to seek help from a medical or psychological professional.
In life, there will always be ups and downs, but feeling a lingering, unexplainable sense of dullness through both the highs and the lows should raise some concern. If you find yourself relating to any of the signs of unhappiness/dissatisfaction in life listed above, we highly recommend that you reach out for help.
Feel free to also check out this article to learn more ways to stop feeling unhappy: https://psych2go.net/8-ways-to-stop-feeling-empty-inside/.
Hope to see you there!
- Barth, F. D., L.C.S.W. (2019, May 13). Self-Care Is Important: Why Is It So Hard to Practice? Psychology Today. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201905/self-care-is-important-why-is-it-so-hard-practice
- Behavioral Addictions. (2021, February 8). American Addiction Centers. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/behavioral-addictions
- Brusie, C. (2019, April 18). The “Disease” of Being Busy. Healthline. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/disease-of-being-busy
- Depression (major depressive disorders). (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
- Hobson, K. (2017, March 6). Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why. NPR. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/06/518362255/feeling-lonely-too-much-time-on-social-media-may-be-why
- Moore, A. (n.d.). 5 Ways to Tell You’re Just Faking Happiness. Happify Daily. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.happify.com/hd/5-ways-to-tell-youre-just-faking-happiness/
- Rankin, L., M.D. (n.d.). 20 Signs You’re Unhappy (And What To Do About It). MBG Mindfulness. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12383/20-signs-youre-unhappy-but-dont-even-realize-it.html
- Rankin, L., M.D. (2014, April 7). Are You Addicted to Being Busy? Psychology Today. Retrieved March 18, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/owning-pink/201404/are-you-addicted-being-busy