Why Are So Many People Unhappy?

Do you find yourself wondering why you’re unhappy? Does this rumination seem to be happening more often lately? Every now and then, we suffer from unhappiness and this lack of joy really takes a toll on your well-being. If you wonder if you’re the only one who feels like this, you’re not. There are so many people right now who for different reasons are deeply unhappy. 

Dr Rick Hansen, author of Buddha’s Brain and Hardwiring Happiness, stated that in our modern times, the reason for this discontent is greed and believing that you don’t have enough. He explained that this biologically based autocraving that kept early humans alive in harsh conditions, no longer functions now because it creates a disconnect as we still feel restless and we crave things that don’t make us genuinely feel safe, satisfied or fulfill our need for connection. 

Here are a few reasons why so many people are unhappy. 

  1. They Worry

Worrying creates chaos in your head. It’s like a hamster on a hamster wheel; it’s going nowhere but it’s convinced you that it’s doing something beneficial. 

Worry makes it hard for people to be happy because you can’t think clearly and you have a freeze response and can’t take any action. When you’re too busy focusing on the negative and worried, you don’t make changes to ensure that that bad outcome you don’t want to happen doesn’t happen. You remain stuck. 

  1. They Aren’t In The Present

When unhappy people are either in the past or future, they neglect their present. Or rather, they are stranded there and they are plagued by indecision because they are too focused on either side. 

The human mind reportedly has 60 000 thoughts a day and 95% of those thoughts are repeated. What you think about grows in importance to you. If you replay a certain past and feel unhappy because of it, you’ll remain unhappy. If you have existential angst about the future, you will be too scared to do anything about your life. 

  1. They Lack Gratitude

Many people have blessings that they don’t really realize they have or focus on. Simple things like good health, the ability to move your hands and body around at will and to just speak. A lot of people don’t count their blessings and taking it for granted really blinds them from all the good things in their lives. 

When we focus on the things we lack, the things that lack will grow. We believe that our happiness is dependent on the next best thing that is outside of us. This actually postpones our happiness and we stay miserable because we believe that we won’t be happy until much later. 

  1. They Are Stuck In Their Comfort Zone

As comfortable as the comfort zone is, nothing grows there. Another part of people’s discontent is the lack of growth. As much as you might hate challenges and new things, we can’t grow without them and nothing stays the same forever. 

Some of us are too afraid to go after our dreams so we rationalize this fear by playing it safe and saying that we’re being “practical.” What ends up happening is that because we hid our dreams for years and never acted on them, we regret it for a long time if not, for the rest of our lives. 

  1. They Compare Themselves To Others

Everyone has different life experiences, circumstances and journeys. We all start at our own points in life with anything so when we compare ourselves to others around us, or the people we are inspired by, we create consistent discontent in our lives. 

Everyone’s journey to success is different and even the definition itself is different. When we compare our weaknesses with someone else’s strengths, that’s already an exercise in futility and despair. Comparing ourselves to ourselves is a better way to go about your life. 

  1. They Don’t Move Their Bodies

Nowadays with the lives that we live, a lot of people have desk jobs and careers that can make it nearly impossible to be active on a regular basis. So many people have so many work hours, shifts and responsibilities that they simply don’t have the time to exercise which is totally not their fault. 

Those who do have the time however lead sedentary lifestyles which harms their health. Exercising releases a chemical from the body called endorphins, which reduces your perception of pain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body and help you develop a positive and energizing outlook on life. 

  1. They Hold Grudges

Holding grudges makes you unhappy because you continue to carry all of the negative energy from that person that hurt your feelings or harmed you. While it’s easy to say just let go, it’s easier said than done but the reality is that it’s not beneficial for you. 

The person who harmed you or criticized you has probably forgotten about you and is enjoying their life while you still let them occupy space in your mind and take up even more of your precious time. They don’t deserve that kind of airtime. 


Something that we might not know about happiness is that it’s a choice. We might choose unhappiness because we don’t know how to let go of the things that make us feel that way or we aren’t aware of the things in our life that make us unhappy and that we have to let go of. The ability to experience happiness lies in our hands and no one else can give it to us. If we base our happiness on our accomplishments and the blessings that we have been given, it doesn’t have to be elusive anymore. If 

Thank you for reading! 


*Allen, K. L. (2021, June 22). The habits of unhappy people (and what you can do about them). Resilience. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-02-10/the-habits-of-unhappy-people-and-what-you-can-do-about-them/  

*Bathla, S. (2020, October 12). 5 reasons why most people are not happy & how to resolve them! Medium. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://medium.com/multiplier-magazine/5-reasons-why-most-people-are-not-happy-how-to-resolve-this-b8d73d9e080c 

*D’Avella, M. (2018, May 07). The Reason Most People are Unhappy. YouTube.com. Retrieved February 17, 2022 from https://www.google.com/search?q=the+reason+most+people+are+unhappy+Matt+davella&oq=the+reason+most+people+are+unhappy+Matt+davella&aqs=chrome..69i57.11848j0j7&client=ms-android-huawei&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:0d230519,vid:rCLWc2–TKk,st:0 

*Hansen, S. (2021, July 21). Why am I so unhappy? 50 little things that secretly make you unhappy. Lifehack. Retrieved February 17, 2022, from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/50-reasons-why-you-may-unhappy.html 

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