5 THINGS MOST UNHAPPY PEOPLE REFUSE TO ADMIT
Everyone experiences an unhappy mood on occasion, but there is a big difference between experiencing a temporary bout of unhappiness and living a habitually unhappy life. That’s what chronically unhappy people do. And although many of these people are afraid to admit it, a vast majority of their unhappiness stems from their own beliefs and behaviors.
Over the past decade, Marc and I have helped hundreds of unhappy people rediscover their smiles and, in the process, we’ve learned a lot about the negative beliefs and behaviors that typically hold them back. Even if you are generally a happy person, take a look at the short list below. Many of the unhappy people we’ve worked with via our course and coaching initially refused to admit that they carried these beliefs and behaviors, even when the evidence stacked against them was undeniable. See if any of these points are keeping you from experiencing greater amounts of joy.
1. They struggle with self-respect. – Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself. Be a friend to yoruself. Trust your inner spirit and follow your instincts. Accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes in your life as YOU see fit—not because you think anyone else wants you to be different, but because you know it’s the right thing to do, for YOU. Be the person you will be happy to live with for the duration of your life. Don’t rely on your significant other, or anyone else, for your happiness and self-worth. Know that our first and last love is always self-love, and that if you can’t love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to either. (covered in the “Self-Love” chapter of our NEW book)
THE GREATER GIFT CAME LATER
My husband was seriously injured at work in August 2002. He was unable to work for about six months. Much of his income is from overtime and his disability pay did not equal even 25 percent of the income we count on. We have five children and this was a massive loss of income for our family. It became necessary for me to work a second full-time job.
Most days I went to my teaching job at 7:00 a.m., went to my second job as a cashier at a local retail store at 4:00 p.m., and dragged myself home around midnight, knowing I had to do the same thing the next day. I still had to do lesson planning and somehow squeeze in family time. I worked seven days a week, and was rarely home. My youngest child, seven years old at the time, missed me so much that he started carrying a picture of me to school in his pocket.
Until then, I’d been very active in my church. But I became too busy for most of my church life and missed many meetings. Word spread about our situation, and I received many calls with words of encouragement and emotional support from fellow church members.
WIN RELATIONSHIP CONFLICT BY LETTING YOUR PARTNER WIN TOO
Good relationships are built on the belief of what’s good for you is good for me too. Partners realize that the best bet is to work together, rather than against each other.
Meet Jordan and Taylor, a couple in their mid-forties.
They’ve been having issues with housework. Jordan is exhausted from nagging Taylor about leaving dirty clothes on the floor and not vacuuming the house. Jordan feels Taylor doesn’t listen, and feels that Taylor’s unwillingness demonstrates a lack of caring. Taylor, on the other hand, feels that Jordan is demanding and unloving. If Jordan truly cared, Taylor would get some slack on when the housework gets done.
5 RELATIONSHIP RED FLAGS YOU SHOULD NEVER IGNORE
Paying attention is half the battle but you both need to do it.
I knew that my marriage was floundering but I didn’t know how to fix it. Fifteen years in, enough of what we’d once had was so eroded that there wasn’t any real way of retrieving it. I think both of us were just sick and tired of the arguing, the relationship, and each other.
Some years ago, a wise
therapist named Susan whose practice was mainly devoted to couples’ counseling
confided a sad truth as we talked about whether joint therapy
with my then-husband would work. She shook her head and then continued: “The reality is that it’s relatively rare that the counseling works because people wait too long. Therapy is usually seen as a last-ditch effort to salvage the marriage, and it’s not always agreed to in good faith
either. A husband or wife may simply accede because he or she wants to be seen as ‘having tried everything.’ By the time they book an appointment with me, the marriage has been failing for years. And it’s just too late. For those couples, my office is just a stop and a parking lot away from the divorce
THE TOP 3 VULNERABILITIES THAT RUIN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
All couples come to experience the raw buttons of their partner. Happy couples understand each other’s imperfections and enduring vulnerabilities, while unhappy couples use these enduring vulnerabilities as fire power in the heat of a battle. Instead of holding hands, they point fingers.
Pushing Each Other’s Raw Buttons
Steven and Ruth met while traveling through Brazil five years ago. Both are in their late thirties, and both had a difficult childhood.
Steven was abandoned by his father at the age of 6. He felt like a burden because his mom constantly stressed about money and his childhood expenses.
5 EASY WAYS TO STOP HANGER IN ITS TRACKS
No, none of them are drinking a glass of water.
If ‘hangry’ is a real emotion for you, we feel you. Hanger—that on-edge and easily irritated state you enter when you’re hungry—is real and happens to the best of us, and it’s also when we tend to make hasty food choices we didn’t quite mean to make.
If you’ve ever snacked on a cookie at work and then looked down and realized you accidently snacked on four cookies instead of one while zoning out, this article is for you, too. (Also, read this if sugar cravings are chronic issue for you and you want some healthier alternatives.)
We’ve already chatted about mindful eating with The Food Therapist herself, the lovely Shira Lenchewski, MS, RD, and she’s back for round two. This time we’re tackling how to snack smarter and curb those cravings. Hanger no more, friends.
4 NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS THAT MAY BE MAKING YOU SICK
Many health experts won’t tell you that married couples can actually prevent the common cold and seasonal flu by reducing the negative behaviors in their marriage. During the winter months when runny noses, coughs, and fevers are all too common, we’re reminded to wash our hands, avoid contact with sick people, and get a flu shot. Another preventative measure you can take is to increase your positive behaviors toward your spouse.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, who studied married couples’ antibody response to an influenza vaccine, found that people in satisfying marriages had stronger immunity to flu viruses. Researcher Greta Hysi at the University of Tirana in Albania reviewed 40 studies on the effects of marriage on health. She found that higher levels of negativity which contribute to marital dissatisfaction also directly impact a couple’s physical health.
Hysi’s research also included a review of Dr. Gottman’s Love Lab studies, which found higher white blood cell counts in couples that were happily married. This finding is similar to that of Drs. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and and Ronald Glaser at Ohio State University, who found natural killer cells are more effective in fighting off disease in happily married couples.
THE CLEANLINESS OF YOUR HOME IS IMPACTING YOUR HAPPINESS
Apparently, there are real health incentives to vacuuming.
Your mother was right. You really do need to clean your room—and not just to get rid of clutter and find your long lost gray sweater. A new survey run on behalf of Clorox found that not only is your emotional and mental state linked to how clean your home is, but you can actually be more productive and less stressed in a clean home.
The report, conducted by Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and commissioned by Clorox, surveyed 2,008 adults across the United States. It started based off some pretty grim-sounding third party research: According to a Gallup poll, 79 percent of Americans frequently suffer from stress. Another 72 percent report feeling lonely (per a Harris poll), while happiness levels seem to generally be declining. Another Harris poll found the US to have dropped to number 19 from number 3 on the World Happiness Index in a span of just nine years.
While these findings are fairly depressing, there’s an easy solution: cleaning. That’s right.
DON’T TALK TO YOUR SONS ABOUT SEX – TALK ABOUT THIS INSTEAD
If you’re wondering about the right time to talk to your son about sex, then recent research has some recommendations for you: don’t. Don’t talk to your son about sex. Instead, talk to him about relationships. Talk to him about romance. Talk to him about those funny feelings in the pit of his stomach and how that certain person turns his brain to mush. Talk to him about what a healthy relationship looks like, talk to him about mutual respect, and, oh please, talk to him about consent. Talking to him about sex? It doesn’t appear to be working. So, y’know, don’t.
I said, “Hey, What’s going on?”
The majority of sexual education in schools is based around contraception, pregnancy, and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. The problem is that these programs aren’t answering the kinds of questions school kids have about sex and relationships. The programs assume girls are the gatekeepers of sex and pitch lessons towards them. They underestimate the emotional capacity and interest of boys and, tellingly, these programs just aren’t working.
FIVE EASY, POWERFUL WAYS TO VALIDATE YOUR CHILD’S FEELINGS
Validating children’s feelings ups their self esteem and lowers defiant behavior.
In my book 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child(link is external), I wrote, and continue to strongly believe, that understanding your child is just as important, if not even more important, than loving him or her. Just as there are many divorced people who may still love their ex-spouse but never felt understood by him or her, there are many children and teens who feel loved but not understood. I can assure you that no adult has ever come to my office complaining of parents who took too much time and energy to understand him or her!
Validating the feelings of your children helps them to feel understood. To help your child feel understood, it means you keeping your ego and desire to lecture in check. Validating your child’s feelings also means that you don’t judge him or her. Instead, you simply acknowledge his or her feelings. This takes focus and discipline as parents. As I share with my clients, the best discipline you can give your child is having the self-discipline to be patient, empathetic, and loving—especially when he or she is not acting lovable. Contrary to what many frustrated parents may think, particularly during those stressful times of conflicts, validating feelings is not condoning bad choices or giving in to defiant behavior.