What Stops You From Being Happy? (8 Common Reasons)

A woman happy on top of a mountain.

It’s unfortunate, but there are many roadblocks to happiness. Of course, everyone wants to be happy, but humans have an uncanny ability to prolong their own misery and unhappiness. In truth, it isn’t easy to understand what makes you unhappy with your life, which is why it is hard to find lasting happiness. So, what exactly stops you from being happy?

Happiness is different for everyone. It stems from all kinds of life choices and circumstances. However, the main reasons that stop you from being happy are because you:

  • aren’t following your dreams or passions
  • have a negative mindset
  • are not willing to make changes
  • are not grateful for all that you have
  • base your happiness on the expectations of others
  • lack confidence
  • don’t know how to cope with stress
  • aren’t taking care of yourself

With that being said, there are many ways to change your life for the better. If you take the time to look at your circumstances, mindset, and behaviors, you can start living a more fulfilling and happy life. It takes work, but you can find out what is stopping you from being happy.

Keep reading below as we go into detail about the specifics of what stops you from being happy. This way you can recognize what is causing your unhappiness and what you can do to improve your situation.

What Is Preventing Your Happiness?

So what prevents you from being happy? The answer to this question can vary depending on the person. In truth, a lack of happiness stems from all kinds of life circumstances and choices. Still, there are some common barriers that prevent people from experiencing happiness. 

Fear is one great example of this. In fact, you could say that fear is one of the most common causes of a lack of happiness.

This is primarily due to the impact of fear in your life. It is one of those emotions that can really stop you from getting what you want.

Again, you can all be unhappy for any number of reasons, but fear is at the root of a lot of the unhappy choices you make.

This is because fear can overtake your thoughts and stop you from pursuing dreams and searching for better circumstances. It can prevent you from finding a better relationship, a job, or a lifestyle. Really, fear can stop you from living your best life if you let it influence your decisions.

Unhappiness isn’t always fear-based though. Stress is another common culprit of unhappiness as well. Maybe you aren’t afraid to go after what you want. You have the resources, ability, and confidence to chase after your goals. But you don’t have the energy to make your dreams a reality.

A lot people live their life unable to cope with stress. Stress is one of the main ways preventing individuals from being happy. The worry and stress from specific areas in their life prevents them truly enjoying the moment and finding true happiness.

For a large majority of people, this happens because of stress. Really, life is full of challenges and daily stresses that leach off of your emotions and energy.

So when you don’t have a good handle on stress, your happiness can suffer. You don’t even realize it at first, but stress takes a toll on both the body and mind.

Feeding into this stress and unhappiness is the unpredictability of life itself. Unforeseen circumstances can throw you off your projected life path.

In a moment you can go from being the happiest person in the world to the most depressed. You can’t exactly stop a disaster from occurring. However, you can control your mindset and perception.

A lot of people don’t realize the power of their thoughts and mindset. Because of this, they are doomed to a life of unhappiness.

It isn’t easy looking for the positives in a terrible situation, but if you can look past the negatives, you can bring more happiness in your life. We’ll talk about this more in the next section.

Top Reasons That Stops You From Being Happy

Are you wondering the various ways that prevent you from being happy in life? Below we review 8 common reasons when trying to understand what stops you from being happy.

While reading, consider which ones apply to your life. How can you implement a plan to ensure these reasons no longer stop you from being happy?

1. You Aren’t Happy Because You Aren’t Following Your Passions Or Desires

Not following your passions or desires is one of the main reasons that stops you from being happy. It should seem obvious to most people, but it’s easy to overlook this kind of unhappiness. In truth, it is hard admitting to yourself that you aren’t following your passions or dreams.

A lot of individuals end up lying to themselves. You might say to yourself that you are happy with the life you have now, even if this isn’t really the case.

Arts and craft accessories on a table.
True Happiness Can Be Found By Following Your Passions And Desires

Alternatively, you might say that your goals or passions are unattainable. This leads to a lot of unhappiness as well.

Really, when you aren’t living a life that you are passionate about, or that is in line with your desires, you will be unhappy. You want to pursue jobs, relationships, and hobbies that make your life enjoyable.

But if you can’t do this, then you stop yourself from being happy. It can be scary taking a chance on your dreams, but it is worth it to try. At the very least you will have less regret in life, even if you do fail.

2. A Negative Mindset Stops You From Being Happy

A negative mindset is another major culprit of unhappiness. Negativity is a default for many people. And it is easy to see all the negative things in your life and complain about your circumstances.

However, complaining doesn’t get you anywhere and neither does seeing things from a negative perspective.

There are times when you can acknowledge that life is tough or hard, but you don’t want to be thinking this way twenty-four seven. Constant negativity is a sure-fire way to live an unhappy life.

Outlook is everything. It is hard to find happiness if you are constantly putting a negative perspective to all the situations in your life.

You don’t have to be happy or positive all the time. But if you can see the positives in your life and try and look at your circumstances with a more helpful mindset, you will have more happiness.

3. Not Willing To Make Changes Often Leads To Unhappiness

You might know exactly what is making you unhappy with your life. You might even know what changes need to be made to improve your current circumstances. But sometimes, people hesitate in trying to make these changes.

As discussed previously in this article, fear can play a big role. You might feel like you don’t have the skills or confidence to pull off changes that will make you happier.

An open road and leaves changing color on trees.
Change Brings About New Opportunities – New Ways To Find Happiness

Maybe you doubt the success you will have if you switch careers. Maybe you are just plain scared to change anything in your life. It can seem better to just stay where you are, but this can have detrimental effects on your happiness. 

Change is imperative if you want to be happy with your life. But if you don’t make changes you will remain miserable. It’s as simple as that.

4. Unhappiness Can Stem From You Not Being Grateful For What You Do Have

Sometimes, you don’t need to make changes in your life to be happy. If you are lucky, you might have everything you need to have a happy life. The only thing that is holding you back is a lack of appreciation.

Really, being ungrateful for what you have in life can be damaging, especially if you are trying to stay happy.

Looking at the bad parts of your life is tempting for many people. This has been emphasized repeatedly in this article.

Take a moment to realize everything that you have in life that brings you happiness. Often these far outweigh the things in life that bring you unhappiness. Sometime you just need a reminder to be grateful.

However, you want to switch from this negative mindset to a mindset of gratitude. When you can be grateful for your life, you will see many more doors open for you.

Not only emotional happiness but in other areas of life. Being grateful can really transform how you live.

Knowing that you have things to be grateful for in life can create a different kind of happiness for you. It’s good to have goals and chase after your desires. But sometimes you have to sit back and be grateful for what you do have.

You don’t want to be constantly chasing after the what-ifs. Otherwise, you won’t be able to appreciate the moment you are in. So appreciate what you have accomplished to get a more positive mindset.

5. You Base Your Happiness On Other People’s Expectations

You never want to live your life based on other people’s expectations. This is one of the easiest ways to stop being happy, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Pleasing people can make you happy momentarily, but remember that you only have one life to live.

If you are living a life for others, then you aren’t living for yourself. This could lead to regret down the line, as you might wish you had taken more control over your life choices.

Living a life based on someone else’s expectations will inevitably lead to regret. Turn to others for their guidance or help when necessary, but always remember you are living your life. Do what makes you happy.

In truth, happiness comes when you can make your own decisions. Your choices concerning your happiness stay with you for the rest of your life.

But if you let friends and the people around you dictate how to be happy, you make it harder to find your own meaning and satisfaction with your life.

It isn’t bad to take advice from people. But you don’t want to do something because you think someone will like you more or approve of you because of it. Ultimately, you will never get everyone’s approval, so it’s better to do what you think is best for your own happiness.

6. Lack Confidence In Yourself Stops You From Being Happy

Many people choose to let others dictate their happiness and lives. But why is this the case? Most times, you might find yourself doing this because you lack confidence.

This is another prominent reason for unhappiness. When you lack confidence and don’t believe in yourself, your life doesn’t go the way you want it to. Instead, you will be plagued with self-doubt and fear.

This can lead to stress and decision paralysis, which then prevents you from acting in favor of your own happiness. Confidence or even the ability to act confidently can help you move towards happiness.

It takes time to get confident in your abilities and believe in yourself. But the less you doubt yourself, the more action you can take to get the things you want out of life. This will lead you towards more happiness overall.

7. Not Knowing How To Cope With Stress Stops You From Being Happy

We talked about stress briefly in the previous section. But we will talk a little more in detail about the effects of stress on happiness here.

You might not realize this but stress can really stop you from being happy with your life. This is especially true if you don’t know how to manage stress or your response to it.

To preface this, stress isn’t all bad. In fact, small amounts of stress can be good for you. This feeling pushes you to meet deadlines, goals, and forces you to change and improve yourself.

A woman who is stressed out from work.
Learn How To Cope With Stress And Respond To It Positively

Really, a life without stress would be boring and without motivation. However, having too much stress can be a problem for your happiness and quality of life.

Unchecked stress eats away at your mental health and physical health over time. It also drains you of your ability to accomplish the things you want. And if you aren’t coping with your stress well, these negatives effects can intensify and leave you feeling miserable. 

You want to rid yourself of extreme stress by taking the time to relax. Sometimes, you might let your emotions get the best of you, and this can lead to more stress. However, if you are more rational about your circumstances, you can minimize stress and increase happiness.

8. You Aren’t Taking Care Of Yourself

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons you might be unhappy is because you aren’t taking care of yourself. Self-care is important, and don’t listen to anyone that says this part of your life is meaningless.

Working hard is good, and getting things done can be amazing a euphoria-inducing experience. But if you don’t take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors, then you will become unhappy.

Everyone has limits that they need to acknowledge. You don’t want to be pushing yourself constantly without a break. This can lead to burnout and depression.

Look after yourself. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Exercise often. Eat well. Laugh. It takes effort to look after yourself, but it is an important piece of the puzzle towards being happy.

So take the time to take care of your body and mind. Do not be afraid to take a vacation to a city or country you’ve always wanted to visit. Make sure to spend time with family and friends when you can.

Take a walk, listen to soothing music, or join local classes on topics you enjoy. There are a ton of ways you can engage in self-care.

You might be resistant to the idea, but you want to have some downtime to focus on unwinding. Taking care of yourself is a part of leading a balanced and joy-filled life, and one of the main ways to promote your happiness.

The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?

eightysixfourhundred, make them count

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Hi, I'm James! I want to help you make the most of your day by providing helpful tips and informative articles on motivation, time management, productivity, and happiness.

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