11 Things Potentially Making You Unhappy

Hey Optimist Minds!

Have you been feeling pretty blue for some time but you’re not sure why?

Research studies investigating the nature of unhappiness measure it in terms of life satisfaction or subjective wellbeing. Ed Diener coined the term, ‘subjective wellbeing’ in 1984. It describes how people experience the quality of their lives.

Respondents with a high score on a test measuring subjective wellbeing are very happy with their lives. There may still be challenges but the person feels competent to handle them. Furthermore, growth and challenge might be part of the reason they are satisfied.

Though, unfortunately, several people score towards the lower end in such scales. Life feels far from satisfying and there’s always something to be upset about. If you’re someone who feels this way, you’re not alone.

In this video, we’re going to discuss eleven things that might be contributing to your lack of satisfaction. Hopefully, by recognising them, you can work towards improving your life as well as your subjective wellbeing. 

However, we want our readers to know that these are only potential causes. If you wish to identify specific reasons for your unhappiness, it’s best to consult a therapist.

Now, here are eleven things potentially making you unhappy.



Are you surrounded by piles of articles not in their right place? Do you wake up in a home that’s disorganised and messy?

Being around clutter can cause subconscious feelings of anxiety and frustration. Your mind registers the thought that there’s a lot to be done around you. However, ordinary tasks like cleaning up tend to get postponed all the time. You keep skipping the chore and the clutter keeps reminding you of itself, making you feel impatient and irritable.



When you’ve got a lot on your mind, it’s hard to feel content. Stress brings with it countless thoughts of planning and worst case scenarios. You worry about spending your time wisely and often feel trapped or tired. You might even have disturbed sleep, adding to your burden.


Negative self-talk.

Your self-talk comprises the internal dialogue happening inside your head as you experience situations. When self-talk is negative, you’re constantly being hard on yourself. For every mistake, there’s a thought that brings shame or guilt. Now, how can you be happy if you’re being too tough on yourself?


Cognitive distortions.

Certain patterns of thought are unhelpful because they’re irrational and unnecessarily negative. Cognitive distortions are sometimes also called negative thought traps, because thinking just one of them can bring a series of more upsetting thoughts.

A few examples are black-or-white thinking, over-generalising, focussing on the negative, and fortune telling.


Unfulfilled dreams.

Perhaps you’ve spent a lot of time thinking of a possible future for yourself. Maybe it’s being a famous musician, or getting rich, or making a family. If your present reality is bringing you nowhere close to these goals, you’re bound to feel unhappy.



It could also be that you’ve achieved everything you ever wanted but you miss someone to share it with. Loneliness is a popular feeling across time and cultures. However, the isolation brought by the pandemic may have caused a sudden increase in people’s levels of loneliness. Maybe the reason why you’re sad is because you feel so alone.


An unhealthy relationship.

Toxic relationships are the antithesis of subjective wellbeing. You can never be truly happy if you’re being disrespected by a loved one. Mistreatment from enemies never feels as horrible as when the ones closest to you hurt you.



Another cause of unhappiness is the loss of a person, relationship, job, or anything else of grave importance. If you’re going through a transition like that, it’s natural to feel sad. In fact, the sadness might last for a while till you learn to heal.


Self-sabotaging behaviour.

More often than not, we end up contributing to our own unhappiness. Self-sabotage is when we actively or passively take steps to prevent ourselves from reaching our goals. This could be simply not taking enough care of yourself, feeding an addiction, or pushing away people who support you.


Unresolved trauma.

Trauma is so universal that it’s possible that almost everyone you meet has experienced it. Moreover, with social issues like the intersectionality of gender, race, or sexual orientation, entire communities are going through generational trauma. This could very well be a source of persistent unhappiness.



Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault, violation, rape, unjust practices, crimes, emotional abuse, or other types of aggression. 

It can also be a singular event or multiple occasions spread over a period of time. If you have a history of abuse, it might be influencing your subjective wellbeing.

So, did any of these eleven remind you of your own circumstances? Were you able to recognise the cause of your happiness? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.


Was this post helpful?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]