Monday, April 22, 2013

What Makes People Unhappy? Ten Reasons

 "Unhappiness is the choice you make. Happiness is your nature." - Chinmaya Mission

Happy Cosby Family - Cosby Show - Mr Huxtable - Image courtesy Rapgenius

What makes people unhappy? My wife and I have been fortunate enough to attend Chinmaya Mission in Tustin / Irvine area, Swaminarayan temple in Chino Hills (and before that in Bay Area), Jain Center in Buena Park (and before that in Milpitas). We are not sure if going to these temples make us happy. But going there does make us self-aware of what's going on and we realize that we are not the only ones going through life's ups and downs. We have had our share of happy and unhappy situations in our marriage, after we became parents, and even before marriage (we began dating back in college days).

We can give you a laundry list of situations and things over the last 25 years that have tested our limits... we have two kids who are grown ups (well almost; our son is soon going to be 18 and will be going to college this year, and our daughter is all of 12 and going to become a teenager soon!). We have moved several times. We have changed jobs. We have changed places. We had good bosses. We had bad bosses. We made good money. We lost a lot of money. The list goes on...

Here are the top ten reasons why people become unhappy and some solutions to be happy (that we could come up with, and we are just ordinary people):

1. Health (bad or failing health can make even the happiest people unhappy; but people can choose to remain happy and fight illnesses with faith, eating habits, great outlook and good doctors),

2. Relationships (again, folks can choose to get out of bad relationships or learn to appreciate and work well with others; relationships with their kids, spouses, parents, boss, co-workers, neighbors, school, etc.), 

3. Financial situation (when people lose jobs and don't have enough savings to even pay for their daily needs; they can work hard to do well, but this could take time; many a times, too much money could be a huge problem too!),

4. Circumstances (when "accidents" or "incidents" happen that they get dragged into. No one plans for bad situations or death of family members to happen, but they do! The best solution is to keep the patience to see them through), 

5. Place (for instance, you "end up" living in an area with lot of crime, noise, pollution, traffic, poverty, bad schools, lack of opportunity, lack of social activities, and so on; key is to change the place before it changes you!),

6. Inertia (many folks do not feel like they want to do anything at all, and are lazy or lethargic all the time. They spend way too much time doing nothing, and staying at home. This eventually leads to unhappiness. Do something!),

7. Lonely (many people don't have friends or a good social life; this could be tied to bad relationships or lack of it, having a lot of inertia, having no hobbies, and spending too much time at home; key is to get involved in local community and get out more frequently),

8. Things (people love more things, buy more things, and believe things give more happiness - eventually they get tired of these things; loving too many things leads to addiction to them; for instance, drugs, alcohol, gambling, expensive clothes or cars),

9. Expectations (some people have too high expectations that they cannot achieve, and hence they always feel that they are an under-achiever; expectations could be their own, or set by others like your parents, spouse, or manager. These can be a real drag. Reset your expectations!),

10. Purpose (or lack of purpose. Most people don't know their goals in life. What are they doing everyday? Why are they doing this? They are just lost, or caught up in the rat race. They don't know the overall purpose of what they are here for)

And there is one more... so we lied! Here is the 11th thing that can make you unhappy:

11. Worry (but why worry at all? "It's not human to not worry" - Sanjay Dalal. All humans worry... the key is to keep the worries in check, and always be thinking of finding solutions. In reality, this is easier said than done!)

We invite you to share your comments and thoughts on what makes you unhappy or happy? Did we miss something big?

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