Tag Archives: unhappy

Unhappy for no reason

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Are you employed by another? How often do you feel frustrated because you have little or no choice about the decisions you make? Are you a parent? How often do you feel as though your children are trying to be in charge of you instead of the other way around resulting in you pressing harder to prove you are the parent with the power? Are you in an intimate love relationship? Do you have moments as a couple when you want and pull for one important thing while your partner wants and pulls in a different direction?

It can feel hard, exhausting, challenging and confusing when faced with any one of the above. Feeling unhappy, out of sorts and out of balance when dealing with these kinds of problems may be an understandable and even effective strategy. Your heart and brain are driving you to search and find good answers and solutions. Here is one solution you may not have considered.

canstockphoto0374035Shift your point of view and perspective. And do this shifting to a completely unrelated topic from your problem at hand. Shift to something by either going very small and mundane or very large and broad.

When going small, find the smallest joy or briefest moment during the course of the day where you feel grateful, joyful or at peace. It won’t necessarily help solve your problem. Instead it will give your brain a break, a moment of relief and flood of pleasure chemicals adding to your feeling of well being. This just may help open you to more solutions and ideas. Continue this practice frequently instead of simply staying stuck in your “I have to figure this out” behavior.

Or go BIG. At the end of your life do you think you will still be stuck in your present dilemma? Boy, I hope not and I bet you do too. And chances are “this too shall pass.” But in the meantime, spend some time asking yourself bigger questions, like Why are you here? Do you believe there is a God? What evidence do you have to support your belief? Is there life on another planet? Human? Do you believe or imagine you lived a previous life? Even if you don’t believe, who might you have been? Get the idea? Start asking yourself and contemplating the BIG questions about the meaning of life and more. This will give you time to be an explorer, searching in unknown and unknowable territory. The result may just be opening your mind to new, different and maybe even helpful ideas and perspectives when you return to your problem.

Even though it feels as though you are facing the impossible, considering and contemplating life in the micro and macrocosm can help give you much needed stress relief and maybe even good and new solutions.

Paradigm Shift

By  Mike Rice

Admit it.  We’ve all done it a few times in our lives.  It happens on airplanes, in grocery stores, parks, church, or any other public places.  We experience things outside ourselves that leads to feeling frustrated or angry because “some people’s children,” or someone, or some thing is behaving in ways in which we disapprove.  We begin to think such things as, “These kids need to be taught how to act in public,” or “Boy, Some people’s children . . .,” or “A good swat on their tails would put an end to this kind of behavior.”

When our happiness needs are being disrupted, it’s easy to react in negative ways to attempt to ease the frustration.  You may choose to criticize, blame, complain, nag, threaten or even punish those whom you perceive as the disrupters of your happiness.  Ironically, the thoughts and behaviors that are chosen often cause more unhappiness than they do to resolve it.

EXAMPLE

You are riding a bus and you don’t like riding busses.  You are only doing so because your car broke down and is in the shop being repaired.  So already, you are not all that happy because in your happy world, your car is running well and has no mechanical problems.  You are also unhappy because the bus has to make several stops to let passengers on and off which makes the bus trip seem to be even more unpleasant.

On one of the stops, a man and his two young sons board the bus.  You are reading a newspaper to take your mind off of your unhappiness and to focus on other things.  But even the newspaper articles are stories of things that conflict with your happiness ideals.  Perceiving yourself as in control of your emotions, you do your best to stuff your negative emotions so that others won’t notice them.

busrideThe two boys who recently boarded the bus are now running up and down the aisle of the bus, playing tag and letting out several high-pitched sounds that are unpleasant to you and disrupting your concentration and ability to read your paper.  You begin to think to yourself how unruly these kids are and how poorly they have been raised to behave this way in public.  You glance over to the father who appears to not even be in touch with his surroundings.  He is not only ignoring his children and their behavior, he is just staring out the window at nothing in particular.  And now your values kick into another gear of confirming just how poor a parent this man is and why these kids are behaving so poorly.  Now there are several people around you who are behaving in ways in which you disapprove.  You begin to feel a knot in your stomach.  You clench you teeth.  Your blood pressure rises.  You feel achy.  Your anger intensifies.

Now you don’t care if anyone notices your looks of displeasure or not.  In fact, you hope the father of the two boys will notice your expressions of unhappiness and take measures to get these kids to behave the way you want them to behave.  But the father is too self-absorbed to notice your unhappiness much less the behavior of his sons.  He simply stares out the window as if in a daze.  Meanwhile, the two boys continue to play and yell while chasing each other up and down the aisle of the bus.

You see the father and the boys as the cause of your unhappiness even though you were unhappy before they even boarded the bus.  But since there is nothing you can do about having to ride the bus, you begin to think that you can say or do something to the boys and/or the father to get them to behave the way you want them to behave.  You have held off as long as you can with only the information you see before you that you have recognized as being of the cause of your personal happiness.

Enough is enough!  You yell at the boys, “Sit down and be still!  Quit running up and down this aisle and disrupting everyone!”  And to the father, “Can’t you control these kids?  Some people should never have children because they don’t know how to raise them!”

The father looks stunned.  It appears you just shook him out of a coma.  He replies, “I apologize.  I’m sorry for how my kids are behaving.  Boys?  Come here.  Sit down and be quiet.”  And to you he once again apologizes:  “We’re all a little bit lost in our thoughts right now.  We just got on the bus back there at the hospital.  My wife . . . their mother, just died of cancer a few minutes ago and we are not dealing with it too well right now.”

So what are your thoughts now?  Do you still want to choose to criticize?  Do you still want to complain and blame them for your unhappiness?

This story is an example of how one chooses to think and behave on limited information and self-centered thoughts.  One cannot behave without a thought that leads to an emotion that leads to the choice of the behavior.  Once you change your thoughts, you will change your emotions and your behavior.

At the beginning of this story, you were controlling your behavior as best you could at the time.  But that didn’t work so well so you began to behave based on your thoughts and lashed out at the source you perceived as the cause of your unhappiness.  Once you got more information of what was happening in their world and not in yours, you suddenly changed your thoughts and behavior and may even felt like a jerk.  So now who is apologizing?

It’s not always about you.  Other people have their own unhappiness to deal with.  Just remember:  When you find yourself unhappy because of the behavior of others, you can only control yourself.  And there will always be someone else who has more to be unhappy about than you.

The Next Time You Are Unhappy

Change what you want and/or change how you behave when you don’t get what you want.  There are no other effective ways.