The Art Of Living Miserably: Eleven Ways To Stay Unhappy!

The Art Of Living Miserably: Eleven Ways To Stay Unhappy!

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Moss Jackson, PhD
Psychologist and Success Coach

This has not been one of my easiest weeks: some tough therapy sessions, several clients in deep emotional pain and my poor sleeping habits seemed to have all conspired to trip me into a state of discontentment. This is unusual for me since I typically have an upbeat attitude, coupled with a strong discipline to practice self-care and love of the people in my life. So I look at this past week as a temporary slip and am now reinstating my mindfulness and self-regulation habits, along with some exercise and tasty food.

I thought while reflecting on my weekly post what to write about: navigating for success, redesigning your brain, navigating into immortality, practices for living a less stressful life, managing relationships, resolving conflicts, etc. I decided to bypass any helpful suggestions and instead focus on the art of misery and some things you could do to screw up your days and make yourself unhappy if you were so inclined.

I don’t recommend trying out these “misery” actions, but reading about bad habits and practices may allow you to identify these bad habits in yourself and decide that “enough is enough” and make a change. In a few months my friend and colleague David Kekich is coming out with a book on some important key rules to live a great life and I will let you know when the date is near so you can learn how to replace misery actions with healthy ones. In the meantime, lean back, take a deep breath and enjoy my “Rules for Personal Misery!”

1. Taking things too personally
The truth is that you and I are really not that important to most people! People do not wake up in the morning thinking about how to make your life difficult. They wake up worried about their own lives and how they will get through the day. So, when someone passes you by without saying hello or does not return a call, let it go. Even better, come up with an explanation that gives the other person the benefit of a doubt like “maybe he has his own worries, or maybe he just has indigestion.”

2. Holding onto a grudge
Being resentful and carrying a grudge can make your day miserable. It is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. While you are harboring your hateful thoughts the other person is going about his business with no thoughts of you.

3. Taking your thoughts too seriously
Your thoughts are just particles of energy shooting through your brain. Researchers suggest humans have about 2,500 thoughts a day, and that is quite a busy internal highway. Unfortunately, eighty percent or 2,000 of these thoughts are negative. The real misery of this statistic is that you will probably have the same miserable thoughts the next day.

4. Worrying about things that will probably never happen
Fear can sometimes be described as “False Expectations Appearing Real”! When you feel worried, ask yourself “Is this thought real? Is it truthful? Is there any way I can think of this differently?” Most of the worries are concerns you had yesterday that then become irrelevant the day after.

5. Not appreciating yourself enough
Every day take time to appreciate or acknowledge something about yourself. Most people spend too much time and wasted energy lamenting their shortcomings and finding something wrong about themselves. Either stop fretting about yourself or take some action to improve your situation. Even better, every day write down three things that you enjoyed about your day. In other words, give yourself a break!

6. Holding on to really stupid beliefs
“I’m not good enough, smart enough, loveable enough, no one really cares about me, I’m a fake and soon everyone else will find out the miserable truth about me and abandon me.” Take your pick: any of these stupid beliefs will hold your misery in place. Your beliefs basically predict your future: stupid beliefs, stupid life! You made them up so now it’s time to change them.

7. Not having or forgetting your intention
When you ignore your life intentions and goals every day, you are inviting misery to show up. What keeps your negative thinking quiet is intending for something positive to happen and then paying attention to it. Are you intending to be generous, to be curious, to learn something and speak from your heart? Remember, you have about 2,000 negative thoughts every day competing for your attention. No intention? Then just watch the parade of your negativity beat you up and wipe you out every day.

8. Taking yourself too seriously
Every day you will screw something up: i.e., not returning a call, breaking a promise, not paying a bill, getting a traffic ticket, farting in the elevator, forgetting someone’s name, etc. We all do stupid things and act like jerks. It is human nature so stop trying to be perfect. You will never achieve it anyway. The pursuit of perfection is an exceptionally powerful way to create and maintain your personal misery.

9. Worrying about dying
What a waste of time! If you worry enough about dying and you will probably get sick and die even earlier than you thought. Live your life like it is the first day of your life. Live it with passion, curiosity, appreciation, compassion and humor. Feed yourself life enhancing thoughts, not death-inviting ones.

10. Don’t exercise your brain
Your brain never stops developing and laying down new neural tissue. Every second, ten million neurons die and ten million new ones are born. Your brain possesses a plasticity that thrives on what you put into it. Think negatively and seed negative beliefs and your brain will respond in kind. But if you nurture your brain every day with thoughts, beliefs and actions of generosity, compassion, curiosity, learning, open-mindedness and calmness, your brain will thrive in that direction. Either way, your brain thrives: it grows negative and frightened or positive and engaging simply by what you are thinking, intending and paying attention to. In other words, neurons that fire together get wired together.

11. Keep miserable people in your life
Hang around other miserable people, people who complain and take no action, blaming and whining victims who think they never catch a break and that life is unfair, people who are stingy with their help, compliments or compassion. Someone once said that who you are is the average of the five people you most hang around. Maybe it is time for you to do some “people housekeeping!”

Stay tuned for David Kekich’s terrific new book, “Rules of Life.” As soon as I know it is available, I will let you know. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about being the architect, constructor and interior decorator of your mind, health, beliefs, vitality and perhaps even your immortality, you may want to check out my new book, “I Didn’t Come To Say Goodbye: Navigating The Psychology of Immortality.” It might even give you some tools to live the extraordinary life you deserve to live and eliminate any personal misery you might be attracting.

Either order it through Amazon or go to my website at