What Keeps You Awake at Night?


“For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.” ― Lev Grossman, The Magicians

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Every night is the same.

You are wide awake even though your brain is telling you how tired you are and that you need to get some sleep. But you cannot pull it off. You are unhappy about your job, your lack of friends and your life in total.

It wasn’t always that way. You used to be happy and fun loving. But then suddenly there was a change of direction. You became unsatisfied with anything you did and everything seemed to be a drag. There was no joy, just sadness, maybe even depression.

Sure, you have had your ups and downs. Everybody does. But you could always deal with the low moments and move on to the good stuff. And there was always more of that and it made the bad stuff seem small and insignificant.

Not anymore. Now, no matter what happens you are not satisfied and, in most cases, very unhappy. Nothing and no one brings you any joy.

When you’re unhappy, I guess everything in the world – reading, eating, sleeping – has something buried somewhere inside it that just makes you unhappier.” ― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

There may be a number of reasons for your unhappiness. One or more of these may include:

Loss of a loved one – This is a tough one. No matter how long we are on this earth, it is in reality a short time. And when someone leaves us in even a shorter time than expected we are at a loss. This is especially true of a close friend, a family member or even a beloved pet. But when our loss occurs, it should not stop us from living our lives. We can honor and remember that person or pet, but we still have a lot of time to go and we should make the most of it. Our loved one would certainly want that.

Inventing or creating your own, self-dramas that have little or no basis in fact. Too often individuals develop their own problems or issues. They may be real, but many times are over blown in importance. We deal with many issues in our lives. If we dwell on them too much or give them more importance than they deserve, it is at our own peril.

Judging ourself too harshly. Sometimes we are our own worst critic. While we want to do and be our best, we must remember that no one is perfect including ourselves. By correcting a mistake or flaw we must and should move on and not dwell on the fact that we are an imperfect creature.

Thinking that mistakes, setbacks, and failures are forever – Nothing is forever, including slip ups. They may cause a short-term problem, but that should be solved or corrected and we should then move on. They key is to not make the same mistake or mistakes over and over again. To do so means we don’t care or are learning nothing from our errors.

Blaming yourself for things you can’t control. While many things in our lives can be controlled, some things cannot. We need to know the difference, not fret over them and do what we can to make the situation as good as possible, that is the best we can do and we need to know and accept it.

Blaming other people and situations for things you can control. Sometimes it is too easy or convenient to blame others for things we could or should control. That then leads to the excuse that it is always someone else’s fault for our problems when we could and should be controlling the outcome.

Creating your own misery through bad habits or addictions. If we allow bad habits to take over, we are creating our own problems. Realizing that doing the same bad thing over and over again is wrong. Correcting it is a good way to a better life.

Comparing yourself to others – We are who we are and not anyone else. To get into the comparison game is a fool’s task. There will always be someone smarter, more handsome or prettier, wealthier, or whatever. We cannot control that. What we can control is to be the best we can be with what talents that we have.

Thinking that you have to do it all yourself. There are 7 billion people in this world. Within that expansive populace are a number of people who know and care about us and want to see us successful and happy. No one goes through life without dealing with others. Once we realize we are not alone and there are others ready and willing to help and care for us, the better off we can and will be.

So now that we know about some of the reason for our unhappiness, what should we do about it?

Change Our Mindset – Unhappiness stems from whatever we decide to dwell on. We can focus on good and happy things or on the not so good. It is up to us. Changing the mindset from focusing on the negative to that of the positive will have a big if not total impact on our happiness.

Engage in Problem Solving – To deal with a problem and get it corrected, we should review what the problem is and what caused or is causing it. We then need to come up with an option or options to resolve it. The same is true with our unhappiness. Establishing the cause and resolving or rectifying it will help move us and our thoughts to the happy column.

Develop Healthy Habits – I covered previously about poor habits, especially ones that cause us to be unhappy. By developing healthy habits and a positive attitude towards things, we can change our mood and outlook on life in general.

Reconnect With Joy – Especially after the loss of a loved one, we may be filled with grief and foreboding. Joy seems no where on the horizon. Or maybe we just have a dour outlook on things in general. What we need to do is to connect with joyful things. They are all around us. We just have to find them and make it a part of our mindset.

In the end, your happiness or lack of it is based on what you know and do about it.

While this may seem simplistic, it is not. No one else should or shouldn’t choose for us. If we allow that to happen, we have ceded something that should be in our control.

So, the choice is yours. Find out why you are unhappy and do something about it. That will leave one less thing that Keeps You Awake at Night.

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