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12 Simple Reasons Why You're Unhappy

06/10/2014 17:42 BST | Updated 06/12/2014 10:59 GMT

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(Photo: Sam D/Flickr)

In no particular order, here are 12 relatively simple - and relatively easily correctable - things that could be preventing you from living your happiest life.

1. You're surrounded by toxic people.

To varying extents, we're all influenced by the people around us. If the people surrounding us are positive, inspiring and uplifting, then we tend to feel positive, inspired and elevated. On the other hand, if the people around us are negative and downbeat, then we tend to feel just that.

2. You constantly compare yourself to others.

Constantly comparing ourselves to other people has the potential to make us feel inadequate, worthless and depressed. But life is not a race. As such, there's no need to worry about what everyone else is doing - because what everyone else is doing isn't relevant to us. Instead, it's better to just go through life at our own pace, and focus on living the best existence we can.

3. You're a people-pleaser.

Pleasing everybody is an impossible task, and until you acknowledge that you can't achieve it and stop trying to do so, you're going to experience a lot of unnecessary worry and frustration.

4. You don't make a point of doing all the little things that make you happy.

Do you love playing sport, but never play? Do you love going to the movies, but never find the time? Do you love travelling, but haven't taken a trip in months or even years? If you don't make a point of peppering your life with all the little things you enjoy, you're placing a low glass ceiling on how happy you can be.

5. You're working so hard to make a living that you're forgetting to make a life.

Making money is important, but neglecting your relationships, your interests and your health just to make some extra bucks is a recipe for unhappiness - particularly if you're not even passionate about your job to begin with.

6. You don't spend enough time in the sun.

This might sound really pie in the sky, but studies suggest that being out in the sun increases your brain's serotonin levels - AKA your "happy chemicals".

7. You focus on what you haven't got instead of what you have got.

You can always have more than what you have, so if you're constantly pining over what you haven't got, then you're making it very hard for yourself to be happy. Instead, focus on everything you have got, and be grateful for it.

8. You sweat the small stuff.

Traffic jams, parking fines, forgetting things at home - yes, these things and a whole lot more can definitely be frustrating, but it's not worth letting it get you down. Ask yourself, is what I'm angry about or stressing over going to matter in one year's time? Most of the time the answer is "no", so if what you're angry or worried about doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, then is it really worth getting hot and bothered about it now?

9. You're holding a grudge.

As the saying goes, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die - the only person it hurts is you. So if someone else has wronged you, choose to forgive them - not because they necessarily deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.

10. You don't live a healthy lifestyle.

You'll meet few happy people who don't eat well, exercise frequently, or make it their business to get a good night's sleep. It's almost a law of nature.

11. You abuse drugs or alcohol.

Alcohol is a depressant, and taking drugs to make you happy is the human equivalent of a dog chasing its tale.

12. You don't learn from your mistakes.

If you don't learn from your mistakes at work, in your personal life and with regards to your health, then you're going to keep repeating them - which of course is another recipe for unhappiness. So if something in your life didn't turn out the way you'd have liked it to, take the time to analyse where you went wrong and work out what you can do differently next time so that the outcome isn't the same as before.

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If you found yourself ticking a number of boxes on this list, then the good news is that while the presence of any of these circumstances or behaviors is sure to stifle your happiness, they're all relatively simple situations or habits to change. So take responsibility for your happiness and make that change now.

As the saying goes, there's no better time than the present.