10 Things to STOP Doing to be Happy

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. —Carl Bard

Imagine you’re 85. You’re looking back at your life, wondering what you’ve achieved. Then you ask yourself, “Am I happy?” 

If your answer is “No,” then you’re probably regretting the things you should have done, like pursuing your purpose. Or spending more quality time with the people you love.

But there’s no use regretting or wishing you could get those moments back. What’s done is done. You cannot recreate your past, you can only create your future. Therefore, to create a better future for yourself and for those around you, consider the following:

1. Stop complaining

People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining. —Steven Hawking

Stop complaining about things that make you unhappy. Nobody likes a grump! Besides, the moment you start complaining, it’s endless! There will always be something or someone to complain about. Instead, try seeing the world as it is and accepting as it is. See people as they are and accept them as they are. Instantly you’ll gain peace.

2. Stop blaming others

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny. —Albert Ellis

Stop trying to be right by making others wrong! To fault find and blame others for your problems shows not only a lack of concern for others, but also exposes your own inadequacies.

Instead, take responsibility for your own choices and actions. Accept your circumstances for what they are and work on improving yourself. You will then feel more peaceful, content and more in control of your life.

3. Stop worrying

Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. —Unknown

When you are going through a difficult situation, worrying about it will not solve it. To solve anything you need to be able to think clearly and rationally.

Start by seeing the situation as it is. Accept it. Then carefully plan the best solution. When you do this you will find that what you are worried about is really nothing at all.

Like Winston Churchill once said: “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

4. Stop judging others

Never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. —Unknown

How many times have you admitted to yourself that you were wrong about a person? We have all done it—hastily judged someone before getting to know them. Then feeling somewhat ashamed for getting it wrong.

The truth is, everyone of us is a complex character and we can never know another person until we’ve spent time with them. Even the worst of people have goodness in them.

Instead of judging them, find the good in others. You will feel better about yourself and they will feel better about you.

5. Stop being negative

If you realised how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought. —Peace Pilgrim

Nothing withers the mind and body more than negative thinking. Negativity multiplies when you don’t have an inspiring goal to aspire for. Therefore, fix a higher goal in life and work on becoming the best person you can possibly be. Thereafter there will be no room for negativity.

6. Stop doubting yourself

When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt. —Honore de Balzac

It often happens that when we start a new project, or set a new goal, we are full of energy, enthusiasm and optimism. Then after a while we’re hit by an unexpected wave of self-doubt.

That voice inside your head says, “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. You can’t do it. You’re a loser! Nobody wants your service. You’re going to FAIL!”

It keeps on tormenting you until it brings you to your knees in an undignified plea for help! You cry, “Why can’t anybody see that I’m struggling?”

We know we shouldn’t give in to self-doubt, but our mind is very powerful and these feelings slip past our inner guard unnoticed. The trick is to be ever alert, vigilant and ready to pounce on these harmful thoughts and emotions before they form their army of self-destruction.

7. Stop taking things personally

Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. —Don Miguel Ruiz

No matter what’s happening around you, if you take anything personally you will end up feeling upset and unhappy. The best thing to do is take a step back from the situation and gain some distance.

Detach from your emotions and allow things to happen. The moment you detach, you gain clarity. Consequently you become more reasonable, tolerant, peaceful and happy.

8. Stop criticising

Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. —Dale Carnegie

Criticising others is a sign of insecurity—you feel the need to put others down in order to feel better about yourself! But is doesn’t work that way. Temporarily you might get a kick, but in the long run, criticising others will only make you more miserable.

Also, when you criticize another person you are seeing something in them that you don’t like about yourself. For example you might say, “She’s so opinionated!” But aren’t you?

Instead, understand that everyone you meet is fighting their own battles. Have some compassion. Also, whenever you see a flaw in others use it as a gauge to overcome your own flaws. Working on improving yourself will give you the happiness that you seek.

9. Stop comparing yourself with others

Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you. —Unknown

When we compare ourselves with others, we tend to compare ourselves with people who we perceive to be better than us in some way. 

Instead, if you have to compare, compare yourself with an earlier version of yourself. What were you six months ago and what are you today? What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done a year ago? How has your life improved? How have you improved?

10. Stop being afraid

I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.  —Woody Allen

Fear can stop you dead in your tracks—completely immobilising you. But once you understand that fear is an illusion, created in your own mind, then you can rob fear of it’s power, instead of fear robbing you of your peace.

  • Manage the Mind

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About the Author

Meredith Forder

Meredith Forder is the founding director of Vedanta Institute Perth. She is a graduate of the Vedanta Academy in India and a senior student of world-renowned spiritual master Swami Parthasarathy. Through her teachings, Meredith presents insights about our modern-day epidemics—stress, anxiety, fear, addictions and depression—and provides a refreshing way to overcome them. She offers the essence of Eastern philosophy to our Western society, bringing a balance between outer success and inner peace of mind.

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