6 Guaranteed Ways to Be Miserable post image

6 Guaranteed Ways to Be Miserable

Misery, as painful as it is, can be comfortable in its familiarity. It’s easy to sink into despair. Picking yourself up and forging onward is a bit more daunting. The problem is, a lot of us play a passive role in our own lives. We let circumstances and situations dictate who we are and how we feel, and then find solace in the fact that it’s not our fault.  In life, we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to things, and that is oftentimes the difference between feeling free and happy or trapped and miserable.

Happiness doesn’t just happen. It’s not something that shows up at your door one day as a consolation prize for years of pain and suffering. It takes some work, both on the inside and out. Misery is easy because frankly, life is hard. Stress is inevitable, and so is heartbreak, rejection, disappointment, criticism, and feelings of defeat.

Being miserable is a combination of how you live your life and how you process the inevitable things that happen. A lot of us don’t even realize all the ways we’re creating our own misery.  And with that, here are six guaranteed ways to be absolutely miserable:

1. Play the Victim

take life into your own hands quote
As I said, we can’t always control the things that happen to us. The only thing within our control is how we respond. You are the one who gets to decide if you will be the triumphant leading lady or the tragic heroine in the story of your life. Things are going to happen to you. Bad things probably already have happened to you. When you blame everyone else for your struggles, all you’re really doing is feeding into your own feelings of misery and helplessness. Your emotional well-being is your responsibility, and you get to decide what has the power to destroy you.

Feeling like a victim occurs when you live in a state of reflexive reaction; that is, instantly reacting to things that happen rather than thoughtfully responding. If you reflexively react, then anytime someone speaks harshly or looks at you disapprovingly or criticizes you (even if it’s constructively), or doesn’t interact with you by giving you the level of approval and affection you think they should, you will feel hurt and upset, like they have wronged you, like everyone is out to get you. When you take a step back and separate yourself from your initial emotional response, you will see things more clearly. You’ll realize that not everything is about you, and most of the time when someone is being distant or harsh it has to do with something going on in their own life and is not a reflection on you or their feelings toward you in any way.

MORE: How to Handle Criticism Like a Champ 

2. Worry About Everything


Worrying is a tricky animal. It seems like a productive pursuit, yet it doesn’t actually result in anything other than putting you in a negative headspace. A lot of us get caught up in solving problems that haven’t yet happened. I definitely struggle with this one, and anytime I find myself worrying about some terrible future outcome I tell myself: “Don’t solve a problem until there is a problem to solve.”

Yes, there is a chance that you will lose your job, that you will face financial difficulty, that your boyfriend will leave, that your husband will cheat, that you’ll get the flu–there are a million bad things that could potentially happen, but what’s the point of worrying about them unless they are happening? Instead, focus on living in the present and have faith that should problems arise down the line, you will be able to handle them.

MORE: How to Stop Stressing Over Your Relationship

3. Compare Yourself to Others

blowing-out-anothers-candle Despite what you see on Facebook and Instagram, no one lives a perfect, problem-free life.  If you constantly compare yourself to others, you will always feel less than. A lot of us experience real feelings of negativity because of someone else’s success- an engagement, a raise, a dream job, an amazing (and worse yet, affordable!) apartment in NYC, a new designer handbag. The funny thing about that is their success had absolutely no direct impact on your life–nothing was taken away from you (unless it was actually taken away, like someone stealing your job or your man or your handbag), and your life is no different now than it was before their success.

Comparing ourselves to others is a breeding ground for feelings of envy and jealousy, which are the ugliest of vices. Some people will have more than you, some will have less. Everyone’s life is made up of a unique combination of abundance and need, and everyone is just trying to bridge the gap and attain a happy balance. Instead of looking at what other people have that you want and comparing yourself to someone else, compare yourself only to yourself. Reflect on how you have grown and changed and how you are better than you were.

4. Listen to Your Inner Critic


All of us are forced to coexist with an inner critic who tries to undermine us. It can come in the form of a quiet whisper or overpowering shout depending on what you’ve been through in life. The inner critic is the one who tells you you’re not worthy, that this guy will leave, that you’ll never be successful, that you will never be good enough. But this voice only has as much power as you give it. This inner critic is not reality, it is a product born from a painful or traumatic past. When you treat it as the ultimate authority of who you are, you will block yourself from ever being fully happy and at ease.

Thoughts are real forces; they create a pulse that permeates your being and they can create real chemical changes. When you feed into your inner critic and let her call the shots, you are opening the floodgates for negativity to come pouring in, and this impacts everything- your mood, your energy, your vibe, the way you interact with others, the way you interact with yourself. Practice noticing your thoughts and identifying when your inner critic is speaking. Then, simply pluck her out like a weed or tell her that her opinions are not valid or needed.

5. Stay Stuck in the Past

past-is-a-foreign-countryWhen you ruminate over events from the past, you are taking yourself out of the present and engaging with a reality that is no longer relevant. We are all works in progress, we all make mistakes and have lessons to learn (and sometimes relearn as many times as necessary). Staying stuck in the past won’t change or fix anything. All it will do is produce feelings of pain and remorse. You may also block yourself from finding true happiness and satisfaction (this is especially true when it comes to holding onto thoughts and memories of a guy who broke your heart).

Instead of living life looking through the rearview mirror, focus on what you learned from the experience and try to really internalize it so you can move on, feeling confident that history won’t repeat itself.

MORE: 30 Lessons Learned on Life & Love in 30 Years 

6. Never See the Good

Something good happens and you write it off as a fluke. Something bad happens and it’s because you’re incompetent, stupid, lazy, bad, wrong. Throughout the day, some things will go right and others will go wrong. And there won’t always be an equal balance, sometimes it’ll skew more towards wrong (and the best days are when it all skews right!).

The point is, you get to choose what to focus on. You can dwell on the bad and complain about it to anyone who will listen, or you can reflect on the good. Learning to express gratitude is one of the most fundamental skills when it comes to your happiness and well-being. It’s also important to note that when you focus on the bad, you tend to attract more bad things. When you shift your focus–and see the proverbial glass as half full–everything shifts toward the better.


Got any other surefire ways to be miserable? Or straight up tips to be happy? Tell us in comments!

Written by Sabrina Alexis

I’m Sabrina Alexis, the co-founder, and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing relatable, insightful articles that help people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want. I have a degree in psychology and have spent the last 10 years interviewing countless men and reading and studying as much as I can to better understand human psychology and how men operate. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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I just wanted to say that I read a lot of your articles and this is one of your absolute best! I especially love the quote you found (as I am a big worrier) that says “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”
No more worrying for me!

Reply August 30, 2022, 9:42 am


Thank you very much dear. Very insightful article and straight to the core. In today’s world, many people around us are stuck in their life and can’t live it or see the beauty of it because they practice at least one if not more of the above 6 habits! The first step is is to be aware. Thanks once again!

Reply February 28, 2015, 1:42 am


I just wanted to thank you for sharing such insightful articles with us. I always get excited whenever I see an email from you.

Reply February 27, 2015, 1:50 am

don't worry be happy

I’m learning to stop worrying about things I can’t control, live in the moment.

Reply February 26, 2015, 1:01 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Exactly! It only seems like you’re doing something when you worry when really you’re just spinning in the exact same place.

Reply February 26, 2015, 2:18 pm


I can’t tell you how much this article was a very good wake up call for me. As I’m reading it, I realize I am doing these very things and sabotaging my own happiness. I’m in a place in my life right now where I’ve been hit with some hard times (death in the family, being sick for a month, losing my job) and it’s been so easy to fall victim to all these things you talk about. It is a good reminder to me and everyone reading that we CAN control how we feel and how having a more positive outlook will bring good things. Thank you so much for the reminder that I need to change the way I’m looking at things.

Reply February 26, 2015, 12:57 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Happy to help! I must say, I’m very impressed by your attitude and strength in the face of such adversity. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go through all of that at once. There’s a quote that says “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional,” and it’s amazing that you have chosen to push through the pain and not succumb to the suffering. I wish you all the best and hope you find comfort, health, an amazing new job, and true happiness.

Reply February 26, 2015, 2:17 pm

Rhonda O

Wow…this was a great article. I am guilty of always looking at the negative…of being the skeptic, because its easier. I am in the process of getting a divorce after 22 years of marriage. I am really making that concerted effort to change my mindset and make positive changes…thank you.

Reply February 26, 2015, 12:44 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Good! I’m so happy to hear it. It isn’t always easy, somedays you’ll lose the battle and will give in to the feelings of self-pity and sorrow but when you learn how to break through, you gain even greater strength confidence in your abilities to get through anything. I hope you find closure, happiness, and peace.

Reply February 26, 2015, 2:13 pm

Amy Lichtenwalter

This is excellent. I love your posts because while they are supposed to be about attracting the opposite sex, you really are writing about how people should take charge of their life and be the captain of their own destiny and happiness. This is such an excellent article that I am sharing with my 17 yr old who has grown up in a broken home and consequently, feels the world is to blame for her unhappiness. She is a beautiful, exceptionally smart 17 yr old, but is on the path to misery because the sun, the moon and the stars are never aligned just right. Thanks again!!

Reply February 26, 2015, 12:27 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Yes, taking charge of your life is essential, it’s something I wish I knew sooner…probably would have saved me a lot of pain and tears but without all the pain and tears I wouldn’t have so much material to write about so alls well that ends well! I hope the article helps your daughter and that she learns to see herself in the same way you see her.

Reply February 26, 2015, 2:12 pm


Sabrina you absolutely ROCK! I love each and every article. I look forward to receiving each email. Both you and Eric have changed my perspective on life, love and relationships. Thanks so much for all that you do!

Reply February 26, 2015, 12:25 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Thank you for sharing! It really means a lot to me to hear that :)

Reply February 26, 2015, 2:10 pm


As always, excellent thought provoking article – 6 months following a devastating break up, your’s and Eric’s words have played a part in my recovery. I just finished a fantastic book on toxic thinking “Why Can’t You Read My Mind” by Jeffrey Bernstein and now on to my next self topic, overcoming abandonment. I feel I am stronger, better and wiser for my most recent loss but damn if I will never accept that we were not right for each other had she only talked with me and had been open to working on long standing issues I never saw until she left me. Anyhow, keep up the awesome writing, we all deserve a life of happiness and love. Namaste

Reply February 26, 2015, 12:16 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Thank you for sharing JT. I know as well as anyone how agonizing it is to get through a breakup so I feel for you. It takes time and it takes inner work and it sounds like you’re on the right track and I hope you’re able to quickly get to a place of peace and clarity. I actually haven’t heard of that book but will be sure to check it out, sounds very interesting!

Reply February 26, 2015, 1:46 pm


great blog

Reply February 26, 2015, 3:48 am


Such a wonderful post, as always. This line in particular stuck out to me: “Everyone’s life is made up of a unique combination of abundance and need, and everyone is just trying to bridge the gap and attain a happy balance.” Thanks for sharing such great insights in this piece. I love this site!

Reply February 25, 2015, 9:38 pm

Sabrina Alexis

That’s actually my favorite line in the article as well. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the article and that it resonated with you, thanks for sharing!

Reply February 26, 2015, 11:52 am

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