Want To Be Happy? 9 Things to Stop Doing Right Now

July 13, 2014 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Want to be happy? Most want to be happier, but do not know how. Here are 9 things to stop doing to make more room for positive thinking and experiences.

Most people want to be happy, but just don't know how. Many of us make things harder than they need to be. It's a habit that has likely become the norm for you, too. Maybe you've taken on too much at work yet again, found yourself in another unbalanced relationship, or have become stuck in a cycle of negative thinking. All of these can sabotage your happiness and make you feel insecure. There is a part of you that wants to be happy (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this) and I'm going to share some happiness tips to help you achieve that.

Whether you are surrounded by crummy circumstances, frustrating people, or find yourself dwelling on the past, there are things you can avoid doing to actually make room for happiness. As new-agey as that sounds, it works. When you stop doing the things that bring you down, you make room for the things that lift you up. I had to work really hard at it, and often find myself having to adjust my mindset after a stressful day or even two, but it is possible to stop the negative self-talk and feel so much happier.

Perhaps negative thoughts have been the norm for years, or life has felt like a series of sucky events, making it hard to feel anything but insecure. No matter where you are on the positive spectrum, you deserve to be happy.

Want to Be Happy? Then Stop It Already

1. Stop being hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. So when you find that your mind is beating you up, try to talk back. "I am doing the best I can." "I'm learning from mistakes." Don't let the voice of negativity win. Remind yourself that you deserve to be happy (Self-Compassion and Positive Self-Talk).

2. Stop trying to buy happiness. If you like the finer things in life that's wonderful. But keep in mind, no matter how much the shoe, the car, or the house costs, it's not going to be a preferment fix for feeling happy. Before you purchase anything make sure your intention is not to fill an emotional void. If you need it, want it, and can afford it, get it. Buying something to make you feel better about yourself will only result in disappointment and sadness, especially when your credit card statement comes (How to Be Happier).

You can't buy happiness. Here are 9 things you need to stop doing in order to be happy.

3. Stop ignoring the small moments. Enjoy the little things, they add up. The discount you received on a purchase, a smile or "hello" from a stranger, the favor your neighbor did, notice these moments. These are beautiful, positive happy experiences that we often brush off and look for big, grand gestures. Start focusing on what you've already got and the beauty around you.

Discover 9 things people do that destroy their own happiness.

4. Stop ignoring your dreams. I did this activity in one of my groups recently. The adults hadn't been asked what they wanted to do in anything other than their career since they were in diapers. Life isn't just about what your title is or what you're going to be when you "grow-up." In order to build a happy, positive life, think about all the little and big things you want to try and achieve. Try the exercise below, and don't worry about how epic or simple your answers are. Want to learn Spanish or travel to Uganda? Great, get it on paper. Write them all down. It puts your dreams into action.

Most people do not know what it takes to be happy. Stopping these 9 things can be the start of bringing happiness into your life.

5. Stop being mean. The rude comment you made on someone's blog or a judgement about a strangers appearance (even you just whispered it to a friend), spreads some seriously negative vibes. They don't go away. Your body and mind remember the negative feelings. Whats worse, is even if you don't care what others think, it's likely that you're going to feel guilty or "icky" about it later. Try to see other's points of view, and if you disagree do so respectfully. If you find yourself criticizing someone, try to point out something positive too (Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do).

6. Stop looking for happiness from others. If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, it's hard to be happy with anyone else. This isn't easy, it's a process in acceptance. You have to try to create stability in your own life first before you can feel content someone else. Simple acts of self-care can bring about some serious self-love.

Here are 9 things you may be doing that make you unhappy. If you want to be happy, you need to stop these now.

7. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. Re-frame it. Instead of "I don't want to be (fill in the blank: single, jobless, depressed, sad)." Change it to "I am looking forward to the day when I am free from (fill in the blank). Focus on what you do want to happen. Re-frame fears into positive statements about what you desire.

8. Stop Sulking. It's okay to have moments of sadness, but don't get stuck in them. Get outside, call someone, do something that get's you out of your head and miserable mindset and focused on something totally different. It increases serotonin and helps you feel happier fast.

9 Things you need to stop doing in order to be happy

9. Stop frowning. It makes you more likely to be sad, makes others sad, and ages you! Start to focus on smiling even if it's for a second at a silly picture, the cute kid sitting next to you on the bus, or the thought of something wonderful in the future. The small things really do add up to a more happy life.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2014, July 13). Want To Be Happy? 9 Things to Stop Doing Right Now, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

July, 18 2014 at 11:08 am

Excellent article! Very uplifting and inspirational. I'm in my 70's now and after so many years of life - and the people in it - I have found myself feeling so jaded, cynical... and, therefor, not even liking myself! Reading your article, I realize it does take some effort to change my own attitude and I'm going to make some changes!

Maria Charalambous-Zanotto
July, 19 2014 at 10:05 am

Excellent article :-)

July, 19 2014 at 10:55 am

It would be nice if this was printable

Robyn Dickson
July, 19 2014 at 2:01 pm

they say that stuff like you can just turn off a switch and it happens....don't you guys know that I know and have tried to do all that???

July, 20 2014 at 9:12 am

Again, I am new to all this, searching for help. Wow, what a wonderful site. Thank you so much for the advise, help, words of hope, that I am so desperately trying to find.

Patty V
July, 25 2014 at 10:29 pm

Thanks for sharing this information. I’ve been looking for studies to support whether it’s possible to find happiness by exercise, meditation, reading self help books or just by gaining will power to just do things to achieve happiness. So this really added to my knowledge. I appreciate that!

Suzanne Wiedenheft
June, 14 2015 at 7:12 pm

I spent most of my life depressed, especially as a child / teenager in a dysfunctional family. I tried EVERYTHING (drugs, counseling, journaling, praying), but nothing worked until i found my own I AM God Presence. When i finally realized that God is a part of each one of us, and every one of us is a part of God, everything in this life began to make sense. I am reading the books in the Saint Germain Series, and i have proved for myself everything he says. Now i am happy all the time. I never experience stress or worry and i am in excellent health. I AM so grateful for all i have received and for all that is yet to come. Gratitude is the source of happiness.

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