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5 Reasons You May Not Be Happy and What to Do about It

Mindfully Sitting with ShameTake a breath. Sit quietly for a moment. Close your eyes, and ask yourself if you are happy. Take your time.

For many of us, something inside of us is asking for more. Something is asking us to pay attention.

Here are five reasons you may not be happy, and five things to do about it.

1. Acceptance.

Acceptance, while necessary, may be used as an excuse. How do you know if acceptance has gone wrong? Look at what’s happening in your life right now. If it’s not what you say you want, then your life is trying to tell you something. Acceptance is meant to give you truth, not cover up the truth, and you are allowed to take action.

2. Close your eyes and notice what it’s like in there.

Happiness is not in the visible world where your eyes are open. Happiness is internal.

Let’s say happiness is another planet. In order to arrive, you have to leave behind anger, resentment, doubt, fear and worry. They cannot exist in the world of happiness. You can choose to travel with them, but you can’t get in the world of happiness with them; you simply won’t arrive.

Notice what your internal world looks like and start doing some internal housecleaning.

3. Medication.

Ask yourself if the medications you take are helping you to be happy. If not, talk to your doctor. Ask to be educated on the thousands of ways your mind and body are capable of producing happy hormones naturally.

Why do most medications for depression, anxiety, and stress not work in the long term or cause new problems along the way? Because they don’t ask you to change anything. They don’t ask you to do anything and you don’t get to experience the depths of connection, potential, and joy of which you are capable.

4. You’re scared and lazy.

Maybe you don’t want to exercise. Or you don’t want to educate yourself on health and nutrition. Or you’re afraid to change jobs. How would your life change if you did exactly what you were afraid or too lazy to do?

Simply owning your truth takes courage, and the good news is now you have the power to make change.

5. You haven’t decided to be happy.

So much joy and happiness is available every day. Maybe you forgot. Maybe you gave up on yourself along the way, or you stopped listening to that voice that used to tell you there’s more.

Take some time to reconnect with that voice. Look at your life now, and look at all the ways there can be more. Where can there be more courage? More peace? More kindness? More excitement? More love? More action? More health? More relationship? More of whatever your heart is trying to tell you?

All you have to do now is cultivate a habit of listening and paying attention (easily done with mindfulness practices) and your life will guide you in your personal pursuit of happiness. Keep listening, keep taking action, and you will arrive.

5 Reasons You May Not Be Happy and What to Do about It

Laura C Meyer

Laura C. Meyer, MS, specializes in therapeutic mindfulness for mental and behavioral health. She currently maintains a private studio in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Center for Wellness and Change. More about Laura at

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APA Reference
Meyer, L. (2018). 5 Reasons You May Not Be Happy and What to Do about It. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 27 Feb 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.