Much is written and said about how to be happy. Practice your faith. Spend time with people who care about you. Get a dog. Count your blessings. Help somebody. Cultivate a hobby. Laugh more.

Good ideas, all. But they may not work for you. The most reliable way to increase your happiness is to be less miserable: remove something from your life that makes you unhappy.

Here are some candidates:

12 Reliable Ways to Be Miserable

  1. Live for praise and gratitude.
  2. Commute a long way to work by automobile.
  3. Expect people to change.
  4. Don’t get really, really good at some little thing.
  5. Isolate yourself from others.
  6. Spread yourself a mile wide and an inch deep (aka “crazy busy”).
  7. Be full of regret.
  8. Stay in a toxic relationship
  9. Don’t sleep enough.
  10. Live in the past, or the future.
  11. Procrastinate on the important things.
  12. Find a job you don’t enjoy and stick with it (bonus: abusive boss)

Life gives you your portion of misery regardless of what you do. Eliminating additional, self-inflicted misery is the simplest way to be happier.

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