14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Cloe Madanes argues that “…misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it… So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it?”
She even gives some advantages of misery:

• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you…
• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.
• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general…

Here is her list of ways to be miserable:

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss
14 habits of highly miserable people2. Practice sustained boredom
3. Give yourself a negative identity
4. Pick fights
5. Attribute bad intentions
6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain
7. Avoid gratitude
8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety
9. Blame your parents
10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures
11. Ruminate
12. Glorify or vilify the past
13. Find a romantic partner to reform
14. Be critical

Cloe Madanes is teacher of family therapy. “Ultimately,” she concludes, “the therapist is your enemy when trying to cultivate misery in your life. So get out as soon as possible.”

If you haven’t guessed by now she is of course being ironic! Just do the opposite of all these points.

Please read the full article here.

Why Authentically Positive?

Why positive?

Our outlook on life is a key factor to our personal development. An optimistic viewpoint can influence our thoughts, memories and words and help us develop character strengths and result in greater happiness and satisfaction with our life.

authentically positive happiness running with seaguls

Simple exercise such as running with seaguls can promote authentically positive experiences

The 21st century has seen the emergence of positive psychology as a reputable scientific endeavour. It has also seen a growth in the interest of life coaching that seeks to apply many of these positive principles by not just asking people great questions but also by encouraging them to reach for their dreams – striving for the ideal rather than settling the adequate.

Why authentically?

I believe we are also seeing a growth in the need to be authentic. People are becoming more sceptical of hype. There is a longing to be able to be able to have authentic relationships where we can be open and honest with one another.

Martin Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness appears to strike a good balance on this which I find much more helpful than many of the earlier ideas of positive thinking that often fail to take this into account. For instance many earlier writers have emphasised having greater self esteem but in Positive Psychology ideas such as self control are also discussed.

Being authentically positive

In this blog I want to look at a number of topics related to our personal development in the light of these ideas. I want to bring an openness and honesty to them and yet still communicate hope and optimism. In each of these areas I want to tackle some questions that are relevant to everyday life and look at how in each of these areas we can be authentically positive.

  • How do can cope with stress? This is not just an awareness of stress such as what might cause it and what it does to our bodies but also some positive techniques to deal with it.
  • How we can improve our relationships? Generally with everyone we meet but also I want to particularly discuss romantic relationships.
  • How can we develop spirituality? I want to discuss some principles that will be applicable to everyone whether they are religious or not but ultimately I will be coming from a Christian perspective as that is my personal background and belief.
  • What is the impact on our outlook on our health – our mental health and our physical health? For example, how we can deal with depression and how can we control our diet?
  • How can we apply these principles to our parenting? For example, how today’s media affects our kids and how can we manage their behaviour?
  • How to develop our career and improve our job search.
  • I even want to include some thoughts about being authentic and positive about our money.

This list is not exhaustive. This can apply to every area of life. If there is an area that you’d like me to discuss please let me know in the comments below.

Coaching and Mental Health: What is Normal?

I am currently reading A Guide to Coaching and Mental Health by Andrew and Carole Buckley. The first chapter discussed the question of what is normal. It is aiming to explain to coaches what to do if you come for coaching but also have a mental health issue or psychological abnormality.
Now life coaching is not counselling or therapy. It focuses on the positive. Coaching enables you to find your talents achieve your goals and so find meaning and purpose to your life that result in true happiness. It does not focus on the negative. It is not about overcoming what gone wrong psychologically.

The Buckleys are very clear that coaching is designed for people who are well and want to achieve their goals. Its purpose is not to deal with a psychological abnormality. However you may have such issues which you may or may not be aware of these.

How might your coach detect abnormality?

Most are normal as shown by this normal distribution curve

Most are normal as shown by this normal distribution curve

Most people are normal and your coach will start with the assumption that you are psychologically healthy and lack any abnormality unless they observe signs that indicate otherwise. But as the relationship develops they may see clues in your appearance, your behaviour and how you express your thoughts and emotions.

Of course you are unique

Have you always felt you were different? I have. I think most people do. Everyone has their own idiosyncrasies and if you are deviating from the expected social norms it may just be your own style.

A coach should be accepting of people and such little eccentricities should not in themselves necessarily indicate psychological abnormality. I think the Buckley’s would actually agree with this.

Are you functioning well despite circumstances?

They discuss that life can involve distressing situations and overcoming such suffering can be a normal part of life. You may be dealing with stress at work, bereavement or other major life changes. If your responses to these are typical then a coach may provide support as you work on your goals and overcome these problems.

Are you showing signs of dysfunction?

If your distress is greater than might be normally expected then your day-to-day functioning may become impaired. Such dysfunction may alert your coach to a psychological abnormality. A coach will need to take care as if you are failing to function adequately coaching may be ineffective or even harmful.

Are you lacking mental health?

We all may deviate to some degree from ideal metal health. The aim of coaching is to enable you to be fulfilled. So you may need to build your self esteem or work on coping well with stress. But if you are deviating so far from this that there are signs of a psychological abnormality it may not be safe to continue until this is dealt with.

Your coach may get it wrong!

They explain well that such observations are by their very nature subjective. They depend on the social context and the specific environment. Your coach will be affected by his own background when making such observations and will need to be aware of any misunderstanding due to cultural differences.

When might these issues arise?

As your coaching progresses and you begin to move out of your comfort zone to tackle your goals it may be that your coach comes to feel that a psychological abnormality is impacting on your coaching.

You may hit a barrier in your coaching, be trapped by psychological pain, become unbalanced by emotional turbulence or begin show clear signs of a recognisable condition.

How might your coach deal with these issues?

Your coach will probably get you to seek advice from someone who is qualified in a relevant field. You will be better off with a referral to the relevant specialist. There may be little that the coach can do for any condition that may have come to light especially if it has a biological basis.

However while you are undergoing therapy such as medication prescribed by your GP you still may want to talk to a coach. For instance, you may want to work on reducing your stressors, especially if you are on medication that will be reduced after a short period. Hopefully they will have familiarity with your condition and still help.

What do you think?

I am still reading this book. But what I have read so far I have really enjoyed. I hope to post some insights from A Guide to Coaching and Mental Health again. Please let me know what you think about these ideas.

Related Post

What is a Life Coach?

Further Reading

A Guide to Coaching and Mental Health is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk