5 Sneaky Reasons You're Unhappy And Stressed Out

Turn that frown of yours upside down.

5 Sneaky Reasons You're Unhappy And Stressed Out getty

By Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy.D.

You have a busy, fulfilling life. You have much about which to be proud. You are smart, street savvy, confident and determined, everyone says so. "Then why," you wonder to yourself, "do I feel so stressed out and unhappy?

Regardless of whether you are young or old, married or single, working outside, working from home, or are a stay-at-home mom, when asked what makes you unhappy and stressed, the concerns and complaints are quite consistent. 


While you may not know how to deal with stress in a productive and positive way, these five stressors all translate into feeling overworked and overwhelmed. Once you understand that you're adding to your stress levels, you can make a change for the better.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Eliminate Everyday Stressors That Ruin Your Mood


1. You don't have enough time to get everything done.

Not matter how many hours there are in a day and how much you are able to accomplish, most of us still feel like there is always more to be done. The simple solution? Accept the reality that no matter how much time you have available, you will always feel this way.

Start by making a list of everything you need to do. Rank-order each of the items. Create a schedule for yourself. Allot an estimated amount of time to each task.

You must be honest with yourself about how long it will take to complete each item on your list. Also ensure that you only include the most important items. Be clear about how many tasks you can complete in a given day. It is also important that you schedule down time for yourself.

2. You don't make room in your schedule for "me time."

You spend your days being pushed and pulled in so many different directions that some days you are unsure if you are coming or going. Take a deep breath because there is a simple solution.


If you don't feel like you can make the time, you simply have to take it. Remember that schedule you made for yourself? Include time for yourself. Don't be surprised when you realize that when you reserve time for yourself, you actually work more effectively and efficiently. It cuts down on stress, and when you are less stressed you are more productive.

3. You don't sleep enough.

Do you feel tired all the time? You are not alone. Perhaps sleep is simply not a priority. Even when you do set aside more time for sleep, do you find yourself tossing and turning, replaying your day, and thinking about what you should have done or could have do better?

Get more sleep. This is easier said than done, but here are some helpful hints to ensure that bed time includes peaceful sleep.

  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Even if the time you hit the hay varies, your pre-bed ritual should stay the same.
  • Refrain from overtaxing yourself right before bedtime. Avoid working out or engaging in stimulating activities. Read a book. A warm cup of milk or decaffeinated tea can also be quite soothing. Try chamomile since its naturally soothing properies will help you feel calm and peaceful.
  • Try a simple trick. If you find yourself unable to sleep because you are too caught up in your own worries, take a washcloth and run it under very cold water. Get back into bed and lie down with the washcloth covering your face for up to 15 minutes. After you have done this, turn off the light and go to sleep. There is physiological explanation for why this trick works, but you needn't be burdened with the details.

RELATED: 4 Science-Backed Ways To Deal With Stress (That Are Actually Fun)


4. You feel lonely.

There is a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. You can find yourself surrounded by family and friends and still feel lonely. The top reasons many women report feeling lonely is because they see themselves as unlucky in love. The stress of an intimate relationship gone awry and/or the lack of a relationship altogether can take a toll, and lead to dissatisfaction and disappointment with yourself and the world around you.

The solution to this one is not usually so simple. If you are unhappy in an existing relationship, ask yourself why. Maintaining an intimate relationship, regardless of whether you are married, takes work. Once you are over the exciting and romantic "getting to know you" stage, relationships can feel stale and too routine unless they are tended to with care and consideration, much the way you attend to the flowers in your garden.

If you are feeling less then pleased with a relationship, communicate kindly and clearly with your significant other. You may be surprised to find that your partner is feeling this way, too.

If you are lonely because you lack a significant other, remember you have to be "in it to win it." Pining away at home will not getting you anywhere and will probably make you feel worse. If you are prone to picking the wrong partners, take step back and try to figure out why.


There is much truth to the idea that before you feel happy with another you need to feel happy about yourself. As many a songwriter has reminded us, often the one we are looking for is right in front of us. Take a breath, take a pause, and ask if have you been blind.

5. You don't live in the moment.

The sooner you realize there may never be enough time and money, the better off you will be. Enjoy the moment you are in and stop worrying about an hour, a day, a week from now. You really do need to stop and smell the roses. If you are always worrying about what comes next, you run the risk of missing out in the here and now.

Focus on this moment, this second, and savour the good times with family and friends. If living in the moment is not something that comes easily to you, you can learn. Take a yoga class, learn how to meditate, or simply commit yourself to staying into moment.


You posses the power to overcome the stress and unhappiness you are experiencing. You hold the key to you own happiness. The door is right in front of you, so stop stressing, worrying and complaining. Take your fate into your own hands. You are the master of your own universe.

RELATED: 8 Easy Ways You Can Embrace Change Without All The Stress & Anxiety

Dr. Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder is a published researcher, writer, accomplished speaker, and consultant on tween, teen, and young adult issues. She is a contributor to Parenting Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, among many others.