You are here: Home » Blog » Happiness

5 Things to Try If You Can’t Find Happiness (With Examples)

by Hugo

Reviewed and fact-checked

We are committed to the highest standards of accuracy and reliability in our content. Every statement made on our website is meticulously fact-checked and supported by authoritative studies.

Read more about our processes here.

Updated on

man reaching for glass ball sky

Everybody around you seems to have it all figured out and looks happy. Yet, here are you: feeling unhappy and unable to find a remedy for your current feeling. You can’t find happiness, yet you don’t know why. If this is you, then you are in the right place.

What to do when you can’t find happiness? There’s not a single road to happiness. There are many roads to a happy life and some are more suitable for you than others. What has worked for others?

  • Determine and write down why you are not happy
  • Try new things to add adventure to your life
  • Set small goals and try to improve yourself one step at a time
  • Don’t give up after a bad day
  • Track your happiness to learn more about it

This article will cover actual methods that others have used to find happiness again. These are not guaranteed methods that you can always apply personally. What I hope to achieve here is to present you multiple perspectives on how others have found happiness again. In the end, you can use these examples to better find your own road to happiness again.

First things first: Eternal happiness doesn’t exist.

The first important thing to realize when talking about happiness is that it’s definitely impossible to be happy all the time. Even the happiest person alive has been unhappy at some point. It’s therefore good to understand that you are not alone when you can’t seem to find happiness. Everybody struggles with this at some point, although some have more difficulties finding happiness again than others.

Actionable steps to find happiness again

If you’re open to trying new things and willing to think positively about the future, you’re able to shorten your road to happiness. I’m hoping the examples in this article can help you find inspiration to start working on improving your situation.

1. Determine why you are not happy

Why am I not happy? Why can’t I seem to find happiness?

I want to encourage you to write these questions down somewhere. Grab a piece of paper, put a date on it, and start writing down these questions and then try to answer them as thoroughly as you can. This allows you to move on to the next part of finding happiness again. Here are some great benefits of writing down these questions and answers:

  • Writing down your challenges forces you to confront them.
  • It allows you to better deconstruct the issues without getting your thoughts distracted.
  • Writing something down can prevent it from causing chaos in your head. Think of this as clearing the RAM memory of your computer. If you’ve written it down, you can safely forget about it and start with an empty slate.
  • It will allow you to look back at your struggles objectively. In a few months’ time, you can look back at your notepad and see how much you’ve grown.

It might not be hard to imagine that people often start journaling when they are in a difficult situation. Even though writing down your thoughts might sound silly, it can have a direct effect on your mentality. Do not underestimate the power of writing down your feelings!

2. Try something new

If you’re unhappy and can’t seem to find your way back to your former self, then you should try something you haven’t tried before.

Think about it: whatever you’ve been doing until now has not resulted in happiness. Despite all the things you tried, you still can’t find happiness. Well, then it sounds pretty logical that you need to find something new to break your routine life, right?

You need to forget about the reasons why you shouldn’t do these new things. There are always reasons to not do something. You have to push through this mental obstacle.

Grab a piece of paper and write down things that you would like to try. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Skydiving.
  • Taking dancing lessons.
  • Telling a person you have feelings for him/her.
  • Ask your manager for a different position.
  • Lose 20 pounds and get more confident about your appearance.
  • Travel to another continent by yourself.

If you need more, here’s a list of new things that you can try.

A fun example: I signed up for my first marathon ever 3 weeks prior to the actual start. I was NOT prepared properly, but I still ran the damn race. It was a perfect way for me to add a little adventure to my life when I needed it!

My point is to not think of the obstacles when writing these down. We’ll tackle these later.

eindhoven marathon finding happiness

This is me on the last mile of my first marathon. I was physically broken but I was in ecstasy when I passed the finish line!

3. Create small goals and improve yourself one small step at a time

I hope you have written down a number of things you’d like to do, without thinking of the many possible obstacles that might keep you from doing these things.

The next step is to re-write these things into smaller steps. Let’s take an example:

Say I want to lose 20 pounds and get more confident about my appearance. I have identified this as a reason for my current unhappiness. But this is quite a big and ambitious goal, don’t you agree? I can think of dozens of reasons why I might fail at achieving this goal: I’m too busy and undisciplined to maintain a diet, I don’t know how to shop for nicer looking clothes, I’d much rather watch Netflix instead, etc, etc.

You can take away these concerns by dividing such a big goal into smaller steps.

Let’s keep using the same example. Instead of the big goal of losing 20 pounds and getting confident, I’m going to divide this into bite-sized chunks that are much less intimidating:

  • Walk 30 minutes every day (here’s how much it can impact your happiness).
  • Consume only drinks that contain zero calories (water, black coffee, cola zero, etc).
  • Donate a part of your old clothes to a charity.
  • Smile and greet strangers on the street.
  • Make the bed every morning.
  • Wake up before 08:30 every weekday.
  • Dress up every morning just as you would when you’re going outside.
  • etc.

Notice how these goals seem much easier to accomplish? This makes it much easier to build lasting habits that will slowly transform your life in a great way. This will allow you to find your happiness again.

Waking up early is a simple habit that can allow you to find your happiness again.

4. Don’t give up after a bad day

So you had a bad day last week? Or maybe a terrible week in which you didn’t do anything to improve your situation? Who cares!

We are only human, so we’re bound to experience a bad day every once in a while. It’s important to realize that everybody occasionally experiences a string of bad days in their life. What you need to do when this inevitably happens:

  • Don’t let such a thing set you back
  • Don’t interpret it as a failure
  • Don’t let it stop you from trying again tomorrow

You see, eternal happiness does not exist. Sure, we can try to be as happy as possible every day, but we have to accept that unhappiness is something that we have to deal with on occasion.

So what if you screwed up your plan today? Fuck it! Just do your best to get back into shape tomorrow.

5. Track your happiness in order to find it

I’ve been tracking my happiness for over 9 years now. What does this mean? It means I spend 2 minutes every day reflecting on my day:

  • How happy was I on a scale from 1 to 100?
  • What factors had a significant effect on my happiness?
  • I clear my head by jotting down all my thoughts in my happiness diary.

This daily habit allowed me to constantly learn from my own happiness. By looking back at my happiness journal, I can learn everything there is to learn about my own happiness. This is how I purposefully try to steer my life in the best direction possible. And I believe you can do the same!

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

Cheat Sheet Download Thumbnail Clean

This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Be Happier and More Productive

Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 unique tips for your mental health.

Wrapping up

So are you having problems finding your happiness? Here’s what I want you to try:

  • Determine and write down why you are not happy.
  • Try new things to add adventure to your life.
  • Set small goals and try to improve yourself one step at a time.
  • Don’t give up after a bad day.
  • Track your happiness to learn more about it.

This has helped me – and many others – to find happiness again. And I believe you can do the same.

I hope this short article has been either inspiring or informative. If you have something different to add – like your own experience – then I would love to hear it in the comments below!

Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

Leave a Comment