8 Fun Ways to Make Yourself Completely Miserable
A smiling and enthusiastic fan of the column introduced herself to me the other day in Sarasota, Florida, waving a golden oldie from several years ago. "I loved this one so much, I still have it," she said, "and I made copies to send to my entire family."
Sending columns to loved ones can be risky (who likes to be reminded of their imperfections?), but Harriett survived. She also inspired me to revisit the subject, because making yourself miserable never goes out of style.
We all do it, until one day we decide to stop, and that's the intention of master family therapist, Cloe Madanes, whose books have been translated into over 20 languages.
Her guide to "honing your misery skills" presents simple practices you can use to make your life duller and drearier. Why be happy when you can choose to be pitied? Cool.
"When you're miserable, people feel sorry for you," coach Cloe explains. "Not only that, they often feel obscurely guilty, as if your misery might somehow be their fault. This is good!"
Ready to give up on happiness and start feeling your worst?
1. RUMINATE. This has nothing to do with cows. To ruminate is to spend a great deal of time focused on yourself.
"Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems," counsels Madanes. "This will help you foster a pessimistic view of life. ... The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous."
2. PRACTICE SUSTAINED BOREDOM. Complain a lot about how bored you are. Keep repeating how everything in life is predictable and unexciting. Tell everyone you know so they'll feel they're part of the problem.
"Consider provoking a crisis to relieve your boredom," Madanes suggests. Quit your job. Have an affair. Go on shopping sprees. Or my personal favorite, start meaningless fights with your partner, boss, children and friends. Your level of misery is guaranteed to skyrocket.