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Friday, 13 May 2016

The Misery List, Part Six: Strategies to Make Things Worse

It's out! On May 1 New Harbinger Publications released my latest book, How to be Miserable: Forty Strategies You Already Use. In it, I invite readers to contemplate how they could reduce their happiness and life satisfaction if, for some reason, that was their goal.

Why bother? Most of us spend much of our lives trying to arrange things so that we feel happier and more contented with our lives - and often we feel stuck or frustrated. We never ask ourselves how we could feel worse. But doing so can illuminate a road that runs in both directions. By understanding how we could lower our mood, we can often see more clearly how to raise it.

Here are the answers from 10 more attendees at these talks. Look at the repetition in the answers - despite the fact that people fill in the survey BEFORE the talk.


  • Spend less time with my kids
  • Spend more time watching TV/Internet.
  • Stay inside more and only wear figure-hugging clothing when out.

  • Make a list of all of my failings and shortcomings and pin it on the fridge.
  • Call my mother - and hope she has changed!
  • Stay at home, not get dressed, order food in all week, and stop taking calls from friends.

  • Spend more time sitting on my butt.
  • Less face time, more screen time.
  • Striving to be happier.

  • Decrease the frequency of going outside, meeting with friends and family.
  • No physical activity.
  • Worry all the time.

  • Dwell on failures in my past.
  • Fuel resentments against injustices.
  • Give up.

  • Feel that I have to stay home to clean house and cook meals.
  • Do nothing that I like to do or gives me joy.
  • Listen more to others about what I want, instead of myself.

  • Focus on what I don't have, and forget totally about what I have and am happy about having.
  • Focus on what I can't do - my limitations.
  • Follow what others expect me to do or be, and lose or forget about my real self.

  • Conform to society's ideals, not your own, while sitting on the couch and watching TV.
  • Develop a chronic dependency.
  • Never fall in love again, or ever.

  • Become isolated - avoid connections with people and stop spending time with family and friends.
  • Stop being 'healthy' - stop exercising and eating well.
  • Allow myself to dwell on negative thoughts.

  • Eat crap food, lots of it, and stop exercising.
  • Cut off all communication with friends and family.
  • Spend all my money on frippery and run up the credit cards to the max.


What about you? If you could change only three things in the quest for unhappiness, what would YOU do?

How to be Miserable is available for pre-order from Amazon.comAmazon.ca and other online booksellers now.

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