Everybody has a happiness vampire (or two or three or ten) – those soul-sucking, blood-leaching thought-vampires that steal our peace.

These are negative, irrational, irritating and often habitual thought patterns that not only contribute nothing to producing any helpful solutions to our situation, but also weigh us down into a muck of despair that makes any real mood or circumstance improvement nearly impossible to accomplish.

Happiness vampires are embedded into our minds like parasites, working to slowly drain our vitality and happiness. They sneak up on us when we least expect it, catching us off guard and stopping us dead in our tracks.

Sometimes we don’t even know they are there, leaching out our joy and warmth until we are pallid, weak versions of our potential selves dwelling in our dark places. We become victims to the voices in our heads.

Here are 10  sneaky, soul-sapping vampires to watch out for and protect yourself against.

Happiness Vampire #1 – Wishing you were somewhere else

I once read a quote that went something like this, “It is only irritating to think you’d rather be somewhere else, here you are now.” This truth is spot on. You are (most likely) choosing to be where you are, so wishing you were somewhere else is only going to make you feel miserable about your choice.

Happiness Vampire #2 – Watching the clock for the day to be over

The tedious habit of watching the clock keeps us from experiencing the present moment in its complete richness and vividness. It blocks us from seeing the good that is before our eyes right now and makes us a slave to time.

Happiness Vampire #3 – Needing others to accept you

When we pine for the acceptance of others we will always be disappointed. True happiness rests in developing the skill of accepting ourselves, as we are now, rather than trying to get others to accept us.

Happiness Vampire #4 – Lacking gratitude for what you have

It’s good to have goals and want more from life, but forgetting how blessed we are now is a serious drain on happiness. Gratitude is a practice that requires effort, but it pays off in a big way by highlighting the good you already have and raining even more blessings down on your life.

Happiness Vampire #5 – Setting yourself up for failure before you begin

You know how this goes, “Oh this day is going to be awful, how am I going to get through work? I am SO tired!” How many times have we woken up and immediately predicted the worst outcome for our day before we have even engaged in it?

Happiness Vampire #6 – Taking on other people’s negative feelings

We all know people who love to dump their emotional garbage on us. They complain, compare, and criticize relentlessly. Verbal vomit all over our nice outfit. Yeah, time to stop making ourselves a receptacle for those kinds of trashy interactions.

Happiness Vampire #7 – Holding back tears when you need a good cry

Life is HARD – being a human on this planet is one of the most challenging things ever. If we hold in all our emotion and never allow it to flow through us, we will carry heavy emotional baggage with us everywhere we go. Sometimes all it takes is a good cry to release a little bit of that weight.

Happiness Vampire #8 – Trying to impose your values onto other people

When we have something that is so amazing and important to us, we naturally want to share it. But when we criticize or judge others because they just don’t get it or don’t value the same things we do, this will always create disharmony. We cannot force others to be any certain way. Trying to make someone be something they are not is disastrous to your happiness and to your relationship with them.

Happiness Vampire #9 – Waiting too long to forgive someone

Everyone has experienced being hurt by another. Resentment and anger is normal in situations where we feel we have been wronged, but when we fertilize this resentment with years and years of constant rumination, we are the ones who suffer. The longer we hold grievances in our hearts, the less likely we can move on and feel at peace regardless of past experiences.

Happiness Vampire #10 – Repressing your need to express something

You’ve got something to say. Sometimes we need to work on refining our choice of words, or wait until we are not overly emotional, but when we have something important to say, it is healthy to say it. To be fully self-expressed is part of a healthy human experience. Be kind, but be brave! Repressing yourself leads to a constant low-level dissatisfaction with how we are showing up in the world.

These are the 10 Happiness Vampires that frequently chase after me.

If you think of any more, write them down yourself. Shine a light on them. Deal with them, or they will keep coming after you.

We cannot simply sweep these happiness vampires under the rug. We cannot pretend they are not there and paint a smile on our faces. We cannot avoid their treacherous reach with positive thinking. Happiness vampires MUST be dealt with. They must be destroyed.

Expanding our awareness to see the patterns of thinking that drain our energy and happiness is a crucial step towards creating vitality in heart and mind. Towards creating habits of positive thinking.  We must see our happiness vampires and confront them if we are to take back our mind power or we will forever be enslaved by these thought-parasites until they leach all the light out of us.

I wield my weapons through questions. When one of those thought vampires takes over my experience, I consider questions like, “Is this thought really true? How can I make the most of my current situation? Who can I connect with right now? What am I grateful for? How can I accept myself and let others be who they are? What good do I want to experience today? What is now called for?”

When I ask open ended questions that challenge my judgment of my circumstances, my perspective shifts. I stop feeling helpless about my situation and start recognizing the power I have to reframe my experience. I shift from the victim-mind to the solution-mind. When we take back our mind-power, we can defeat those happiness vampires!

Which of these happiness vampires show up for you, and what weapons will you use to defeat them?


Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash