(And don’t tell me you don’t want to be miserable. I’m pretty sure you’re already doing at least a few of the things on this list…)
- Turn Molehills Into Mountains
When your printer jams, it’s not just annoying, it’s a disaster. When your car develops an odd rattle, it’s not just normal wear and tear, it’s clearly going to cost a fortune to fix. When your son swears at you, it’s not just a bit of acting out, it’s the first sign of junior delinquency.
However small your problem, magnify it until it becomes overwhelming. You can only be properly miserable when you have huge problems.
- Dwell On It
Now that you’ve got a big problem, make sure you dwell on it. Let it fill your waking thoughts. Let it spoil your time with your partner or family. (And make sure you keep bringing it up in conversation so everyone knows how awful you’re feeling.)
Imagine all the worst-case scenarios that could result. Lie awake at night, dreaming up new ones.
- Worry About Things You Can’t Change
Of course, problems that you can solve can only make you miserable for so long – eventually, you’ll either fix them or they’ll melt away of their own accord. So you need to worry about things that you have absolutely no control over.
And you’re in luck: there’s a ready stock of these things on the daily news. Just switch on CNN, and start worrying…
- Let Everything Mount Up
Whenever there’s something which might cause you stress – unanswered emails, unpaid bills, your taxes, your Christmas cards – let it mount up. Leave your bills unopened for months. Shove all your receipts straight into one big envelope. Don’t bother updating your address book until December 15th.
This habit is self-reinforcing: the more the pile grows, the more reluctant you’ll be to tackle it. And guess what? The bigger it is, the more it’ll prey on your mind. An easy way to make yourself miserable.
- Blame Other People
To be truly miserable, you mustn’t take responsibility for any of your problems. Blame your parents. Blame society. Blame the government. Blame your boss. Blame your big sister. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter who you blame. Just so long as you’re clear that you aren’t to blame at all – meaning you couldn’t possibly have any power to change the situation.
Of course, to make sure that everyone else is just as miserable as you, be vocal, and tell people that it’s all their fault that your life is so screwed up.
- Beat Yourself Up
Once you’re bored of blaming other people, start beating yourself up. Listen to that little voice in your head which says that you’re stupid and lazy. Let it go on and on until you believe it. Blame yourself for mistakes you made twenty years ago. Blame yourself for not being 100% perfect.
This is a fast, easy and reliable way to become miserable and to stay miserable. If you do it well, you’ll be convinced that you have no power to change yourself.
- Complain, Whine And Grumble
When you’re miserable, let the world know about it. Complain to your co-workers about the food in the staff canteen. Whine to your friends about your long hours, aching back and credit card debt. Grumble about the weather, the price of gas, the media, the government.
If every word that comes out of your mouth is a negative one, you’ll be doing a great job of maintaining your miserable mood – and dragging down everyone else’s mood to match it.
- Never Accept Help
Inevitably, your whining will cause someone to offer some help. Perhaps a friend at work says he’ll help you out with your paperwork, or your partner offers to do your tax return for you. Maybe your sister says she’ll look after the kids one Saturday to give you a break.
Always insist that you don’t need help. Make yourself believe that the person offering couldn’t possibly lighten your burdens … and make sure they know that they’ve stepped out of line by being willing to lend a hand. (They won’t offer again.)
- Follow The Path Of Least Resistance
Whenever you have to make a decision, just follow the path of least resistance. It’s easier to stay in your current crap job than to hunt around for something better – so stay where you are. It’s easier to grab take-out rather than cook, so keep doing it (and make sure you feel thoroughly miserable about the effect on your wallet and your health).
If you’re feeling demotivated, lethargic and dispirited, don’t fight it. Let yourself spend the whole weekend sitting around in your pyjamas, playing video games. Then beat yourself up (see number 6) for not getting anything useful done.
- Never Take A Break
Sometimes, the path of least resistance doesn’t lead to duvet days and general apathy – it means carrying on with life at your current reckless rate. Keep working ridiculous hours; lack of sleep will contribute to your misery. Laugh at anyone who suggests a vacation – and tell them (or at least think to yourself) that they’re slackers for wanting a couple of weeks off.
Make sure you’re burning the candle at both ends – and hating it. Go to bed miserable, and wake up miserable. What more could you want?
I’m hoping you’ve not taken the advice in this article too seriously! If you’ve got a “how to be miserable” tip to add, pop it in the comments. Even better, if you know a great way to cheer up and get some perspective, let us know that too…