Lack of any of the prerequisites for happiness: The prerequisites of sustained happiness are essential to being happy. If any of the prerequisites are missing in a person’s life then it becomes a cause for unhappiness e.g. if a person does not have good health or sufficient income to meet their basic needs like food, shelter, clothing etc. then she is likely to be quite unhappy. Similarly lack of productive work leads to an emptiness and a feeling of lack of purpose in life, while a bad attitude can make good situations appear bad.


Failure to achieve goals: Steady progress towards meaningful goals induces happiness and conversely the failure to achieve important goals leads to feelings of inadequacy and frustration and thus makes the person unhappy.


Envy: Envy leads to dissatisfaction with one’s own life and situation, since you feel that others are much better off than you. Envy may also lead you to set unachievable goals for yourself, just to keep up with those you envy, and this in turn causes more unhappiness.


Relationship problems: Relationships gone sour are an important cause of unhappiness. Key relationships which turn bad e.g. marital or family relationships, will impinge on your mind most of the time and will prevent you from enjoying almost anything.


Loneliness: It is important to have others to relate to. Not being able to share the happenings in your life with others leads to unhappiness for most people. Monks may be an exception, but most of us have not reached that level of detachment.


Fear of opinion of others: This is a very common cause of unhappiness. People who fear the opinion of others, usually find that even happy circumstances are marred by their constant fear that something will not meet with the approval of their peers or their in-laws. These people are usually living their lives according to the tyranny of others’ opinions and find it difficult to pursue their own happiness.