“Why do I suck at life?”
Yes, that question sounds harsh and negative. You probably don’t know why you’re feeling this way.
Or maybe you do, but you’ve stopped trying to explain it to anyone else.
The last thing you want right now is to be told to “snap out of it.” It’s not that simple.
It’s hard to know what to do when life sucks, because your brain is in the thick of it, too. The good news?
Any of the 11 tips in this post can help you step out of that fog.
Look through them all before you choose one to focus on today.
Why Does My Life Suck?
Raise your hand or nod if any of these scenarios sound familiar:
Any of these could be the reason you’re thinking, “My life sucks!” And this isn’t an exhaustive list.
You’re probably thinking of more personal reasons you’re disappointed with your life right now.
But you don’t have to just take it and stay miserable. You’re stronger and more resourceful than you give yourself credit for.
You can make things better.
What to Do When Your Life Sucks: 11 Simple Fixes
You’re probably wondering, “How can I fix my life?” After all, it’s one thing to accept that your life sucks right now, but it’s another to just give up completely.
The following list details 11 ways to make yourself happier when life sucks. Maybe not all of them will resonate with you. But all you need is one to get you started.
1. Change your focus.
We’ve all been there. You get caught up in thoughts like, “My life used to be better,” or “I wish I could go back in time.”
Of course, pondering and accepting your losses is an important step in changing your life for the better. But when you obsess over your failures, you’re not leaving room for self-improvement.
Make a list of everything you’ve done that makes you proud.
True happiness will come when you accept that your life is made up of phases, and no two will look exactly the same. You can’t go back to the happiest time in your life.
But you can find different ways to make yourself even happier.
2. Change your thinking.
Speaking of different ways to make yourself happier, a lot of that comes from different ways of thinking about where you are right now.
Reframing is about looking at your mistakes, your flaws, and anything you want to fix in your life and thinking about it differently.
You’re not making those things go away. You’re just changing how they affect you.
You can’t erase your mistakes, but you can use what you learned to do better. You can’t erase the pain your hardship has put you through, but you can be grateful that it’s made you more empathetic toward others in the same or similar situations.
How you think about the things you’re focusing on makes all the difference in your mood and in what you do next.
3. Ask yourself some pointed questions.
Ask yourself questions that change your focus or help you look beyond the surface of your situation.
Here are some examples:
Whenever you’re tempted to think, “There’s no way to make my mess of a life better,” ask yourself why, and be honest with your answers.
Use questions to shine some light on those dark thoughts, so you can see what’s behind them. And ask yourself what’s most important to you in this life.
4. Let it out.
It’s critical to your overall health that you find an outlet for your emotions, as well as for your ideas and creative impulses.
Maybe for you, a journal is the best way to unload your thoughts and feelings, so you can sort through them and gain a better understanding of where you are.
If you’re looking for feedback on your venting, welcome to the club. Everyone needs a good therapist.
That nervous energy needs a physical outlet, too.
Whatever outlets you choose, give yourself permission to be frustrated or angry, or to grieve what you’ve lost.
You’re allowed to feel it without judging yourself. Just don’t let it consume you.
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5. Practice self-care.
Who has time for self-care, right?
Every time you take a moment to nourish yourself, you feel as though you’re slacking off and falling further behind.
As you’ve overheard Boss Baby tell his diapered cohorts, “Cookies are for closers.”
Naturally, you feel you should be hustling your day away to make life better for yourself and the people who depend on you.
You’ll save that shower for after you finish your to-do list. Maybe you’ll work later instead of relaxing with your family.
But if you burn out — which is exactly what you’re doing — nobody wins.
Ask yourself what you’d recommend to someone you love who was struggling and who had stopped taking care of themselves. Then take your own advice.
6. Spend more time with people who help you grow.
The people you hang with have a tremendous influence on your mood, your mindset, and how you spend your time (and money).
If you’re the average of the people you spend the most time with, think about the person you want to be. Then spend more time with people like that.
You don’t even have to meet them in person. Talk over the phone, or use video chat. You can even text each other or keep up the conversation with an email. Social media is another place to connect with people who inspire you to learn more and improve your life.
Don’t forget what you can learn from books, too. It’s not the same as a real-time conversation. But written words can still have a powerful influence on your internal dialogue.
So, whose words, company, and example do you want more of in your life?
7. Practice the magic of optimism (without being a Pollyanna).
To be an optimist, you have to look for good things in every situation. But this doesn’t mean ignoring the bad, or even trying to frame a bad thing as a good thing.
The optimist can spot the one flower in a charred landscape. Healthy optimists just know not to shove it in other people’s faces.
If you’re an optimist, you focus less on how full the glass is and more on how the drink made you feel or on what you gained by drinking it.
The caveat? There is something called toxic positivity.
Healthy optimists know when to acknowledge losses. If a friend is crying, you don’t tell her that she has no reason to be sad. If someone expresses frustration, you don’t tell them to smile.
You offer warmth over positivity and acceptance over avoidance.
8. Revise your expectations.
Dartmouth professor David Blanchflower learned something interesting from studying humans in 132 countries. Turns out all humans (along with primates) “experience a U-shaped happiness curve.”
In developed countries, that low point hits at 47.2; in developing nations, it’s 48.2. The good news? After that low point comes a rebound.
The better you know yourself, the fewer illusions you have, and the easier life gets.
Wisdom makes life better. The more you focus on knowing yourself, what you’re capable of, and what you love, the less time you spend worrying about things you can’t control.
You take a deep breath and notice more about what’s going on around you in the present moment. Then, you do what you can.
9. Learn something new.
If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, or computer coding, or how to build a bookcase, why not start learning now?
You don’t have to spend a lot to learn, either. Check your phone’s app store for free or low-cost learning tools. Or check out the video tutorials on YouTube.
If you’re ready and able to buy an online course, check out websites like Udemy.com. They have frequent sales on their courses and a wide variety to choose from.
Or join a social media group that uses videos to teach members something that interests you — whether you’re writing a book, starting a garden, or taking on an exercise challenge.
Find something that excites you, and make time for it. Never stop learning.
10. Create something.
Even if it’s not to save money, creating something useful or fun to look at gives you the mood boost that comes with accomplishing something meaningful.
Maybe your first creation will be a gift for someone you love. Or maybe you’ll make yourself something you’ve always wanted.
Don’t expect your first attempt to be anything near flawless. You don’t need perfection.
And the more time and energy you put into learning and practicing, the more skilled you’ll become, and the better your results will be.
Keep creating, even if you end up pivoting toward something else. The point is to enjoy it.
11. Keep moving forward.
Instead of asking, “Why me?” ask “What now?” What can you do right now to make this day better? It’s okay to start small.
But focus on what you can do — not on what you wish you could. Make a plan for your long-term goals, break it down into smaller objectives, and take daily action toward one after the other.
Don’t expect immediate results. But give yourself something to look forward to.
Keep learning. Keep finding ways to apply that knowledge for a good that’s bigger than you. Identify your passions, and do more of what lights you up inside.
And celebrate every win — even the small ones.
Now you know what to do when life sucks. Where will you start?
Now that you know 11 of the best things to do when your life sucks, which one will you focus on today?
Whatever you start with, know that you’re not alone in feeling the way you do.
Sometimes, all you have to do to find others struggling with the same thing is to put it into words and make them visible to others — maybe on your blog, or maybe in a social media post.
Don’t feel that you have to do this. But know that the more people see your words, the more people you’ll meet who know something of what you’re going through.
And they’ll know they’re not alone, either.