Do you feel like your life sucks? Here’s how to make it better.

Life isn’t always butterflies and rainbows. At times it may not even feel okay.

When you’re experiencing a string of misfortunes or setbacks, doesn’t it seem to be an excellent time to ask yourself, “why does my life suck?”

This feeling of negativity is no bueno. When we find ourselves dealing with this sense of helplessness and hopelessness we increase our stress levels, which upsets the body’s hormone balance and depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness.   

But look, it happens. If it has and you’ve found yourself in a place where you’re wondering why the world has dropped a rain cloud over your head that you just can’t seem to shake, you’re not alone.

When you find yourself in a rut, you just need to see life differently. This is something that I know you can do!

So, let’s go over the most common reasons why your life can feel like it sucks. Then let’s explore realistic ways to make it better. This way, you can put an end to your misery and start looking forward to better days.

Why is my life so bad?

There are a number of reasons that your life may feel sucky, but the good news is that we are often in control of the circumstances that have us feeling so blue. The feelings of helplessness or hopelessness are often just that – feelings.

When sifting through things that upset you, you’ll realize that most of these are under your control.

Let’s look at the possible causes:

Unfortunate financial situation.

Constantly feeling like you’re living paycheck to paycheck? Sacrificing things in life because money is too tight? Or maybe you’ve fallen behind financially?

Money is a struggle for many people, even those who are doing well and just struggle with money management.

Consider this: More than half of American consumers (56%) said they are living “paycheck to paycheck,” according to Jungle Scout’s Consumer Trends Report, and 48% have experienced unexpected financial setbacks in the last 3 months.

If money is a source of stress and worry for you, you’re not alone.

Social pressure.

Research shows that spending time on social media leads to depression. And the reason behind it is not rocket science. If you want to know why some people are insanely happy, that’s because they don’t exist on social media.

You see, hanging out on those platforms causes you to see how other people are doing. And the more you know, you can’t help but think of how you are doing. From that end, you begin firing self-doubts that lead to misery.

Here are some examples:

  • “He went to a highly-recognized school and seems like he’s got his whole life figured out. I don’t even know what I’ll be doing this week.
  • “At 24, she’s already established herself. She has a great career, family, and friends. I don’t have any of that.”
  • “The last time I saw my high school buddies was nine years ago. Looks like they went backpacking, and I wish I also went with them.

Toxic environment.

A toxic environment is one that just destroys any sense of calm and leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Think…

  • A kitchen sink and counter covered with dishes and other stuff that has been collected in the space, making your kitchen a cluttered, unclean mess. Ugh.
  • A living room that is littered with mail, kids’ toys, and clothes that need to be put away.
  • An office space that looks like it was hit by a tornado.

So, if you’re living in a place like this, you’re in a toxic environment and it’s no wonder why you feel as if your life sucks. Having unpleasant elements surround you is a surefire way of inviting stress where it’s not needed. The more time that you spend in spaces like this, the more stressed and helpless you start to feel.

Your workplace can be toxic, too. The reality is that we spend a lot of time at work. If you work for an employer that doesn’t take care of the workplace and doesn’t offer employees an opportunity to grow and feel a sense of challenge and accomplishment, take it as a sign that you should leave. For all you know, you are working to be a corporate zombie.

Read more: Work got you stressed? Let’s fix that!

Health issues (due to poor lifestyle choices).

If you have health issues, it can be the main reason why you think your life sucks. And if these health issues are due to your poor lifestyle choices, that’s on you.

This mostly involves a lack of physical activity, where you spend too much time in front of a TV or computer. It can also be related to poor nutrition, whether that’s what you eat or poor habits such as drinking or smoking.

Both physical activity and nutrition play a tremendous role in our mental well-being and how we feel about ourselves.

If this is the boat that you find yourself in, consider yourself lucky. Once you’re aware that making poor lifestyle choices is doing you harm, you can decide to take charge.

All you need to do is to ditch the unhealthy lifestyle and start living better!

Fear of taking risks.

To move forward in your personal and professional life, you need to take risks. When was the last time you took a chance? Applying for a job promotion? Trying a new fitness class? Going back to school? Asking out the cutie that you’ve bumped into several times?

If you can’t even name a single time, then there’s the problem: Your fear of taking risks.

Here’s a closer look at the causes of that fear:

  • Not wanting to leave your comfort zone. Pursuing something requires effort and can bring some inconveniences into the equation. If you’re not up to giving in to the requirements, then it’s why you have that fear.
  • No clarity. You don’t really know what your goal is or where to start.
  • Past failure. If you failed when you took a particular risk before, you might consider yourself a failure. But here’s how you can redefine the situation: Take the risk again.

What to do when life sucks.

Now that you’ve had a chance to draw some lines to the areas of life that are dragging you down, you’re ready to do something about it.

Doing something is really important. Did you know that inactivity can contribute to negative feelings?

So, when you feel like you’re falling apart, do something proactive. Years from now, you’ll pat yourself on the back for doing so.

Go to the root of the problem (and fix it!)

The key to moving forward and changing how you feel about life is to get to the root of the problem and then act to fix it.

For example – you work in a crappy work environment and have a dead-end job. It might be time to move on. Dust off your resume, get some help making sure it’s updated, and apply for a new job in a field or with a company that gets you excited.

Beyond taking action, here are other ways you can fix the problem:

Cut your losses.

But while there’s a time to get up and do something about your life, there’s also a time to accept defeat. That’s the first thing that should be on your to-do list when the odds aren’t going in your favor.

If you’re sad because you have that fighting spirit wanting to win, you need to pause at some point. From there, assess the situation and find out the real deal. If it appears you’re about to go down, then be brave to admit it to yourself. Then get yourself together so you could move on – and then try something else.

Here are some ways to accept defeat and cut your losses gracefully:

  • Keep your cool. Yes, you need to be able to stay calm. Whining or throwing tantrums won’t get you anywhere or make you less miserable.
  • Know that you can move past it. See the loss as a tiny setback. Assure yourself that you can quickly bounce back because you can.
  • Find lessons. If you can’t find lessons about the loss on your own, that’s okay. But find someone — a mentor — who can.

Breathe in, breathe out.

It’s called deep breathing. It helps you relax and get in control of your feelings and your worries. 

Shout out to my man, Matty Maggiacomo, the best thing over at Peloton!

The idea is to give yourself room to breathe and be fully aware of what’s bothering you — then have the power over it.

How you play this out is up to you. But to lead the way, here’s a step-by-step guide that you can follow, which is super simple:

  1. Inhale and hold your breath for 10-15 seconds. During this period, think about a problem.
  2. Exhale. And as you release the pent-up air, imagine that you’re also releasing the problem you had.

Read more: Why deep breathing works and its exceptional benefits.

Be in your safe zone.

A reason why you feel down is likely at least partially because of your fear of the unknown. Facing question marks about your current situation or your future makes you feel powerless. And this fear grows more prominent when you don’t have enough time to sort things out.

So, to resolve this, run away to your safe zone. There, spend a moment to think and remind yourself that the fear of the unknown can’t get to you. Plus, nobody can randomly burst in to bother you.

Don’t have a safe zone? Create one! Just find a quiet and noise-free place where you can be alone.

Talk it out.

Bottling your emotions is easy. But you know what else it is? A straightforward approach of making you feel all sorts of bad.

If you keep even the smallest frustrations inside you, they’ll just grow. And those emotions will keep growing until you no longer have any control over them. This is a result of the Snowball Effect, where one thing or situation goes a bit sideways and, before we know it, we feel like we have a wave of anxiety, dread or despair come over us about all aspects of life.

Visit a close friend and fill them in on your situation. Inform them of what’s bothering you. It doesn’t matter if they can’t offer a solution. What matters is that you have them to help you lessen your load – and often times that’s a great place to start. You feel supported and you’re able to unload that burden that’s been weighing on your shoulders like an overweight, irritating parrot.

Just make sure they’re all ears when you’re venting. After getting some things out there, you’ll feel better.

That’s because talking works. If you don’t know why many people pay and see therapists, why not find out the answer yourself?

Be grateful.

Do you ever find yourself wishing that you could be as blessed as somebody else?

If so, that’s probably why you think your life sucks. So instead of focusing on your misfortunes, turn the other way. Then you’ll see that the people and things in your life are worth smiling about. 

It’s a simple way to pure happiness. And it’s why Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other affluent people give to charity.

Aside from reminding you that your life doesn’t suck, gratitude comes with other benefits. And mind you, these benefits are scientifically proven. Here are some of them:

  • Improves sleep – Writing down simple acts of appreciation before bed rewards you with a good night’s sleep. The reason? You are reminding your brain of how grateful you are.
  • More empathy for you – It doesn’t matter if you’re mingling with people who are generally unkind. If you’re a grateful person, you’re more likely to behave kindly.
  • Raised mental strength – Want to combat PTSD and other stress-related problems? Being thankful for all the good in your life will make it happen.

Write in your journal.

You may call it by one of its three names: journal therapy, writing therapy, and journal writing therapy. They all mean the same thing. And they all stay true to the same idea.

And this idea is to put your frustrations out there. It’s like talking to a close friend. But if you don’t have one, let your journal serve as your best friend.

Please use an old-fashioned pen and notebook for this. This way, you won’t be easily tempted to go online. But if you can write better using your computer, then make it happen.

Looking for a journal? Here’s a Chill the Duck Out exclusive that also benefits charity.

Do some physical activity.

Be active to keep your blood pumping and your body in excellent condition. That’s an easy-peasy way to elevate your mood.

The legendary Runner’s High, for instance, has been shown to rewire your brain and uplift your mood.

And a cool thing about it is that it’s free. All you need is to put on some running attire and maybe put on good music. Then off you go.

Take (calculated) risks.

As mentioned earlier, a reason why you feel life sucks is the fear of taking risks. It’s understandable to fear the idea of making huge leaps of faith. But it’s something you need to do so you could get rid of the unwanted emotions. And one of those is regret.

If you struggle with risk-taking, start small. Small risks coach you to be confident enough to take matters up a notch. Pitching an excellent idea that you’ve been tossing around to your boss is an example.

Don’t pay attention to negative comments. Words of discouragement are timewasters. They’ll also discourage you from trying to move forward.

Be ready. It’s hard to succeed in something if you have zero clues on how to pull it off. So, prepare yourself beforehand for the steps you need to take.

Don’t play the victim.

Playing victim = taking the easy way out. 

A reason why you feel like your life sucks is this: You’re embracing The Victim Mentality. You feel as if it’s you against the world despite being the one who’s wrong. 

Look, the world is not against you. And, if you’re willing to go where the proverbial greener grass is, you should ditch that way of thinking.

If you’re at fault, you should own up to it. Going through life, thinking that you’re always right will harm you later on. Look, sometimes we’re just wrong. After all, it keeps you from seeing things as they really are.

Here are some things you can do to stop playing the victim:

  • Take responsibility. Accept consequences and deal with them accordingly. Doing this opens the door for growth to enter.
  • Let go of grudges. It’s sad when people screw you over. But holding onto past grievances slows you down.
  • Trust others. Untrustworthy people exist. But if you don’t have any concrete evidence that the person in front of you fits the bill, then look the other way. And learn to trust them.

Reminder: This is temporary. And there is a brand-new day tomorrow.

Remind yourself that the feeling of your world falling apart is only temporary. For all you know, something positive could happen tomorrow that will forever change your life for the better.

So, you’ve had it tough today. Cut yourself some slack. As soon as a new day rises, your fate may turn around.

Besides, difficulties are signs that something good is heading your way. Just wait it out. And the classic Latin saying “Per Aspera Ad Astra” (through hardships to the stars) is with you on this.

See the silver lining.

Silver linings are practically everywhere, and you can easily get your hands on them. That is if you’re an out-of-the-box thinker and you can appreciate that they come unexpectedly.

Here’s an example:

You realized you didn’t get an email that you were supposed to receive five days ago. So instead of giving in to your frustrations and whining about it, you go to your email account and re-check your inbox. You then search for that particular email in your spam, junk, and other folders.

And while you were looking in your spam folder, you discovered another email meant to head to your inbox. What was in that other email, you ask? An invitation to interview for the job that you’ve always wanted! 

Improve your relationships.

Did you know that to get approval for an organ transplant, hospitals require you to enlist a support system? This is because they know how difficult having a new organ can be. And having family and friends to support you can lessen that difficulty.

That’s how it should also be for you. If you say your life sucks, your support system is there to prove you wrong. 

So, welcome people into your life. And remember to cultivate your relationships. Take care of them, so when you need it the most, you’ll be surprised at how quickly they’ll reciprocate the gesture.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Spend quality time with people that you care about. Commit to having time to hang out with your loved ones. If you need to tweak your schedule to make it happen, then that’s what you should do.
  • Always hear them out. It doesn’t matter if what they have to say seems silly to you. Not hearing them out will make them feel as if they’re not worthy of your time.
  • Start engaging in new hobbies together. Go camping, visit theme parks, or check out museums, if you want. Doing so keeps them engaged.

Welcome a pet.

Puppy Behind Bars is a program meant for prison inmates to raise and train puppies. These puppies then go to wounded war veterans and other government-facilitated groups. 

Without a doubt, the program benefits future owners. But it also benefits the prisoners who’ve helped raise and train these puppies.

Therefore, another thing you can do is to get a pet, too. If you’re not a fan of puppies, consider kittens. Welcome the cutie into your life. Then raise and train him/her. Doing so will make you feel better mentally. Having your new companion around will comfort you and make you feel safer.

Aside from that, here are the other benefits of a pet:

  • Improved physical health. Pets like to run around. And they like you to do it with them. It’s a good thing because it keeps you active.
  • Improved self-esteem. Having something to care for improves how you see yourself. It reminds you that you’re great at helping another grow.
  • Better social skills. You can bring your pet to the park to interact with others like him. And as you do that, you get to shake hands with other pet owners, too!

Change your perspective in life.

And if there’s no apparent cause of your misery, then you need to polish your mindset. Your brain dictates practically every action you make, so now is the time to give it some credit.

It’s responsible for how you see the world. If you used to see it in a glass-half-empty sense, then why not make a change? After all, you are in control.

Does life suck? Think again.

“The way of a harmonious spirit” is the English translation of the Japanese martial art called Aikido. In it, you’re encouraged to use the energy of external forces to work for you. The goal? Find harmony. 

Its philosophy is very useful during a crisis — personal or otherwise. And many studies can support it.

If you find yourself feeling like your life sucks, reevaluate your situation and remember Aikido’s philosophy. Maybe things are going wrong for you because you’re causing life to work against you. 

Keep in mind; life is what you make of it. If you make it work for you, you’ll realize that life has something great to offer, too. And you know what? It’s yours for the taking!

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