Sorry to break it to you. But life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
Its dark side? It’s just waiting to get out. And when you’re experiencing a streak of misfortunes, doesn’t it seem to be an excellent time to call it quits and say “why does my life sucks?”
Maybe. But one thing’s for sure: You need to see life differently.
So let’s go over the reasons why you feel like your life sucks. Then let’s explore realistic ways on how 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?
You’re not the only one. Lots of people don’t like their lives, too. Some are plain sad. The others — 300 million people around the world, to be exact — are feeling depressed.
Let’s look at the possible causes:
What you can’t change
On the one hand, you can’t do anything to change some things in your life. Call it a stroke of bad luck, if you will. And it doesn’t even matter if you pray or meditate because your bad situation stays still.
But rather than feel bummed out, know that there’s a workaround: Accept your situation.
1. Physical disability
Losing your motor skills due to a car accident, for instance, bites. You start to ask, “Why me?!” when you have four children and a husband to support financially.
Well, there’s no clear answer to your question. And sadly, you have to deal with your situation.
But you know what? Complaining about how you ended up with terrible circumstances won’t add even a dash of sparkle to your life.
What you can do, though, is this: Make the most out of what you have.
Nick Vujicic is just one of the many people who get by with this golden nugget. He was born with no arms and legs, yet he built a wonderful life for himself. If he can enjoy his life, why can’t you?
Whatever your response to the question is, it doesn’t matter. But know that you’re not alone and to cheer you up a bit, here are some facts about people with disabilities:
- Assistive technology is in the works. And with the wonders of technology, more than ⅓ of people with disabilities can live decent lives.
- In the US, about 75 million people have some form of disability. And the same source says that of this number, 17.6% of them were employed.
- Disability shouldn’t stand in the way of living a good quality of life. And the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has your back.
2. Toxic family and friends
The guy who keeps whining about his boss behind his back? A girl who doesn’t stop talking about irrelevant matters? A guy who emotionally manipulates others?
You need to stay away! Surrounding yourself with these and other negative people has terrible, terrible consequences. And studies can stand by the statement that it can cause a heart attack and stroke.
The situation opens up a moral quandary for you, though. What if these toxic people in your life are your family and friends?
So let’s set the matter straight.
You’re powerless over how other people are. You can always try and extend your hand on a friend or family member who’s down.
However, it’s never wise to change them because it can lead to frustrations.
The simple remedy, therefore, is to find some good in them. They have good — if not, great — qualities and you have to fish for them.
Especially at the beginning, it can feel challenging to look for a bright side. But if you want to keep those people in your life, this is the way to go.
What you can change
On the flip side, you’re not always helpless. When sifting through things that upset you, you’ll realize that some of these are under your control.
The solution? Go out there and make a change.
3. Unfortunate financial situation
Can’t afford to buy decent clothes? No car? No gym and club memberships?
If you were born in poverty, it’s understandable how your situation is not worth smiling about. Especially if you see your peers buying whatever they want, a tinge of envy will come to you.
And other than affect your emotions, an unfortunate financial situation can bring itself into the different aspects of your life. These are:
- Financial knowledge – For starters, knowing how the tax system works is your responsibility. But if you can’t afford to pay taxes, you’re doomed
- Health – You can’t afford to seek medical attention. So if you get sick, your only are over-the-counter medications
- Career – Establishing yourself professionally can be a costly investment. So if you don’t have the finances to get it going, you can’t pursue your dream job
4. Pressure from society
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.”
5. Toxic environment
Here’s how you paint a sample picture of a toxic environment:
(A) Draw stacks of plates in an area that looks like a living room
(B) Insert guys who smoke and make loud noises
(C) Insert dust-laden desktop computers
So if you’re living in a place like this, you’re in a toxic environment, 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. So if you stay in a toxic environment 24/7, that also means you’re stressed 24/7.
And we’re not just talking about the place you live. Your workplace can be toxic, too.
If it doesn’t offer you the opportunity to grow, take it as a sign that you should leave. For all you know, you are working to be a corporate zombie.
6. 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. The World Health Organization says if you keep it up, you’re bound to develop chronic diseases.
Here are some things that you’re doing that need to go:
- Watching TV all day – Just sitting there is an easy way to relax. But doing it more than necessary results in physical inactivity and increases your risk of a heart attack.
- Smoking – It deprives your blood and other organs of oxygen. And without oxygen, they won’t function well.
- Drinking alcohol – The more alcohol you consume, the higher your blood pressure level goes.
But color 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!
7. Fear of taking risks
To move forward in your personal and professional life, you need to take risks. So when was the last time you took a chance? 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 to the equation. If you’re not up to giving in to the requirements, then it’s why you have that fear
- No clarity – You’re confused. You don’t know what your goal is
- 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
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.
Here’s a list of 15 things you can do:
Go to the root of the problem (and fix it!)
Earlier, you looked at the possible causes of your misery. And if what’s causing you to think that your life sucks is one of those causes, then you need to find a way to make it go away. It’s as simple as that.
For example, the practical solution to an unfortunate financial situation is to get a job. And if you must, get a higher-paying job.
Beyond that, here are other ways you can fix the problem:
1. Be in your safe zone
A reason why you feel down maybe 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.
2. 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 anger.
If you keep even the smallest frustrations inside you, it’ll just grow. And keep growing they will until you no longer have any control of it. The Snowball Effect should sound familiar, shouldn’t it?
So 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.
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?
3. Write on 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.
4. Do some physical activities
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 shown to rewire your brain and uplift. It’s also a ticket to an hour or two without anxiety and pain.
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.
5. Take 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.
So here are some things you can do to overcome that fear:
- Start small – Small risks coach you to be confident enough to take matters up a notch. Pitching an out-of-this-world yet an excellent idea to your boss is an example
- Don’t pay attention to negative comments – Words of discouragement are time-wasters. 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
6. Cut 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.
Here are some ways to accept defeat and cut your losses gracefully:
- Keep your cool – 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 off
- Find lessons – If you can’t find lessons about the loss on your own, that’s okay. But find someone — a mentor — who can
Change your perspective in life
And if there’s no apparent cause of your misery, then you need to polish your mindset. If you don’t think your brain dictates practically every action you make, 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?
7. Breathe in, breathe out
It’s called deep breathing. It helps you relax and make your worries go away.
The idea is to give yourself room to breathe and be fully aware of what’s bothering you — then having 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:
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.
8. Be grateful
Do you keep crossing your fingers to 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
9. Tell yourself that you have unlimited potential
If you think you can’t do something, you may be wrong. What’s holding you back could be just an irrational fear. If you made yourself believe that you can only do limited things, then that could be your problem.
So tell yourself this: “I have unlimited potential.” And while you’re at it, do this simple pose:
1. Stand up with your legs hip-length apart.
2. Make sure your chin is facing upwards, and your chest is out.
3. Put your hands on your hip.
It’s called The Superhero Pose. And a social scientist from Harvard bows down to its power. Just 120 seconds of the pose can raise your ability to feel dominant and turn down your stress levels.
10. 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.
Well, 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. 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
11. Set realistic goals
To move forward in life, you need to take risks and aim high. But if you’ve had a history of getting tanked when you’re aiming high, take it as a reminder to redefine your goals.
So don’t set yourself up for failure. And instead, set accomplishable goals and run towards even the smallest bit of success.
Sure, there’s this classic saying that encourages you to “Go big or go home.” But when you’re down, you need to step back and accomplish small wins first. Then when you’re standing in solid ground, you can use those small wins to fuel you for a much bigger success.
Just think of the small wins as the stairs that lead up to the big win. They pave the way for you as you embark on a more promising journey. And to reach your destination, you must take them. No shortcuts.
Want a relatable example? Then look back to your pre-school days, as well as the day you started first grade.
Now, think of your pre-school days as your small wins. You had to show up to school on those days. Otherwise, you probably would have dealt with a lot of trouble once you reached first grade.
12. 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 the 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 him into your life. Then raise and train him. Doing so will make you feel better mentally. Having him 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!
13. “This is temporary”
Remind yourself that the feeling of your world falling apart is only temporary. For all you know, you couldn’t jump high enough to express your happiness tomorrow.
So you’ve had it tough today. But 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” is with you on this.
14. See the silver lining
Silver linings are practically everywhere, and you can 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!
15. 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.
Well, 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 – 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 – Go camping, visit theme parks, or check out museums, if you want. Doing so keeps them engaged
Does life suck? Think again
“The way of a harmonious spirit.”
That’s 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.
So if you feel 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? They’re yours for the taking!