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10 Things You Can Do When You Think Life Sucks

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
William Shakespeare

Life is not always great.

At times it may not even feel OK.

When you’ve had several setbacks in a row, bad luck or things aren’t going your way – even though you do your best – then it may feel like: my life simply and honestly sucks.

I think most of us have had days and likely longer periods like weeks or months when we’ve thought about life like this and felt pretty glum and like there’s a personal little rain cloud over your head.

What can you do when that happens?

In this article I’d like to share 10 things that have helped me when I’ve asked myself: why does my life suck?

I hope you find something here that’ll help you out.

Bonus: Download a free step-by-step checklist that will show you what to do when life sucks (it's easy to save as a PDF or print out for whenever you need it during a bad day or week).

1. It’s OK to feel frustrated (but know how to handle it so you don’t get stuck).

When things aren’t going your way then you sometimes get frustrated. That’s natural and OK. So instead of trying to push these emotions away accept and process them.

But also know how to not get stuck in them because then they’ll just suck a lot of energy and time from your week.

One thing that helps me to reduce that frustration so I can move forward once again is to stop my thoughts from bouncing around in the past or a possible future by reconnecting with this moment.

Two of my favorite ways for doing that are to:

  • Focus on my breathing. I sit down with closed eyes and then just focus on the air going in and out of my nose. I do that for 1-2 minutes while making sure that I take calm and slightly deep breathes than I usually do and I breathe with my belly (and not my chest).
  • Focus on what is around me for 1-2 minutes. The people going by out on the street. The slight draft from one of the windows. The warmth from the radiator. The snow slowly falling outside my window and the soft clothes on my skin. This brings my attention fully back to what is here right now.

By doing one of these things for just that tiny amount of time I calm down and it becomes easier to focus and to think clearly again.

I then follow that up with the next habit in this article…

2. Tap into gratitude for the simplest of things.

This is usually my next step when I want to reduce frustration. But it works well on its own too when you feel like life sucks.

Because during those times it’s easy to go from feeling sorry for yourself for a while into full on victim thinking that lasts for too long and drags you down.

I find that zooming out a bit during these times helps.

So I ask myself: what are 3 simple things that I can still be grateful for having in my life?

A handful of answers that I tend to come back to often are at least partly things that are basic for me but many out there in the world still don’t have access to. Like for example:

  • A roof over my head and a warm home.
  • Plenty of drinkable water.
  • I don’t have to go hungry.
  • The simple pleasures of life like a sunset or a relaxing walk in the woods.
  • My family and friends.

3. Focus more on the small how-tos and less on the whys.

Processing what happened and what you feel is certainly important.

But instead of taking the common route of dwelling on the whys of the negative situation 80% of the time and looking for solutions 20% of the time switch those numbers around.

Spend more of your time on finding the small and practical steps you can take to make things better (even if it’s just a little better at this time).

By doing so you’ll start to feel more confident and less suffocated and paralyzed as you are moving forward once again.

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

Just because this day or the last week didn’t go well doesn’t mean that there is not a brand new day tomorrow.

A day when you can start anew.

With taking action to move towards what you want, likely having a bit more luck and when it will be easier to see that this difficult time is only temporary and not permanent (even if it might feel that way right now).

5. Ask yourself: What is going well in my life though?

It is very easy to get stuck in focusing on the negative things when you start thinking that life or your week or month isn’t going well.

But don’t forget that there are still things that are going well in your life. It may be small things.

When I had several setbacks last year I asked myself this question and it helped me to open up my mind and to not get too focused on only the things that weren’t going so well.

By opening my mind I could see that many vital things like my small business, my exercise habit and flossing habit were indeed going well and that several fun things had happened recently too.

6. Setbacks can be very valuable if I let them.

I know this may sound like a cliche. And when I’m having a tough time then it’s not what I usually like to hear. But at the same time I must admit that it’s often true.

And it’s an important thing for me to reminder myself of because it reduces the pain I feel from a setback since I know that this shall pass and that I will usually get something good out of it in the end.

Now, a common way of looking at failures, mistakes and obstacles on your journey is of course as something negative and as things that should be avoided.

But trying to actively avoid them at any price usually leads to analysis paralysis and a lack of taking any significant action at all.

And the setbacks and mistakes in life can indeed be very helpful. If you let them. So before you start moving on from one of them ask yourself:

  • What is one thing I can learn from this situation?
  • How can I adjust my course to avoid this trap/making the same mistake and to likely do better the next time?

These questions have helped me to improve a lot about how I do things in life and to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

7. Reminder: It’s OK to have a bad day.

Sometimes a bad day will just be a bad day. Even if you use a couple of the previous tips and strategies.

Because no matter what you do, life will never be perfect, awesome or peaceful all the time.

It will still have natural valleys even if you adopt many new and positive habits.

And that’s OK.

But here’s the upside…

If you actually accept that this is how life is from time to time – and you stop clinging to a dream of perfection – then your life will become lighter and simpler and you’ll be less stressed out and able to more constructively handle that bad day when it does show up on your doorstep.

8. Let it out.

Keeping things bottled up and not letting them out makes it – in my experience – easier to start making mountains out of molehills. And unbeatable nightmares out of things that do genuinely suck.

So let what is weighing on you out.

You can do it by:

  • Talking it over with someone close to you. Maybe you just need to vent and to figure things out for yourself as he or she listens. Or maybe the two of you can talk it through to ground the situation in reality. And to come up with the start of a plan for what you can do.
  • Writing about it in a journal. Just letting your thoughts, worries and emotions out on paper or a computer screen can be a relief. And it can help you to start structuring things, to think things through and to start seeing possible solutions or small steps you can take.

9. Work it out.

When things are bad and you cannot think yourself out of the state of mind that it leads you to then take another route.

Stop using your head and start using your body.

  • Go for a walk in the wintery landscape.
  • Play badminton or soccer with friends.
  • Head to the gym and work out in some way.

Will the situation perhaps still suck when you get back? Yes. But maybe less so than you first thought.

Because now you have less inner tensions and renewed mental clarity and energy. I have found in my own life that this makes a huge difference to change my perspective and to start working myself out of a negative situation.

10. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

This thought helped me to hold on when things looked bleak for many months and to keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad.

It helped me to keep going when things looked like they would never pick up for my own small online business.

Why? Because I have found it to be true.

When things seemed to be at the lowest point something always happened. Often because being at that low point forced me to change something in how I did things.

But maybe also because life seems to have some kind of balance if I just keep going. If I keep taking action instead of giving up and doing nothing then something good always happens.

Seeing this repeat itself year after year strengthened my belief in taking action and to keep going even on rough days or weeks.

And it brings some comfort even when things look pretty dark.

Here’s the next step…

Now, you may think to yourself:

“This is really helpful information. But what’s the easiest way to make sure that it will actually help me when I'm having a bad day, week or month?”.

Well, I’ve got something special for you…


A free step-by-step checklist that includes all the steps in this article… save it or print it out so you have it for your daily life and for the next time when you're having a bad day.

Download it now by entering your email below.

 

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Patricia Connelly DeGemmis

    Thank you for this advice. It really helps.

  • noemi chang

    i ejoyed very much this article. thanks for sharing.

  • Janne Brown

    I love this because it brightened my day! And all of it is very true!

  • Caroline

    Very helpfull as I was just mauling over a situation I felt was challenging me way too much when I heard your post come into my in box, after reading it I saw I needed to move from my head to my body. A simple solution that I had simply forgotten. Thankyou Henrik a post in time.
    Caroline

  • This are 10 great things for anybody to keep in their back pocket when they think live is going downhill, shall we say. Of all the ten I would have to say gratitude and going to the gym are my go to states of being. Reminding myself of all the pleasures I have in life, even simple ones like you mentioned above, can have profound impacts on how we may view the moment or circumstances differently. I couldn’t agree more with how working out the body in some way can be distracting and allow time for you mind to declutter in a way and see the problem from a different, maybe even better angle than previously.
    Thanks for the great read.

  • Great article

  • Joan Downie

    Sometimes when I feel down and everything and everyone is getting
    me down and I feel my life sucks there I find in my in box your
    positive blog and I read through time and time again and before
    the end of the day I feel there is so many things I can be grateful for
    that I thank the Lord for all my blessings

    thanks very much for a positive input in my life
    awesome blog keep up the good work

    enjoy the day further

  • usman

    Thank you for the inspirational and soothing advice. I feel good and ready to face the world and its challenges.

  • Rahel

    That was too helpful to me. thanks so much, you have changed my life through sharing your experience and hope you continue.

  • Wondwossen G.

    Thank you so much for the usual, thoughtful and impactful article. I am highly grateful for your very kind care and relentless crucial support! May God bless you!

  • Shree

    Loved this article.
    Thank you.

  • Hopeson

    Thanks a lot. It’s really a life changing article. I hope to receive more.

  • Tracy

    I found this article to be a helpful tool to discourage negative thinking. It’s easy to get stuck when bad things keep happening, this will remind me to focus on solution/reality based thinking.
    Thank you.

  • The bad times need to be embraced. It will be a part in your life. Like all things of this world,it will pass. It’s important to try to remember the good things in life to find some balance. Change will come. It always does.

  • Denise

    Thanks for these reminders. Some energy-zapping stuff happened and I began to feel that everything I did was wrong, and that my genuine effort wasn’t going anywhere … I felt tired and frustrated because someone whom I have respected and often communicated with was much against some of the choices I’ve made recently. I’m zooming out and looking at the decisions I made – I do not regret them. They may not suit others but they’re perfect for me, and what I want.
    I’ll keep going and continue on! :)