What to do when life feels hopeless: 15 big tips

I’ve suffered from depression since my late teens. With time and experience, I’ve learned to manage it better, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my bad days – or even weeks.

I know what it’s like to feel hopeless. Suddenly, nothing in your life seems worth doing, you feel like you haven’t achieved anything, and you keep seeing only the negative things without seeing anything positive.

Despite what you might think right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m gonna share some tips that help me whenever I’m feeling hopeless:

1) Know that this too shall pass

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a hopeless situation is to remind yourself that it’s not going to go on forever.

I know that you feel like your life is falling apart right now, but this feeling will pass. I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but trust me, this feeling of hopelessness won’t last forever.

Nobody knows what the future will bring, but you don’t have to know what will happen in the future to know that this period of struggle and sadness won’t last forever.

Whenever I feel hopeless I try to remind myself that I’ve been in similar situations before and that things got better.

That knowledge can help you feel less trapped by your current situation and more empowered to keep going even when it feels like you have nothing left.

2) Talk to someone you trust

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When you’re feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, talking to a friend can help you feel less alone and find some perspective on your situation.

If you don’t have anyone you can talk to, or you’re not sure where to start, it can be helpful to find a therapist.

A lot of people are hesitant to get in touch with a therapist but there’s no shame in seeking help, that’s their job. They’ve certainly helped me a great deal over the years.

Therapists don’t have a magic solution, but a good therapist gives you the tools that you need to help yourself and move forward in life.

Communication is a powerful tool, and being able to talk about what you’re experiencing can help you understand your emotions better and gain some control over your situation.

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone, and finding someone to talk to can help put you back on track.

3) Try self-care activities

When you’re going through a difficult time, it can sometimes be hard to remember the importance of self-care.

When you’re feeling depressed or hopeless, it can be even harder to find the energy or motivation to do self-care activities.

That’s okay, though, because you don’t have to do everything perfectly or according to a set schedule. You just have to do what you can, when you can, and know that these activities can help you find a sense of peace, even when you feel like everything else in the world is falling apart.

Whether it’s taking a bubble bath, going for a walk in nature, painting, reading a good book, or even binge watching a show on Netflix, there is something out there to help you feel better.

Even if you can only manage one or two activities, that’s better than nothing.

4) Recognize that change is inevitable

When you feel hopeless, it’s easy to get stuck in the moment and feel like you can’t move on.

Obviously, you want to take whatever time you need to heal and process your feelings, but it can help to remind yourself that change is inevitable.

Think about how your life was a few months, years, or even decades ago. It will look different now, and it will look different again in the future.

When you feel hopeless, you might want things to go back to how they were, but change is inevitable, so that’s not an option.

Instead, you can use that knowledge to help you move forward. When you feel hopeless, focus on the things you want your life to look like in the future.

What do you want? What do you need?

If you want to stop feeling hopeless and find peace, maybe you need to find a deeper sense of purpose.

You see, when you just go through life aimlessly, you can feel lost, frustrated, dissatisfied, and hopeless. You feel out of sync with yourself. At least that’s how I felt for most of my life until I discovered my purpose.

You see, I watched Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself. In this video, Justin explains how most people go about finding their purpose the wrong way: they try a bunch of self-help techniques that don’t work.

And how does he know?

Well, Justin Brown spent time with a Shaman in Brazil who taught him the best way to find his purpose.

Justin’s video helped me discover my purpose in life and that made me stop feeling hopeless. So if you want to find hope again, you need to let Justin help you find your purpose.

5) Write down what’s good in your life

When everything looks dark and life sucks, it can be helpful to sit down and think about the good things in your life. Start a list of what’s currently going well.

Even if you don’t think there’s anything to be happy about, writing down the things that are currently good in your life can help you notice them and build them up.

There might be things in your life that you take for granted, that are actually great.

  • Are you healthy?
  • Do you have people who love you?
  • Is the sun shining?
  • Is there food in the fridge?
  • Do you have a warm house to live in?
  • Do you have a dog that loves you more than life itself?

These are just a few examples of the many things that we often forget to appreciate.

When you write down what’s good in your life, you’re more likely to feel grateful and start feeling a little ray of hope again.

6) Take care of your mental and physical health

When you feel hopeless, it’s easy to skip out on taking care of your mental and physical health.

You might not feel like you have the energy or motivation to go to therapy, start a meditation practice, or eat a balanced diet.

However, these are all important parts of recovering from hopelessness, and skipping them can make your situation worse.

If you can, try to do what you can to care for your mind and body, even if it feels like the effort is going to be wasted.

Little by little, you can build up your strength and find more hope as you start to feel better again.

7) Don’t sweat the small stuff

When your life feels like a mess and you can’t find any hope, it can be easy to fixate on the minor problems that are happening around you. This is something I do every time, I just can’t help it.

You might find yourself getting angry at someone who cut you off in traffic or obsessing over a stain on your carpet. Or you may even get angry at yourself for forgetting your dentist’s appointment.

In these moments, it can be helpful to remind yourself that life’s not perfect and that’s ok. It’s okay to make mistakes and live a messy life, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

You can try visualizing a valve releasing the pressure inside you or a bubble popping to help you let go of frustration and find some peace again. You don’t have to be perfect, and when you see the bad stuff in your life as small, you can find a way to let it go and move on.

8) Remember to breathe

When you’re stressed or depressed, it can feel like there’s not enough oxygen in the room and it can be hard to breathe properly. When you’re feeling this way, it’s so important to remember to take some time out to breathe properly.

This will help to calm your mind and bring oxygen to the rest of your body. It can also help you to focus on the present moment and stop yourself from spiraling into negative thoughts or worries.

To help you, I highly recommend watching this free breathwork video, created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê.

Now, Rudá is no ordinary life coach, he’s a real shaman. He has created a contemporary take on ancient healing methods

His breathwork video combines years of experience and ancient shamanic beliefs to help you relax and reconnect with your body and soul.

Rudá’s dynamic breathwork flow awakened the long-lost connection to my emotions which I had been suppressing for years.

So if you want to stop feeling hopeless, you need to learn to breathe and reconnect with your feelings and focus on the relationship that you have with yourself.

Click here to watch the free video.

9) Think about what’s currently making you feel hopeless

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There will always be things in your life that make you feel hopeless, but sometimes it helps to put a name to the things that are making you feel that way right now.

Is there a relationship that’s draining you?

Does a job feel like too much?

Are there financial troubles that are stressing you out?

And sometimes the bad stuff piles up…

I recently had to move houses after 7 years and I found the experience very stressful. What’s more, it was difficult to adapt to the new neighborhood because I have a hard time dealing with change.

Then, I had some health issues that freaked me out. And then the cherry on top was finding out my dog who I love like crazy had heart problems. It just became too much to bear.

But if you identify what’s making you feel hopeless, you can deal with it, little by little.

I went to the doctor and got therapy and things aren’t as bad as I thought. My dog is taking meds for her heart and we’ll be taking her for a check-up in a few weeks. As for my new neighborhood, I’m trying to appreciate its positive side – like how green and peaceful it is.

The bottom line is that you’ll always have problems in your life, but sometimes it helps to name them so you can try to deal with them instead of just letting them take over and make you feel hopeless.

10) Don’t compare your life to others

Now, when you’re feeling hopeless, it can be easy to compare your life to other people’s – especially when you keep looking at their Instagram accounts – and feel like you don’t measure up.

Remember that everyone has their own struggles, problems, and issues, so don’t compare your life to other people’s.

You don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives, so don’t judge yourself based on other people’s Instagram accounts.

Remember, no matter what it looks like on the outside, nobody has a perfect life.

11) Reconnect with nature

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Nature has a way of calming us and helping us find peace, even when our own lives feel chaotic and out of control.

If you’re feeling hopeless, try to find a way to reconnect with nature. Whether that’s going outside and taking a walk, planting a garden, or sitting near a window and looking outside, nature can help you find a sense of peace again when you feel overwhelmed by your own problems.

I find that a nice long walk in a forest can do wonders. And if I don’t have the time to do that, I like to spend some time with my plants – watering them, taking out the weeds, replanting them… or just sitting in the midst of them to have my coffee.

No one can deny that life has its share of troubles, but it also has many beautiful moments.

Being surrounded by nature can help you to remember that you are a part of something bigger and that you have an important role to play in the world. It can also help you to refocus your attention on what’s important in life, like your relationships, health, and well-being.

12) Remember that you are loved

Whenever life is tough, it’s easy to forget that you have people in your life who care about you and love you.

Sometimes, it’s easier to push the people who care about you away, rather than let them see you at your worst. It’s important to remember that these people love you and want to offer you support when you need it most.

If you’re feeling hopeless, reach out to your friends and family and let them know how you’re feeling.

Not only will this help you feel like you’re not alone, but having people in your corner will help you to move forward.

It’s also important to show your loved ones how much you love them too.

13) Try to stay in the moment and don’t let your mind run wild

When things are tough, it’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and start to obsess over life’s problems.

This can make you feel even more hopeless and like there is no way out of your situation.

It can be helpful to actively try to stay in the present moment and not let your mind run wild with negative, destructive thoughts.

For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to focus on your breathing, or look around your current environment and really try to notice what is going on around you.

What could help you stay in the moment is mindfulness meditation so make sure to give it a try.

14) Surround yourself with supportive people

When life feels overwhelming, it can be tempting to surround yourself with people who make you feel better.

As someone who is feeling hopeless, it can be easy to fall into the trap of spending time with people who agree with your negative outlook and make you feel even worse about your situation.

Instead, try to surround yourself with people who are supportive, but also challenge your negative thoughts and encourage you to look for solutions.

This can help you to feel less hopeless and start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

15) Find something to be grateful for, even in the darkest times

When you’re feeling hopeless, it can be really easy to focus on all of the things that aren’t going your way.

However, it’s important to try to find something to be grateful for, even in the darkest times.

This can help you to refocus your attention on the positive and remind you that even when life is tough, good things are going on.

Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things that you’re grateful for every day.

This can help you to spot the good in your life and remind you that things could always be worse.

Final thoughts…

I know that it’s easy to feel like the world is against you when you’re going through a tough time.

However, you need to remember that you are stronger than you think you are.

You don’t have to fight this battle alone, and there is always someone you can reach out to for support.

No matter how hopeless things may feel right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

With these tips in mind, you can climb out of your hole and find hope once again.

Remember, you are loved and cared for, and there are people who want to support you.

Reconnect with nature, try to stay in the moment, and don’t let your mind run wild. Surround yourself with supportive people who will help you to refocus your attention on the positive.

And most importantly, don’t give up.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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