To be completely honest with you, this is the question I ask myself almost every day. Imagine how good it would be if we could ask for the life we want and simply get it.
These are the thoughts most of us have frequently. Think about what would make your life perfect.
What kind of life would that be? What would you have?
Would you be happy then? What prevents you from getting it?
Well, these are pretty hard questions to answer, so let’s start shedding some light on them!
What is a deal-breaker for you?
The most important thing that you should understand initially is that what makes me feel bad about my life may not bother you. We are all different, and that is ok.
Personally, what launches me to the Moon is when someone tries to take advantage of my kindness. That usually burdens me with something that completely disrupts my plans.
My weak spot is the need to help others, so I am usually in everything deep before realizing that I don’t have time or the resources to do anything but commit to essential obligations. That usually disrupts my balance, and everything goes to hell within minutes.
That makes me annoyed, anxious, and not happy with myself. It is usually the time when I start blaming life.
However, what I know now is that I am the problem. That is easy for me to say now, but if you asked me a year ago, you would probably hear a different answer.
The first step towards feeling better about yourself and feeling confident in your own skin is to hear the ugly truth from the people who can assess you objectively. That does not necessarily mean that you should ask the people you love.
Sometimes a stranger can give you the best answer because there is no emotional attachment. When you hear more about the way other people see you, you will be able to understand better why you feel the way you do.
This is why you need to identify your deal breakers for a perfect life. What about your life annoys you so much?
Identify the problems in your life and think about the ways they can be resolved. On the other hand, if you cannot resolve your problems then at least try to accept them and move on with your life.
I should warn you that this is not a walk in the park. You won’t smell flowers along the way.
It is more like going through different levels of a truly dark cave where you will feel fear and insecurity. However, if you wish to start loving your life more, you should do it.
You can opt for meditation and go through your inside world by yourself. Or, you can find a therapist to guide you.
There is a stigma around mental health around the world, but if you are not feeling well, you should know that seeking help does not mean you are weak. It is actually very brave, and it takes an enormous amount of courage to tell someone that you cannot deal with something and find a solution on your own.
What about your life makes you so unhappy?
Try to think about your life objectively. What makes you unhappy?
Are you unhappy with the job you do? The salary?
Your health? Your relationship?
First of all, know that identifying the problem is already great progress. People are great masters of disguise.
We will lie that we are fine, we will say that we are happy, we will do everything under the sun to make it look ok. However, if you want to move to a sunnier side of life, you will need to be completely honest with yourself.
Depending on the problem you have, you should take the necessary steps to make it better. If you are not happy with the work you do, you can start looking for another project or a company where you could work.
If your colleagues are not the friendliest people in the world, it is not the end of the world. You can always look for a friendlier team that will be able to welcome you with open arms instead of provoking you all the time.
On the other hand, if you have relationship issues, you can find some new hobbies that could bring some new energy into your relationship and see what else could be done.
What can you do?
After you identify the problem, you can take concrete steps to make things better. It will not be easy, and there may be challenges along the way, but you can do it.
Here are some things you can do!
1) Face your problems head-on
Gather the courage to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a problem that is bothering you. The rest will be much easier.
However, it will take some time for the problem to dissolve. Try to avoid distractions when your face your problem because that may increase your determination and focus.
Keep in mind that shoving things under the carpet won’t cut it. It can only prolong the suffering and even become bigger after a while.
Try to allow yourself to be sad and simply admit that this is a hard period in your life, and that’s how things are going to be right now. When you allow yourself just to be sad, you will start feeling much better because you won’t feel the pressure of being good, happy, or satisfied.
Embracing the sadness may help you say goodbye to it very soon. We live in a time when there is such an enormous pressure on us to feel good, spread positive energy, and think happy thoughts.
But sometimes, that is simply not possible. Staying positive is good up until a certain point, but once you cross it, it can become very toxic, and it can harm you more than it can do you good.
It can transform into lying to yourself, which is not good in any way. Make a strategy of how you plan to resolve this problem and stick to it.
If you are simply too consumed by your problems, so you cannot see straight, you can always ask for help from a therapist who will guide you and help you go through this difficult period.
These people are trained to help us when we feel like we are going through our personal hell. This may sound harsh, but sometimes it feels like that.
It is nice that some people managed to have good lives and resolve their issues easily, but a large majority of people simply don’t know how to cope. There is no shame in that, nor should you feel like a failure.
Sometimes life just gives us cards we don’t know how to play with. Maybe we just need a little push in the right direction, so we can make something out of it.
2) Build resilience
Life is not easy, that’s for sure. However, the way we deal with difficulties in life makes a huge difference.
You can either be able to overcome them easily or suffer greatly because of them. The ability to cope well during challenging times is called resilience.
Here are a few things you should work on if you want to build your resilience and handle things better:
- Work on your competence because it can increase your self-confidence and worth so you can deal with anything that life throws at you.
- Improve your confidence by learning about the things you are interested in, achieving results, and slowly establishing your presence in the business world or anything else that attracts your attention.
- Maintain a close connection to the people you love spending time with, socialize with friends and simply exchange energy with them so you can feel connected and appreciated.
- Contribute to the well-being of your family and community in the ways you can because that will help you stay motivated and appreciated among the people you cherish.
These things are the main steps you should take if you are feeling like you are not getting what you want from life. Sometimes we simply cannot see how valuable we are to the community because we are too afraid of doing anything.
Identifying the main fears in life and working towards fighting them by slowly building up your resilience can help you create a more meaningful and fulfilled life for yourself. The process is not easy, and it can be challenging from time to time, but it is the only way you can work through all the insecurities that are causing difficulties in your life.
3) Stay away from social media
Social media has done so much for the world, and we cannot simply label it as good or bad. It has helped businesses flourish, and it connected people from around the world, which also contributed to developing friendships and even relationships that got crowned with a marriage.
However, with the use of filters, there has been an unrealistic beauty standard that is impossible to meet. This is why so many teenagers suffer from anxiety and depression, but this is not limited only to this age group.
When we are feeling blue, and we open Facebook or Instagram, we see so many happy people having fun and leading good lives, so we start feeling bad because of our lives. It happened to me a number of times.
Whenever I have a bad day, and I want to find comfort in looking at various posts, once I do, I start noticing that my mood changes for the worse. When we think about it, we will conclude that these things are not realistic, but some things happen on a subconscious level.
When we see these pictures, we will assume that they are true, which will make us compare the life we lead to what we see. We will immediately conclude, “My life sucks.”.
For a very long time, I used to think it was all me, that I was the only one who thinks like this. I know this is naive, but I was so anxious that I couldn’t think of anything else but my own life.
It seemed like everyone else cracked the perfect combination of living a good life, except me, of course. This is what led me to start questioning everything.
As I started digging deeper and questioning every single one of my beliefs, I started seeing the world more realistically, which decreased the dissatisfaction after being online. I’ve noticed that when I stay away from social media, my overall life satisfaction increases.
I guess this is because we tend to compare what we have with the things that other people have, which leads to frustration. This is why you should try to set some time during the day when you will be offline and simply enjoy the little things in life.
4) Eliminate the negativity from your life
During the last couple of years, I’ve had long periods of feeling lost. I felt nervous, depressed, confused, and without a goal.
I didn’t enjoy anything, and I couldn’t sleep, eat, or laugh. It was complete chaos.
However, once I’ve asked for help, I suddenly started realizing that I was surrounded by toxic people all the time. Once I started staying away from them, my joy started returning, and I could enjoy the little things again.
It helped me enormously, and I could finally start owning and enjoying my life again, which was a huge relief. It is not easy to live day after day feeling like you are in chains.
So, my advice for you would be to start assessing who affects you negatively from your surroundings. That could be a family member, a partner, or a friend.
Pay close attention to the way you feel after spending time with them. The dominant feeling that I’ve had was feeling drained when they were present.
It may be different for you, but it is crucial to start limiting the contact with such people because they are energy stealers, also known as energy vampires. Trust me, after an hour with them, you will feel like your life is sucked out of you.
They can constantly comment on your life and the choices you make, or they can praise you only to follow that with an insult said in a subtle way. However, that doesn’t have to be the case for real; it can be just their sneaky way to put you down and feed off your energy.
One of the best decisions you can make in your life is to simply reduce contact or stop seeing them completely. That will give you a chance to see your life in a whole new light and appreciate your peace more.
You will get a chance to preserve your energy for the truly important people and activities in your life.
5) Work on your boundaries
Setting boundaries may be the most important thing you will do for yourself in your life. Boundaries refer to the way you communicate with others, let them interfere in your life, the way you share information or interact with others effectively or less effectively.
There are five types of boundaries:
- Physical – When it comes to physical boundaries, it is about respecting someone else’s space. In this case, if you are more comfortable with avoiding physical contact, people around you should respect that.
Personally, I feel extremely anxious when someone comes into my personal space. I catch myself going back or finding something to do so I can avoid being too close to people.
Well, if this is one of the problems you face, too, maintaining personal physical boundaries is essential for mental health.
- Sexual– When we talk about sexual boundaries, it refers to your right to make the choices about who you want to be intimate with without being pressured to do anything that you don’t want to do. In the ideal world, people would be respectful in every sense possible, particularly in this area.
However, since we don’t live in an ideal world, we should learn how to defend our boundaries enough in a firm but assertive way.
- Intellectual– Intellectual boundaries refer to protecting your personal beliefs and opinions. People usually like to break them and do it very frequently by dismissing other people’s beliefs and trying to make their own sound more important.
This could leave you completely confused, especially if you are surrounded by people who have narcissistic traits of personality. They will push their belief system and expect you to simply obey, which can be extremely damaging for the psyche.
- Emotional– Emotional boundaries refer to the way you like to share your emotions with other people. If you like to share only a part of what you’re feeling and build trust gradually, that is your choice and right.
However, you will always meet people who will try to push your buttons and try to impose something they think is right. Protecting your emotions is essential, so you can keep your sanity and regain control of your life again.
- Financial – These boundaries refer to the way you like to spend your money. If you are more prone to saving money but other people like to spend, protecting your boundaries in this way will mean that you will simply not loan your money to friends who like to splurge.
Think about your boundaries and the way people you are surrounded with will respect them or break them. If you are spending time with people who simply don’t care about your boundaries and keep pushing your buttons, you will end up thinking that your life is terrible.
However, once you start building them again, you will be able to trust yourself more and start making the life you like and enjoy to the fullest.
6) Express gratitude
When we feel bad, it is hard for us to notice the good things we have in life. We tend to focus on everything that we don’t have.
However, this can increase our frustration even more. You can try to express gratitude for everything that you have right now.
If you have a job, you can express gratitude for all the things you love about doing your job. Mention all the little details that make your life easier and that you enjoy.
If your boss is giving you the freedom to organize your time the way you want to, this can be a great starting point for you. You can continue by mentioning the way your colleagues greet you and help you when necessary.
If you can make the decisions in which way your working day can go, that is more than anyone of us can ask. Take a moment to be grateful for the clean air, the refreshing water you can drink, the tasty food you can eat, and the freedom to make choices in your life.
Of course, it is very hard to do this if your mind is completely focused on something else. However, you should know that being grateful for the small things can slowly increase the overall pleasure you will feel in your life.
Also, it can help you relax and release the tension in just a few moments.
One strategy that can help you overcome the difficulties you are feeling right now is visualization. If you imagine what you would like to achieve and think about every detail you may see, you will start feeling happiness and peace because you will trick your mind into believing that you have already achieved it.
This will make it easier for you to actually do it and lose the tension you would normally feel if you would think that there is no way in the world that you could achieve it. You can do it every time when you feel tense or you can make it a habit and visualize every evening before you go to sleep and imagine all the details vividly like you are looking at them.
There are two versions you can try:
- Visualizing outcome
- Visualizing the process
If you pick the first one, you should focus only on the result and not think about the way you will achieve it. Your goal should be to imagine every single detail of the outcome.
Imagine what you would see, feel, and what other people would say to you. On the other hand, if you would like to visualize the process, you should be focused on imagining every single step you need to take in order to achieve your goal.
Both versions have advantages, so pick the one that motivates you more.
8) Create some good habits
When we are too stressed, we tend to forget to eat well, to sleep enough hours during the night, and to care for our overall well-being. Assess your lifestyle and see what can be done to improve your overall satisfaction in life.
Take a close look at your nutrition and see what you eat every day. This may sound strange, but most people eat without even thinking about the type of food they eat.
Try to include various types of fruit and vegetables into your diet, so you can make sure that you eat good food that will help you restore your balance. Overworking ourselves leads to depletion of our vitamin and mineral reserves, so you need to pay close attention to the types of food you consume.
Putting some effort into planning your meals will surely benefit you in the long run because you will notice that you are able to think more clearly and simply enjoy your life more. Besides nutrition, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our overall well-being and mental health.
If you have been sleeping a few hours a night and working all day long, that may be the reason you are feeling blue lately. Always look first for the reasons in your lifestyle that can push you over the edge, so you can eliminate them.
Pay attention to the way you feel after sleeping eight or nine hours a night. You probably noticed the clarity that is hard to achieve in any other way.
Every human being needs to sleep; it is the way we are built, so give your body a chance to rest and see just how good that makes you feel.
9) Move your body
If you have been too static lately and you didn’t have lots of chances to move your body, especially if you are working long hours, this could affect you greatly. Find something that makes you feel good and try to do it every day, at least for 10 or 20 minutes daily.
That could be a walk in the park, yoga, Pilates, boxing, or simply dancing while your favorite music is playing. Any type of sport you choose will surely have an enormously positive effect on your body, but your mind as well.
You will first start noticing the effect the exercise has on your body. You will probably start feeling less pain, and you may even start managing your weight.
However, after a while, you will start noticing the effect it has on the way you feel. You will start feeling less tense, and as the endorphins start being released, you will notice that you are starting to feel the joy and satisfaction that you were otherwise missing.
The results you may feel when you are running low on endorphins are:
- Mood swings
- Addictive behaviors
It is hard to imagine that endorphins could impact so many things in our bodies, but the good news is that you could do something about it. There are ways to increase their levels by simply implementing an exercise routine that you could easily follow.
Don’t push yourself too much in the beginning, only to drop everything in a few days. Make a habit of it, and you will notice just how good it makes you feel.
10) Pamper yourself
We are usually raised to believe that doing things for us only is selfish and should be avoided. However, that cannot be further from the truth because if we don’t do things for ourselves, we will soon be headed towards burnout syndrome.
- Enjoy a massage
- Get a manicure
- Light a scented candle
- Watch a movie
- Have some tea
All of these things are very simple and don’t take too much of our time, but can do wonders for your spirit. Pick one thing every week you will do for yourself and stick to it.
It doesn’t need to last long, and it shouldn’t be a burden, but create a habit of doing things that make you feel good about yourself. It doesn’t even have to cost much, because you don’t have to pay for it, you can do it at home and simply enjoy some alone time.
Be offline and focus on the present moment. Schedule some time just for yourself.
Don’t be afraid to put it in the daily planner. This is a good way for the people like me who push personal boundaries to suit other people’s needs, to be able to focus on personal well-being.
You may feel the guilt the first couple of times, but this feeling will disappear after a while as soon as you start noticing the positive effects of these habits. If you start doing nice things that you enjoy, you will notice after a while that your energy level is higher and that you feel calmer and more relaxed.
In order to be good to others, we first need to be good to ourselves. We equally deserve the attention and love that we give to everyone around us.
Keep in mind that after a while, you won’t have the energy for anyone if you continue ignoring your own needs and giving all your time to your family and friends, doing your job, and being useful to society. We need to stop from time to time and simply exist.
You can spend 10 minutes focusing on your breathing, read something that you like, or play a motivational speech that will lift you up and give you strength to move on with your day. Having herbal tea before going to bed will do wonders for the quality of your sleep because being tense all day long, treating coffee like it is an infusion therapy can have consequences on your health.
11) Learn to relax
This is just the sequel of the previous step, but you must have it in mind whenever you feel overburdened and overwhelmed by obligations and stress. Breathing deeply and focusing on every breath is a very simple but effective technique that can help you clear your mind and help your body cope.
By treating your body and mind kindly, you will notice that you’ll start feeling better about your life. Once you learn how to feel good at this moment, you will be able to repeat it and create numerous hours of feeling pure pleasure.
Think of this process like each thing you do for your mental health and your overall well-being, as making a necklace. The necklace is a metaphor for your life, and each activity you do to help yourself feel better will be one bead of the necklace.
The more satisfying activities you do, the better your life will be. Think of your life as a work of art and imagine yourself as an artist.
Give yourself the freedom to pick the colors and the things you want to paint. Let this image guide you towards creating the life you’ve ever wanted.
Doing all of these things will surely make a difference in your life, and you will be able to see things from a different perspective. Life can surely be very difficult, no one can argue with that.
However, there are things we can do to make things better for ourselves and simply direct our energy towards improving the areas of our lives where it is possible. Some things that cannot be changed should be accepted as they are, and that is the harsh truth.
Try to find joy in the little things in life and spend time with the people you love. That will help you avoid unnecessary stress and protect you from going deeper into frustration.
Hopefully, these steps will help you learn how to cope better and see the nicer side of life!