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I get it.
Your life sucks.
Mine has too at times.
In this warped, modern society we live in, "Why does my life suck so much?" is a question to be expected.
If you didn't feel this way from time to time, there would be something wrong with you.
Then, there are the curveballs life throws at you as well.
I had to have surprise open-heart surgery at age 24, and that triggered a massive depression for many, many months.
Dealing with suicidal thoughts was the worst experience of my life.
I never thought I'd get out of it.
Life can suck big time, it really can.
And it can destroy your mental health.
But there are simple actions you can take to change how you think and feel.
That's what you're going to learn today.
And make sure you read all the way through, because I saved my favorite "my life sucks" for the very last one.
20 Ways to Stop Saying, "My Life Sucks" and "Why Does Life Suck?"
1. Focus on the fundamentals and move around
I know nothing better than moving around when life is horrible.
Did you know that you can't actually think deep thoughts when you're engaged in heavy exercise.
Seriously, try it.
Go for a jog.
Walk briskly on a treadmill.
Your brain enters a new state, and life has a very different feeling.
2. Continue with the fundamentals and drink some water
Wow, how many times have I thought my life was over and I was just seriously dehydrated.
You can't function when you're thirsty.
It's one of the living fundamentals that you have to understand.
If you don't have the basics met, how can you expect to resolve the deep thoughts in your head?
Keep a water bottle with you.
Set empty glasses around the house to remind you to stay hydrated.
A hydrated brain is a brain that can think clearly.
3. Finish with the fundamentals and sleep
Sleep is crucial.
Matthew Walker talks about it is in his book Why We Sleep, one of the best books on physical health / mental health I've ever read.
Sleep physically clears out the crud in your brain.
If you're running on little or no sleep, it's impossible to have positive thoughts about your current situation.
My depression, which led to months of no sleeping, was the most negative time of my life.
Once I figured out how to sleep again, my world turned around.
4. Get some perspective from a friend
You can't see you as others see you.
If you're stuck in a mental rut, there's something you're missing.
To get perspective, ask someone for it. It's as simple as that.
Call or text your most honest friend and ask them, "What am I missing here? Why am I so unhappy?"
You'll be surprised by how willing an objective party can be to help you. And they will see things that you don't.
5. Be honest with yourself about why your life sucks
When you are going through tough times, you're usually not being honest with yourself.
Deep down your subconscious knows what's going on.
Could you stop and take some time to reflect?
Could you ask yourself what's really going on?
The victim mentality comes from somewhere.
Maybe you're in a terrible relationship and you haven't admitted it yet.
Maybe you're not done grieving someone you lost.
Admit to yourself what is going on for you.
6. Change your environment
There's nothing like an environment change to change your mental health.
And it doesn't need to be a big one.
It can be as small as stepping outside your front door to get some sunlight and vitamin D.
Let your eyes focus on new sights.
It's by exposing yourself to new perspectives that you can get new thoughts.
7. Get spiritual
Now, this might not work for everyone, but hear me out.
There was a time in my life I thought I'd never be a spiritual person.
Until I started seeing more and more things I couldn't explain.
I quieted my mind, read Buddhist and Stoic texts that challenged my thinking, and started to open to the idea that we might, just might, be interconnected.
Entertain the possibility of the unknown.
Quiet your obsessive thoughts that need to be right and give yourself time to consider what would need to be true for you to think otherwise.
Even the thought experiment can be enough to get you dislodged from an unproductive mental groove.
8. Work from a "Why does my life suck so much?" list
Lists are my friend.
When I'm overwhelmed, I usually just have too much in my brain.
Now, it might seem counterintuitive to write a Life Sucks List, but a lot of research supports the idea that getting stuff out of your head helps you process what you're dealing with and move forward.
Here's a version of what a recent list looked like for me:
- I have way too much to do
- I don't have enough time to do it
- I'm not enjoying what I'm doing--it doesn't feel meaningful
- But what would meaningful look like to me?
- What do I enjoy, and why am I not doing that anymore
- Oh, it doesn't matter, there's not enough time in the day
- I wish I could be writing more and spending time in nature
Once I put down what I need to do on a list, it doesn't seem too bad.
I can now see what's bothering me in the light of day, and I can do something about it.
Lists don't have to take any kind of specific format. They can be numbered, created with bullet points or hyphens, or they can just be a string of run-on sentences back to back.
And maybe your "Why does my life suck so much list?" is a list of tasks that you don't want to do.
Even if you think it's a waste of time, try writing down the tasks that are bothering you and just carry the list around for a day.
Simply having the list in front of you will keep the tasks top of mind and make it more likely that you'll find the time to get them done and figure out your next steps.
9. Cut out the emotional toxins
There are likely people in your life right now who are energy vampires.
And they are sucking your emotional blood.
Identify these people and then cut them out.
Life is too short to be treated terribly.
10. Set a goal (And write it down)
Here's another one where getting your thoughts down on paper comes in handy.
It's not enough to think about what you want to do.
It activates a different part of your brain when you write it down.
And writing something down makes it more likely that you will do it.
Hating your life is a telltale sign that you're not making progress.
So, if you really want to move forward, you need to write down where you want to go.
11. Be goofy with your words
This is one I picked up from Tony Robbins.
Love Robbins him or hate him, he had it right when he said that it's impossible to be in a bad mood if you're using goofy words to describe your situation.
Instead of saying, "I suck," say, "I'm such a poopy face."
Bet you had a reaction to that one.
No one has to hear you say this, remember.
You just need that little oomph to get you into a new way of thinking.
12. Ask for help
If you have a friend who can be honest with you about what you're doing wrong, you also have a friend who is likely to help you out.
Go back to your most honest friend and just ask for help.
We don't do this enough nowadays.
People want to help.
We just often are too arrogant and prideful to give them the chance.
13. Act as if...
Here's another one from everyone's favorite guru, Tony Robbins.
Not feeling good about yourself?
Act AS IF you were.
How would that person act?
What would that person do?
14. Stack your habits
So much of feeling bad about your life stems from a failure to get the things done that you know you need to do.
If you know that you need to start a new habit, stack it on top of one you already have.
You brush your teeth every day, right? Why don't you read for 5 minutes right after brushing your teeth?
Why don't you drink a glass of water right before you make your coffee?
Pairing good habits with other habits is a seriously powerful way to build momentum in your life.
15. Start a gratitude practice
Yeah, yeah, I know, be grateful.
We all know it, but do we all do it.
A therapist told me once, "It's impossible to have a negative emotion while you're being grateful."
I didn't believe her, and then I tried it.
Maybe building a gratitude habit could be the first one you add to your habit-stacking list??
16. Know your anxiety locations
I wrote about this here, but in a nutshell, knowing your anxiety locations simply means knowing where you are most anxious.
Describe your anxiety locations with as much detail as possible.
Say, "I tend to be most anxious at THIS time in THIS place with THIS person."
The more specificity you can give a problematic behavior / location, the easier it is to do something about it.
17. Understand why you hate your life
Just read this post if you truly hate your life, and you'll understand the core reasons why you feel the way you do.
But if you already know the core reasons, then it's time to stop doing what you're doing.
Hating your life with a fury is a sign you are on the wrong track for you.
Commit to writing down what you hate so much, and then commit to trying something new.
18. Introduce new ideas
To try something new and to think in a new way, you need new ideas.
How can you expose yourself to different ideas?
Ask yourself this as often as possible?
Could you watch a new show? Something that expands your mind in a way it's never been expanded before?
How about picking up a random book from a used bookstore?
How about walking around where you live until you see something you've never noticed before?
19. Rewrite your story ("Sometimes life sucks, and....")
Narrative therapy states that anyone can rewrite their story.
After all, we are all the authors of our own lives.
Write down your ideal life story.
If that's too much, write down your ideal day.
Once you write it down, you start to realize you know more than you thought you did about what you need to do to start living in a different, happier way.
20. Commit to ANYTHING for one day (My Personal Favorite "My Life Sucks" Action to Take)
In the end, none of these ideas will do you any good if you don't try them.
So this is what I'm asking of you.
Pick anything from this list, and commit to it for a day.
One day, that's it.
It's not the rest of your life.
It's not going to seem futile because you're just trying it for one day.
At the end of the day, look back on what you did and consider how it changed you.
If it made even a small difference, keep going.
This is how life starts to suck less, day by day, moment by moment.
When Life Sucks, Remember All the Options You Have
It's so easy to get lost in a negative loop.
It's so tempting to get sucked into a downward-thought spiral.
"My life blows."
"My life is deteriorating."
Yes, sometimes life sucks, and that's the reality of it. But just because something is your reality now doesn't mean it has to be your reality a month from now--or even five minutes from now.
I've given you a number of actions you can take to flip your mindset when you're feeling like nothing is working out.
If I can get out of the horrible life-sucking place, you can too.
Try one new action at a time. Or combine actions from this list and create a super-action.
The "you" who started reading this article is no the same "you" who finished it.
Everything is always changing, and that includes the thing that is your life.