I want to talk about what to do when you hate your life.
Why? Because it’s important!
I want this blog to help people live the best life possible.
I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t discuss this stuff and try to help in some small way.
There’s an unfair pressure in society to be happy all the time. Everybody wants to focus on the positive, and there’s stigma around being down in the dumps.
But it’s obviously unrealistic.
Life can be fucking hard sometimes.
We all know how rates of mental illness are at an all-time high. That unhelpful pressure ‘to be okay’ results in countless people suffering in silence.
Which brings me back to the importance of talking about it here.
If you’ve reached a point where you hate your life, then I feel for you, and want to offer some suggestions to (hopefully) make a tough situation a little bit better.
I don’t hate my life. But I do go through regular phases of melancholy and disillusionment.
And they’re never fun.
Hating life right now? Below you’ll find 45 ideas, strategies and tools that should help. They’re all things I find personally useful in my low moments.
I hope they’ll come in handy for you too.
A Quick Note on Something Important When You Hate Life
I think there are essentially two different types of hating life.
I’m stuck in a rut kind, and the
I’m clinically depressed kind.
(…with a bit of wiggle room in between, of course- nothing’s ever that black and white).
Let’s face it, when you hate life, they’re both shit.
But it seems fair to say that depression needs more serious support.
This blog post might prove useful. However, if you’re struggling with life to the point where you’re thinking of ending it, then please seek professional help.
See your doctor, tell a loved one, call a helpline…do what you can to get the support that’s going to make a real difference.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to getting through a tough time.
Ignore anyone that tells you there is.
The primary thing to keep in mind when you think ‘I hate my life right now’, in my opinion, is to know it’ll get better.
The same goes when you hate life. ‘I absolutely hate my life’ might be running through your head right now.
But with the right approach and support, you’ll get through it.
Whether you count your current case as category one or category two, the ideas and strategies in the coming post should come in handy.
I’ve taken some from my past experience working in mental health; others from books, articles, videos, and people I’ve met and learned from.
Mix, match, and experiment with the ideas until you find something that makes a difference to you.
I’m crossing my fingers that you’ll find the same value in them that I do on my down days.
What to Do When You Hate Your Life: 45 Ideas, Strategies, Tips, and Tools
1. Figure Out Why
It helps to know why you’re feeling the way you are.
I know it’s not always this rational.
There are times, though, when there’s a root cause (or causes) of our struggle(s).
It might be something practical that you’ve done, or are doing; it might be something external to you that’s causing the problem.
Take an objective look at your life. Do a personal audit of yourself. Take stock of your daily habits and practices. What are you doing? What are you not doing?
Finding a solution is always easier when you know the problem.
You might land on an answer that helps you turn the tables.
2. Get Aggressively Self-Aware
All that takes self-awareness, which, I think, is key to a happy life.
Knowing more about who we are and how we operate gives us greater insight into what we need to thrive. By being aggressive with that self-learning, I mean taking a long hard look in the mirror to figure yourself out.
You might not like what you see!
However, gaining a solid grip of who we are is an essential first step to improving ourselves.
It helps you figure out who you want to be, what you want to do, and how you want your life to look.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable
It’s all too easy to point fingers.
And, fair enough, sometimes problems genuinely stem from external sources.
But blaming someone or something else won’t help. It’s protective, for sure. We get to maintain the sense that we’re in the right.
Alas, it doesn’t solve anything though! Most of the time it only exacerbates matters.
It’s outside of you, so you can’t do anything about it.
Owning our experience by holding ourselves accountable does the opposite. You choose the standpoint that everything’s your fault.
It doesn’t sound fun, but there’s nothing more empowering. Suddenly, you have control of turning it around.
4. Figure Out Your Why
Figuring out your ‘why’ helps cultivate a sense of purpose.
It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning- a goal, an activity, an interest…anything.
For example, my current ‘why’ is to live on the road and earn enough passive income to give me full control of my time.
Meaning and purpose are central to a happy life. Without purpose, it’s easy to get nihilistic about everything. You know, what’s the point? You’re born and then you die.
Purpose is motivating. It imbues life with reason and helps you walk through it with drive and ambition.
5. Check What You’re Putting Into Your Body
I’m always surprised at how my diet impacts how I feel.
Not long ago I felt tired, lethargic, and down in the dumps. I was hateful and bitter for about a week until I ate a meal with masses of kale in it.
It was crazy- no exaggeration, within moments I snapped out of my negative mood.
Now, that was an extreme case that I’d never experienced before. However, it reminded me of how important it is to track my diet and eat what my body needs.
You can feel on the brink of existential disaster. But, rather getting worried about it, all you really need is the right set of nutrients.
The same goes with staying hydrated.
Drinking enough water is just as key to maintaining a healthy mental state.
6. Get Enough Sleep
How are you sleeping?
I know I’m always at my worst when I’ve slept badly the night before. Likewise, I feel awesome when I’ve slept well.
That’s easier said than done though. You can’t just magic yourself a good sleep on a whim.
Unfortunately, a lack of sleep can have dire consequences.
It interacts and compounds your physical, mental and emotional woes that are already hovering around. Worse, that then makes it even harder to sleep.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Hating your life? Try and get into a better sleeping routine. Put the phone down, turn the TV off, get a comfier mattress, and go to bed at the same time each night.
7. Cut the Drink and Drugs
Back to what you’re putting into your body for a moment.
Needless to say, drugs and alcohol don’t help.
The short term gain might make them tempting. After all, both can lift your spirits and distract you from life’s difficulties- at least for a brief time.
Indulging in the odd session with friends can seem harmless. But, in the bid to feel better about life, it really isn’t great. Remember, alcohol’s a depressant!
And with drugs, everything from the come down to the potential addiction and possible shame involved exacerbates issues.
In a bid to rid yourself of those ‘I hate my life’ thoughts, avoid or cut down on them where possible.
8. See Thoughts for What They Are
This one’s a classic mantra that’s stuck with me from my mental health days.
It’s a useful reminder when you’re feeling terrible about yourself, a situation and your life. Everything you’re telling yourself is just a thought.
There isn’t necessarily any truth in it. It speaks to giving yourself a break and trying to see things more objectively.
9. Know That You’re Not Alone
There’s nothing more isolating than going through a challenging time.
It can feel lonely and as if nobody understands.
Nothing could be further from the truth though. If you hate your life, know that you aren’t alone.
That realisation doesn’t change anything from a practical perspective. It might help you feel less disconnected though. Other people share in your experience.
10. Be Self-Compassionate
It strikes me that there’s a very fine line between hating your life and hating yourself…
Which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people thinking: ‘I hate myself and my life’.
Self-hate is toxic.
Self-compassion’s the antidote. It’s about treating yourself as you would others- giving yourself some credit, respect, and care.
It’s also about doing what you need to feel better. Sometimes that means putting yourself first (without beating yourself up for being ‘selfish’).
You know as well as anyone that hating your life isn’t fun.
Be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up’s only going to make stuff worse.
11. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude’s a powerful tool against negativity of any kind.
Try being angry and grateful at the same time. It just isn’t possible.
It might sound backward, but if you hate your life, try to focus on things you’re grateful for.
Make it a daily practice- identify and meditate on a few things you’re truly thankful for in the moment.
It could be the sun on your face, the family by your side, your health, a treasured possession, the food on the table, nature outside…anything.
Go one step further and find it in yourself to be grateful for the challenges in your life too.
If nothing else, they’re providing you with an opportunity to overcome adversity!
12. Try Positive Reframing (I Hate My Life So Much, But…)
A big part of me hates the idea of positive thinking.
You know- it’s the self-help tape that tells you to ‘just think positively!’
…Thanks. You can’t just magic up a positive mindset when you feel like shit. It takes time and effort.
Something that can make a difference, though, is called positive reframing. It’s another psyc technique that essentially involves flipping a negative into a positive somehow.
And so on.
It won’t always work. You might be unable to think of any possible way to find the positive in your situation. That's totally fine.
When it does work, though, reframing can be a powerful way to flip problems on their head.
13. Take Action
Taking action’s a top way of rectifying a problem.
It’s often essential in the endeavour.
I think this one applies most to feeling like your life’s in a rut.
Action’s downright essential to seeing change. In my experience, the specific action matters less than the process of just doing something.
It’s about going for a walk as a first step towards getting in shape. It’s about reaching out to an old friend to alleviate loneliness. It’s about taking a shower to lift your mood.
Action’s at the heart of progress.
And, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for when we hate life.
14. Take Time Out
Give yourself a break in every sense.
Take a day off work.
Take ten minutes for yourself in the morning.
Step away from the stress.
Forge some ‘me time’ in the midst of a busy life. It can work wonders.
15. Be Alone
This tip’s heavily dependent on your current situation.
You might be spending all of your time by yourself already! If that’s the case, then being with other people might be better.
However, for anyone else, I sometimes find spending time in alone to be a remedy for tired spirits and low mood.
It’s easy to use the stimulation of your social life to shield personal pain. You rush from event to event for fear of confronting your problems.
Being alone can seem scary.
It might what you need though to start seeing things for what they really are.
16. Get Physical
Exercise is another top way to start feeling better.
It’s a go-to step for me whenever I’m struggling in myself.
It helps me step out of my mind and into my body. It’s a distraction that has the added bonus of pumping my system full of feel-good neurochemicals.
Getting my body moving and my blood pumping always picks me up from a dark space.
17. Get Present
Staying present is the ultimate way to cultivate a more positive mental state.
Being present is about awareness and focus on the here-and-now.
When we’re truly present, most of our troubles just fade away.
Think about experimenting with meditation. I recommend looking into mindful meditation first- this is something I do every day that I’m sure helps me feel better about life.
It’s also a simple practice that you can do anytime and anywhere. You stop, focus on something sensory, and pay attention to the thoughts that come and go.
At the very least you’ll feel less stressed as a result.
18. Get Goal Oriented
I’m a big fan of setting goals.
I think it relates to my earlier point about finding a ‘why’, and cultivating a sense of purpose.
Goals give you something to work towards. They act as a guiding hand and North Star, which shows you where you want to go. Each day has a bit more direction.
Goals focus your attention and can serve as a handy distraction from outside issues. They’re often the first step towards achievement.
19. Get a Sense of Progress
That word, achievement, can be key when you hate your life.
I mentioned progress very briefly above.
Progress will forever be an antidote to negative emotions.
For example, when I came out of a relationship last year, working on this blog was a major help. It was a distraction, for one thing. But it provided a sense of progress too.
At the time I felt utterly unmotivated to do anything at all. I’d never experienced anything like it: everything felt pointless.
Until that is, I got the ball rolling with this blog.
Hate your life? Do something- anything- today to feel a similar sense of growth. Start a new project, go for a run, write down your goals, read a page of your book, finish that bit of work you’ve been putting off for days…
The satisfaction (and distraction) it’ll provide can be a vital source of comfort to turn to when you’re at your lowest ebb in life.
20. Get a New Job (‘I Hate My Job So Much’…)
Don’t do a job that’s making you unhappy (unless you literally have to).
If possible, find the job of your dreams beforehand. However, the main thing is to remove yourself from a situation that’s contributing to your unhappiness.
You might even love your job!
But if you’re feeling stuck, unchallenged, or just keen for a change, then it might be time to move on.
21. Prioritize the Process, Not the End Result
This one’s another lesson I have to remind myself of all the time:
Stay present, enjoy the ride, and don’t get caught up on any future ‘endpoint’.
I heard about an interesting study that relates to the value of this approach.
Basically, they got two groups of people and asked them to run on a treadmill for a set period of time.
That second group ended up running further and enjoying the experience more.
Keep that in mind when you’re walking (or running…) through life.
Goals are important, but staying present as you work toward them is where the magic happens. Fixate on the moment to moment experience, and use it to lever yourself out of a debilitating mindset.
22. Go Travelling
Another big one for me:
Sick and tired of life?
Take a trip.
Just don’t expect your personal struggles to stay at home.
Trust me, you can be 1000 miles from home and still be worrying about the same old stuff!
Sometimes you can’t just use travel as an escape. It won’t work. Instead, you have to give yourself time to enter fully into the experience and push yourself through adversity.
Here are all of my travel posts if they’re of any interest.
23. Get Out in the Sun
Dark and gloomy weather has a profound effect on my mental state.
I always feel more depressed in winter.
By contrast, sunshine’s like a magic potion for my mood. I feel brighter and lighter by virtue of being out in it. You might do too…
24. Get Out Into Nature
Nature’s another scientifically proven way to feel better both physically and mentally.
You just have to be close to green and open spaces to reap the rewards.
Been a while since you’ve got out into the great outdoors? Think about rectifying that. Go for a hike or a cycle ride in nature.
25. Put Away the Tech
We’re all hooked to our phones and computers.
We spend hours on these devices every day, at work, checking social media, playing games, and whatever else.
There’s a lot of good about technology.
But it’s bad in so many ways too. Even the backlights to the screens can do damage. Chuck in their addictive nature, the social comparisons, and disconnect from actual face to face human interactions, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble.
It’s the classic irony that people talk about:
Give yourself a break from tech. Combine that with a trip into nature and some physical activity. You’re (almost) guaranteed to feel a bit better.
26. Try Not to Compare Yourself to Others
Negative comparisons between yourself and others can make you feel awful.
You see the lives of others in your social groups and/or people you follow on social media.
They seem to have it made; they’re succeeding where you’re failing. They’re earning more money, driving better cars, living happier lives, having more vacations…their lives seem perfect.
Looks can be deceiving. You’d be surprised what they might be going through internally too.
This short film sums it up perfectly:
If at all possible, stop the comparisons. It’s more than likely that others are looking at you thinking precisely the same thing.
Even if people are ahead of you somehow, remember to give yourself credit too. Again, self-compassion is key.
27. Surround Yourself with Good People
Having good people in your life can make a mighty difference.
Nurture the relationships you have with these individuals.
Spend as much time with the people who care for and inspire you. Their love, support and example will all rub off on you.
28. Get Rid of Bad People and Influences
While you’re at it, try ridding yourself of the negative people in your life too.
Don’t spend any more time with so-called friends who bring you down, lead you astray, and hinder your pursuit of loving your life.
29. Learn Something New
Learning is another antidote to negativity.
It feeds into the idea of progress and growth.
No matter what you settle on, furthering your education just feels good. You’re doing something to better yourself.
Give it a shot! Pick up an old uni book, start a free online course, teach yourself a new skill…
30. Look to Motivational People (In Real Life and Online)
It doesn’t matter whether you look to the internet or real life.
There are amazing individuals everywhere from whom you can learn and grow from. Find the people who motivate you and immerse yourself in their example.
For all its problems, I find the internet to be a particularly valuable resource in this endeavour.
We live in an incredible era where the world’s most impressive people are at our fingertips.
I watch YouTube videos all the time where impressive people share their insights and advice on life.
The Tim Ferriss Show and Impact Theory are two I recommend.
It feels like a form of mentorship- their way of life eeks its way into my own day. Maybe it’ll do the same for you.
31. Look Up at the Stars
Have you ever heard of star therapy?
It’s a term I came across that involves looking up at the night sky to soothe your worries and concerns.
The scale of what you’re looking at reminds you that (most of) your struggles really aren’t anything to lose any sleep over.
Each tiny white light is a sun that’s millions of miles away.
I find that when I really grasp the reality of the night sky, the sense of awe I feel sets things in perspective. It almost always shakes me from a funk.
32. Picture Yourself at Your Funeral
Here’s a thought experiment that might come in helpful.
It’s nothing complex.
You just picture yourself at your own funeral, or laying dead in your grave.
That sounds morbid. But the thought of death’s another way to realize how little those current worries really matter.
You might be thinking that you wouldn’t be worried about anything if you’re already dead!
Hopefully, you see the point though. In the face of death, are your current problems really important enough to take up so much of your time and energy?
33. Realize That Less Is More
You can’t buy yourself a better life.
Just listen to all the unhappy millionaires there are out there.
We’ve been led to believe that material possessions are all important. Money makes a difference to a certain point; a level of material comfort is undoubtedly nice.
But you won’t find fulfilment in material stuff.
By contrast, in my experience, getting rid of your things can be the true help.
Think about someone who spends an hour of their morning deciding what to wear. With a closet full of clothes, they can still bemoan the fact they have nothing to wear.
Over time, the stuff you own starts to own you. Getting rid of it can create valuable physical and mental space. Have clear out.
34. Do Something Nice for Yourself
When life throws you lemons, you need to look after yourself.
Think about treating yourself somehow.
Go to the spa, play a round of golf, grab a beer with a friend, eat that cookie, get your hair done, read your book, go on vacation…Think about what makes you happy and indulge in it with no guilt involved.
35. Help Somebody Else
It’s ironic that helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself.
Some might argue that it’s selfish! But if everyone’s a winner, who can really complain?
They get a nice deed, you enjoy the positive feeling that comes with it. So go out of your way to help somebody else.
Good deeds elicit a neurochemical reaction that releases the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin into your system.
It’s the same stuff that’s released when you hug someone- it feels great and facilitates a sense of bonding.
Life feel’s more worthwhile when you’re in the habit of helping others.
If you’re looking for purpose, then this is a great way to find it.
36. Fake It
There’s something to be said for the whole “fake it ‘til you make it” idea.
Forcing a smile can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy.
After all, the same muscles are being worked. It releases mood-lifting neurochemicals into your system as a result.
You end up genuinely feeling happier in the process.
Don’t believe? Here’s a post from NBC News about it!
It won’t work all the time, and definitely shouldn’t just pretend you’re happy all the time. However, if you’re looking for a ‘hack’ that’s been shown to help, then faking a smile isn’t a bad idea.
37. Become a Leaf on a Tree
Get involved in something bigger than yourself.
Society’s great at teaching us to fend for ourselves; individualism calls for the betterment of self over others.
It might be a good cause in the community, or a local sports team to get involved with.
Finding an outlet that creates a sense of belonging is a powerful way to feel better about life.
38. Be Like a Lobster
Did you know that lobsters are soft, squishy animals encased in hard outer shells?
That soft inner animal gets bigger over time, but the outer case can’t grow any further. The pressure inside their shell mounts as the lobster outgrows it.
Eventually, when the pressure’s too much, the lobster finds a safe space to hide. Once it’s in place, the lobster then sheds its shell and waits patiently while it grows a new shell to reside in. I came across this story in a lesson about stress.
The message was this:
Instead, take your time, be kind, go somewhere safe and give yourself a chance to face the issue; be vulnerable.
As you do so, you might find yourself forming a new ‘shell’ and greater inner peace that comes with it.
39. Take it Slow
Hard as it is to contemplate, there might not be a quick fix for this.
You might not start loving life again overnight. It could take days, weeks, or months.
Don’t put the pressure on yourself to just ‘be okay’. That’s not how it works. Accept that there might be a journey ahead of you, and make your peace with it.
Take it one step at a time.
40. Turn Outwards
If you’re anything like me, you might be spending a lot of time facing inwards.
You’re constantly analysing, questioning and ruminating. You get carried away in a whirlwind of thoughts and internal dialogue.
Self-analysis and introspection are great for learning about who you are and figuring out what you need.
However, it’s also a one-way ticket to overwhelm and distress.
Make the effort to face outwards as much as possible too. Do fun stuff, speak with friends, and focus on solving world problems instead of just personal ones.
41. Speak to (and Be With) Friends and Family
A problem shared is often a problem halved.
You probably don’t want to feel like a burden in any way, or to bring anyone down. You might not even want anyone to know how you’re really feeling.
There are appearances to uphold, and you don’t want to feel weak or vulnerable.
Sometimes talking about it to a close and trusted loved one can make a mighty difference. Give it a shot. You’ll probably get nothing but support and kindness coming your way.
42. Speak to a Professional
You could speak with a trained professional too.
These people are trained to listen and help you overcome internal struggles. They provide a safe and confidential space to discuss your problems without fear of judgment.
For serious cases, they might also be able to prescribe medication to work alongside therapy.
Medication isn’t a solve-all. However, in collaboration with other support, it can make things seem more bearable when times are exceptionally tough.
For anyone really suffering, going to professional mental health services and/or speaking with a professional therapist is a route I highly recommend.
43. Force Yourself to be Social
I never want to socialise when I’m feeling low.
I’d rather be left alone to my own devices, far away from others. The last thing I want is to interact with people; my inclination is to just stay by myself.
But it always brings me out of myself when I do end up socialising.
Being around others can be a helpful distraction; it also reminds you of the good people in your life.
It also tickles another fundamental need we all have. Again, we’re social animals. We need to feel a sense of connection to other people.
Socialising, even when we’re down and hate life, can help us feel accepted and fulfilled.
44. Know That It’s Okay (You Aren’t Somehow Broken)
This is a big one.
You aren’t somehow broken if you hate your life. You haven’t failed in any way. And you aren’t letting yourself down.
Sure, get honest with yourself about what’s going on, hold yourself accountable, and make the changes that need to be made.
At the same time, know that it’s totally okay to feel the way you are. Validate your experience by accepting it.
45. Accept, Surrender, Trust
A lot of the problems we have come from the struggle.
The struggle is stressful by nature.
The stress arises when you realize there’s an issue and fight like a fish in a net to free yourself from its clutches.
Acceptance does the opposite (remember the lobster!).
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but ride out the wave. See it, accept it and enjoy the release of pressure that ensues.
Stop fighting and surrender yourself to the experience; trust that it’ll get better.
Why Do I Hate My Life? Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: a list of suggestions for what to do when you hate your life.
It’s important to talk about these things.
Too many people are out there struggling with their mental health not to. The more it’s discussed, the more possible it is to have an open discussion about it.
Whether you feel stuck in a rut in life, deeply depressed with it, or both, I hope this post has proved somewhat helpful.
It’s never fun when you hate life, but know that it’ll get better in time.
Give the ideas and strategies above a shot- they should make a difference.
Let me know how you get on as well. Are there any other strategies or ideas you use to improve a blue mood? I’d love to hear them.
Drop a comment below to let me know.
And, more than anything, please remember to seek out professional support if/whenever you’re in deep distress.
Here’s to the future. I wish everyone a full, happy and enriching life.