a man is looking out of a window.

10 Things To Do When Life Sucks (To Finally Be Happy Again)

Rachel Sharpe

Life sucks sometimes, doesn’t it? We can go through periods where everything goes well. Only to forget it when everything starts to go wrong again. So we catastrophize and think about how much life sucks all the time because we’re hiding out in a dark hole. No light to be seen. But even though some bad periods seem like they’ll never end, there is hope. There is still the possibility that better days will come. And you’re in the driver’s seat for that. In your life, you can control how much life sucks and how much it rocks. So, let’s work together to help you change this crummy situation to turn it into a life you actually want to be living. 

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10 Things To Do When Life Sucks

1. Meditate On It

If you’re the kind of person who reads articles about how life sucks, I imagine you’ve rarely ever meditated before. “Oh no, what kind of article have I stumbled onto? This author will start talking about wizards and goblins soon,” you casually think to yourself. Oh, I know that’s what you think because I thought that too. Back when I was recently diagnosed with PTSD, someone recommended meditation to me. The last thing I wanted to do was sit there with my feelings. Everything in my life sucked, why would I want to sit cross-legged on the floor and do that for twenty minutes each day. That’s the last thing I wanted to do. So I was told to do yoga. And I tried it for the first time. For the entire hour, my mind raced as I had a complete mental collapse and cried on a yoga mat. It took nine years before I tried it again.

Believe it or not, there is a wrong way to meditate. There are also certain situations where you probably shouldn’t meditate. If you’re struggling with PTSD, you should probably work with a psychotherapist to do cognitive behavioral therapy first. Traumas are really heavy. But if you’re experiencing depression, generalized anxiety, or an emotional balance, meditation can be helpful. But you probably shouldn’t start alone. That’s where guided meditations come in handy. If your life sucks, it’s important to use meditation to help declutter the mind. It’s about shifting your focus to your breath and giving yourself a break from the hell in your mind rather than obsessing about it. With the Declutter The Mind app (yup, it’s free), you can train yourself to stop living in that mental warzone you’ve been hiding out in. 

2. Read A Game-Changing Book

Man reading a book by dim light

When you find your life sucks, it’s time to invest in changing that. It’s likely that you currently don’t know how to improve your situation; otherwise, you would’ve done it by now. That means it’s time to dig into some books to take your life to the next level. Fortunately, there are millions of books on every topic imaginable, so finding something that’ll help you with your current situation is possible.

If you’re experiencing a bit of a rut, you might read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. This book is actually Aurelius’ journals, where he dives into all the challenges he’s been through. Throughout the book, you’ll notice that he’s always trying to snap out of it and change his perspective. It’s an enlightening read. 

If you find you’re always fighting with your family, friends, or anyone you know for that matter, you might decide to read Nonviolent Communication Marshall Rosenberg. The book delves into how to communicate your needs in a way that you’re understood, so problems get resolved efficiently. 

If life sucks because your thoughts are negative, you might choose to read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. The book dives into how to be more optimistic, reminding you that pessimistic people tend to take less action to solve their problems due to learned helplessness. You’ll learn how to block negative thoughts successfully to help improve your mindset. So if life sucks, you’ll at least gain a new perspective on how to view it.

3. Shake Off The Bad

When life sucks, you must shake out the bad in your life. That might be dancing to the happiest playlist you can find on Spotify. Or you might go for a run to release the stress of everything going wrong lately. If life sucks, the least you can do is some physical exercise to get a hit of those feel-good endorphins flowing through your veins. At least then, you’ll have one thing going right.

But I know that sometimes when life sucks, you just want to sit on the couch, eating ice cream while watching Netflix. But that could be where your problem lies. Sugar crashes don’t make you feel good. They make you feel bad. Studies show that it’s the anticipation of eating junk food that provides dopamine rather than eating junk food itself. But going for a twenty-minute run will give you a runner’s high that lasts a long time. So if you want to transition from thinking life sucks to life rocks, it might be time to switch this tiny habit.

4. Love Harder

Woman laughing and smiling outside

If you find that life is a bit crappy and all you want to be is happy, you should consider giving love like the heavens above. Bad poetry aside, when we believe life sucks, we typically release more negativity into the world instead of good. You might find yourself picking fights with coworkers or snapping on family members. Maybe all you talk about is how sad your life is to anyone who will listen completely disregarding what’s going on in their lives. Not judging, we’ve all done this before. I’m not the exception to the rule.

If you make a small shift to put out good in the world, by doing one act of kindness a day, your life will eventually change. Your act of kindness can be as small as wishing a friend on Facebook a happy birthday. You can do good deeds towards strangers, coworkers, friends, and family too. You might surprise your coworkers with breakfast goodies one day. Or mail out cards to family members telling them all the reasons you love them. By putting out positive energy into the world, it will come back to you in unexpected ways. 

5. Write About It

A good practice to do when life sucks is to write about it in a journal. There are a few reasons why this works well. If you write about the pain someone caused you in a journal, they’ll likely never see everything you wrote, which allows you to get everything off your chest without creating more chaos in your world. You might even decide to rip up, burn, or throw out your notes to release the pain within you for good.

An alternative to this is that you can write a memoir about your life, highlighting specific pain points, emotions, and frustrations you had. The only difference is that years from now, you’ll know how you got through this nightmarish life sucks period you’re living through. You can use your story to provide people hope during tough times so that they don’t give up too soon. Now wouldn’t that be a cool legacy for you? Using your adversity to help people through theirs.

It’ll also help you deal with frustration and calm the mind.

6. Practice Gratitude

Woman writing in her gratitude journal

When you notice that life sucks for a few days in a row, take some time to write in a gratitude journal or at least write down a list of things that you’re grateful for. No matter what horrible event life throws our way, there’s always something that we still got going well for us in our lives. Even though it sometimes doesn’t seem like it. You might be distracted with a big problem that you need to solve. But you will solve it because you can handle anything life throws your way.

Sometimes things fall apart to make a path for better things. You might not see it yet, but there might be a new path you’re destined to be on– a better way. But first, you’re stuck here in this life sucks moment. But do take a moment to think about things you’re thankful for. Maybe you’re grateful for someone who’s helping you through this tough time. Or happy about your willingness to solve any problem that comes your way– even when your thoughts or friends tell you it’s a lost cause. Be grateful that you stumbled on this article, not because it’s a good article (I’m not a braggart) but because you wanted to read something about how to solve the problem of a sucky life. That means you’ve still got so much fight left in you. This isn’t the time for quitting; it’s the time for action. You’re going to change this situation from life sucks to life sucked, and I made it better. 

7. Avoid Comparison

When life sucks, you have to ask yourself, “What are you comparing it to?” Seriously. You have to be comparing it to something. How do you know life sucks if this is the only life you’ve ever lived? How do you know how much better or worse it could be? Maybe the low points are preparing us to appreciate the high points in our life. Or the person you’re comparing your life to may be actually nowhere better off than you are. Maybe they’re envious of you.

We often compare ourselves to other people. And boy, does that skyrocket depression levels. We’ve got a whole set of skills, experiences, and life events that led us down a completely different path. One of the biggest life lessons I’ve ever learned is that sometimes the most challenging moments in our lives prepare us for some of life’s best moments. You learn from mistakes. You grow from trauma. And over time, life gets better because you get better. Today you might need some work. But tomorrow you is going to love itself. Let today’s difficulties bring you closer to becoming the person you want to be. What does You 2.0 look like? And what do you need to do today to become that person? Stop comparing yourself to other people.

8. Take Baby Steps

Man walking outside on a dirt path in the forest

Sometimes life sucks because you’re not taking action. Studies show that people who are depressed or who are more pessimistic tend to be helpless. This learned helplessness makes them take less action to turn things around. Helplessness can be learned when you try to solve a situation and it doesn’t get better. So instead, you stop trying. However, if you notice that life sucks, you can’t become passive to that. Who wants to live in a world where life sucks? Obviously, not you. And to be honest, nobody else in the world wants that either. 

You might not have the energy for a grand leap. And you might not have the patience for the baby steps. But it is those baby steps that’ll help push you forward. Every day ask yourself, “What can I do today to make tomorrow a little bit better?” Maybe today you read a book liked Learned Optimism to learn how to take action. Or you cook a healthy meal so your body has nutrients to make you stronger. Or you dance to get some endorphins flowing in you. Or you create an action plan to solve the burning problem. You can also set up an appointment with a psychotherapist to get some help.

9. Step Outside

To transition from life sucks to life rocks, you might want to go outside to experience some sunshine. Vitamin D can play a huge role in your mood. Plus, getting out in nature is something humans are meant to do. There was a time when there weren’t buildings and condos all around. It was just us and the fields. We’d run around hunting for food. Enjoying some good old fashioned outdoor fun. Today, we might be able to get our food delivered to us. But we still have to get outside for our own health.

Today, take some time to go for a walk outdoors. Even if it’s just for twenty minutes. The moment you step outside, take a deep, big breath of fresh air. What does it feel like? What does it smell like? Focus on that. As you walk around, continue to take deep breaths in and out. What do you see when you look up? How many people do you walk by? What shops do you pass by? How many animals do you notice? Be attentive to all the things happening around you. By finding an area of focus, you can help shift your attention from those pestering thoughts to bring you back to the present moment. 

10. Tell Someone

Two women talking to one another on a swing set

The most important thing to do when life sucks is to tell someone. Keep in mind that the person you choose to tell is important. It’s important to remember that if you tell a family member or a friend, they’re not trained to offer the support you may need. For instance, your loved ones might be going through their own problems so it’ll be hard to help you when they struggle to help themselves. And also, most people don’t offer the right support. You say, “I feel sad” and your friend will say “cheer up.” And if it were that easy you wouldn’t need to go to them. 

Instead, you’ll likely want to talk to a psychotherapist, life coach, or some other objective person who knows the right things to say to you and knows how to get you back on the right path. If you’re taking medication continue to do so. However, combine medication with talk therapy to actually solve the problem you need to tackle. 

So, Does Life Suck?

Well, there are days when it does seem that life sucks more than usual. We all go through it. We have happy days, sad days, bad days, amazing days, and same old days. But that’s life. There’s always going to be a change in events, moods, thoughts, and feelings. But there’s good news: bad days are temporary. Nothing lasts forever. Not even the sun. So, while you may be going through a tough time today, just know that better days will come. You might need to put in some extra effort to break through and make a change. Remember though, you’re capable of achieving happiness and creating the life you want.

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