“Life fell apart for us in that house, several times, like falling down the stairs, when you keep thinking that surely this is the bottom, now this, now this.” – Shauna Niequist
I know what it’s like for everything in your life to fall apart. I know what it’s like to be depressed and feel like you’re at the bottom of a dark, deep well looking up and thinking you’re never going to crawl your way to the top. But you can. And you will. Here’s how to do when life keeps getting worse.
What to Do When Life Keeps Getting Worse and Worse
My life isn’t in a dark place anymore. It got better. It can get better for you too.
Sometimes it feels like life just keeps getting worse and worse, and just when you think you’re starting to make progress on something, you have another setback and fall back down the stairs and keep falling, falling, falling.
But you won’t fall forever.
First, make sure you’re not unknowingly sabotaging yourself.
When things are already going wrong, it’s easy for things to just keep piling on because we let things go or unconsciously start to sabotage things. We tend to do this when things are going well too, because we get scared that things are “too” good to be true and panic.
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So, is there anything you can do to prevent things from getting worse? Is there anything that needs your attention now before it becomes a problem?
You want to be proactive about taking care of yourself and finding solutions to problems as they arise, rather than letting everything pile up and become overwhelming.
Take on one problem at a time. Either fix it or forgive it.
Is there anything you can do to make it better?
If not, do you need to just process your feelings, forgive someone, or give yourself time to heal?
Do what you need to do for each thing that demands your attention, and make sure you’re prioritizing problems so you take care of the most urgent issues first.
If you feel like you’re drowning in a million different problems right now, write everything down in a brain dump. Just free write about everything that’s on your mind for the next 15 minutes.
Next, follow the four D’s. For each item on the page, either 1. Do it, 2. Delegate it, 3. Delete it, or 4. Defer it. This is from The Success Principles.
Prioritize the things you need to do based on urgency and importance. Try to delete as many things on your list on possible. Ask for help if you need it. And if you want to do something, but not right now, just put it in a “defer” list to come back to in the future.
Ok, phew. Do you feel any better?
When you feel like things keep getting worse, take a breather and then get proactive about staying on top of things before they become problems in your life. The fewer the emergencies, the better. 🙂
Sometimes life throws us curve balls and bad things happen or we might think “nothing is going right in my life.” At times like these, it’s easy to slip back into depression and feel like the world is out to get us and nothing could ever go right in our life. Here’s what to do when nothing goes right in life.
What to Do When Nothing is Going Right in Life | When Nothing Goes Right
At times like these, sometimes it helps to take a step back and react in the exact opposite way that you’re expected to react.
When something bad happens, it’s normal to get upset. But what if you refuse to get upset? What if you completely and fully accept what’s happening as your reality? (And then you can take steps to improve your situation. But only after you’ve accepted it).
One mantra I like to go back to when things go wrong is this:
“This happened for a reason.”
At first it feels a little silly, like you’re rejecting the obvious facts that are right in front of you.
Maybe you’re thinking that it’s completely obvious that the world really is out to get you and no one else is possibly having as bad a week as you are.
But you must fight against these feelings. Honor them and don’t ignore them, of course, but resist the temptation to paint yourself as a victim of circumstances.
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When you say something like, “This happened for a reason” or even, “That’s exactly what I wanted to happen,” then you’re immediately taking away the idea that you’re helpless and instead portraying yourself as fully in charge of your life and its outcomes.
Let’s use a few examples. Maybe you’re trying to catch the bus and you see it approaching so you run after it and it just leaves without you.
It’s tempting to think, “Wow this week is horrible and I can’t believe everything is going wrong in my life. Nothing is good in my life. That bus driver is out to get me.” But resist the temptation!
If I miss a bus, I try to think, “Nope. That wasn’t my bus.”
And it sounds simple and maybe a little silly but radically accepting your reality (a principle from dialectical behavioral therapy) can really help you deal with whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
Maybe there’s a really good reason you missed that bus that you can’t possibly understand right now.
Maybe because you missed that bus, you’re about to stumble into the future love of your life at the bus stop or prevent you from getting into an accident.
You never know. 😉
Maybe you get fired from your job when money is already really tight.
Instead of jumping to conclusions about how your boss is horrible and out to get you, just think, “This happened for a reason.”
It sounds ridiculous, but it forces your mind to think of ways that what happened maybe did happen for a reason.
The sooner you can accept your current reality, the sooner you can either move on or do something to improve your situation. (Note: this doesn’t really apply to extreme situations like abuse. That is never ok.)
If you’re spiritual or religious at all, then these words probably already have some meaning to you.
So when something goes wrong in your life and your best-laid plans and expectations are all falling apart at the seams, just try to remember that everything is happening for a reason.
Here’s a quote from Shauna Niequist:
“And that’s the core of prayer: admitting that just maybe, there’s something going on that we can’t see.”
What Is Your Pain Trying to Tell You?
So, maybe you’re reading this because you’re in pain.
Maybe it’s a dull, aching emotional pain, or maybe it’s full on mental anguish.
Either way, your pain and suffering is valid. And chances are, it’s trying to tell you something.
When you burn your hand, your body is telling you to take your hand off the hot stove. When you’re in emotional pain, your mind is trying to tell you that something about your life is not right and needs to be addressed.
It’s also possible that you’re in pain because you’re carrying around years and years of hurt and pain and frustration from the past. Every mean word someone’s ever said to you, ever bad thing that’s ever happened – it’s all taking up mental energy and stressing you out without you even realizing it.
So depending on whether you think your pain is because of your current situation or something that happened in the past, here are a few things you can do to help you.
First, do a life inventory. Write down different areas of your life (like work, friends and family, love, spiritual, health, fun, etc) and rate them from a scale of 1 to 10. Then ask yourself, am I really happy with this area of my life? Pay special attention to the areas with low numbers. What do you think is making you unhappy with that area? Is there anything you can do to improve the situation?
Next, consider doing some forgiveness work. If you still remember terrible things that people said or did to you years ago, then it’s still causing you pain. Forgiveness is not for them, but for you. It’s so you don’t have to carry around this pain anymore.
Finally, breathe into the feeling. Sometimes pain isn’t necessarily something that can be fixed, but just a temporary feeling that we have to ride out.
You will get through this.
If you’d like more depression tips, check out our 30 Day Negativity Detox.
There’s Always a Breakdown Before a Breakthrough
One lesson I’ve learned the hard way time and time again is that there’s always a breakdown before a breakthrough.
This is both good and bad.
This means that if you’re in the middle of a breakdown right now, then odds are, there’s a breakthrough right around the corner.
It also means that our journey to personal growth isn’t easy, because you have to go through a lot of “stuff” in order to get the insights and growth on the other side.
But I promise that if you can survive the breakdown side of things, the breakthrough is so worth it. That moment of intense clarity and insight, seeing things in a new light, gaining new insights and perspective on an old situation that once perplexed you.
For better or worse, I’ve seen this lesson play out so many times in my own life. The times when I thought it was all over and there was just no hope, eventually I’d find my way through the darkness and back into the light.
It’s funny how sometimes just when we’re ready to give up, we have a breakthrough and figure out what we needed to figure out or solve a problem that seemed unsolvable.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
So if you’re having a tough time right now, maybe you’re about to have a breakthrough. Maybe you’re just trying to break through to the next level of your life. It’s time to upgrade!
If you keep going through this tough time, things will get better. You just have to keep going.
If you’d like more depression tips, you might also be interested in our 30 Day Negativity Detox. 🙂