Are you feeling pessimistic about life right now? Do you wake up in the morning not excited to face your day? Do you struggle to see anything hopeful in your future? You’re not alone.
Feeling pessimistic about life is something many people experience. It’s hard not to, with everything going on around us. Many people, when they are pessimistic, tend to turn their anger and sadness inward, blaming themselves for their feelings. It’s natural, but it’s not necessarily right or healthy.
Why am I so pessimistic?
First, let’s discuss what pessimism is and isn’t. Pessimism is a state of mind or a way of thinking that presents your point of view in a negative light. It is not a mental condition or disorder like anxiety or depression.
There are many reasons why someone would have a pessimistic outlook. It can be a combination of the person’s past negative experiences or constant exposure to negative news and environment. They may have suffered multiple disappointments, failures, or setbacks that helped shape their perspective.
A pessimistic person may also have this mindset due to personal insecurities and certain cognitive biases or thought patterns, such as focusing on negatives or anticipating worst-case scenarios. If someone has low self-esteem or struggles with feelings of inadequacy, they may tend to focus on their flaws and shortcomings.
Hopefully, with these tips, you can see the “why” behind your feelings of pessimism, allowing you to take a hard look at yourself and make a change – a change that might help you feel a little better.
Here are 5 reasons why you might be feeling so pessimistic about life right now:
1. The outside world is terrifying.
There has never been another time in my life when things felt so out of whack anywhere in the world. I’m a huge disaster movie addict and almost every one of them begins with floods, fires and discontent with the government. And all of these things are happening right now.
I think we can all agree that things are changing. There are 1,000-year-old floods that destroy entire counties. There are wildfires where there have never been wildfires before, fires that cause irreversible damage to property and the economy.
Tensions between the different sides of the political spectrum are intensifying, with everyone believing, on both sides of the line, that our country risks being taken over by extremists. The economy is struggling and the real estate market is out of control.
Have I made you pessimistic about life right now with this sweet list I shared? I bet I have. And that’s why I shared it.
If you are struggling, know that the world we live in is most likely a big part of it. I’m sure you blame yourself and your love life and while that can be part of it when everything around you is out of whack, it’s hard to be balanced in your personal life.
What happens in the world is nothing you can control, but you can control what you do in your own little corner.
2. You have a negative mindset.
We’ve established that the world is a messy place and your mindset is a bit wonky because of it. It’s hard not to focus on all the horrible things in the world right now. But it’s important that you try not to make news or your own shortcomings where your mind regularly goes.
Our brains are our worst enemies. They constantly bombard us with negative statements about ourselves. They tell us that we are too fat or too thin, not smart enough, not good enough, not lovable, friendless, aimless and hopeless. The list is lengthened increasingly.
And these thoughts can cause a lot of damage and could be a big part of why you’re feeling so pessimistic about life right now. It is important that you make an effort to push these thoughts away. To prevent them from causing damage that will only make things worse.
There are two ways to do this.
The first is to push back. As you walk down that dark road, push those thoughts away. Try to access the truth about what your brain is saying so you can get rid of those thoughts and focus on the positive. I always keep a list of the things I feel about myself when things are going well. I view this list as a counterbalance to what my brain says when times are bad. It works almost every time!
The other thing you can do, something that’s a little easier, is to keep your brain busy, even if it’s just for a little while. Do yoga, read a book, go to the movies, and hang out with friends. Something to get away from those negative thoughts, at least for a little while, to give yourself a break.
3. Your personal care is not a priority.
Be honest with yourself. Have you taken care of yourself lately? Has being pessimistic about life made it harder for you to do the things that make you feel good? Do you exercise? Do you take showers? Going out with friends? Do you eat and sleep well?
All of these things are very important to having a positive outlook on the world, especially if they are things you used to do on a regular basis. I guess, if you haven’t taken care of yourself, not only are you feeling pessimistic about life right now, but you’re probably having a hard time judging yourself.
Interestingly, it’s a vicious cycle – which comes first, pessimism or lack of self-care? Did you start to feel bad about your life and give up your care or did you give up your care and start feeling bad about your life?
So ask yourself if you are taking care of yourself the way you always have in the past. If the answer is no, it’s time to take the first step towards change. Take a walk, call a friend for coffee, or skip the ice cream for the day. Anything you can do to feel a little better about life.
4. You cling to the past.
I’m one of those people who live with a ton of regret and that regret can drag me to a very dark place. A few weeks ago someone suggested that when I get to this place, I tell myself that I was doing my best at the time. Because it’s true. Who we were then is not the person we are now.
Are you like most people? Do you have many regrets? Do you regret breaking up with that guy you remember being awesome? Do you wish you had majored in marketing instead of English at university? Do you wish you hadn’t cut off that friend who was speaking ill of you? Do you believe that if you had just chosen differently in these cases, your life would be much better?
I get it, but ask yourself: was this guy really that great? You, after all, broke up with him. And would you really have wanted to pursue a career in marketing, even though it sounds rather glamorous? And no one needs a friend who isn’t nice to them.
Also, understand that just because you didn’t make the choice you feel you had to make, if you had made that choice, you don’t necessarily know if your life would be better. It could very well be worse.
So don’t focus on the past. To look forward. I know it may seem pretty bleak right now, but the future you can control – the past you can’t.
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5. You have no vision for the future.
It’s hard to change when you’re feeling pessimistic. When we feel bad, it is very difficult to look to the future with hope. When we get to a point where our mind is working against us, when we’re not taking care of ourselves, when we’re living in the past, we get so stuck in our present agony that we can’t look to the future.
From this point of view, it is literally impossible to attempt to reach any hope for the days to come. And that only makes things worse.
I always tell people to look to the past to overcome this lack of hope for the future. (I know – it’s ironic. I just told you to ignore the past.) What I want them to focus on is all the times when things were really dark, when they were in a horrible place with no hope for the future. And what happened to them? More often than not, they made it through those dark times and moved on with their lives.
Life has ups and downs. And while we all hope that one day we will find happiness that will last, life will still give us lemons and we will struggle. But reconnecting with the strength we used in the past to get through the bad times can give us hope for the future and maybe even help us start planning for what that future might look like.
I know it’s hard not to be pessimistic about life right now. But life has its ups and downs and if you’ve made it this far you know what I’m talking about.
Just know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Although you cannot fix world events, you can focus on yourself. You can take care of yourself, don’t live in the past, don’t let your thoughts control you, and try to create a vision for your future.
You won’t always be there. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true. I promise.
Mitzi Bockmann is a New York-based certified life coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be everything they want to be. Mitzi’s bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, Psych Central, among others.
This article originally appeared on Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.