Self

5 Reasons You Might Be Feeling Pessimistic About Life Right Now (& Why It's Totally OK)

Photo: Aleshyn Andrei / shutterstock.com
pessimistic woman, head in her hands as sun sets

Are you feeling pessimistic about life right now?

Do you wake up in the morning, depressed, or not excited about facing your day?

Are you struggling to see anything hopeful in your future?

You are not alone!

Feeling pessimistic about life right now is something that many people, myself included, are feeling. It’s hard not to, with everything that is happening around us.

Many people, when they are feeling pessimistic about life, tend to turn their anger and sadness inward, blaming themselves for how they are feeling. And that is natural but it's not necessarily right.

I am writing this blog to help you see the WHY behind your feeling so pessimistic about life right now so that you can take a good look at yourself and make a change, a change that might help you feel even a little bit better!

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Here are 5 reasons you might be feeling so pessimistic about life right now:

1. The outside world.

I am not sure that ever in my lifetime have things felt so out of whack all over the world.

I am a huge disaster movie junkie and almost every one of them starts with floods and fires and discontent with the government. And all of those things are happening right now.

I think we can all agree things are changing.

There are 1,000-year floods that are taking out whole counties. There are forest fires in places there have never been forest fires before (think Newfoundland, where there are still floating icebergs in the spring), fires that are causing irreversible damage to property and the economy.

The tensions between varying sides of the political spectrum are getting higher, with everyone believing, on both sides of the line, that our country is at risk of being taken over by extremists.

The economy is struggling, the real estate market is out of control, COVID-19 hangs on, still sneaking up on us when we least expect it.

Have I made you feel pessimistic about life right now with this lovely list I just shared? I bet I have. And that is the reason I shared it.

If you are struggling, know that the world that we are living in is most likely a huge part of it. I am sure that you are blaming yourself and your love life and, while those may be a part of it when everything that is going on all around you is wonky, it’s hard to be on an even keel in your personal life!

And what is happening in the world is nothing that you can control but you can control what you do in your little corner of it!

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2. Your mindset.

Yes, we have established that the world is a messy place and that your mindset is kind of wonky because of it. It’s hard not to focus on everything that’s horrible in the world right now.

But it is important that you try to not make current events or your own shortcomings where your mind goes regularly.

Our brains are our worst enemies. They are constantly bombarding us with negative statements about ourselves.

They tell us that we are too fat or too thin, not smart enough, not successful enough, not lovable, friendless, aimless, hopeless. The list goes on and on.

And those thoughts can cause A LOT of damage and might be a big part of why you are feeling so pessimistic about life right now.

It is important that you make an effort to push away those thoughts. To keep them from causing damage that will only make things worse.

There are two ways to do that.

The first involves pushing back.

When you go down that dark road, push back on those thoughts. Try to access the truth about what your brain is saying so that you can get rid of those thoughts and focus on the positive.

I always keep a list of the things that I feel about myself when times are good. I look at that list as a counter to what my brain is saying when times get bad. It works almost every time!

The other thing that you can do, something that is a little bit easier, is to keep your brain busy, even if just for a little while.

Do yoga, read a book, go to the movies, and hang out with friends. Something to take you away from those negative thoughts, at least for a little while, to give yourself a break.

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3. Your self-care.

Be honest with yourself. Have you been taking care of yourself recently?

Has feeling pessimistic about life made it more difficult for you to do the things that make you feel good?

Are you exercising? Are you taking showers? Are you hanging out with friends? Are you eating and sleeping well?

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All of those things are very important of having a positive view of the world, especially if they were things that you used to do regularly.

I am guessing that, if you haven’t been taking care of yourself, not only are you feeling pessimistic about life right now but you are probably struggling with a bit of self-judgment.

Interestingly, it’s a vicious circle — which comes first, the pessimism or the lack of self-care?

Did you start feeling bad about your life and let go of your care or did you let go of your care and start to feel bad about your life?

So, ask yourself if you are taking care of yourself in the ways that you always have in the past. If the answer is no, it’s time to take that first step towards making change.

Take a walk, call a friend for coffee, or skip the ice cream for the day. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel even just a little bit better about life.

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4. Holding on to the past.

I am one of those people who live with a ton of regret. And that regret can pull me down to a very dark place.

A few weeks back, someone suggested that, when I get to that place, I tell myself that I was doing the best that I could do at the time. Because it’s true. Who we were at that moment is not the person we are right now.

Are you like most people? Do you have a lot of regrets?

Do you regret breaking up with that guy you remember to be awesome? Do you wish you had majored in marketing instead of English in college? Do you wish that you hadn’t cut off that friend who was bad-mouthing you?

Do you believe that if you had just chosen differently in those instances your life would be much better?

I get it but ask yourself — was that guy really so awesome? You did, after all, break up with him. And would you really have wanted to do marketing as a career, even though it seems rather glamorous? And no one needs a friend who isn’t nice to them.

Furthermore, understand that, just because you didn’t make the choice that you think you should have made, know that, 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. Look to the future. I know it might seem pretty bleak right now but the future you can control — the past you can’t.

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5. No vision for the future.

This is a hard one to change when you are feeling pessimistic about life right now.

When we are feeling bad, it’s very hard to look to the future with hope.

When we get to a place where our mind is working against us, when we don’t take care of ourselves, when we live in the past, we get so mired in our present agony that we can’t look to the future.

From this point of view, it is literally impossible to try to access any hope for the days to come. And that just makes everything worse.

I always tell people to look to the past to get through 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 of the times when things were really bleak, when they were in a horrible place with no hope for the future. And what happened to them?

More often than not, they pulled through those dark times and got on with their lives.

Life has ups and downs. And while we all hope that one day we will find happiness that will stick, life will still give us lemons and we will struggle.

But, reconnecting with the strength that we have used in the past to get through bad times can give us hope for the future and maybe even help us start to plan what that future could look like!

I know that it’s hard not to feel pessimistic about life right now.

It’s been hard not to for the past few years, since some time around March 2020.

But life has its ups and downs and, if you have made it this far, you know what I am talking about.

Just know that it doesn’t have to be this way. While you can’t fix world events, you can focus on yourself.  You can take care of yourself, not live in the past, not let your thoughts control you, and try to create a vision of your future.

You will not always be in this place. I know it’s hard to believe but it’s true.

I promise!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.

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This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.