At some point, we all feel hopeless, even superheroes like Spiderman! In Spiderman 2 (2004), we saw how our beloved web-slinger threw his costume in a vat as he felt hopeless about his dual identity. Even in Avenger’s Endgame (2019), we saw after losing his family, Hawkeye lost hope, turned rouge & he uttered those heart-wrenching words to Natasha when she tried to bring him back, “Don’t give me hope.” A feeling of hopelessness is quite natural & we encounter it at some point. You can explore various Things to Do If You Feel Hopeless, which may help you get back on track.
This year didn’t turn out the way we expected. The scale of damage in the Russia-Ukraine war stunned many, & the reports of a new strain of COVID-19 may have seemed somewhat depressing. You probably didn’t anticipate a pandemic that was almost coming back in a new form.
Quarantine & lockdown, the tragic losses due to natural calamities, a highly controversial election season, global warming, and a million deaths from COVID-19. The list goes on, overwhelmingly so. In short, 2020 has been a year many would like to forget. With no clear end in sight to these bleak circumstances, it is normal to feel hopeless about things ever returning to normal, & they may not for quite a long time. So, we should buckle up!
Things to Do If You Feel Hopeless
1. Name Your Feelings
Hopelessness can make your life seem pointless, gray, & dull. The worse you feel, the harder it frequently becomes to arouse interest in the things you usually enjoy doing. It’s not always easy to detach general misery into more discrete experiences. You may decide you are stressed or tired & surrender.
Yet when relaxation techniques or adequate sleep fail to resolve your issues, you may leave yourself to your new normal. This, predictably, could leave you feeling even worse.
Optimism for the future may seem impossible when you can’t brighten a bleak mood. The key to regulating complex emotions lies in identifying & labeling particular emotional states. Try to recognize what exactly you are feeling; is it worry? Or fear? Anger? Gloom? Just make a clear identification of your feelings.
2. Grieve If Necessary
One of the significant Things to Do If You Feel Hopeless is grieving. Most people have plenty of reasons to grieve this year. It’s both normal & healthy to mourn large and small losses.
Even if you haven’t lost someone beloved, you may grieve for missed opportunities & things you wished to do. Maybe you had to cancel your wedding or long-awaited vacation or lost your home or job. Maybe you needed to completely modify your way of life.
Here, naming your losses can be helpful, too. Even if you know you will continue to grieve, admitting the pain & providing yourself the opportunity to fully experience your feelings can help you to start letting them go & look forward with a renewed, optimistic perspective.
3. Argue the Opposite
When you feel hopeless, you tend to think about why nothing will ever be better. Train your mind to argue the opposite. What’s the evidence that things will be worse than you are expecting? What is the validation of your fears?
Thinking about the possible positives can open you up to more opportunities. While there is a chance that things might not be great, there is also a chance that they may be better (or stay as bad) than you are expecting. Arguing the opposite may open your mind up to the idea that things may not be as depressing as you expect them to be.
4. Think About What You Get From Being Hopeless
Thinking about what you can get from being hopeless might sound strange. After a little more thinking, you may discover that being hopeless protects you from being disappointed. If you don’t expect anything good to come, you don’t have to worry about being disappointed if things go south.
Being hopeless also may help you feel all right about being inactive. For instance, if you are thinking that you will never be able to pay off your debt, you might not bother trying to increase your income (by getting another job or side hustle), or you might not control your spending by creating a budget.
So think about whether you are getting something by remaining hopeless. You may find it somehow protects you from changing or doing anything different.
5. Consider What You Could Gain From Hope
On the flipside, think about what you could gain from being more hopeful. How can your life change? What would you do differently if you had hope? Then, you may go ahead & start acting as if you were full of hope.
For instance, you may realize that if you had hope, you would be going out more & meet new people. Or, apply for a new job or try some side hustle. Go ahead & do that; even if you aren’t hopeful, they can work. Sometimes, you have to modify your behavior first & the feelings will follow. As they say, ‘fake it until you make it.’ So, if you try to act hopeful, you may eventually feel more hope.
6. Stay In Present
Staying in the present moment & experiencing things as they happen can help you start to tackle feelings of hopelessness. You may wonder if tuning into your hopelessness leaves you feeling worse. The answer is no. When you increase your consciousness of the particular things troubling you, recognizing helpful solutions for the moment becomes easier.
Staying in the present also helps you to pay more attention to the positive things in your life & find meaning in little pieces of daily joys. When you think about things that have already happened or might not happen in the future, this positivity often gets washed away by the tide of negativity & misery.
7. Focus In Problem-Solving
By definition, hopelessness is the belief that things will not get better or you will be a failure. But you can always do something to solve such a problem or alter your feelings about the problem.
Spend some time thinking about possible solutions to the problem. Come up with ideas & remember them; you don’t even essentially need good ideas. Try to see if you can create as many strategies as possible to address the problem.
If you can’t solve the problem alone (like in the case of an illness of some family member), consider how to change your views about the problem. Could spending time with the ailed person can help you to feel a bit better? Might you feel a little more hopeful if you take a break from your workplace?
8. Talk to a Trusted Friend or Family Member
When you are struggling to spot possible solutions or have difficulty getting in motion, reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Describe to them what you are experiencing.
They can help you provide a different perspective. Or, they may offer different strategies to help you feel better. It can be hard to tell people what you are encountering. Though, telling someone could be vital to getting a little more hope about your present situation.
What is The Cause Of Hopelessness?
Hopelessness is typically associated with depression. It’s one of the recognized symptoms of clinical depression. There are many probable causes of depression, & if you continue to live with the condition, hopelessness can result. Hopeless & helpless are partners. We do not feel hopeless unless we also feel helpless. We might feel hopeless because of the following:
- Job Loss
- Relationship Challenges or a Recent Breakup
- Trauma Denial
- Prolonged Exposure to a Stressful Situation
- Natural Disasters
- Constant Illness
- Existential Crisis
- Long-term Grief Disorder
Luckily, there are several Things to Do If You Feel Hopeless. If all fails, consider talking to a mental health professional.