Are You Feeling Hopeless? Here’s How to Support Yourself

4 min readApr 13, 2023
Woman Feeling Hopelessness

These years have not been what most people would expect.
Quarantines and lockdowns, recession, melting sea ice, a million COVID-19 deaths. In short, this year has been a terrible year for the world.
With no clear ending to this increasingly grim state of affairs, you may feel very distraught about things ever going back to normal. And they might not for some time.

If that doesn’t sound too hopeful, remember this: Hope is something you can develop yourself, no matter what your situation is. Learning to cultivate hope and pass it on can give you the strength to keep going, no matter what the future may bring.
Try these several tips to replace discouragement with a renewed sense of optimism.

Identify Your Feelings
Hopelessness can make your life feel heavy and dark. The worse you feel, the more difficult it will be to generate interest in things you used to enjoy.
It’s not easy to disentangle the common woes into more disparate experiences. You may just think you’re stressed out or tired and just let it go.

But when relaxation techniques or more sleep fail to solve your woes, you may eventually resign yourself to your condition. This can make you feel even more desperate. Optimism for the future may seem downright impossible when you can’t lighten a gloomy mood.
The key to regulating complex emotions lies in recognizing and labeling certain emotional states.

Take unhappiness, for example. Digging beneath the surface of these common feelings can help you uncover the layers beneath them — loneliness, distraction, boredom. The more detail you get, the easier it will be to identify the most helpful ways to deal with those feelings.

Some of the emotions you may be feeling include:
worry, fear, grief, helplessness, disbelief,
anger, and anxiety
Keeping a mood journal or expressing how you feel through art and music can help you get a better sense of your emotions.
Meditation can also help you practice acknowledging and accepting feelings of discomfort instead of instinctively pushing them away.

Give Room to Grieve
A lot of people are feeling a lot of sadness these days. It is normal and healthy to mourn things that are sad.
Even if you haven’t lost a loved one, you may be grieving over lost opportunities and things you can no longer do. Maybe you have to cancel a wedding or a long-awaited vacation, or you lose your home or income. Perhaps you need to completely change your way of life.

Complicating your grief is the fact that the pandemic — or any other complicated situation you’re in — is still ongoing.
Even if you know you’ll continue to grieve, acknowledging the pain and giving yourself a chance to fully experience your feelings can help you begin to let them go, and look forward with renewed optimism.

Stay Present
Staying anchored in the moment and letting yourself experience the things that happen can help you begin to deal with feelings of hopelessness.
You’re probably wondering, “Wouldn’t listening to my despair just make me feel worse?” Generally speaking, no.
When you increase your awareness of the specific things that are currently bothering you, it becomes easier to identify solutions that work in the moment.

Staying present also helps you pay more attention to the good things in your life and find meaning in the small daily joys. When you fixate on things that have happened or things that may happen in the future, these positive moments are often swept up by waves of negativity and distress.
The monumental size of this problem can lead to fatalistic thoughts as you start to wonder, “Why bother trying, when there’s nothing I can do?”

Even when you can’t do much to feel better, you usually can do something. Being present makes it easier to take challenges one step at a time and recognize small ways to reach your goals and create change. You learn where you have control and when it’s better to let go.

Prioritize Meaningful Relationships
There’s no denying the impact of the pandemic on things like: friendships, casual dating, and romantic relationships.
The inability to spend time face-to-face with loved ones has left many people feeling lonelier than ever before, and loneliness often adds fuel to lingering feelings of hopelessness.
It may take a little more grooming to keep friendships and relationships thriving, but with effort, you may feel more connected to the people you care about most.
Talking about your distress can lighten your load, but it’s worth considering that someone you love may be grappling with the same emotions. Openness gives them the opportunity to share their own struggles so you can support each other.

Source: What Can Help When You’re Feeling Hopeless