When things feel hopeless around you, it may be a challenge to maintain hopefulness within you.
Even though it is easy to get swept up in doom when the world around you feels chaotic, your mental health still matters.
It can feel like there is no reason to try or do things that can help. You may even be experiencing feelings of burnout after reading multiple news stories with no action steps.
As a single human on the planet, you can’t fix everything. Allowing yourself to feel powerless can be the push you need to help yourself most.
You may be feeling distraught, unwelcome, tired, full of grief, and lonely.
You are not alone.
You can acknowledge these uncomfortable feelings and emotions within you while maintaining hope. Emotional maturity means feeling several emotions at once and still being okay.
Change happens within a collection of single humans who are making an effort to become the best version of themselves every day.
Becoming the best version of yourself can provide hope when things feel hopeless around you.
Here are 5 ways to stay hopeful when things feel hopeless:
1. Identify a cause.
Hopelessness comes from a place of feeling stuck, like you can’t do anything, no matter how much you try.
Hopelessness coupled with despair can be deadly.
Despair is the deepest part of depression, and negative thoughts can be incessant.
When you identify a cause you care about, you create action steps for yourself to change your daily habits.
This may mean that you need to get to know yourself to identify what makes you passionate. The next step may mean that you do some research about causes.
Some charities and nonprofits have options to donate monthly, like togetherrising.org, so you can be responsive in your humanitarian work rather than reactionary to every post on social media. Together Rising also focuses on causes that align with current events, like womxn’s health.
You don’t have to create an organization to make a difference.
Link up with a loved one if you are unsure of where to start.
By identifying a cause, you can contribute and have a sense of purpose that aligns with your values.
2. Connect with a community.
Prioritizing friendships that support you, help you to feel loved, and push you to be your best self are all part of connecting with a community.
In some friendships, you may not feel seen and heard. You also might not see and hear all of your friends. If this is the case, think about how to shift your priorities to spend time with people who help you to be the version of yourself that you like most.
This starts with you.
Learning how to love yourself can be one of the best ways to connect with a community, and it can help improve your mental health.
If you aren’t feeling fully resourced from within, it may be worth looking into working with a mental health professional like a therapist. You don’t need a reason to get started.
3. Seek out therapy.
Hopelessness is a desperate feeling. It can cause panic and eventually may be coupled with despair and if left alone long enough. suicidal thoughts can also stem from despair.
Image of a woman thinking with background of question marks. Read More: “Considering Therapy? Here’s What You Should Look For When Choosing A Therapist For You”
When hopelessness and despair happen at the same time, the result can be death.
Getting therapy can help you to put things into perspective again.
You may be stuck in extreme thinking, and friends aren’t therapists. So, it is important to take the time to help yourself if you feel hopeless.
No one can do that for you.
Hard things can be hard, and you are worth the effort.
There are many different types of therapy to match what you most need.
You don’t have to feel pain alone, and you can choose to suffer without resourcing. Resource yourself.
You are worth the effort.
4. Do the next right thing. One step at a time.
Overwhelm can lead to hopelessness. If you don’t know where to start, it can be difficult to begin.
Image of a person standing in a heart-shaped rock over looking mountains at sunset. Read More: “Face Your Fears. Change Your Life”
When you feel most overwhelmed, breaking up your next steps into even smaller steps can be helpful.
Shame and guilt can stifle your next right steps. Your next right thing may not look like anyone else’s and that is okay.
You don’t need to compare your efforts to everyone.
Choose action steps that align with your most authentic self and mental well-being.
For some people, the next right thing may be to wake up in the morning and brush your teeth. For others, this may mean that you donate to a cause you care about the most.
Another person may believe that the next right thing is to surround themselves with people who they feel most loved by right now.
It doesn’t matter what you choose; the goal is to choose something that aligns with what is important to you.
5. Acknowledge, Accept, and Act.
Acknowledging tough times, a hopeless feeling, or hopeless thoughts can help you act.
Image of a smiling young Black woman happy to be outdoors. Read More: “The Truth About Acceptance And How To Embrace It”
There are some things that you won’t ever be able to control, and for the things you can, there is acceptance.
Part of contributing to a community in an authentic way is to help yourself learn how to communicate, trust yourself, be kind to others, and still make mistakes.
It’s a lifetime of work to remain hopeful, and you can learn at any time.
If something is unacceptable around you, you have options that start with you.
Acknowledge your feelings, accept what you can’t control, and act where it is needed so that you can go back to your truest self.
Changing the world starts with looking at yourself and taking steps toward kindness and understanding.
It is the tiniest steadfast acts that can help you get there.
Kindness in a difficult situation can also help you do things in a different way.
No situation is too hopeless, and when it feels that way, there are others around you who can help.
While grandiose gestures can be rewarding, the small steps that you take each day can be the most impactful.
They measure up when you are consistent and loving toward yourself.
Not every day has to be perfect. You can work toward making progress. When a problem seems too big to conquer, stay hopeful by breaking it down into smaller pieces.
Professional help, like a therapist can help. You don’t have to live in a hopeless situation within you when there are hopeful people around you.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t acknowledge a difficult time or mental health challenges, but it does mean that you aren’t alone.
If you are having thoughts of suicide and concerned for your safety or the safety of someone else, reach out to Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or the National Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC