What to Do When It Feels Like the World Is Against You
7 simple strategies to feel more hopeful about the future.
Posted March 10, 2020 | Reviewed by Kaja Perina
We all have days or periods in our life when the going gets a bit tough. One problem arises after another, leaving you feeling like the world is against you. You try to stay on top of things but it feels like the harder you try, the worse things go, and the problems just keep on piling up. You start to worry more and more, so much so that you start to struggle to sleep.
Now, you're not only dealing with a pile of problems but also exhaustion from sleep deprivation. This doesn't help you feel any calmer and your good old symptoms of anxiety start to creep in, bit by bit. Then you start to worry about your growing anxiety leading to panic attacks, so much so that you almost fabricate one.
It's not easy when you get into a spiral like this, and it most certainly doesn't help you feel like the world is on your side. But it is. And in order for you to believe that again, you need to take it one tiny step at a time to get back in control of your thoughts and emotions. Here are 7 simple strategies to help you do exactly that.
- Breathe. When you feel anxious or stressed, the first thing that gets affected is your breath. It gets tense and short, making you and your body feel even more stressed. That's why the first thing you can do to feel less stress is to take control of your breath. Take long, deep breaths. Focus on nothing else except that. Ideally, use Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 calming breath cycle with an inhale for four counts, holding your breath for seven, and a long exhale for eight. Do this until you start to feel yourself and your body calm down.
- Be kind to yourself. In these moments of difficulty, one of the worst things you can do is to get critical. Don't start beating yourself up about how you feel or how everything is your fault. This will simply make you feel worse. Instead, practice deep self-compassion. Talk to yourself as you would to a friend in need. Nurture yourself the way you would nurture a nervous child. Treat yourself the way you would treat a loved one suffering from stress.
- Take extra good care of yourself. Stress and anxiety take a lot out of you. Your body, mind, and soul all get a little depleted. This makes you more vulnerable to anything that you might be faced with. That is why taking extra good care of yourself becomes essential. Eat nutritiously and eat enough. Drink plenty to stay hydrated. Get as much rest as you can and even nap during the day if you feel yourself needing it. Do gentle exercise, like walks in nature or yin yoga stretches, to keep your body supple and circulation going.
- Eliminate any pressure or any to-dos that you can. When it feels like the world is against you and you've got one problem after another to solve, try to take the pressure off. Clear your calendar and to-do list from anything that isn't urgent or essential. Don't expect your usual level of productivity or output when you're feeling like this. Your being will be fighting hard to get you back to a good place and that means you might not have the same focus or energy for your usual tasks. That is ok.
- Focus on what is going right. When everything seems to be going wrong, it pays to focus on what is going right. It's easy to over-dramatise problems, especially when one comes after another. Don't make them all-encompassing. Realise that you've got this and that problem, but that doesn't mean that everything in your life is a problem. Remind yourself of what is going well. Remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for. Even the tiniest things count.
- Break down every problem into teeny weeny ones that are easier to solve. If your problems seem unsolvable, break them into teeny weeny ones. Sure, you might end up with a longer list of problems than when you started. But, you will end up with a list of solvable problems rather than unsolvable ones. As a result, you will feel much more hopeful about the future, as well as your ability to get through this.
- Believe that this too shall pass. There is nothing permanent in life and that includes your problems, your challenges, and whether you feel the world is against you or with you. Just like anything in life, this too will pass.